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Epson, Soundcast, Huge Wall, Clear Skies Make Awesome Movie Night for JJ and Family

Julie Jacobson's first projector turns out to be an inexpensive doozy of an outdoor entertainment machine.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 725HD projects all that.

Photos & Slideshow

Julie Jacobson · December 24, 2014

I never owned a projector. I never needed a projector. I’ve never had space for a projector. I could care less about projectors.

But then we had family converging on our modest place in Carlsbad, Calif. – four from L.A., four from Minnesota and two from Texas – and we wanted to continue the tradition of watching “White Christmas.”

Obviously, this was not my family’s tradition but it’s a darn good movie and we couldn’t squeeze everyone around our luscious 55-inch Sony 4K set in the family room. What to do?

A movie under the stars seemed like a good idea and we had a sizable wall on which to project. So I bought a cheap 130-inch Elite Screens screen online for $100.

Now for the projector.

I called my rep friend Kevin Klotzbach of Frontline Sales and Marketing in the Twin Cities, and asked for recommendation. I needed something that was inexpensive since we won’t be using it often, good enough to project a 130-inch image in a mostly-dark environment, and fairly portable (I had some gracious offers for used Runco and Digital Projection units, but not for this weak, arthritic soul, thank you).

Kevin suggested an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 725HD projector ($549 MSRP). I didn’t look at the specs or the product, I just ordered it on Kevin’s recommendation.

When the unit arrived, I was pleased that it was so small and lightweight but wondered if this tiny thing could do the trick, despite its three chips and promise of 2800 lumens. When I finally looked at the specs and noticed it was 720p, I was sure we wouldn’t be able to discern Bing Crosby from Rosemary Clooney, or the real “Sisters” from the fake ones.

In the end, the image was so bright and so pristine that we chucked the small screen and projected something like 30 feet of movie onto my neighbor’s stucco wall dotted with electric meters, vent covers, bugs and grime.

My nephew, who is a film editor for Hollywood blockbusters, was stunned. I mean really stunned. I’m not a video person, so that’s about the best review I can conjure.

We used a computer to play the DVD, connecting to the projector via VGA and an old OutCast wireless speaker ($899) via a Soundcast UAT wireless DAC. The audio from the speaker was phenomenal in all directions with booming bass and a useful 360-degree LED light around the base.

Next year, we get the Soundcast SubCast to integrate with a standard subwoofer.

The movie viewing was awesome. Our neighbors oohed and aahed, and passersby swooned. Well, maybe not that.

In any case, I bet if we were offering $1,500 Epson/Soundcast kits right then and there, we would have sold a few on the spot. I’m thinking about hosting some private screenings for bar mitzvahs and such. Forget lemonade stands. This is my ticket.

P.S., Soundcast, please add an extra handle to the OutCast. My young nephew had trouble toting it up and down the stairs.

See the family pics
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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

Audio/Video · Outdoor AV · Blogs · Media · Slideshow · Epson · Soundcast · All Topics
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