The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Epson Home Cinema 1080UB review update

OK! CES is over, and I’m back to the “grind.” In this case, the grind is primarily finishing up the HC-1080UB projector review. I’m going to keep this somewhat short (for me), and with the review scheduled to publish Friday night – 11/18/08, I don’t want to give away the whole story here. However! I’ve been getting pounded by emails, all saying – when will the review be out, so I can decide between the Epson and this projector or that one. Epson's Home Cinema 1080UB projector - nice looking, great image

First of all, this Epson is an outstanding projector. The last time I was this enthused about a projector was almost certainly the JVC DLA-RS1, almost a year ago. Prior to that, (and despite it’s limitations as a low cost 720p projector), the Panasonic PT-AX100U, some 15 months ago. Since those two, I’ve been impressed by a number of projectors, including the newer JVC RS2, but in cases like that, I’m seeing a new model which improves a bit over a predecessor. Not so with the Home Cinema 1080UB, and its sibling, the Pro Cinema 1080UB. These two (my comments on the Pro, are based on the Home version projector), are a major step up over their predecessors. They’ve crossed the threshold to enthusiast class projectors, that will appeal to purists.

Let me put it this way. With the Epson Home Cinema 1080UB, the long standing advantage of black level performance (the “Holy Grail” for many hard core enthusiasts and “purists”), by DLP projectors has just ended. The Epson Home Cinema 1080UB, not only matches the black level performance of most of the 1080p DLP’s, but exceeds it. Simply put, the better the black levels, the darker the areas that are supposed to be black, and near black. No fixed pixel projector (everything but CRT), can actually “produce” black, the best they can do are very, very, dark grays, and that varies a lot.

All my usual review image photos have been taken, and this evening I’ll be doing analysis and comparing those images with those of the competition to really nail down how good the black level and shadow detail performance of the Home and Pro Cinema 1080UB’s are, compared to DLP, other LCD, and even the LCoS projectors. As of right now, it is an LCoS projector (liquid crystal on silicon – a reflective – rather than transmissive, variation of LCD technology), that offers the best black levels, and the champ is the JVC DLA-RS2. FYI: JVC calls their LCoS D-iLA, Sony calls theirs SXRD. After the RS2, next best seems to be the RS1, with the Sony VW60 close behind. Next, and possibly better than the two Sony projectorss (almost certainly the equal or better than the VW50 Pearl), comes the Epson, and that means I think it is at least the equal of the best known single chip 1080 DLP projectors as well! That’s pretty sensational for a projector that is selling for under $2800 (US$) (Home Cinema version) right out of the gate! (more on the Pro version below). And that’s saying a lot.

If that isn’t enough, the Epson is bright. In best mode, Theatre Black 1, it puts out about 450 lumens, and even after “taming” dynamic a little to maintain the brightest image, while improving the color balance, it managed over 1500 lumens in Dynamic mode. The difference in brightness between the Epson, and my RS1, this past weekend for football viewing, had me just loving the Epson’s extra lumens. Switching to movie watching, when I viewed Casino Royale segments first on one, then on the other, I could barely tell the differences in black levels and shadow details (but yes the JVC had the advantage). OK, beyond that, the Epson Home Cinema 1080UB looks and cooks like the older Home Cinema 1080, with almost no changes. It does support 1080/24fps while I seem to recall, the older model didn’t. That’s a real plus as well.

I don’t think the Epson will support an anamorphic lens, but still checking on that. And that brings me to the Pro Cinema 1080UB. The key differences are:

  • Black case instead of pearl white
  • Higher price point ($3999 with spare lamp and mount), vs $2999 less $200 rebate, for the HC1080UB
  • Different Presets, i.e. Silverscreen instead of Theater Black1… (smoke and mirrors?)
  • ISF Certified. (Better color out of the box – that was the case last year, I haven’t seen a new “Pro”)
  • Two extra modes for ISF Day, Night
  • A 3rd year warranty!

The Pro is sold by local CEDIA type installing dealers, the kind that will also calibrate your projector to your room and other gear, while the Home version is available from select online resellers and some “big box houses”. I hate to say it, but if someone swapped out my RS1, even with it’s minor advantages, and replaced it with a “UB”, you’ld hardly hear a complaint out of me. I’m that impressed!

OK? Enough? Back to finishing up the review (which of course will repeat much of this). -art

News And Comments

  • Elliot Rosen

    Thanks for this Art!! I am salivating!!!!!

    Elliot

    ps – hoping you can share color adjustment recommendations

  • E Jessen

    Art, thanks for this. Can you convince me in your review not to buy the PT-AE2000U? I’d love to read some comparisons between the UB and the PT-AE2000U.

    -Erik Jessen
    Burbank, CA

  • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

    Greetings Elliot,

    As usual, I’ll provide the grayscale balance settings I came up with after measuring.

    Greetings Erik,

    Ahh, not my job to “sell” you one over another, I gave that up more than 3 years ago, when I sold my online dealership. Now “my job” is just to educate so you can make an intelligent choice.
    That said, I personally would choose the UB, over the PT-AE2000U. When the new Panasonic came out, I was impressed, primarily by the increase in lumens, making for a projector that is now average in brightness. However, the Epson UB, in my mind, from a picture quality standpoint competes more closely with some of the more expensive competition. -art

  • E. Jessen

    I just looked a the specs, and the throw in my theater that I’m building is 16 feet, so I dont thing I can use this projector. If I only want a 92″ screen, can I use the UB? I’m new to this.

    -Erik Jessen
    Burbank, CA

  • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

    Erik,

    The Epson – for a 100″ screen works anywhere from just over 10 feet away (measured from front of lens), to over 21 feet back. Since you are looking a screen size that is 92% of a 100″ screen – 92 inches, then the range of the projector would be 92% of the numbers above. Translated, that means the projector will work from just over 9 feet, to beyond 18 feet. Sounds like a “no problem” situation. You said your room is 16 feet, so I’m assuming the projector would be shelf mounted – in which case it would be at about 14 feet. Remember you are measuring from the front, to the screen. -art

  • E Jessen

    Art,

    Many thanks!

