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

Epson Home Cinema 8500UB Remote Control

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The remote control for the Home Cinema 8500UB and Pro Cinema 9500UB remains identical to last year’s.This remote is very good in terms of functionality. Buttons are well organized, large buttons, with plenty of spacing. the backlight is orange, and reasonably bright.The remote shown on the right is technically for the 8500UB or other Home series. The Pro series, including the Pro Cinema 9500UB, comes with a black remote, but the buttons are all the same, as is the functionality.If I have one complaint, it is that the backlight button is at the very top right, I prefer it lower – in the middle, or towards the bottom, as that is where you’ll be pressing most of the buttons on this remote. Most projector remotes do put it lower.From the top: On the left side is a large round power button, and to its right, a small button for turning on the backlight. Next comes three rows of two buttons, one for each of the six sources. Below them, are the menu controls the four arrow keys in a circular layout, with an Enter button in the center. Above to the left and right, are the Default and the Escape buttons. Directly below the arrow keys a large Menu button, all by itself.That takes you to the bottom four rows of two buttons provide direct access to popular menus including user Memory, color controls, Gamma, Color Mode, Aspect ratio, and Sharpness. There’s also a test pattern button and one to blank the screen.I would have liked one of the buttons to provide direct access to the frame interpolation controls. Too bad, that would have been more useful than the test pattern button, which obviously is rarely used.
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Home Cinema 8500UB Lens Throw

Epson’s 2.1:1 zoom ratio is the same as the older UB projectors including the 6500UB, and the 7500 UB. The Fujinon lens has a little more range than most LCD and LCoS projectors offer, and a lot more than any of the under $5000 DLP projectors. For filling a 100 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio screen, the projector – measured from the front of the lens to the screen – can be as close as 9.8 feet or as far back as 20.9 feet. You can calculate distances for other screen sizes, by starting with those numbers.

Home Cinema 8500UB Lens Shift

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This Epson has plenty of lens shift too! For that same 100 inch screen, the Epson can be placed, (normal or inverted), anywhere from 22.7 inches above the top of the screen surface, all the way down to 22.7 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. That is measured from the center of the lens. There is also a good amount of horizontal lens shift. Using horizontal lens shift will partially limit the range of the vertical lens shift (and vice versa).

The combination of the wide range zoom lens, and excellent lens shift, makes ceiling mounting or shelf mounting practical in almost any room situation. I can’t think of any projector under $5000 that can match both the zoom and lens shift flexibility of the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB and Pro Cinema 9500UB.

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Anamorphic Lens

The Home Cinema Epson projectors, including the Home Cinema 8500UB, do not support using an anamorphic lens. Should one want to go that route, they will need an outboard processor such as the DVDO Edge, which we recently reviewed eariler this year. If you are considering going anamorphic, forget the Home Cinema 8500UB. Your ticket to success will be the the Pro Cinema 9500UB instead. It has internal support for an anamorphic lens. The additional cost for the Pro Cinema 9500UB is definitely a good bit less than the least expensive outboard processor, and you also get an extra year warranty with the Pro.

For those of you not familiar with anamorphic lenses, they are expensive, but let you watch Cinemascope ratio movies (most) without the letterboxing, with a 2.35:1 shaped screen. Because of the hefty cost of a lens and motorized sled (more than this projector), very few people make this investment, at least with under $3000 projectors.

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