Epson Pro Cinema 1080 UB Home Theater Projector Review: Overview and Physical Attributes
- Art Feierman 1-31-08
Almost two weeks ago, we published our projector review of Epson's Home Cinema 1080 UB home theater projector. In that review's content, we mention the near identical Pro Cinema 1080UB a number times.
This "review" is not an actual review of a Pro Cinema 1080 UB, but rather a short piece to put some perspective on the differences and similarities between Epson's Pro Cinema 1080 UB, and their Home Cinema 1080 UB, which was thoroughly reviewed. This piece should help you decide which one will serve you best.
Epson Pro Cinema 1080 UB Projector Highlights:
The Pro Cinema 1080UB is sold in the USA and Canada. It seems that in the rest of the world, Epson sells the same projector under the Epson TW2000 designation.
These points are taken from the Home Cinema 1080UB review, with changes, comments added, as needed:
- Best in class black levels and better than most under twice that price - the performance, in this regard, should be identical to the Home version
- Excellent shadow detail (again, no difference between models)
- Sharp - better than average - for 1080p projectors (ditto)
- "Good, though not great, out of the box color accuracy, needs some work, for best enjoyment"? This is our commentary from the Home Cinema 1080UB review. As we did not work with the Pro Cinema 1080UB, and since the two projectors have different color presets, at least in name, and likely in color setup, we do not know if the Pro is better in this regard. The x.v. mode on the Pro Cinema 1080 UB I was told by one person, was dead on, but I can't confirm
- A bright Dynamic mode that really does the trick. Excellent on sports and HDTV, with some ambient light
- Solidly built
- Vertical and horizontal lens shift, and zoom lens with lots of range for excellent placement flexibility
- Excellent, best in class warranty
- 2 HDMI 1.3 inputs, with support for 1080p 24fps
- $3999 estimated street price, includes free spare lamp, and ceiling mount. In addition, the Pro Cinema 1080 UB, comes with an extra year of warranty coverage, compared to the Home Cinema
- ISF certified - ISF is the organization of calibrators (International Science Foundation). The Pro Cinema 1080UB, has two special presets, reserved for the ISF calibrator - ISF Day, and ISF Night
The most fundamental differences, are most likely, the pricing an method of distribution.
The Epson Pro Cinema 1080UB has a 'street" price of $3999 - about $1200 higher (compared to $2999 - $200 rebate for the Home version). For that extra $1200, you get: Spare lamp (value $350 - $400), Ceiling mount (value $150, if you need one), and a 3rd year warranty, with overnight replacement. That's hard to value, but figure $250 - $300. Let's face it, local installing dealers cannot afford to sell projectors at online prices. This is why several projector manufacturers offer similar models aimed at two different dealer channels - a well known example, being Optoma's HD80 and HD8000. Same idea!
For those of you who are not Do It Yourself types, most likely you will go the local dealer route, for your home theater projector, screen, audio, accessories and installation. As I mentioned, you will pay a little more, but you basically end up with a single, competent dealer responsible for getting your setup - up and running properly. For most of us, that's a trade-off, well worth it.
Where to buy the Pro Cinema 1080 UB
The Pro Cinema 1080UB is sold by authorized local, installing dealers - typically home theater specialists. You can expect just about all of them to offer full installation services, and many have on staff, or work with a professional calibrator, so that you can get the maximum performance out of your equipment.
By comparison, the Home Cinema 1080 UB, is available from selected online resellers (again, Epson trys to keep distribution to dealers that know home theater). In addition, you may well find it in some "big box houses". I don't, at this time, know which ones, but for those of you not familiar with the term, Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-mart, and Costco all fit the definition of big box house, not that Epson would necessarily distribute to any, or all of those.
The Pro Cinema 1080UB should prove to be just as great a projector, as its lower priced sibling. While Color Presets have different names (Theater Black 1, on the Home Cinema 1080 UB, while the Pro Cinema 1080UB has SilverScreen), and so on. While I no longer take contrast ratios too seriously (it used to be a great way to estimate black level performance, but no more), the UB has an industry best 50,000:1 contrast ratio.