    -Erik

  • Ephraim

    As much as I like the sound of this projector, I would still lean towards the AE2000U just because it can do the stretch needed for CIH. If only, Epson, if only!

  • John

    Art, thanks for the review. You mentioned the 1080UB is still very good without the auto-iris, but did you have it on or off when you did your review? Any preferences or comments on whether you noticed it (either visually or audibly) when it was on? Thanks!

  • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

    Hi, John,

    Good point. I’m going to update the review to add comments regarding the iris. Look for it to be added to the General Performance page by tomorrow night. I will tell you, though, that I spent significant time watching, with the iris off, (at least 10 hours, maybe 15, but at least 3 times as much with it on. Generally, no noise issues with the iris, and no overt visibility of it working, during normal viewing. -art

  • John

    Thanks Art!

  • Mike Keating

    I am also looking at a 92 inch screen the Elite CineTension2 Series Projection Screen in Matt White thanks to your review. My viewing area is 19 feet from the back wall to the screen. Should I also be considering placing my projector on a shelf located at the rear of my room and not hanging it from the ceiling? I am thinking of either the Epson pro UB or the JVC DLA-RS2 . The room can be made completly dark if I need it to be. Everytime I think I have one chosen you revied another one and give me another to consider.
    Thanks Art for all of your reviews.

  • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

    Mike, With 19 feet to the back wall, and a 92″ screen, the projector just barely works. 22.2 feet for a 100″ screen is still a maximum of 20 feet and change for a 92″ screen.

    The advantage of shelf mounting, is usually easier wiring, and maintenance.

    With the Epson, the lens would be about 17 feet from the screen, near full telephoto, which means it is less bright than the measurements I provide (but your screen is small). Ceiling mounting at, say 12 feet, would get you something like 30-40% more lumens. However, (and this depends where you sit), most people sit forward of their rear wall, so with a wall mount (high) you are less likely to hear your projector, than if it were to be almost directly over you head… Hope that helps -art

  • Mike Keating

    I may have misinformed you. The room is 19 feet from the back wall to the screen however the front seating will be between 9 & 10 feet from the screen.

    Mike, no, we are on the same page. With your back wall 19 feet back, if you shelf mount, the Epson is more than 1 foot deep, and you’ll want to have about 6 inches of space behind the back of the unit for ventilation, and to connect cables. Thus, the 17 foot distance I mentioned, since distance is measured from front of lens, to the screen. -art

  • http://none Steve P

    For my first PJ ever, I am considering the 1080UB or the PT AE2000U. I have to mount at 15′ and it is directly over the head of the seating area at 7′ high due to low basement ceiling.

    Is the 1080UB going to be too loud? I have seen ratings as low as 24db in whisper mode, but as high as 40db otherwise.

    What is realistic to expect for the loudness that I will experience wathing sports, movies, etc.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Hi Steve P,

    Audible noise is always a tough call. Some people care a lot more than others. In full power mode, I suspect the Epson is around 30 – 31 db. Will you be able to hear it? Definitely if there is no sound, or a very, very, quiet scene. However, keep in mind, it’s like the refrigerator in your kitchen. If you are sitting around talking in your kitchen, you probably never notice whether the motor on the refrigerator is running or not. The second, though, it switches modes, from off to on, or on to off, you are likely to then notice the change, and then briefly become aware, until you go back to what you were doing, and it drops off your radar. With a projector, the sound level remains constant, so you’ll likely not notice its noise – you will be immersed in watching your movie.

    In low power mode, almost everyone would be happy even with your close location to the projector.

    As to watching sports – hardly a quiet thing, I wouldn’t worry at all. -art

  • Joe

    Let me first commend you on an excellent review, I doubt I run across one that is more informative, I think it really showed your enthusiasm for the projector. I have decided on getting the 1080UB and the elite cinetension2 screen (was originally thinking of grandview but with no real review I could find and your mostly positive review of the elite I think the elite is a safer bet). Wanted to get your preference on screen material and Projector placement. My room is in the basement with two half windows, but heavy shade so I can make it pretty dark, walls are cedar, not black but not to reflective either, I am keeping my 61 dlp behind the screen for daylight and casual viewing anyhow, the projector will be the sit down and watch preference of choice. First Screen material grey or white, most people I have talked to have informed me to get the Matte White with my setup. Second is projector placement. I plan on ceiling mounting (drop down ceiling is 6ft 8 inches)and optimal placement would be inline with my rear surrounds which would be 15 1/2 feet (screen size will be 106 inchs) thou I can place it virtually anywhere in the room. Also was wondering if pixalation would be an issue, will have two rows of seating with the first row around 9 ft away from the screen.
    thx for any input.

    Joe

    last first! With a 106″ screen pixels should not be a problem at all. I have no problem with the UB filing a 128″ sitting 11.5 – 12 feet back (measured from eyeball to screen). So in terms of relative distance to screen size, we are about the same.

    The black levels of the UB are excellent, so you really shouldn’t find a need to go with a HC gray surface to drop black levels. 15.5 feet back puts your projector just about right in the mid-range of the zoom, so you should have about the same 468 lumens we measured. That will give you 13+ ft-lamberts filling a 1.0 gain white screen. That’s about typical for a movie theater, and at night, you can probably darken your room more than today’s rather “bright” movie theaters.

    Never having worked with Grandview, I really can’t comment.

    Next. If you do plan to use the projector for movies only when the room is fully dark, considering your relatively dark walls, etc., a white surface should work great. If you, instead like a small amount of ambient light, and it’s to the sides (such as some wall sconses), then an HC Gray will do better with that small amount of ambient light. If the ambient, though is from the back of the room, the HC gray won’t help, mostly, you’ld just be giving up brightness. If you do want to watch sports on that projector, and those two half windows are on the side, same thing, an HC gray will help.

    As to the Cinetension, I keep one of those mounted in my testing room, even though the Carada Brilliant White fixed screen is my normal reference (the Elite comes down when I mount other motorized projectors for testing). My Cinetension is white surface and does a very nice job.

