Epson Pro Cinema 810 Home Theater Projector

I’m a little late on this one, the Epson Pro Cinema 810 has been shipping for a couple of months already. But, as they say: “Better late than never”.

The Pro Cinema 810 is the direct replacement for the Epson Pro Cinema 800 released at the end of 2005. The older unit had the distinction of being the brightest home theater projector (under $10,000 at least) on the market, giving a ready group of potential buyers – those wanting particularly large screens, and those dealing with more than a minimum of ambient light. The price tag on the Pro Cinema 800 was hefty – $4495 (although that included a ceiling mount and spare lamp), and put that model in competition with some very impressive DLP projectors.

This time around, the Epson, still every bit as bright as it’s predecessor, no longer is the Epson Pro Cinema 810 the hands down brightest around, it has a number of challengers, including the slightly brighter Panasonic PT-AX100u, the Epson’s less expensive sibling, the Cinema 400, and several DLP projectors that can’t quite match this Epson’s muscle in brightest mode, but are brighter than the Epson when all are in their “best” modes.

Physically, the only obvious change to the Pro Cinema 810 is a new lens. And that lens is also responsible for the biggest improvement. The old 800 was a bit soft, and the 810 is not!

The review unit I received has definitely been “around the block,” the box well worn and covered in old shipping stickers. After working with the projector a bit, I discovered a problem. Checking in with Epson they tied the problem to the LCD’s micro-lens-array (MLA), and that it is a problem corrected on production models – which means this one is several months old, and probably has been to several other reviewers.

I mentioned that the Pro Cinema 810 is very similar to the older 800. As an added bonus, but not surprising, is that the Pro Cinema 810 is selling for about $1000 less than it’s predecessor – after you adjust for the lack of spare lamp and mount. This is a very good thing!

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