I think I’m currently supposed to be out buying a TV at the moment. Or something else expensive. Instead I’m lying on the sofa listening to Whale and drinking tea. That’s much better in my opinion, but it reminded me that I hadn’t mentioned that I bought a projector.
I had the loan of a projector for a while when I was in Belfast. It was a huge thing that made a lot of noise, but was pretty cool for watching films with. When I moved to the US I decided not to bother with a TV to start with - using my laptop did just fine for most things. Except films. They really benefit from a bigger screen. Especially if you want to watch them with someone else. So I started looking at pico projectors, because I wanted something small and cute that I could throw in a bag with my tiny laptop. At the time the best the pico projectors could do was 840x480, which I felt wasn’t really that great. However back in January TI announced their DLP Pico HD chipset, offering a resolution 1280x800.
I kept a look out for projectors using this to appear, and eventually, in July, Amazon claimed to have availability of the Vivtek Qumi. So I bought one. And I’m very happy with it. I’m not a heavy user, and there are some niggles, but it’s small and does exactly what I want. In low light conditions it’ll happily throw an image all the way across the room, which is more than it’s rated at. There’s a mini-HDMI connector on the back, so it’s a doddle to plug it into my laptop using the supplied HDMI to mini-HDMI cable. The laptop auto-detects the device and extends the desktop appropriate, as you’d expect.
It’ll also do media playback itself - there’s a USB host port and a micro SD slot on the back. This works ok, and the included remote means you can easily set the projector somewhere above your head and still be able to easily control it. Unfortunately the built in speakers are fairly useless. There’s a 3.5mm socket for external speakers, but having to plug something else in detracts from the convenience factor of the built-in media player. Also my unit had the power switch installed upside down (the little red line indicating the power is on actually shows up when it’s off), but that’s the only complaint I’ve got about the build quality. There’s a little neoprene case to store the thing in as well.
So, er, yeah. I think I can continue to make do without a normal TV for a while longer and avoid the nightmare that I suspect are the shops on Black Friday.