Epson Pro Cinema 810 Home Theater Projector

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Remote Control

The Pro Cinema 810′s remote is the same as the older Cinema series and the Cinema 400, except that, as a “Pro Cinema” it is black instead of the white of the Cinema 400.

Epson’s remote is well laid out, with key menu features directly accessable without having to go through the menu. Some of those include Aspect Ratio, Color Mode (Theater Dark, Theater, Living Room, etc.), Gamma, Contrast, Color Temperature and more.

The Backlight button is at the very bottom, by itself, where you can’t help but find it. There are also separate buttons for each source (Component, HDMI, S-Video, etc.).

The Epson also has storable user defined settings that can be called up from the Memory button near the top. Immediately below the Memory button is the Menu button.

Right below that are your four arrow keys, nicely spaced out with the Select (enter) button in the center, and the Escape button on the lower right.

As I indicated in previous reviews of Epson Cinema projectors, this is one of the best remotes you’ll find, and with plenty of range. After using for just a few hours, everything is easy to find even without hitting the Backlight button to light it up.

I should note too, that the backlight is plenty bright, unlike some projectors’ remote controls that are backlit but dim enough to still be a nuisance in a fully dark room. Also all buttons are labeled so they light up with the backlight. unlike some remotes that label some buttons but others are labeled on the remote itself and not readable in the dark, even with the backlight engaged.

The sculpted remote also fits well in your hand. Even those with large beefy hands should like this one, and equally important, most will find they can use the remote consistantly with one hand. Epson gets a gold star for their remote control.

Epson Pro Cinema 810 Lens Throw and Lens Shift

Epson earns a bit Wow here. First of all the 2.1:1 zoom lens offers at least as much zoom range as any other home theater projector I can think of, and substantially more than the less expensive Cinema 400. This allows the projector to be placed anywhere from moderately close to far, far away from the screen.

To fill a 100″ diagonal (16:9) screen, the Pro Cinema 810 can sit as close as (measured from the front of the lens) 10.4 feet, and as far back as 22.2 feet!!! In addition to all that zoom flexibility, the Epson has a healthy amount of lens shift range. Carefull here, different manufacturers describe the amount of lens shift differently. In the case of Epson they indicate that the vertical is 102.3% up/down. In this case that means the entire amount of movement of the image is just a tiny bit more than the height of the image. Thus, you can use the vertical lens shift to have the projector placed anywhere from just an inch or so above the top of the screen surface, to the same amount below the bottom of the screen surface.

By comparison, some manufacturers saying 100% would mean a full half screen above the top, or below the bottom. (basically being 100% up or down, Epson is saying 100, or rather 102% total movement). Horizontal lens shift is spec’d at 50% on the website, but that doesn’t match actual usage. First, note that using vertical lens shift limits the amount of horizontal, and vice versa. Even so, without being limited by the vertical lens shift, the horizontal will allow you to place move the image almost, but not quite, so the edge of the image is even with the lens. The 50% measurement may possibly be with vertical lens shift fully engaged but I couldn’t get that much horizontal movement when using all the vertical. – We’ll leave that as a mystery of documentation. Any way you slice it though, the 810 has plenty of placement flexibility.

 

Epson Pro Cinema 810 SDE and Rainbow Effect

Of course, the Pro Cinema 810 is a 3LCD projector, and therefore there is no Rainbow Effect. Pixel visibility and Screen Door Effect, are a different story. The 810′s pixel visibility is fairly typical of 720p home theater projectors that are LCD driven, which should be no surprise, since Epson provides the LCDs to (I believe) all the other LCD home theater manufacturers except Sony. That said, the pixel structure of the Epson definitely seems less visible than the Sanyo Z5. As is typical, pixels are more visible than DLP projectors, and of note, there is one LCD projector with effectively no pixel visibility, Panasonic’s PT-AX100u, however the Panasonic pays a price for their “smooth screen” technology, in terms of sharpness. The Panasonic doesn’t lose a great deal sharpness, but it definitely isn’t as sharp as the Epson!

I would say that for most of us seating 1.4x screen width does the trick with pixels only being visible in fixed bright areas, or things like white text or credits at the end of a movie. For a 100″ screen, that would be almost 13 feet from screen to eyeball. For those completely pixel adverse, figure 1.7 to 1.8 times screen width.

Epson rates their lamp at 1700 hours in full power, and 3000 in low power (HD, Silverscreen) modes. That is fairly typical.

Also fairly typical, is that, if you ceiling mount your projector, you are going to have to unmount it to change out the lamp. As I said, fairly typical, but there are definitely a number of home theater projectors that don’t require unmounting. Something to think about if you projector needs to be mounted in a precarious position.

Click to enlarge, of course! . Here’s a quick image I will be using for considering pixel structure. It’s the small HD-DVD logo that appears on my Toshiba HD-DVD player in the lower right corner when there’s no disk in the tray. You can see the pixel structure (which as pointed out elsewhere, is a bit less visible than on most LCD projectors, like the Sanyo PLV-Z5 (noted for its sharpness). You can also detect a bit of color separation red and greens around the edges. This is something that exists on virtually every lcd projector, but as long as it’s not visible at normal seating distances – no worries – and with this Epson – I could not pick it up at all, even at my close seating distance, but it’s there standing 3-4 feet from my 128″ Firehawk screen.

Click Image to Enlarge

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