    I should point out, if you remain a little concerned about various ambient light combined with the white surface, you might consider the Cinetension with an HC Gray surface. I haven’t seen one, but I previously tested their HC Gray surface on one of their fixed frame screens. If – can’t confirm – the HC gray surface is the same on their fixed screen as the HC gray on the Cinetension, then that may be an ideal compromise. When reviewing the Elite HC Gray, I found it to not have a whole lot of “High Contrast”, nor a whole lot of gray (not a dark image). As a result, it sort of fits somewhere nicely between the typical matte white surface, and the typical higher contrast, darker gray “HC Gray’ surfaces.

    OK that’s my 2 cents. Good luck! -art

  • Dave

    Great review Art! Okay, I think I’m sold on this thing. I have one concern you maybe able to help me out with. I currently own a Mits HD1000U. I pretty happy with it over all, since I got a color meter and learned how to calibrate it. I love the brightness of the HD1000U, and I pretty much leave it in Cinema mode all the time. I just started switching to high lamp lately. (700hrs on the bulb) that gives me according to your review of the HD100U around 829 lumens in a calibrated cinema mode. My concern is do you think I would be disappointed with the light output of the 1080UB in its better modes which I am use to watching? You mention in the hi 400′s to low 500′s for its “better” modes. I like a bright accurate picture. I dont have a dedicated home theater but I do most of my watching at night, except for sports during the day. I guess I’m wondering is the brighter modes of the 1080UB going to be better than what I am viewing now color wise? How much picture quality is lost in the brighter modes? I see you tamed down the Dynamic mode of the 1080UB to be around 1527. would the be comparable to the Mits in Cinema mode after you calibrated it a bit?

    Any comments would be helpful. I look forward to the rest of the review.

    Hi Dave,

    First, I have all the extra images ready (HDTV, etc.) and probably will add, along with commentary, and have the review finished this Tuesday, or more likely Wednesday evening.

    It’s been a really long time since reviewing the HD1000U something like 15 months (and 40 projectors ago). That said, here are my best guesses:

    Let me start by saying that color modes like Theater, Cinema, Dynamic, etc., are simply different sets of settings, for your convenience. You could, (lets say, using the Epson as an example, start with Theater Black 1 mode, and use all the color controls to essentially duplicate any other mode, brighter or darker. You have grayscale balance, contrast, brightness, gamma, and other aspects which all make up the final image translation to what you see on your screen.

    There is no comparison in terms of picture quality. The HC1000 has decent black levels for a 720p DLP projector, and isn’t even remotely in the league of the Home Cinema 1080UB’s black level performance. Since you can get accurate colors at any brightness level, that won’t be a problem. Taking the time to do so (the Living Room settings for the Epson that I posted, still have more color temp range than I would like, but there’s a limit on how much time I can spend, “tuning” multiple presets. In the past, I have pretty much stuck to tuning “best mode” and simply reporting the white color temp on the other modes. In this case, I happend to invest several more hours, and while I came up with good working Living Room, and Dynamic modes, neither are as color accurate as Theater Black1. since you have a meter, etc., and the luxury of time, I’m sure you can get an extra couple hundred lumens out of a modified theater black mode, and still end up with overall color accuracy, and picture quality, that will rival most other projectors, and still beat them on shadow detail.

    Brightness, the Mitsubishi HD1000U doesn’t have much range in its zoom, so there is no real variation in brightness no matter how you have it set. but the Epson is another matter. And that means that the placement difference, relative to the screen size, really matters. for example, Let us assume now, that you have a 100″ screen. If you have a measured 800 lumens on your Mits at the moment (less, since your lamp is aging…), and you instead get the Epson 1080UB and mount it 11 feet back (about as close as you can), you’ll have something around 600 lumens, at mid zoom point – around 16 feet, you’ll have the 468 lumens (approx) that I measured at mid-zoom), and you’ll have something probably just over 350 lumens at full telephoto.

    So where you place it is a big decision, relative to brightness. If you simply put it where the Mitsubishi currently is (between 12 and 14.5 feet), you are going to have roughly 500 to almost 600 lumens. Tweak as needed. Think this way, you are going from a Chevy Camaro to a BMW 5 series. A well tuned Camaro may be be as fast or faster, (brighter), but after that – it’s all “beammer”. -art

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    Thanks!

  • clyde rickard

    I just took delivery of a 1080ub last week on the strength of your review and my initial feeling is quite positive–quick question, if I’m using the settings you suggested for RGB and high lamp, should I adjust the fan speed somehow to deal with the higher lamp temperature to avoid premature lamp failure or internal polarizer/LCD damage-would putting the settings into high altitude mode achieve this?? I’m a bit paranoid because my prior projector Sony VPL-vw51 developed blue polarizer damage right after the warranty expired.

    ——-

    Hi Clyde,

    OK, I think I see the problem here. When we are all referring to color temperature, that’s completely different than the lamp temperature. Color temperature is simply color balance. The lamp itself has two settings on most projectors, Low and Hi, Eco or Bright, or whatever the manufacturer calls it. The individual changes to the color settings have no effect on how hard the lamp is working – Just low or high. Theater Black 1 and 2 settings default to low power on the lamp, and the fan runs quieter. You can, though move it to hi-power, but the fan speed will automatically increase. Only high altitude operation requires anything additional on most projectors, and most do offer that for people using their projector over 4000 ft above sea-level.

    I’m assuming when you said you had a VW51, you mean the AW15? or the HS-51, which are LCD projectors, like the Epson. Supposedly the newer organic LCD panels no longer have this issue. In the US (as explained to me by the 3LCD consortium – hardly an unbiased source).

    Anyway, other than the lamp low – high, none of the adjustments you make will affect lamp life, or panel life.

    Lastly, the two things you can do to prevent problems with any projector, is keep the filters clean. Few follow the manufacturers recommendations. Most LCD projectors call for filter cleaning (or replacement) as often as 100 hours of use, although that varies a lot. I’m not sure about the UB.

