Epson Home Cinema 6500UB Projector Review

Below we will cover

Creative Frame Interpolation at 120fps and 4:4 (96fps) output

Basically the Epson has three main modes: Taking 24fps movies (typically from Blu-ray) to 96fps without any creative frame interpolation, creative frame interpolation to 120fps from 24fps source, with the creation of unique frames to smooth motion, and 120fps creative frame interpolation from 30/60fps source material.

The plan at this point, to deal with these issues, include being in touch with Epson, and in turn, their engineers in Japan. Unless there is something uniquely wrong with my review unit, which is unlikely considering all the blog comments I’m getting from readers confirming what I am reporting, Epson has issues that need fixing. Keep perspective though.

As mentioned above, I consider frame interpolation to be a secondary feature, far less important overall, than black levels, brightness, sharpness, and color accuracy. Most of us never missed it, and, so far, the Epson UBs are part of a very short list of projectors that do support 96 and 120 fps interpolation.

There are two modes for 24fps. Just straight interpolation to 96fps, or the creative to 120fps. Both exhibit the same problem. the 96fps – 4:4, is a little better, but still not acceptable to a hard core enthusiast, and even the most “consumer” of us, will notice the jerkiness.

Blu-ray HDTV and other sources, outputting to the projector at 30/60fps: (turn off 24fps on a Sony PS3). Depth still increases tremendously, jerkiness seems to be less of a problem, but still there. The jerkiness might now be considered very watchable by some (definitely not all), but the depth on movies still is “over the top”. Movies on HDTV channels though, tend to behave much like the 24fps source material, so the Epson is having a problem there, stripping it back to 24fps before adding frame interpolation.

Sports and most pure digital sources, however, do look very good, as you can tell from the image immediately below (shot in LivingRoom mode). I’ve watched extensive football, and some faster paced basketball, and haven’t noticed jerkiness to be an issue.

I will continue to blog on this issue, with regular updates, so stay tuned. For my own personal use of the 6500UB while I have it, I plan, for my personal viewing (not analysis), I plan to use creative frame interpolation for sports, but probably little else.

First, let me say, that whether on a projector, or an LCDTV, frame interpolation changes the look of the image, typically adding more depth. However, it can be over the top as is the case with the Epson, or, for example the PT-AE3000 when in its Frame interpolation Mode 2. This raises the big question of does the use of frame interpolation on movies change the image enough to effectively void the “director’s intent”. Since smoothing motion would make scenes in fast paced movies like Transformers look smoother, less action-like, would the director want to, knowing frame interpolation is in use, compensate, to put back more raw sense of motion.

It’s a good concept for debate, as is going on in my blog and on assorted forums. Here’s what’s happening: Blu-ray source 24fps: Engage Frame Interpolation and get an incredible increase in depth. It changes feel of the content of movies from “film-like” to “live digital video”. That’s huge, and definitely, while interesting to watch, not what a director would intend. As some put it, movies start looking like TV soap opera, or a live news feed. In addition to this over the top depth, the Epson exhibits a lot of jerkiness in this mode. This is definitely more distracting than the consistent 3:2 pull-down we were used to, when watching 30/60 fps source material (like standard DVDs and movies shown on TV/HDTV.

Long Lamp Life

Epson has a new lamp. Like the last generation they call this a TORL lamp, but they claim significant improvement. Even without the increase in wattage from 170 to 200 watts, Epson says the lamp is more efficient – pumping out more lumens to the screen. The extra wattage, all by itself, adds about 18% more lumens. As a result of the new lamp, it’s not surprising that the Home Cinema 6500UB – and the Pro Cinema 7500 UB – are noticeably brighter than the older 1080 UB projectors.

The other major benefit of the new lamp, is lamp life. Epson now claims 4000 hours life, whether in full, or low power. If Epson delivers on these claims, then the new Epson’s have the longest life lamp, and the lowest cost of operation of any of the 1080p projectors out there, when they are all in full lamp power mode.

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