Epson Home Cinema 8700UB – Review Summary

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector - The Bottom Line

At $2199, this Epson Home Cinema 8700UB is going to be tough to beat. No one projector is going to be best for everyone, especially in a moderate price range for a home theater projector. That said, the Epson’s strengths will satisfy a large percentage of those shopping for a projector in the price range, or even for twice the price.

Let’s summarize brightness first. The Epson’s almost 1200 lumens in brightest mode, produced a bright image. It allows me to fill a 128″ Firehawk screen, with more than a small amount of ambient light present, without taking too much of a beating. On the other hand, in “best” mode, although the Epson can fill my screen when its new, as the lamp ages and gets dimmer (as they all do), the Epson is going to start looking a little too dim.

That is to say, I believe the Epson overall, is best suited for a slightly smaller screen, say 100 to 110 inches. Of course if you want to go larger, you can choose a screen with a bit of gain. Your room, of course has a lot to do with what works. If you have lighter walls, you’ll want to keep your screen about a size smaller than with darker room surfaces.

When it comes to color handling, this 8700UB is the best Epson I’ve worked with. Whether its the great THX mode, or perhaps Mike’s becoming an even better calibrator, but this Epson has had the most natural looking skin tones, of any Epson so far. It’s that simple. The sometimes green push that always seems to remain after calibration, with previous models, is either gone, or inperceptively there, once Mike calibrated it. Of course that’s only true for our “best” mode – an adjusted THX. The Livingroom mode is very cool – too blue – too thin on reds. Dynamic, as notedm is improved, making this a much better projector for sports and when you want some light present.

The Epson’s placement flexibility is almost unmatched, with the 2.1:1 Fujinon lens, and more lens shift than most. You can ceiling mount, place on a table, or shelf mount in the rear of your room, thanks to the lenses range. (That is, most will not have a problem, but if your room is really deep, and you go with a smaller screen, it might not work.)

Features abound, Creative Frame Interpolation offers fast motion smoothing (use judiciously – and probably not for movies). The CFI is supposed to be smart enough to call it quits (at least briefly when it can’t cope with a lot of “creative” in the new frames), but, I notice that it still shows its rough edges if you are trying to apply CFI to a 24 fps movie, coming to you from satellite or cable, at 60fps. Epson had a lot of problems with artifacts with their first generation CFI, but quickly improved it. Yet, it still could be a bit better, there are slightly smoother ones out there. Also it’s very tame when handling typical HD sports and programs on Discovery HD – that is to say, it’s pretty clean adding one creative frame between each two, as it takes 60fps to 120fps.

The dynamic contrast can add some extra pop to your content, but again, use moderation, as dynamic features do have their unintended consequences. I do like Super-Resolution – a dynamic sharpening feature. I always run it with HD digital content

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