As to where to buy, Epson is typically running some Pro Cinema 1080 UB banners on our site. They will take you to Epson's site, and you will find there, a dealer locator, by zip code, for the US and Canada.
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What I said in the Home Cinema 1080UB projector review, will hold true for the Pro Cinema 1080 UB:
These Epson's are the first of the 3LCD powered home theater projectors that really outperform most of the competition, both LCD, and DLP, in terms of those highly sought after, excellent black level capabilities. Then consider the brightness, placement flexibility, and a sharp image with rich saturated colors. The UB thanks to the excellent black levels is more than just a replacement for the Home and Pro Cinema 1080 projectors, it moves the projector up into a whole different class of performance!
I believe Epson, with its new D7 C2Fine LCD panels, has taken the performance of 3LCD projectors to new levels with the Pro and Home Cinema 1080 UB.
People, this is going to be one of those rare, "rave reviews" that I write. I may find virtue in a lot of projectors, but few really get me excited. While many of you notice that I give out a lot of Hot Product Awards, that's to be expected, as the criteria for the Award, is that a projector "must be the best projector for at least a small, but significant segment of the home theater projector buyers. Thus one projector receiving the award might have the best overall picture, but not be bright enough for many. Another getting it might come in short a little on the picture quality, compared to the first one, but be significantly brighter, thus a better choice for others, and a third projector might be comparable to the second one, but have more placement flexibility, so becomes the best choice for those needing bright, but can't use the 2nd one because it won't position in their room. You get the idea.
Throughout the Home Cinema 1080 UB's review, including in the summary section, I provide some thoughts on how the Epson Cinema 1080 UB compares with the Panasonic PT-AE2000U, Mitsubishi HC4900 and HC6000, Optoma HD81, HD80, HD8000, and HD81-LV DLP 1080p projectors, as well as the Sanyo Z2000, JVC RS1 and RS2, and finally, the Sony VW50 and VW60.
In February, we'll be producing our comprehensive 1080p projector comparison report. In that, we'll further compare projectors, and also award Best in Class and Runner-up rewards, selected from those having received Hot Product Awards, to further help you sort things out.
Epson Pro Cinema 1080UB Projector: Basic Specs
Estimated Street Price: $3999 (includes free spare lamp, and ceiling mount
Native Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness: 1600 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 2.1:1
Lens shift: Vertical and Horizontal
Lamp life: 3000 hours low power (Silverscreen), 2000 hours at full lamp power
Weight: 11.5 lbs. (5.1 Kg)
Warranty: 3 Years Parts and Labor, overnight replacement program both years
Click here for more complete Pro Cinema 1080UB specs and brochure.
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ISF Calibration of the Epson Pro and Home Cinema 1080 UB projectors
With the Pro version, as mentioned, there are two special savable memories, password protected, and intended for an ISF calibrator to use. These are ISF Day (for ambient light conditions), and ISF Night (lights off, movie viewing).
I have been emailed by several people asking what are the differences in terms of calibration, between the two projectors.
Best I can tell, is that your favorite, trained calibrator, can accomplish the same thing with either projector. The two ISF modes, though, are additional ones. When you consider though, that Epson provides 10 different savable memories, it's not like having two more, is going to make a difference. Most projectors have 3, maybe 5 savable memories, so the Epson projectors, with their 10, have plenty to spare, for almost any owner.
If there are any other things incorporated into the ISF DAY and ISF NIGHT modes, that make them unique, compared to the other memory settings, I am not aware of them. It is, however, something worth further investigation, but for now, I think we can safely assume, that if you want to get either projector calibrated by a professional, that either projector will work equally well.
Epson Pro Cinema 1080UB Home Theater Projector: Physical Tour
With the exception of the Pro Cinema 1080 UB's black casing, as compared to the Home Cinema 1080 UB's white finish, everything physical about these two projectors are identical. that includes shape, weight, control panel, lens, lens shift controls, and inputs.
At this point, for the physical tour, as well as other sections (Image Quality, Summary...) please click over to the Home Cinema 1080 UB review.