New Optoma HDTV Projector

If you’re a frequent reader of the HDTV Almanac, you’re probably aware that I don’t do product reviews. However, I will highlight new product announcements when I think they have some relevance beyond the individual model. And that’s exactly why you should know about the EP1690 from Optoma.

This is a DLP front projector. Yes, I know that most people do not consider front projectors for home use. They are generally for meeting rooms and classrooms, and for the well-heeled few who can afford to build a proper home theater installation (where one or two of the chairs alone cost more than most people will spend on their television). And most wide-format projectors cost many thousands of dollars.

Well, the EP1690 is wide-format, with a 1280 by 768 resolution that shows 720p images without scaling. It has a digital DVI interface and a 2500 lumen rating so it should be bright enough to create a very large image even in a well-lit room. And it has an estimated street price of $1,690.

That’s less than most 42-inch flat panel displays cost, and pretty competitive with 42-inch rear-projection models. But the EP1690 can reasonably create an image the size of four 42-inch screens if you want. Add one of the new light-rejecting screens and you should be able to have a good image in just about any room. (While it’s expensive, the Sony ChromaVue “black screen” technology is amazing, and can create a great projected image even in a room with bright daylight.) So it may be time to give front projection solutions a serious look before you settle for an LCD or plasma model.