Optoma did this before, but the Toshiba is a better performer – it's a clever idea, and well-executedNot least of the TDP-ET20’s many attractions is its ultra-short throw ratio, meaning it can produce a 100in widescreen picture just 1.3m from the screen, ideal for smaller rooms or even bedrooms.
Oh, and did we mention it has a DVD player built-in? No? Well, if that wasn’t enough, Toshiba’s engineers have also squeezed in a surround decoder and amplifier, five speakers and a subwoofer. Yes, it’s a complete home cinema solution in one box.
Best of all, at first glance it doesn’t even appear that Toshiba has scrimped on quality to add on all those extras. The build is sublime, and the built-in DVD player’s picture is none too shabby, with bold but realistic colours and smooth handling of motion on one of our current favourite discs, Cars. That’s perhaps no great surprise, considering the company’s track record with brilliant budget DVD players.
In addition, there are inputs for external sources on HDMI, component, S-Video and composite connections, too.
No HD picture, but the sound is fine
The 854 x 480 resolution means it’s not HD-Ready, and the larger pixels are sometimes obvious. Detail levels could be better, and it’s worth pointing out the projector runs fairly hot, too.
However, while you shouldn’t expect the sound from the internal amp and speakers to fill a larger room, or indeed to compare to the true surround sound experience, for use in a smaller room it’s a perfectly reasonable solution.
Overall, this is a smart unit, doing what it sets out to do in some style. Yes, there are compromises – not least that non-HD resolution – but the Toshiba offers a complete home cinema solution at a decent price, and it’s reasonably affordable too.