Epson Home Cinema 6100 Projector Review

A summary of the Epson Home Cinema 6100 projector’s pros and cons and capabilities.

Epson Home Cinema 6100 Projector - The Bottom Line

If you are shopping for a lower cost 1080p projector, the Epson Home Cinema 6100 is an excellent choice. First, there are only a couple of 1080p projectors that cost less, and only the Sanyo PLV-Z700 is more than a “few dollars” less. While the Home Cinema 6100 is pretty basic in terms of features, beyond its superb placement flexibility, it is a solid performer in every category. It is the brightest of the 3LCD projectors in both “best” and “brightest” modes. Better still, you can crank out about twice the lumens of “best” mode – TheaterBlack 1 – by calibrating and using the LivingRoom mode. In its brightest mode – Dynamic – there isn’t anything (in a dedicated home theater projector) brighter without spending more than twice the money.

This is Epson’s entry level 1080p projector. If you are craving superior black level performance, Epson, and others have more expensive projectors for your consideration, and only one of those – the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 sells within $500 of the Epson’s price (and isn’t as bright…). To move up to the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, you are looking at about $800 more, a significant jump relative to the 6100′s under $2000 price.

Essentially, if you are considering the Epson Home Cinema 6100, your short list of other projectors to consider would include the other low cost 3LCD projectors – the Sanyo PLV-Z700 and the Mitsubishi HC5500. There are competing DLP projectors as well, such as the Optoma HD806 and HD80, and also the BenQ W5000.

Now, if you are an enthusiast, or just aren’t worried about spending a little more, then, in addition to those mentioned above, you can consider the “ultra high contrast” projectors. Those projectors promise significantly blacker blacks, and some offer other features such as frame interpolation, and higher frame rates. We consider the black level improvement of those projectors to be significant. On the other hand, the frame interpolation/high frame rate feature is more of a mixed bag, which will appeal to some, but others won’t care about. Our biggest objection to this feature is that on some projectors offering it, the image gets a bit jerky on occasion (including the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB). There is also the issue of a slightly different look and feel to the projected image with a projector having frame interpolation engaged, which many argue isn’t as film-like as without. That feature also risks not faithfully reproducing the “director’s intent”.

Nonetheless, those ultra high contrast 3LCD projectors are competitors, most significantly three of them: The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 which is the closest in cost, but also the Panasonic PT-AE3000, and Epson’s own Home Cinema 6500UB. In addition, there is the Mitsubishi HC7000 (sold only through local dealers) but it is close to twice the price.

None of the DLP projectors really qualify as ultra high contrast projectors, and as a group, their black levels are similar (or a little worse) than this Epson.

There is one relatively low cost LCoS projector that fits into the ultra high contrast grouping, and that’s the Sony VPL-HW10, although price wise, it’s still roughly 40-60% more expensive. Those Best in Class black level JVC projectors start at more than twice the price of the 6100, so they are not at all direct competitors. (They are competitors of the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB and Pro Cinema 7500UB, however.)

Keep in mind, when comparing brightness to the DLP projectors, that the DLP’s all place fairly close to the screen.

The Epson can be shelf mounted in the rear of your room, but with the lens near full telephoto, you will have less lumens than those we measure at the mid-point. If you ceiling mount the Epson and place it where a ceiling mounted DLP projector must be placed (close in), then the Home Cinema 6100 will be brighter still, than our published numbers.

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