The DM3’s striking amount of connections, meanwhile, includes a component video input, an HDMI input, a USB service port, a standard USB port for playing back JPEGs and MP3s from USB devices, a coaxial digital audio output for shipping audio from the DVD drive to an external AV receiver, and even – gulp – a microphone input.
This latter socket is there, of course, to cater for those effervescent, outgoing karaoke types who like nothing better than to yodel or screech out their favourite songs at parties. Personally I’d rather hammer nails into my own skull, but then if my singing voice was less Lemmy and more Charlotte Church, maybe I’d feel differently… At any rate, the mic input is actually a pretty innovative touch from Epson, so whether or not I personally like it, Epson should probably be applauded for thinking to include it! Maybe.
The only real connection disappointment is the fact that the DM3 only has one HDMI. But as well as remembering that the projector only costs £550, I’d argue that a projector designed for casual use like the DM3 perhaps only needs one HDMI, since it will likely just be brought out on ‘special occasions’, when just one source at a time is required.
As the more observant of you may have noticed when I was discussing the logo stickers slapped all over the DM3, its DVD deck is ready, willing and able to play DivX files. But it can also handle music CDs, or multimedia CDs containing music or photo files. In other words, the DM3 can be used for showing slideshows and listening to music as well as watching films or displaying games.
I also noted while perusing the DM3’s specifications that it improves on the spec of the DM2 quite considerably. In particular, its claimed contrast ratio is 3,000:1, versus the measly 1,200:1 of the DM2. Hopefully this will help the DM3 avoid the pretty dismal black level problems of its predecessor.
The DM3 also ups the maximum brightness output (or Colour light output, as Epson would prefer I call it) from the DM2’s 1,200 Lumens to a much higher 2,000 Lumens – a potentially very significant development given that casual projectors like the DM3 tend to be used in environments containing ambient light.
The DM3 also improves on resolution from the 854 x 480 pixel count of the DM2. But sadly only a little, raising it to 540p (960 x 540). This means, of course, that the DM3 doesn’t have a native HD resolution, and so can’t call itself HD Ready. The HD Compatible description mentioned earlier thus simply refers to the fact that the projector can downscale and show HD sources – including 1080p/24.