Monday, October 10, 2022

Mini projector casts a maxi image


Anyone who has stopped at my home on a Halloween evening over the past 10 years has been treated to more than some candy. Halloween nights are movie nights on my front porch. 

Using a projector and a white sheet, I show one of my creepy favorites, like Ghostbusters or Creature From The Black Lagoon. This year the show will be even better because I have a new -- and far better -- projector. 

The Alvar Mini Projector is small, lightweight an inexpensive projector that offers a bright picture (9000 lumens and 1080p resolution) with support for both Bluetooth and Wifi. And it can deliver video and other images from a wide variety of sources. Input options include HDMI, USB, AV, SD memory cards and VGA. 

I hooked up an older DVD player that doesn't have HDMI by plugging it into the AV input  and routing the audio to a powered speaker. The picture quality was quite satisfactory, though I'm sure an HDMI link would have been better. I also videos stored on a USB thumb drive. The projector immediately played an MP4 video and played M4V and MOV videos after apparently creating duplicate files.

I would expect any projector to show images from those sources. What really impressed me was Alvar's support for wireless streaming. Using the iOS Cast option on the projector's home screen I was able to mirror on-screen content from my iPhone as easily as streaming to my Apple TV box. I could play games on my phone and watch video on You Tube or on websites but not from apps like Netflix or YouTube TV.

The projector also supports Miracast, a streaming option used by many Android and Microsoft devices. And Alvar says its HDMI port will support TV stick devices like Amazon Fire and Google's Chromecast. 

What else do I like about the Alvar projector? It comes with a desktop tripod to help you get a level image and the lens has a keystone ring to eliminate tilted images. 

What it doesn't have is a way to reduce or enlarge the projected image. The manual says image sizes can vary between 35 and 240 inches (20 feet!). But there's no function to change the size from the projector. Alvar's solution is to move the projector closer to the screen or farther away. 

That's a minor disappointment that I'm sure I can live with. Overall, I'll be very happy to my old clunker of a projector with this new and modern one.



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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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