Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector Review

Average brightness in “best” mode, and very bright at its brightest, it’s got the horsepower to handle most screens in most rooms. No Epson I’ve reviewed has looked as good as this one. That makes the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB – and of course, the Pro Cinema 9700UB, a rather formidable projector and competitor. It’s still early on in reviewing this year’s crop, but, we’ve already looked at the Mitsubishi HC6800 and the Sanyo PLV-Z4000, and without a new entry for the near future from Panasonic, that’s pretty much the other 3LCD competition. On the DLP side, there’s some Optoma and BenQ competition, but BenQ’s got newer projectors they haven’t rolled out in the US (and may not). That BenQ DLP is particularly impressive, and will remain a direct competitor to the 8700UB.

Sharpness of this Epson is good, but hardly exceptional. There are a couple of slightly sharper 3LCD projectors, but the Epson is typical. For those who really demand the max in sharpness, they will favor a single chip DLP. Almost all of us, however, will be perfectly happy with the Epson’s sharpness, especially for movie viewing.

That’s not all the competition, there’s the LG CF181D, a projector that can’t begin to match the Epson’s black levels and dark scene handling, but is powerfully bright, and just always looks good – a forgiving projector.

I digress. I mention all these others, because, they are the best of the competition, yet last year’s Epson came out on top of all of those that were out at the time, when it came to our Best In Class awards. That this Epson is an excellent projector and a great value seems pretty straightforward, what you need to do, is consider your factors – what content you like to watch, your room’s characteristics, the screen size you want, and whether the Epson is the right projector for you.

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector: Pros

  • Excellent “out of the box” picture quality
  • It only gets better with calibration
  • Best in Class black level performance for a projector in its price range
  • Image has good sharpness
  • Projector lamp can be changed without unmounting the projector (door is on the top, though well hidden)
  • Very low cost of operation – low cost long life lamp 4000/4000 hours
  • Very good warranty – 2 years, with 2 years of replacement program
  • Very good menus, very good remote (good range)
  • Creative frame interpolation
  • Support for an anamorphic lens
  • An excellent value proposition

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector: Cons

  • Dynamic iris can make a low rumbling sound (there are ways to dampen)
  • CFI still seems to have minor problems with 24 fps movies coming at you over cable or satellite at 60.
  • Slower than most projectors in locking onto a new source, when you switch

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector: Typical Capabilities

  • Documentation
  • Sharpness
  • Styling – it’s off white, has some nice trim – but not an award winner for styling
  • Audible noise – average, but still a good bit quieter than the DLP projectors that make up the Epson’s primary competition

Final note. Yes, I’ve been a big fan of the Epson UB projectors since they first surfaced. I just wanted to mention that Mike and Tony – who have been writing reviews for my site, bought the older Epson 8500UB at the end of last year, and are both pleased. There most be something to it! -art

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