Epson Home Cinema 1080UB Home Theater Projector Review

The Epson overall, does a very good job out of the box, but it has a couple of “screwed up” modes. Actually, really only one – Living Room. I’ll get to that below.

 

The default Theatre Black 1 mode, what I’ll call the Epson’s “best” mode, out of the box, is off, but primarily by virtue o Epson having set the Color Temp default for this mode at 7500K. (What were they thinking – “everyone” knows that 6500K is D65 – the correct color temperature for viewing movies (black and white, excepted). I didn’t even bother to measure brightness at the default, as it didn’t make any sense to me (I imagine, though, I would have gotten more lumens than after the color temperature adjustment.

With just that simple fix, the colors were far, far better. All measurements were done with lamp on full power. Keep in mind, that there is usually a 200K – 300K temperature difference between projectors in bright and low lamp modes.

White (100 IRE) 6448K
Light gray (80 IRE) 6547K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 6261K
Dark gray (30 IRE) 6365K

Getting down to work I wanted to get the color temperatures up (less red) just slightly overall, not that these settings above don’t produce a very good image.

The end result proved to be a truly excellent set of numbers, and corresponding color accuracy for movie watching:

Theatre Black 2, 6500K color temp, Offsets: Red – 2, Green 0, Blue 3. Gain: Red 2, Green 3, Blue 0. For viewing I normally had the Skin Tone setting at 3, or occasionally at 4.

White (100 IRE) 6633K
Light gray (80 IRE) 6498K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 6348K
Dark gray (30 IRE) 6475K

Theatre Black 2, which I expected to be lower than Theatre Black one, had a default color temp of 6500K, but still measured cool. I only measured white (100 IRE), which was 7068. Now, I’m told that for old black and white movies, the ideal is around 5500K, so this setting would need some work, which I didn’t do.

White (100 IRE) 6505K
Light gray (80 IRE) 6678K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 6730K
Dark gray (30 IRE) 6870K

That’s just a tad “cool” (bluish), but is considered very close. Adjusting Offset and Gain, can further tweak that.

Natural, which is a mode, that seems to have lower contrast, less “sizzle” provides an overall cooler (more blue) look. Overall this mode appears less dynamic – more muted than the others:

White (100 IRE) 7964K
Light gray (80 IRE) 7940K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 7955K
Dark gray (30 IRE) 8116K

First, I want to mention that I had an interesting discussion with a ISF certified projector calibrator at CES. I have always found that most HDTV, and especially sports, tends to (in my humble opinion) look better with a color temp around 7500K, or a touch higher, than at 6500K like the movies. This calibrator, however, insisted that 6500K should still be the correct temperature. This is something I plan to investigate further. Meantime, this time, I worked with both Living room mode, and Dynamic mode, with a 7500K to 8000K range in mind.

HC1080UB Living Room mode

White (100 IRE) 8003K
Light gray (80 IRE) 9765K
Medium gray (50 IRE) 11,000K
Dark gray (30 IRE) 11,500K

It took some work to get good measurements, but the final results produced a very watchable picture, even if the range in color temperatures still varied quite a bit from white to dark gray. Further tweaking, of course, can tighten them up, but, it is, to a large extent, trial and error:

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