    The other thing is give it proper ventilation, whether shelf mounting or ceiling mounting.

    Hope that helps. art

  • Greg

    Hello, in town we have a Epson and Sony dealer. I know you stated you did not sell them anymore, but which one would you get if both dealers offerd you about the same price (sony vpl vw60 or epson pro 1080ub)
    Thanks from someone new in the projector market!!!!
    Greg

    *****

    Hi Greg,

    Always a tough call. Two excellent projectors. First, of course, you could by the Home Cinema version and probably save $600+. However, my assumption here is you plan to have your local dealer install. Generally, if you force a local dealer to sell you an internet “version”, at a heavily discounted price, they’ll put the profit back in, somewhere in the installation side. And that’s fair. Local guys need the higher profit to stay in biz.

    So, buying the Home version, may not save you significantly, anyway.

    That takes us back to your question – VW60 vs Pro Cinema 1080UB. That’s going to be a close play. If you are set on this dealer, hopefully they have both you can kick back and watch. If so, I suggest settling in, and watching at least 10 minutes of a good hi-def movie or two, on one, then on the other. Which one impresses more, which one takes your breath away? If you like action, Casino Royale on blu-ray, is excellent, sci-fi – Aeon Flux, 5th Element, Pretty: House of the Flying daggers, etc. Pick two good blu-ray disc (or HD-DVD), to watch.

    These are two serious direct compeitors. Brightness in best modes is similar, (on my testing, within 30 lumens) – you can check the numbers from the review.

    The Epson though has a ton of power in its brightest, less accurate modes, giving it the big advantage if you are watching more than movies, such as sports with ambient light present. At it’s best the VW60 may be able to best the Epson in black levels, (on all dark scenes, but not by any significant amount. At other times they should be about equal, and in scenes with a lot of dark and a lot of bright, the Epson likely will best the Sony but these two are close in that regard.

    The Epson, if you like bright, will give you more of an “eye popping” image, and the Sony, a softer (less sharp), more subdued image.

    I suggest you read about my comments on the Epson vs the RS1, then the RS1 vs Sony VW60 (in the VW60 review, I think), for the direct tradeoffs. In black levels, I think I said that the 60, at best can rival the RS1, and I said that the Epson is just shy of it. However, the dynamic iris seems to be more critical to the black levels in the Sony. Thus, when the iris isn’t effective (dark and bright in a scene), I suspect the Epson has the edge.

    After that, the images are very different – again – Sony – soft, and mellow – film-like, Epson, crisp, and dynamic.

    The Epson is going to be more fun to watch, me thinks. Just make sure to get either properly calibrated to get the most out of them. Think this way, which ever one is set up better, (ie. one properly calibrated, the other, not), is going to be the preferred.

    Sounds like you need to consider your “big picture” to choose.

    At this level, I think you have to consider room, type of content, what is most important to you, to choose. However, hard to go wrong with either. -art

  • Joe

    Thanks Art, that helps a lot. I will probably go with the white screen, the one window is directly behind the screen (heavy curtain minimal light leakage) and the other is a half window in the downstairs kitchen on the right side, there is an entrance to the kitchen so was thinking of putting a thick black curtain on a shower rod or something to cover the entrance when needed, about 15 foot behind the projector is the stairs and upstairs light does come in the room but sounds like a gray screen would not help since it is not light from the sides. Thanks again for the input.

    Joe

  • http://google Steve Ash 513-207-5968

    Art,the pro cinema has v.x. mode. this is a pre-calibrated mode the home doesnt have.This mode is d65 drop dead georgeous,brighter than cinema night,and has the most ACCURATE FLESH TONES I HAVE SEEN ON ANY PROJECTOR.You cannot change anything but sharpness and brightness in this mode, and it wont let you engage the iris:but let me tell you,it is so good it spoils you for even cinema night mode.This mode alone makes the pro LOOK MUCH BETTER THAN THE HOME PERIOD! Art,hope you shoot some shots in this mode you will be blown away.Pro and Home not the same.Once you have seen the Pro the home isnt an option.I PAID 3300.00 FOR THE PRO WITH REBATE.TELL THE PEOPLE, ART!

    ******

    OK, good feedback. However, consider that the two projectors are inherently the same. Anything one can produce, the other should be able to do as well. Throw a professional calibrator at a Home Cinema version, and, you are likely to get results virtually identical to the Pro’s. BTW, the skin tones on the Home, after I did my rather basic grayscale calibration were also drop dead gorgeous (to borrow your phrase). As to pricing, looks like you already have “told the people”. -art

  • clyde rickard

    yes you are right-I mistyped-my defective panel problem was a Sony HS51—-does the epson have the newer organic 3LCD panels that are thought to be more durable?

    ******

    Hi, actually the new ones are “inorganic” panels. But neverminding that, I do believe that the D7 C2fine panels in the Epson are actually two generations newer, and supposedly these new inorganic panels are not likely to fade. Time will tell. -art

  • Kevin

    Hello Art,
    I am finally making the plunge on the Pro Cinema UB…I am torn on the screen. I have a 16X20 light controlled room…but also like to watch sports with some light. 110″ Carada BW (1.4) or I can get a good deal on a Da-Lite 110″ CinemaVision (1.3)…your thoughts?

    ********

    Hi Kevin,

    Screens are always tough. It does, however, sound like (as long as your controlled lighting can give your room the basic brightness you want, without a lot of light hitting the screen, like the Carada will serve you well. The slight gain of the BW, plus 1500+ lumens in brightest mode, should allow you a very good image. I’m finally going to get around to finishing the UB review, adding a number of HDTV images from my theater, which will include some showing my room’s ambient light. (Expect those to be added tomorrow evening. However, keep in mind that I use a Firehawk, which is particularly good at reducing side ambient light. That may help you decide. -art

  • Kevin

    Thanks Art, I thought you were going to say that…now it gets me thinking again. The real reason why I am even considering the Da-Lite is that I have $1000 store credit…unfortunatly, I can’t use it on a Carada screen..but a Da-Lite. So basically I can get the Da-Lite CinemaVision for almost free. IS it a good screen, or could you recommend a better one from Da-Lite? I can always buy the Carada, and use the instore credit on something else.

