Epson Home Cinema 8500UB and Pro Cinema 9500UB Projector Review

4000 Hour Lamp

Epson is using the same lamp this year, as in last year’s projector. What makes it noteworthy is that it claims 4000 hours operation at full power (or low power, for that matter). Few home theater projectors have lamps claiming more than 2000 hours at full power, though 3000 hours is typical for low power mode. A couple of Mitsubishi home projectors claim 3000 hours at full power, and 5000 in low power, but since most home theater people will run in full power, most of the time, Epson’s lamp is probably the lowest in terms of cost of operation. This is a key point, when comparing projector value. That Epson also has only a $299 MSRP, when most lamps are $395-$400, makes for further savings. If you are a moderately heavy user (anyone into sports, and almost anyone that watches TV – HDTV as well as movies), the savings can be $400 – $800 over 3-4 years, compared to a projector with a typical lamp life.

Improved Dual Layer Dynamic Iris

Without getting into details, Epson now has a dual layered iris, that overall gives a slight improvement to black level performance. On very dark scenes, blacks get visibly darker. It’s not a great difference, and it won’t get the Epson’s in the range, say of the JVC RS20 (which is twice the price), but it does get the Epson closer.

The new component of this dual iris, if I understand it correctly, uses steps, and then the result is smoothed electronically.

As is the nature of improving blacks with the use of a dynamic iris, there is little improvement in blacks in brighter scenes, where the iris can’t shut down significantly without significantly dimming all the bright areas. According to Epson the new iris does also help in the brighter scenes, but any improvement in those scenes, is very minor.

Split Image Demo Mode for CFI

A nice touch, with this feature (both projectors), by pressing down the Memory button for about 6 seconds, a split screen, blue border shows up, separating the left and right sides. The right side – the CFI demo side is in in the blue box. The left side, regardless of how you have CFI set in the menus, turns CFI off while in test demo mode. It will restore whatever setting you had it set for.

The right side, (in the box) lets you toggle between CFI Off, and Low, Medium and High, so you can compare any source material between CFI off, and any of its three levels of CFI.

Click to Enlarge.So close

Very nice touch, all considered. On of the most interesting things I’ve spent too much time looking at – including moments ago, is watching the split screen on Casino Royale, with the the right side on Low and the left side, of course, Off.

There’s no question that the Low CFI setting reduces motion blur. What is interesting, is that you can spend a lot of time trying to see how little difference there is in terms of the low setting and the “live digital video” look of low, compared to off.

Kick CFI over to High, and the live digital video look is obvious, compared to off. A fair amount of people will choose to watch movies with CFI on low, perhaps not all movies, but likely those more action oriented.

Click Image to Enlarge

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