Epson Powerlite W16SK Projector Review

Epson W16SK Part and Labor Warranty

Epson starts out the W16SK Projector System with a two year parts and labor warranty backed by Epson’s Road Service program, which provides rapid replacements should one of their projectors suffer a warranty problem.

For educational institutions, Epson provides a third year of parts and labor warranty, and they also extend the Road Service replacement program for the third year.

Basically, that means should there be a problem, upon calling Epson, they will ship out a replacement projector.  When you receive that replacement, you then ship back the broken projector in the box the replacement arrived in. That’s the whole process.  Epson pays all the freight charges, so it’s about as low hassle as you can get.

In terms of commercial projectors – projectors for the business, education, and other non-home theater markets, a number of companies offer replacement programs besides Epson.  That’s very different from the home theater side where Epson is the about the only manufacturer that offers a replacement program for the duration of their warranty, at least for projectors selling for under $3500.

Epson also provides their Private Hotline support.  It’s a nice touch, as when you call in, you start right off talking with a support person for projectors, rather than having to go through one or more people before you ever talk to someone who helps.

Here’s a true support story, as it happened the day I first hooked up the Epson W16SK to start this review:  All went well. Setup was pretty straight forward, assembling the two W16 projectors together (they come with their stacking brackets already installed.)  I hooked up the W16SK to a Blu-ray 3D player with dual HDMI outputs, and popped in a Blu-ray 3D disc.

This should have been easy.  The W16SK system has been sitting here for weeks while I was finishing another project, and in that time, I managed to “forget” a small detail.  Starting up the content, I put on the light weight passive glasses, stared at the screen and simply could not figure out why I wasn’t seeing the image in 3D, but instead a double image.

Sometimes one can overlook the obvious.    I checked connections, I replaced HDMI cables.  I even stared at the passive glasses willing them to work correctly.  Nothing, though, was happening (in terms of 3D).

I decided therefore, to see how good Epson’s support was.   I dialed the support number.  On about the 7th or 8th ring, I got a live “projector” person.  The process started with him finding out who I was.  I am already in the system, but it’s been a while, so it took maybe two minutes for him to update their database with my more recent address and to change one phone number.  Once the chores were done, I described my problem.

We went over things, double checked everything, restarted the projectors (it takes less than 30 seconds to both powerdown and power back up).  Still no joy.  Then he asked me the magic question:

“You are using a 3D polarized projection screen?”

The entire world probably heard the slapping sound of the palm of my hand smacking my forehead and my mouth forming the word “duh”!

Now I certainly know that one needs a polarized screen for passive 3D, while not everyone who’s watched 3D in a US movie theater realizes that, it’s definitely true.  Fortunately I have two such screens (polarized for 3D) here.  I simply completely spaced.  You see, sitting behind my motorized 124″ diagonal Stewart Studiotek 130 screen, is a Stewart 3D Silver Screen.  (The other 3D screen is Da-lite’s 3D sliver screen, which sits in our testing room.)

Bingo.  with light finally penetrating the apparently cobweb filled corners of my “passive thinking” brain, I reached for my Studiotek 130 projector screen’s remote control.  Less than10 seconds later my regular screen had fully retracted, and voila’ I was watching bright 3D content – in 3D.

OK, that doesn’t tell you everything about Epson support, but I can tell you that the elapsed time from when I dialed Epson, until my 3D screen was in view and 3D images dancing in my brain, was probably about 6 or 7 minutes, and that included their updating my info, plus a full shut down and restart of the projectors and Blu-ray player.   Now that’s what you want from support, a solution, quickly without having to spend 40 minutes on hold and being bounced around from one person to the next.  Of course this wasn’t a real “warranty issue,” rather just a “user error.”

Perhaps I was lucky in terms of support, but in truth, I blew it, I overlooked the obvious, and Epson support got me working again with minimum fuss in minimum time. Not bad!

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