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

    Da-lite definitely makes good screens. While I haven’t reviewed it, I sold many, back in my days of owning an online dealership. You should be just fine – just a little poorer, but the credit will be used up. -art

  • Steve P

    Hi All:

    just wanted to update on the Epson 1080UB. I purchased one along with a Elite 120″ Fixed frame (1.1 gain). Ceiling mounted at 14’10″, this thing is absolutely amazing! sharpness, brightness…it is truly a bargain at $2799.

    Fan is a bit noisy in high bulb mode, but as many of you have said, you really don’t notice it during 95% of actual viewing, (only quietist of scenes).

    Anyway, for $2K or $3K more, I could have gotten a quieter fan (RS2 or Sony Black Pearl), but I doubt that the picture can be better at any price.

    Just my $0.02.

    Happy Viewing!

    S.

  • Kevin Pumphrey

    Ok, I am kinda new to the game, I have a plv-z5 in a
    light controlled (super dark) 12 x 14 room. the projector sits right above my head on a shelf about 8ft up on the back wall 12ft away onto a 109″ screen. I really want 1080P, and stuck on the 1080ub or the plv-z2000? at a 1,200 price gap, I cannot decide. My room is dedicated, no no ambient light can be attained, painted dark brown etc. Will the 1080UB be noticably better for the 1,200 price upgrade? Thanks for the great reviews, I used your info to decide on the plv-z5. But I am really stuck on this one? Thanks for any help!

    *********

    Hi Kevin,

    OK, you want the extra sharpness, of 1080p. Now comes the question of do you want substantially better black levels. Having the Z5, which is very good for a 720p, in this regard, realize that there really is a rather significant difference between the Z5 and the Epson. Between the Z5 and the Z2000, I’d say the Z2000 is probably closer to the Z5 than the Epson. The Epson, the Sony VW60 and the RS1, are all a step up, and group together in this regard, even though the JVC is the best, the others are pretty much “close enough”.

    Ask yourself this question. If you go with the Z2000, do you think you’ll be happy, or will you be sitting there thinking… “hmmm, I wish I had spent the extra”?

    That’s the magic question. If you are one questing for the best picture, the difference is, the Z2000 may leave you thinking about your next projector in a year, whereas the Epson may leave you satisfied. You’re the only one who can make that call, and, you’ve got limited info to go on, since you can’t compare. The difference is there, however. -art

  • Steve

    Great Review!

    The review make the 1080UB a very promising candidate. Most new projectors claim 1080/24P capabilities, yet some forum reports that they are not necessarilly outputted that way. Whence, the benefit of a 24P Bluray out put is lost. Do you know how the Epson processes a 24P input I.e. does it process it in multiples of 24?

    On this topic, how can a consumer assess this when reviewing a projector?

    Thanks

    Steve

    *******

    According to Epson, they process 24fps at higher speeds, I just can’t remember if it was 72, or 96 or another multiple. (96 I think, most are 72 or 96, but I think there are other devices as high as 120).

    To find out how each one is processing 24fps, will probably take contacting the manufacturer, or if lucky it might show up on a datasheet, or manual. I’ll try to start noting the multiples in future reviews.

    It seems there are two issues, the 24fps support eliminates 3:2 pull-down, and therefore judder, but then the new issue becomes motion blur, which I can barely detect at all, but now seems to be the big “flaw” of LCD and LCoS, for those who are highly critical, and more sensitive to it than I. Judder was something I was easily aware of. Motion blur, is something I have to go looking for, I just don’t notice during normal watching. -art

  • Kevin Pumphrey

    Thanks!! I would probably be wanting the epson in 6 months, So you are right, I will wait and save up some more cash to go ahead and get the epson, that wasy I wont be wondering what I am missing out on. After you review the epson looks like the one to beat! Thanks again, I appretiate the help!

  • Peter Pillgrem

    Great review but there is one question that I have. How well does the 1080UB handle deinterlacing of 1080i signals? I have seen no mention of this anywhere, in any review or on any forum. Since I have satellite that ouputs 1080i as well as still having a 1080i upconverting DVD the answer to that question is important.

    *******

    Hi Peter,

    I didn’t actually test, as I ran the Silicon Optix suite of tests coming out of my PS3, at 1080p resolution. But, I sure watched lots of hi-def football, all 1080i, and it was excellent. BTW, the Epson uses Silicon Optix processing, which is accepted as having really good processing at just about everything, along with names like Faroudja and Gennum.

    That’s the long way of saying – didn’t see a single thing in dozens of hours of watching 1080i, that caught my attention as a problem. I’m more concerned with the basics: “what shows up when you are just watching” rather than looking for problems. Epson passes the “what shows up…” with flying colors.

    The one comment that might relate would be about motion blur, which I don’t seem to notice, but some make a big deal about. I have no problem noticing 3:2 pulldown judder, but the motion blur I don’t seem to notice, except rarely such as watching a tennis match at 1080i not long ago. There I saw “tracers” of the ball, but could not determine if it was the 1080i conversion, motion blur, or the source itself, in that seeing any problem was so rare.

    Bottom line: No problems detected that would bother the typical viewer who watches content. Those constantly analyzing every aspect of the picture, are another story. -art

  • Aron

    Hi Art,

    I’m trying to decide between the Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 1080UB and the Sony VPL-VW40 (hopefully before Feb. 29, when the Epson rebate ends!), and I’m a bit confused. I don’t have access to either one for viewing, but I have seen the VPL-VW50 and loved its natural, film-like quality and lack of visible picture noise and pixel structure (from normal viewing distances). [It was, however, perhaps a bit too soft and subdued.] Consistent with this you write, above, in comparing the 1080UB to the VPL-VW60: “Sony – soft, and mellow – film-like, Epson, crisp, and dynamic.” Yet in your reviews, when you compare the VPL-VW40 to the 1080UB, it seems to be the opposite: the VPL-VW40 you describe as being sharper, punchier, and less-film like than the 1080UB! Have I interpreted your reviews correctly? [it almost seems like the VPL-VW40 is the edgy "bad boy" of the Sony projector family ;-).] And does this mean that, if I want natural and film-like, I should pick the 1080UB over the VPL-VW40?

