Epson Home Cinema 6100 - Physical Tour
Much of the content in this page has been copied from the Home Cinema 6500UB review with only minor modifications, as these two Epson projectors are essentially identical, as relating to the aspects covered on this page.
1/6/2009 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 6100 Physical Appearance
The Epson is a mid-sized, rectangular projector with slightly rounded corners. It comes in a white finish. Overall, it's a pretty basic looking projector despite some minor styling touches. It is larger than the 1080 UB it replaces, and is about the size of the Panasonic PT-AE3000. It is a smaller than the LCoS projectors from JVC and Sony, or the BenQ DLP projectors. Overall, size should not be a problem.
Facing the Home Cinema 6100, the lens is offset to the right. The 2.1:1 zoom lens is manual, and extends partially from the projector case. Focus and Zoom are accomplished by rotating the trim rings on the lens. To the right, below the lens, is the infra-red sensor, and to the left, is the front air exhaust.
Moving to the top, behind the lens barrel, are dials for vertical and horizontal lens shift. Just forward of the back center are two indicator lamps, the Power button (once for on, twice for off) and a Source button. The lamp door is also on top, so that you will not have to unmount a ceiling mounted projector to change the long life lamp. Behind the Power and Source buttons, wrapping around to the rear, is a second infra-red sensor, providing excellent coverage.
The rest of the control panel is found on the right side (looking from the front).
The inputs and outputs are located on the back, as is an intake filter (that can be cleaned/changed).
There are two screw thead adjustable feet in the front of the 6100.
Home Cinema 6100 Projector - Control Panel
As mentioned above, the Power and Source buttons are located on the top by the back. The rest of the control panel is on the right side, near the back.
Closest to the front of the buttons is a large Menu button. to its right, the four arrow keys on a rocker (diamond configuration, with a center Enter button), and finally closest to the back, is the Escape key which takes you back up a level in the menus.
Epson Home Cinema 6100 Inputs and Outputs
The Home Cinema 6100 has a fairly typical selection of inputs and outputs. There are (from the left) two HDMI (1.3b) inputs, a component video input (3 color colded RCA jacks), the basic S-Video and composite video inputs, and an analog computer input (standard HD15 connector), which can double as a second component video input.
There is an RS-232 serial port for controlling the projector from a computer or room control sytem. Additionally, this Epson projector has one 12 volt screen trigger.
Epson Home Cinema 6100 Menus
The first, nice thing about the Epson menus, is that all the main menus are visible, while you are looking at any of the first level of sub-menus. On the right, you can see the Image menu, and to the left of the Image Menu choices you can see all the other key menus: Image, Signal, Settings, Memory, Info and Reset. The menu is partially translucent, which is always nice. Even when I put these translucent menus in front of a very "busy" scene, they remained easily readable (some menus that are even more translucent can get tough to read at times.
The Picture menu first gives you a choice of color presets, including Dynamic - the brightest - Living Room, almost as bright, slightly better color, then Natural, Cinema, and x.v.Color.
Also on the Image menu is a Skin Tone control. Best skin tones seem to be with settings of 3 or 4.
The Advanced sub-menu in the Image menu, offers all the control any "tweaker" would want.
The three options here, are a Gamma menu, which let's you select from 5 preset gamma's including the "ideal" 2.2 gamma.
You can also create your own gamma curve, essentially the equivalent to an audio equalizer, but it let's you control the relative brightness separately of the darkest, more moderate and brightest areas, with a total of 9 separate brightness bands.
For adjusting white balance (grayscale calibration), the RGB sub-menu gives you lots of control, with separate bias and offset for each of Red, Green, and Blue.
The even more sophisticated RGBCMY submenu allows you to control the color balance individually for the three primary (red, green, and blue), and secondary (cyan, magenta, and yellow). A moment to explain. Using the RGB menu, you can adjust the projector to as close as possible to the ideal 6500K temperature for movie watching. Even if you get that perfect, it doesn't guaranty that individual colors are right on the money. For example Red, could still look a little to orangish (which means it has some yellow content), and so on. With this control, you can adjust the individual colors, and even their intensity (saturation).To do this properly you need some good equipment, or an artist's eye and understanding of color.
The Signal menu controls aspect ratio, Noise reduction, Overscan control (Output Scaling) and noise reduction.
Speaking of color temperatures, the Absolute Color Temp control offers a slide bar so you can move the color temp up or down by increments of 500K (Kelvin)
Moving to the Settings Menu, from here you have a lot of control of the hardware, including a Sleep mode, password protection (Child Lock), control of the Trigger for raising and lowering properly equipped, motorized screens. You can also set the projector for front projection, rear, ceiling mount or tabletop.
The Info Menu (not shown, tells you about the signal source, lamp hours, etc. There are no controls on that menu.
Epson Home Cinema 6100 Remote Control
A new remote control for Epson this year. I'm not sure why, as I really liked the last one. (I guess it better matches the more boxy styling of the 6500 UB).
This remote, however, is every bit as nice in terms of functionality. Buttons are well organized, large buttons, with plenty of spacing. the backlight is orange, and reasonably bright.
From the top: On the left side is a large round power button, and to its right, a small button for turning on the backlight. Next comes three rows of two buttons, one for each of the six sources. Below them, are the menu controls the four arrow keys in a circular layout, with an Enter button in the center. Above to the left and right are the Default and the Escape buttons. Directly below the arrow keys a large Menu button, all by itsself.
That takes you to the bottom four rows of two buttons provide direct access to popular menus including user Memory, color controls, Gamma, Color Mode, Aspec ratio, and Sharpness. There's also a test pattern button and one to blank the screen.
I would have liked one of the buttons to provide direct access to the frame interpolation controls. Too bad, that would have been more useful than the test pattern button.
Home Cinema 6100 Lens Throw
Epson's 2.1:1 zoom ratio is the same as the 1080 UB, and the 7500 UB. That's a little more than most LCD and LCoS projectors, and a lot more than the under $5000 DLP projectors.
For filling a 100 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio screen, the projector - measured from the front of the lens to the screen - can be as close as 9.8 feet or as far back as 20.9 feet. You can calculate distances for other screen sizes, by starting with those numbers.
Home Cinema 6100 Lens Shift
This Epson has plenty of lens shift too! For that same 100 inch screen, the Epson can be placed, (normal or inverted), anywhere from 22.7 inches above the top of the screen surface, all the way down to 22.7 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. That is measured from the center of the lens. There is also a good amount of horizontal lens shift. Using horizontal lens shift will partially limit the range of the vertical lens shift (and vice versa).
The combination of the wide range zoom lens, and excellent lens shift, makes ceiling mounting, or shelf mounting practical in almost any room situattion.
Home Cinema 6100 Anamorphic Lens
The Home Cinema Epson projectors, including the Home Cinema 6100, do not support using an anamorphic lens. Should one want to go that route, they will need an outboard processor such as the DVDO Edge, which we recently reviewed. If you are considering that, you might also want to consider the Pro Cinema 7500UB instead, which has internal support for an anamorphic lens, and is also ISF Certified. For those of you not familiar with anamorphic lenses, they are expensive but let you watch Cinemascope ratio movies (most) without the letterboxing, with a 2.35:1 shaped screen. Because of the hefty cost of a lens and motorized sled (more than this projector), very few people make this investment.