The Art of Home Theater Projectors

A bit more on frame interpolation with the Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB

Greetings and Merry Christmas (It just turned Dec. 25th here, right before I posted this.)  And happy holidays.

OK, a bit more on the epson’s frame interpolation.  As I have answered, in a couple of comments, this is a work in progress.  I’m learning more each day.

In my last blog on the Home Cinema 6500 UB, I found that both Frame Interpolation, and 4:4 settings, when feeding a 24 fps source, have some real issues.  I won’t repeat them here.  In a comment I answered about a half hour ago, I pointed out that the projector may well perform completely differently with a 30/60 fps source, and would try that.  

Mind you I’ve only spent 15 minutes with my PS3 now set to Not output 24fps.  I’ve been watching repeatedly, several scenes from Casino Royale, mostly the same ones I watched when studying the frame creation with the PS3 outputting  24fps .  The Epson is now showing a 60 hz input, as desired.  

Bingo!   With frame interpolation on (Normal setting, there’s also Low and High), once again the extra depth appears, as is frequently being reported on all sorts of devices with 120 fps frame interpolation, and it looks like that depth is going to be considered (right or wrong) a typical result with frame interpolation  This time around, however, the jerkiness is effectively gone.  I’m still spotting an occasional “jerky” artifact from time to time, but, considering, that when looking, nothing is perfectly smooth, I’d say overall, it’s smoother than a straight 24fps in/out, and smoother than what you normally expect from 3:2 pulldown at the standard 60fps.  I’ve seen this before on the other projectors with frame interpolation on.  Let’s face it, there are going to be motion sequences that confuse any “intelligent” frame creation.  Of the four “top of the line” 3LCD projectors, only the Mitsubishi HC7000 has frame interpolation, without creating modified frames between the original ones.  

So, That’s really good news.  I didn’t originally notice any issues when watching football all day, last Saturday, with frame interpolation on, but I was – truly – watching football.  I was not paying any attention to the picture quality – beyond – “looks great”.  Therefore, I believe that the projector’s performance for sports is essentially the same as for movies, as long as you don’t feed the projector 24fps.

Again, I’ve just been playing for less than a half hour tonight, and plan much more attention to figuring out what works best, and what doesn’t for different types of viewing (content).  

I also plan to compare performance in the modes I find work best, with the Panasonic PT-AE3000, so we can get a pretty decent idea of which projector is better at what.

This is fun,  as I start moving up the learning curve about standard and creative frame interpolation, and the impact they have on the viewing experience.  Since this is the first generation of projectors with frame interpolation, most of us projector reviewers are probably well behind the learning curve, compared to those that deal with LCDTV’s and Plasma’s – since frame interpolation started appearing at least a year earlier.  

I’m moving the Home Cinema 6500 UB back into my main theater.  I think I’ll start with the first 15 minutes of The Dark Knight, but this time without 24fps.  Best of both worlds?  And, I’m now wondering, as I write this, will the speed choice for Epson’s frame interpolation – low normal high – affect the depth differently? That would be cool, you could basically dial in the amount of depth you want!  Hmm…

OK, I know you’ll all be anxiously awaiting my next blog, but don’t forget to open your presents!  -art

News And Comments

  • Jim

    That’s good news, so when they built and tested frame interpolation, they did it for 30/60 rather than straight 24fps.

    Now if they could just “fix” it when forcing 24fps…

    Thanks for the continuing info. I’ll be ready to buy in about a week and figure you’ll get it all straight over the next few days.

    My only question is how easy is it to get new FW updates from Epson when they release them? Do they update your unit and send it back or will they send you a new unit immediately?

    Sounds like this interpolation issue is the only “problem” with this PJ. I’m very excited about it. The kids are also very excited that they are getting their own HC1500 PS3 gaming room! I’m tired of battling them for PS3 time lol.

    ***********
    Hi Jim,
    OK, I have much work to do, so – short and sweet – I spoke with the Epson product marketing manager earlier today. She will get back to me regarding how Epson might handle firmware updates. Japan, I believe is still up and running, not shut down, so she’s been able to get me a few answers already, but mostly the important stuff still to come. I’m answering a bunch of comments, so I won’t duplicate for each of you.

    BTW, for the most part (sports notwithstanding, and even not a big thing there), I’m still not sold on the importance of frame interpolation. At its best, it inherently “changes” the image, enough to raise the question of whether it is destroying the “director’s intent”. In other words, frame interpolation for most people, should be a very secondary issue.

    Regardless of how they handle a firmware upgrade, it wouldn’t be a new unit, it would be one from their fleet set aside for exchanges. Of course, initially most of those would be new units, but after a couple of months, they will all be recycled projectors. Hopefully though, it would be something that can be downloaded, then input via the RS-232 port. We shall see. -art

  • Jean Sebastien Sullivan

    Can you turn off 4:4 and the Interpolation and still have 24fps on the Blu-ray Player? That’s the only important thing for me as i don’t really care about it when watched movies.