    Also, how do the VPL-VW40 and the Epson 1080UB compare for picture noise and processing quality? And did you ever determine if the VPL-VW40′s enhanced sharpness is in fact due, as you wondered, to edge enhancement? I suspect the answer may be yes, since a projector that is sharper simply because it has an excellent lens and projection system should not seem “unnatural” as a result of such sharpness (e.g., the Marantz and Sim projectors, which are certainly very sharp, don’t look unnatural simply because they are so sharp).

    Thanks,

    Aron

    *********

    Hi, hmmm, where to start. I think your question regarding the somewhat contradictory descriptions, relates to my initial impression of the Sony, which was, if I recall, without checking the review or my notes, was oversaturated out of the box. Lot’s of punch, but a bit over the top. I think the second comment related to both after my grayscale calibration, etc.

    No, I do not know how the VW40 achieves its sharpness, which seems to be better than the VW60 or the older VW50. That’s why I suspect some edge sharpening, etc. On the other hand, many units I get are “reviewer samples”, and I may simply have received one that is sharper than average. Both the Sony and Epson seem to do extremely well on almost all types of image processing. Epson uses Silicon Optix I believe, and they have a great rep. I’m not sure if Sony uses 3rd party processing, or if it is theirs. If not theirs, most likely it will say whose they use, somewhere on brochures, etc.

  • John Jewett

    I have to mount the 1080UB on the back wall of my greatroom which is at 18 feet(high vaulted ceilings prevent ceiling mount). The largest screen my wall will accomodate is about 82″. At 17 feet is the projector capable of getting down to 82″? I know it depends on other factors also, but if this is is possible do you see image quality problems? I see you have answered similar questions, but I am new to this and am just not confident of my calculations.

    ***********
    Hi John, according to some quick calculations, the Epson can do an 82″ screen from as far back as 18.2 feet (measured from front of the lens), or it can be as close as roughly half that distance. So the answer is yes. You can confirm by going to Epson’s site, and downloading the user manual, which has a chart. -art

  • Ryan

    I wonder if the review for the comparison will mention the convergence issues with what seems like the majority of units, hell AVSforum doesnt sell em anymore!

    ***********

    Greetings Ryan,

    OK, a couple of things here. 1st, the unit I got had what I would call the usual amount of misconvergence, about 1/2 pixel vertically, and amost that horizontally. That however is little enough, that it is not visible at any normal viewing distance.

    I recently started following the issue on AVSforum. My comments are as follows.

    1. My feelings about forums in general, is that they tend to attract people who are finding problems. As a result, they seem to make the frequency of a problem, seem much worse than reality. Not that such problems don’t exist, but that they are below the radar of the vast majority of owners. The folks who go through 3, 4, 5 units are few and have expectations that often are not reasonable for “entry level” products. That “entry level in the case of projectors can be $2000 or $3000 is not the issue.

    So, while I don’t doubt that there are a number of units out there that are defective, in that they are way out of convergence, so that the problem is visible, I suspect that the numbers are far lower than the impression one gets on AVSforum and others.

    2. Jason (AVS) posts, indicate they are opening every unit, and finding a 50% unacceptable rate. This is quite believable, Jason and crew cater to the pickiest of all home theater projector buyers. All you have to do is read the threads, to understand that. The forums are where the “perfectionists” reside, as well as newbies, looking to learn. The average projector owner, buys a projector, and watches it, and isn’t on the hunt for absolute perfection. I suspect that half or 3/4 or 9/10ths of the units he’s opening and rejecting, would probably be fully acceptable to 90%+ of the buyers out there who would never even notice that there is a convergence problem with their unit, because they just wont’ see it at normal seating distances. (Flaws exist by the ton with most projectors if you are standing 3 feet from a 100 inch screen.)

    3. An AVS member sent me a copy of a thread posted by a Tony, someone claiming to be an Epson authorized dealer. In Tony’s comment, he said that less than two weeks ago, Epson sent out a letter reminding dealers that selling the Pro series online is a violation of the dealer agreement, and would immediately terminate any dealer selling the Pro models over the internet. Let’s say the timing raises questions. Myself, having been one of Epson’s largest online dealers for much of a decade, before I started doing this full time over 2 years ago, I am very familiar with their policy for the Pro line. They have always been very protective of the Pro line, which is to be sold only through “local, installing, dealers”.

    So, the two may, or may not be connected – AVS’s statement that they won’t sell the Epson any more, and the possibility that Epson may have warned them that continuing to do so would result in termination. It is interesting soap opera drama. Certainly it makes for interesting “spin”.

    Mostly, though I’m just interested in the size and scope of the convergence issue. I’ll leave the

    I’m sure I have no go way to find out, and I hate to conjecture. MORE importantly, I have, over the weekend, started polling my advertisers that sell Epson, which include probably 3 of the 4 largest online resellers.

    I am asking them what type of return rate, they are seeing from their customers, and what percent is related to convergence.

    I hope to have enough feedback by the end of the week, in which case I’ll probably put it on a blog.

    That’s it for now. -art

  • Aron

    Hi Art,

    When I spoke to Jason at AVScience, he told me that he “didn’t feel he was being particularly picky” when he was rejecting those units. Also, if the ban against online sales on the pro unit is a problem, why not just sell the home cinema model? It’s likely got just as much margin at the Sony VPL-VW40, which AVS is happy to sell. And besides, AVS wouldn’t have to discount it very much to give a good price — the best discounts you see online are typically less than 10%.

    –Aron
    ***********
    Ok, I’ll buy that, but, picky is relative. As I have pointed out to folks on avsforum as well, They represent the pickiest of customers. Not all the readers, but the most vocal folk – a small percentage of readership, but the majority of regular posters you can see them, they all have 100′s of posts.

