Surprising though it may seem, the MT200 isn't Toshiba's first foray under £1,000 with a projector. The TLP-ET1 claimed that distinction nearly a year ago. However, the ET1 used LCD technology, leaving the MT200 to claim the honour of being Toshiba's first £1,000 DLP model.
Compared to the seriously funky circular shape and bright white finish of the ET1, the MT200 is a touch bland with its broadly rectangular sculpting offset by only the slightest of curves here and there. At least the pearl finish adds a dash of panache.
The MT200 impressively carries a fully HDCP-compliant DVI jack for pure digital video connections. If you don't have a DVD player with a DVI or HDMI output, though, there's solace to be found in a component video input that's high-definition and progressive scan ready. Beyond this there's a normal PC input, plus the usual S-video and composite video alternatives.
Although the MT200 has one or two unusual tricks up its sleeve - most notably separate adjustment of the red, green and blue picture components and a 'low power' mode for reducing fan noise and extending lamp life - it's the specifications that really catch the eye. The quoted 2,500:1 contrast ratio, six-segment colour wheel and TrueVision deinterlacing and scaling exceed normal sub-£1k projector expectations.
Even an AV novice should find that no more than five minutes passes between getting the MT200 out of its box and sitting down to watch it in action. From here on in a passable remote and solid onscreen menus make the relatively small amount of features on offer a breeze to access.
I had not expected to be blown away by such a cheapie from Toshiba. The most pleasant surprise comes from the MT200's colour tone, which is outstandingly natural under almost all conditions. Even skin tones during dark scenes avoid the greenish tinge that characterises so many DLP rivals - including, bizarrely, Toshiba's own older, costlier but still available MT500.
Contrast levels are good too, giving decent blacks which, while not quite living up to Toshiba's hyperbolic 2,500:1 claims, do enough to give pictures depth. It also handles DLP's rainbow effect well, with telltale bands of colour rarely appearing. Add to this a nicely pitched brightness and some unexpectedly smooth edges, and you have a picture that outperforms its price tag.
That's not to say that the MT200 completely hides its budget orientation, however. Fine detail levels aren't spectacular, leaving pictures looking softer than a higher-level DLP or even a budget level LCD projector might give you. Also, while the rainbow effect is well handled, a couple of other traditional DLP issues are still detectable, namely green dot crawl during dark scenes and fizzing over moving objects.
Toshiba's clearly gone for the budget projection jugular with the MT200 - and it's found it. While not perfect, its picture quality exceeds what you might expect from such an affordable machine; it's got connection ideas admirably above its station; and it's a technophobe's dream to use. Mission accomplished.