    *********

    Yes you an turn off 4:4, and Interpolation (turns out only one can work at the time. If 4:4 is on, the frame interpolation function is grayed out. Even if you have it set, so that it says low, normal, or high, while grayed out, it is not engaged – it is off.

    Bottom line, yes, the projector handles 24fps just fine without those options on. (As did the 1080 UB before it.) -art

  • keyser

    “Since this is the first generation of projectors with frame interpolation, most of us projector reviewers are probably well behind the learning curve, compared to those that deal with LCDTV’s and Plasma’s – since frame interpolation started appearing at least a year earlier.”
    Philips has worked on frame interpolation since ’92 and sold it in their TV’s since ’95. Their latest ones have MUCH less fast motion artifacts than the earlier ones. Maybe their ahead of the pack?

    ****************

    Philips has always been a great innovator, but less successful at marketing many of their innovations. The thing is it’s just been the last year or so, that frame interpolation has become a marketing buzzword, much as 1080p became the big buzzword – 2-3 years ago. Over the next year or two, it will be on everyone’s radar. Ultimately it means people will start demanding it, whether they need it or not. (ie. choosing a 1080p 32″ LCDTV – for more money, over a 720p 32″ LCDTV, is generally rather foolish if you are going to be sitting 15-20 feet away, but that doesn’t stop 1080p versions from rapidly increasing marketshare, despite the higher price. -art

  • Bart

    Art, thanks for taking the time during this Christmas season to continue to offer your views on the Epson.

    There are a few questions that many people (including myself) would really like to know. Can the Epson 6500 provide a “film” like picture? If all processing is turned off (4:4, and interpolation)does the Epson still provide that classic “film” look that many prefer? (judder included) I wouldn’t mind having frame interpolation (video look) for things like sports or animated movies, but I usually prefer the “film” look for, well films!

    Also, you have reviewed a few projectors with frame interpolation (Sanyo z3000, Panasonic AE3000) and you did not really say too much about the way either of those projectors handled themselves with frame interpolation. Is the effect that much more pronounced on the Epson 6500 that you really didn’t notice it very much on the other projectors?

    Again, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer all our questions.

    ****************

    Greetings Bart, I’ll be answering much about what you have asked in a blog I’m going to start writing after I answer the some 25+ comments received since yesterday’s blog.

    But the key answer I can provide is this clarification: The Epson’s in general have, in my opinion (IMO), never been the most film-like of the projectors out there. I have described previous Epson’s as being a little “hard”. That applies to the 6500 UB as well. Is this a problem? Not in my book. The reason for the “hard” is that is the feeling I get, due to the Epson having a very dynamic look – that “pop and wow” which I really like, personally, but more importantly, I think most people like. the hardcore purist however might object. We are, however not talking really significant differences. For example, previously, I favored my RS1 over any of the less expensive projectors – regardless of technology, but I like the 1080 UB ahead of all the other projectors.

    Anything the 6500 UB looses in “film-like” it more than makes up for with it’s better black levels, and sharper image. In straight 24fps, the Epson looks fantastic on those same Dark Knight sequences I’ve been talking about, re frame interpolation. I’ve watched, side by side, the Panasonic (with frame interpolation on, and the Epson with 24fps, frame interpolation and 4:4 off, and I prefer the Epson.

    To answer your other question, truth is, when I was paying attention to the Panasonic’s frame interpolation I was focused on spotting the improvements watching things like the dogfights in Top Gun. I didn’t note any issues with the Z3000, in general viewing, and never closely looked at it. The Epson nicely magnifies the issue, and this is a learning curve for me. It will all get sorted out. Remember, frame interpolation is new to projectors, and even at it’s theoretical best, it does mess with the concept of the “director’s intent”. More in the next blog. -art

  • Andy

    Art,

    Thanks a bunch for the detailed info. I just received my 6500 Christmas Eve, along with a DVDO Edge. I had them both installed that evening and experienced the “soap opera”, digital live feed effect you experienced. My quick solution, not knowing really what was causing the effect, was to have the DVDO output its content in 1080i. Now that I know the cause, I’m not sure the best combination of settings on both units to achieve the best results. Also, worth mentioning, right now I have yet to upgrade to Blue-ray so my media is being fed by a Pioneer 59avi player via HDMI at 480i (recommended by the DVDO Edge manual). Of course, the Edge will uplift it to one of several output formats. My TV is coming in via a DirecTV HDTV receiver HDMI. Any recommendations are certainly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  • http://www.philipsplasma.com Yoruba Movies

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points.Keep working ,great job!

  • http://www.besthometheater.net Roger Thomas

    Well researched site! Can you recommend any forums I could join to learn more? Thanks