    As I dealer, I tried advertising on AVSforum, and quit rather quickly. I found many of the AVS regulars to be hard to deal with. They would start their shopping months ahead of purchase timeframe, and would call in, and want to chat for hours. I was happy to leave many of them to Jason and crew. My point being that his clients are very particular, much more so than the buying population at large. So, what he thinks isn’t picky, is probably viewed as over the top, by other dealers, who have a more typical consumer customer. I’ve got numbers back from 2 dealers so far, but will wait until I have two more particularly large ones weigh in, before I add’m all up, and write it up. I’ve also asked Epson for their return rate, but I’ve never been able to get that number out of any manufacturer, even when I was a dealer buying most popular models in 50, 100, and 200 units at a time.

    I’d be curious as to Jason’s rejection rates on other product lineups. But let’s stay focused on the Epson. Margin wise, the Pro is far more profitable to sell. It has higher profit margins, to satisfy the local installing dealer. List price on a Pro UB, compared to 10% off on a Home, probably means the Pro dealer is making twice as much profit. If you think that’s not important to dealers… think again.

    More to the point, Epson’s policy, is to offer the ISF certified versions only to local installing dealers, so that they will carry the product. If they allow internet sales, then they lose that entire base. Don’t believe me, go try to find a local dealer displaying the Panasonic PT-AE2000U. Even the ones that will sell you one, won’t have one set up in their facilities, instead they will be selling InFocus, SIM2, Vidikron, Runco, etc.

    BTW, Sony is one of the most protected lines around. Take a look at the big industry online resellers – projectorpeople, projectorpoint, proview digital, visual apex, Adtech Projector Pros, and so on. I don’t think one of them has access to Sony’s VW series, only the low cost LCD models. JVC is still another line that is highly protected. Non-protected lines are widely distributed or at least moderately so. Optoma on many models (some are highly restricted, notably the HD81-LV), Sharp on lower end models, Panasonic, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, etc. They all have dealer requirements, but have lots of dealers online, compared to Sony, Epson Pro, and JVC, the more dealers, the lower the profit margins.

    So, if Epson decides that AVS is violating their policy, it may well be that AVS decides to carry the Home version. That AVS ships the Pro’s outside of their local territory is obvious. You can read the Epson pro pages, and see that this guy from texas, that guy from California, etc. have bought from them.

    Believe me, as a dealer, I would have loved to be the only Epson Pro dealer who could sell online. (More true today, as their lineup is hot).

    Anyway, enough conjecture. Ultimately this matters very little. If the Epson Pro is the best choice for a person, and if there is a one in 10, or one in 20, or one in 5 chance of a problem unit, and the manufacturer has a reputation for taking care of issues, most would rather take the chance, than buy another projector that isn’t as good a fit.

    OK this is killing me, I might as well make my point. two dealers gave me numbers. Both dealers are Home Cinema dealers. One reported slightly more than 50 units sold, and two returned, the other would only tell me between 100 and 200 sold, and also just two units back. Now, I realize that a percentage of people will not report back to the dealer, but go directly to the manufacturer, but, from my own experience as a dealer, I figure that number is about half, maybe a little more.

    ahh, enough, got to work on my report. -art

  • Kevin

    It’s like I found a gold mine of info when I came across your review and blog site. Best part, you tell it like it is.

    Anyhoo, I’m a couple of month away from buying a projector (waiting on getting my basement done). I’m leaning towards the 1080UB, but I can save around $500 if I got the previous 1080 model. I’ll have no ambient light in the basement unless I turn on the dimmers. Can I get your thoughts justifying the extra $500 for the UB model? To add, i’m looking at a 15 ft throw distance onto a 106′ screen.

    One other thing I’d like to pick your brain on screen paint (ie, goo system). With a new basement on the way, I’m on a tight budget so I figure I can use the specialty paints to save some coin. Thoughts?

    Thanks!!

    ********
    The Epson 1080 is a very good projector, but the UB is a significant step up. My personal take is that it would be one of the best $500 you can spend. Of course many people are more than satisfied with projectors not as good as the older 1080. If you want to get a reasonably priced “last projector” until something radical happens, this is it.

    Never worked with any of the screen paints, and therefore will not comment on them. -art

  • Axel Peikert

    Hello art,

    I have been reading your reports and info for quiete some time now. The tax return is coming and we would like to invest in a projector. I am divided over the epson home 1080ub or the panni ae2000u. Maybe you can give me some final advise.
    I allready have a diy screen 110″ wide (white fotobackground paper rolled onto a pvc pipe and hung under the 8′ ceiling) and will have to utilize it for a while. The ideal projector location would be 22′ back from the screen (shelfmount). The room is a livingroom and light control is limited so most of the viewing takes place at night – but still white walls and ceiling. I would like to use the panni because no screen door effect but realize, that the epson has more lumens for the screen size and distance. What would you recommand and are these ideas realistic or is the screen to large. Blue ray dvd will be purchased with projector. How about the sd performance of both projectors under these conditions – how will it translate into viewing expierence?
    Thank you so much for your input. It is very appreciated.
    Have great day

    Axel

    *********

    Greetings Axel,
    You didn’t mention your seating distance, but, personally, I believe, that even 3LCD 1080p projectors really have no issue with screen door effect, as pixel size is 44% smaller than 720 projectors. At normal seating distances, pixel structure is virtually invisible, though you might spots some rough edges on those white movie credits on dark backgrounds.

    I think 110″ is about as large as the Panasonic can handle, especially when you start thinking about your lamp dimming over time. The Epson works out to about 15% more lumens in best mode, and an even greater difference in brightest modes (roughly 50%). That 15% translates into about 7 or 8 inches more diagonal size, for the same brightness on the screen. The gain of your screen comes into play as well. I normally figure a screen with small gain for my estimates. Something between 1.1 and 1.2 actual gain (which probably includes most of the screens claiming 1.3 and 1.4 gain.

