Epson Home Cinema 1080 Home Theater Projector and Pro Cinema 1080 – Overview

The first thing these two have, is longer warranties. Next, they are both ISF certified. That is, they provide all the necessary functions for a professional calibration (which by the way improves performance significantly beyond what my basic grayscale adjustments do. That also means that there are separate “Day” and Night modes (with without ambient light, so the projector can really be optimized for your exact room conditions (normal ISF calibration is done in your finished room, so wall and ceiling colors/brightness, screen surface, etc. are all part of a pro calibration, and what a difference it makes. A last thought for those of you starting to see why many buy from high quality local dealers. I’ve been writing reviews of home theater projectors for three years now, and am fairly competent with my testing equipment. But, I am planning to have my projector professionally calibrated by someone who’s skills are definitely a magnitude beyond mine. I know what a difference it can make.

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OK, I digress (as usual). Back to the Pro Cinema 1080. The outboard processing, the ISF capabilities that the local dealers that sell it, offer, let those not afraid to spend more, take the basic engine of the Cinema 1080 to a different level of performance. The Pro Cinema 1080 calibrated by a professional may still not be able to match the black levels and shadow detail of the JVC RS1, but, it will close the gap.

Many people looking for a front projection home theater system, are looking for a quality local dealer that knows their stuff, and can provide you with everything you need, from projector to audio equipment, wiring and installation, even calibration. If you also want to get the maximum performance out of all the equipment you buy, and have a local dealer on hand, should a problem occur, then the Epson Pro Cinema 1080, starts looking very attractive, even though its about $1500 more than the Home Cinema. (officially $2000, but you get that spare lamp and a ceiling mount). And, don’t forget that extra year warranty.

 

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By the way, some local dealers will install projectors you buy elsewhere, but, don’t you worry, if they are doing your room, they will almost certainly recoup most of the savings you made shopping online. It’s logical, and it’s fair. Also, if you buy your projector elsewhere, and there are issues with it, the local dealer, who primarily works on an hourly basis, is going to be charging you for all the extra time, working with the defective product. When you buy the equipment directly from them, their obligation is to check everything out in advance, so if, say a projector is defective, they would be expected to replace it, without charging you for the lost time. Ultimately you make the call. OK, time to summarize – remember, we only tested the Home version, but, from a technical standpoint, the two projectors have the same “engine”, so even though they have different menus, and some other differences, from a performance standpoint they should be close to identical.

Epson Cinema 1080 Pros

  • Lowest Cost 1080p projector (Home version)
  • Brightest1080p projector (both versions) under $10K (so far) in brightest mode
  • Very good brightness in “best mode”
  • Very good black level performance
  • Very good warranty (2 years) for the Home Cinema version (includes overnight replacement program
  • Industry best warranty for the Pro Cinema version: 3 years with overnight replacement program
  • Lots of user savable settings (both)
  • Very good color out of the box (but best modes should have color temp set for 6500K, instead of defaults)
  • ISF Certified, and support for ISF Day Night modes (Pro Cinema 1080 only)
  • Tremendous placement flexibility (both models), including 2.1:1 zoom lens, and vertical (with lots of range) and horizontal lens shift
  • Good remote control
  • Very good menu system
  • First affordable 1080p projector to support HDMI 1.3, which means more color depth, and more shades of colors for smooth images, noticeable in skin textures, sky color, etc.
  • Support for 1080p 24fps
  • Excellent price performance (Home version)
  • Better than average physical appearance (generally – a good looking projector)
  • 12 volt screen trigger

Epson Cinema 1080 Cons

  • Noisy when lamp is in full power mode (note no noisier than a couple other “loud” 1080p projectors
  • If ceiling mounted, projector must be unmounted to replace lamp
  • Only one HDMI input
  • Although sharpness is definitely acceptable, room for improvement compared to competition.

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