Epson Home Cinema 8100 Projector Review

Home Cinema 8100 Lamp Life

The Epson Home Cinema 8100 is rated at 4000 hour lamp life, in both low power (eco) mode, and at full power. This is noticeably longer than the lamp life of most projectors (2000 hours at full power, 3000 at low). This can significantly reduce the long term cost of ownership of the Home Cinema 8100 compared to that of projectors that start out costing several hundred dollars less. (Consider – at full power, at 4000 hours you will be buying your first replacement lamp, whereas with most projectors you’ll be buying your second by that many hours, at a cost typically of $275 to $375 depending on brand.

Placement Flexibility

It’s almost impossible to beat the placement flexiblity. This Epson’s Fujinon 2.1:1 zoom lens has more range than any other projector under $5000 (except other Epson’s with the same optics). In addition, the 8100 has more vertical and horizontal lens shift than most other projectors. Together, the placement fexiblity is such that it will work in almost every room that any other under $5000 projector can work in, and a lot, that others can’t.

Sharper Focus

OK, this isn’t a feature, but rather an update. The original Epson 6100 had a bit of a heating problem. Many projectors would go slightly out of focus over the first 20-25 minutes as the projector warmed up, and came to full temperature. This was rectified with design improvements a couple months after initial shipments. Epson not only solved the problem but upgraded or replaced the original units for any who noticed, paying all shipping charges. (Now that’s good support.)

The point is, the Home Cinema 8100 I’m working here exhibits no defocusing either. I would therefore presume that this particular, old issue is behind Epson, and not a concern with the Home Cinema 8100.

Improved Dual Layer Dynamic Iris

This is the primary area of change this year, with a new dynamic iris doubling the contrast from 18,000:1 to 36,000:1. While a doubling of contrast is a small improvement, any improvement in the hunt for better black levels is always appreciated.

Lots of Memories

Yes, watching your new Home Cinema 8100 should bring your family lots of memories, but that’s not what I’m talking about. The Epson has 10 separate User Memories you can save your favorite settings into. I really like that – most projectors have one to three memories.

The great thing about 10 is that you can really get everything dialed in. For example, on my older Epson 1080UB (2nd theater), I’ve got three different Theater Black 1 variations saved in memory, along with 2 Dynamic’s and 3 Livingroom settings.

Here’s why: One of the TheaterBlack1′s is what I would call, my very “best” mode. But I have another, slightly tweaked to allow for just a little ambient light. A third one is more for HDTV use when I want the best color. That one has the dynamic iris turned off, allows for a touch of ambient light, a slightly lower gamma, and looks absolutely killer on great hi-def content from channels like Discovery-HD, Sci-HD, PlanetGreen-HD, etc. The three Livingroom settings – one with iris on, two off (on for movies when I need brightness over best color). You get the idea.

Bottom line – It’s nice of Epson to give us lots of memories!

Image below – from the trailer for this past summer’s new Star Trek movie:

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