Epson Home Cinema 8100 Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 8100 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z700

It’s been a year plus since I’ve seen the PLV-Z700, but ultimately it didn’t match the black level performance of the older Epson 6100, so the 8100 will be a little better still in this regard. The Sanyo probably has a slight advantage in sharpness, and is the quieter of the two, but both are quiet enough.

In terms of overall brightness, both offer lots of modes, but ultimately the Epson is the significantly brighter projector overall. The PLV-Z700 pricing has see-sawed around a lot in the last year, and as it goes into its second year, I expect that it will be positioned pricewise, below the Epson Home Cinema 8100. I could conjecture that it may even find itself later on, becoming the first $999 3LCD 1080p projector, but that really is speculation. BTW, if the projector does end up selling in the $1200 or less price range its a very attractive offer, and then significantly below the Home Cinema 8100.

Both projectors, being 3LCD are similar in many ways, including almost identical placement flexibility (the Epson has the slightest advantage.) Sanyo bests the Epson with a 3 year warranty, but Epson’s 2 year includes replacement program – a great thing.

The Sanyo is particularly good as a smaller screen projector – 100 inch diagonal or less. If you are going larger, stick with the Epson.

Epson Home Cinema 8100 vs. BenQ W6000

Well, there’s no comparison in price, and there really isn’t one in performance either. The W6000 is easily my preference of the two. It’s got better black levels, it’s far brighter in best mode, and in brightest mode, the W6000 out muscles the Epson there as well, but with a picture with way too much green. Dial down the W6000 to get the best combination of lumens and color and it clocks in around 1250 lumens, not much less than the Epson, but with even better color.

In best mode, the W6000 is excellent. It’s more film-like, it’s got rich deep colors that provide a lot of depth, and ls twice as bright as the Epson when comparing best modes.

Simply stated, the W6000 is the better overall projector, which is fair. Price wise the W6000 competes with the more expensive Home Cinema 8500UB. Now there is a serious contest!

For those somewhat sensitive to rainbows, the W6000 is very good, I find it one of those where I rarely see rainbows.

While the W6000 can’t match the Epson in placement flexibility, it is pretty flexible with a good amount of zoom range, and lens shift as well. It will work in most rooms for ceiling or rear shelf mounting.

In reality, the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB is the real competition for the W6000, so we’ll stop here.

Epson Home Cinema 8100 vs. Sharp XV-Z15000

Again, the Epson takes on a more expensive DLP projector. The Sharp was very impressive when I reviewed it, and it seems to currently be selling for around $2000 online, plus or minus a couple hundred dollars. That makes it roughly $300 – $500 more expensive than the Epson. The sharp is limited in placement flexibility.

The Sharp is one of the softer looking DLP projectors, and I’d give the Epson a slight advantage in terms of sharpness. The Sharp picture overall really impresses and should please any enthusiast. On the downside, the Sharp is a bit less bright than the Epson. It figures to be about 30% less bright in best or brightest modes. That’s a couple of screen sizes, of extra brightness.

Home Cinema 8100 vs. Optoma HD20

The HD20 is a great little projector for $999. As is typical of DLP projectors there’s not as great a difference typically, between best and brightest modes as there is with 3LCD projectors. The Optoma has plenty of lumens – more than the Epson, if comparing best modes, and the Epson the advantage in brightest mode. Also the Epson’s color in brightest mode is better than the Optoma’s.

The HD20 has minimal placement flexibility. One of it’s relatively major weaknesses compared to the Epson is in audible noise. The HD20 is particularly loud by today’s standards. Let’s say a family room projector, definitely not one for enthusiasts, unless for it’s price. I’ll give the Epson the overall advantage in picture quality and it definitely has superior black levels.

The Epson, despite the higher price offers a longer life, $299 lamp with 4000 hours at full power, so over time, reduces the total cost difference. Warranty advantage is all Epson, with an extra year, and two years of replacement program

Epson Home Cinema 8100 vs. BenQ W1000

Sorry don’t know enough about the W1000 as of this writing. See the W1000 review for a comparison.

Epson Home Cinema 8100 vs. Panasonic PT-AE4000

Well, the PT-AE4000 was finally officially announced in the US, today. The real surpise was the price – $1999. That should shake things up. The key point here, is that the Panasonic is a step up projector so is it worth the difference in price. I haven’t seen one yet, so I’m going from the public announcement, and some speculation going on.

The two are probably comparable in best mode brightness, and the Epson will probably be almost 50% brighter in brightest mode. The Panasonic will easily outperform the 8100 in black levels and slightly in shadow detail. Panasonic also brings its Lens Memory – an anamorphic lens emulation feature, very cool, let’s you go with 2.35:1 screens.

Panasonic also provides creative frame interpolation. It’s lens has motorized focus and zoom. The Epson’s lens is manual. The Epson Home Cinema 8100 has the much better warranty. Overall picture quality should belong to the Panasonic by virtue of the better blacks and roughly comparable skin tones.

The Panasonic’s direct competition is the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, which WAS anticipated to be at $2999. The $1999 price on the Panasonic may cause them to rethink that.

If you are looking for a projector primarily for sports first and HDTV/TV, save the bucks and buy the Epson. If you’ve got the $400 – #500 extra, the Panny is going to be your overall better value proposition.

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