Epson Home 20 Projector Review – Overview

As you look through the many images provided below, you should immediately recognize that, overall, the Epson Home 20 home theater projector does a very good job in terms of color handling. Unlike the more expensive Epson Cinema series, however, the Home 20 does not provide the level of adjustment controls, to fine tune the color. That said, for movie watching, the Epson’s Theater Dark2 mode, it’s best for movies, does a really nice

To give you a better look at the Epson Home 20 resolving shadow detail, below are two images found in most recent reviews. The first is a normally exposed shot from Lord of the Rings. The areas on the bottom and left are dark and you can see little detail. This, however is mostly the fault of the limitations of my digital camera. To let you see, what the eye can see (in the shadow areas) when watching the Epson Home 20, the 2nd image is appropriately overexposed, revealing what is there to look at.

The Epson does a decent job, but if you look at the same overexposed image on some other projectors, you will see more detail, and more contrast, that makes the shadow detail stand out.

Moving away from movie content, the Epson performance improves. With gaming, sports watching, or even standard TV and HDTV signals that are non-movies, you have far less dark scenes to deal with (which is the Epson’s achilles heel). Here are some images from HD sources (even though entry level projectors are not HD devices. The images come from D-VHS tape (recorded at 1080i), and sent to the Epson over component cables:

Click Image to Enlarge

Two versions of the next image, of the Chrysler Building at dusk. The first is shot in Theater Dark 2 mode, and the second, in Livingroom mode, which is most likely the way you would watch HD non-movie source material:

The exposures of the two images were adjusted differently. In reality, the Living Room mode (below) is about twice as bright. I should note, also that the lower image is more representative of correct for this scene.

Epson Home 20 Pixel Visibility

Normally I would discuss the issue of Pixel visibility in the General Performance section, but with these lower resolution projectors (WVGA) like this Epson, the InFocus IN72, BenQ W100, and Optoma H27, it’s significant enough that it does directly impact “Image Quality.

So, here are our last High Definition images. The Boathouse image can be clicked on for a much higher resolution image for your inspection, but more importantly, below it, is a zoomed in shot of the word Schukyll from the Boathouse image.

You can take a close look at the pixel structure there. The Epson, an LCD projector with more visible pixels than a DLP projector, requires you to sit way back to make the pixels a non-issue. Even the DLP’s require a good amount of distance, but you can sit about 1/3 closer to have the same level of pixel visibility (and potential screen door effect.

While ultimately the pixels are all the same size (854×480 pixels on the full screen), the Epson’s are more distinct.

As a result as you back away from your monitor, you notice that the pixels become less noticeable quicker with the DLP InFocus projector. It’s the same way in real life!

For the pixels to be pretty much a non-issue for the Epson, you’ll want to sit about 2.5 times the screen width. So, if you have a 100″ diagonal screen (87″ wide), we are talking about 18 feet back. With a competing DLP, a bit less than 2 times screen width should provide similar pixel visibility – about 13-14 feet back.

Now, many people won’t care about the pixels, they will just accept them as part of the picture (certainly you can see them on Plasma displays if you sit fairly close, yet people buy plasmas in droves). And those that really don’t want to see the pixel structures, are all probably going to be happier by spending $1500 – $2000+ on a true HD resolution projector, which has 2.25x the number of pixels, and as a result they are much smaller, and harder to spot.

That about covers it for our Image Quality section. Time to look at General Performance aspects of the Epson Home 20 projector, including, it’s menus, remote control, screen recommendations, and more.

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