    Hope that helps. Other than that, I really am a huge fan (obviously from my reviews) of the Epson UB. I think the Panasonic is, however, a more friendly “consumer projector” for those that just want something that looks great, and don’t have to play around with it. I say that even though Panasonic has all the “tools” for those that do want to tweak. -art

  • DARRYL

    WHAT IS YOUR IDEAS FOR A PROJECTOR FOR SPORTS LIKE HOCKEY AND FOOTBALL AND THIRD MOVIES.mY ROO HAS SOME LIGHT COMMING INTO IT AND IS ABOUT 15 FEET LONG WILL A 106 SCREEN WORK>>

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

    In the lower cost range – 720p resolution, my first choice is definitely the Panasonic PT-AX200U. It’s a light canon! Lots of lumens to offset modest ambient light. You can check out room images from the older, almost identical PT-AX100U, on our home page, in the article called Sports Fans.

    Other 720p alternatives, that come to mind are the Epson Home Cinema 720 (not as bright, but still one of the brightest – plus a better warranty), and the Optoma HD71 which I just reviewed, if you prefer DLP and their characteristics.

    If you are looking at 1080p projectors, I’d have to recommend the Epson Home (or Pro) Cinema 1080 UB (TW2000 outside the US/Canada). Alternatives would be the Mitsubishi HC4900 as the least expensive, and an excellent choice. In the US, the Mitsubishi is typically around $2000, while the Epson is almost a $1000 more. There are a number of more expensive models that are excellent, and bright, including a number of DLP projectors like the InFocus IN82, and Optoma HD81-LV – the brightest of any under $10K 1080p projectors to date. Also nice and bright – BenQ’s two DLP’s, and the JVC RS1x.

    That should give you some choices. Have fun!

  • Rajiv S

    Hi Art,

    Your website is a huge resource for projector information and reviews. Thank you for all your efforts to put all the information out there for us to make smart informed choices.

    I had a question about the Epson 1080UB. I’ll be in the market soon for a front pj; the Epson is definitely on the short list.

    My question is about “dust” problems with front projectors in general and LCD projectors specifically.

    First off, should we even think of dust problems as an important factor for front projectors? I have a digital SLR camera, and yes on that product category (until recently) it was a fact of life you had to deal with; you had to be careful when changing lenses as an example.

    Related — I’ve heard that LCD projectors don’t have a “sealed light path” (unsure what that means exactly), whereas DLP and some LCOS projectors do. Is that true?

    And finally, with regard to the Epson 1080UB, can you comment on how vulnerable it can be to dust problems in a reasonably well maintained typical home theater room.

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

    I consider dust blog issues with 3LCD projectors to be somewhat rare, but potentially very annoying. First, though, most dust blobs are only noticeable on very dark scenes, as the blob itself is single colored. It occurs with dust gets in the light path between, say the beam splitter and one of the LCD panels, let’s say blue, or between the blue panel (actually they are all gray, but have different colored filters), and the dichroic prism that recombines the three color beams (R,G,B).

    Yes, DLP projectors (single chip) seem to all have sealed light paths, as, it seems are most LCoS projectors – but some LCoS may not have sealed light paths – I’m just not sure.

    Anything with a sealed light path should be safe from dust blobs.

    If you get some dust in there – say in the blue light path, it will block some blue light from getting to the screen, where that dust sits in the path. The lack of blue will mean too much of its opposite color – a shift to yellow. In most cases, you just won’t see this, but, in a very dark scene, with some blue component, you will notice the shift from where the dust blob is.

    The good news – dust blobs are considered a warranty problem for most projectors. Thus, say you have an Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, which you mention. Get a dust blob, and epson will replace your projector during its 2 year warranty (Home version), or 3 year warranty (Pro version).

    There are other solutions, Sanyo, on their PLV-Z5, and their 1080p PLV-Z2000, actually has designed the projectors so that you can fairly easily remove a dust blob problem with a provided Air blower (one of those bulbous looking things, that you see some photographers use).

    While dust blobs are unfortunate, and a nuisance, they seem to be an issue, for only an extremely small percentage of projector owners – even less than, say the Rainbow Effect, perhaps less than 1%.

    How to prevent dust blobs? Follow the manufacturer’s directions relating to cleaning filters. Some folks suggest, that when a filter starts getting really clogged, the air pressure on some parts of the filter become much higher, and cause some dust to get sucked into the projector – creating the potential for a dust blog. Also be careful and smart while cleaning/changing the filter.

    I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone choose not to buy a projector for fear of a potential dust blob.

    PS. The Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, that Epsn has left with me for a while, remains dust blob free, despite being moved frequently between two room, and being table positioned (where there is more dust) as opposed to shelf or ceiling mounting. I’ve got about 400+ hours on it. -art

  • MICHAEL B.

    hi, I JUST BOUGHT AN EPSON HC1080UB AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW BIG A PICTURE I CAN GET FROM IT WITHOUT THE PICTURE BECOMING LESS ATTRACTIVE?
    HOW BIG CAN IT REACH WITH A TOTAL OF 15′ BETWEEN MY WALLS WHILE STILL MAINTAING AN AWESOME PICTURE?

    ANOTHER QUESTION IS I DO NOT NO WHAT KIND OF SCREEN I SHOULD USE. I CAN CONTROLL MY AMBIENT LIGHT TO COMPLETLY DARK.

    WHAT ARE YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT MAKING MY OWN SCREEN OUT OF FABRIC FROM A LOCAL STORE?

    THANKS FOR THE IMPUT!!

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

    Well, seating distance is a key aspect of your decision, as is how far back you like to sit in a movie theater. Personally, I can sit 12 feet back from a 128″ screen and thoroughly enjoy the Epson. However, that is about as large as you can go, relating to brightness. Some folks prefer to be further back. (I like to sit between 1/3 and halfway back in movie theaters). In my opinion, home theater projectors are about the same type of “immersing yourself in the movie”, that a theater provides – thus the large screen and dark walls…

    Using fabric is questionable, but some fabrics are available. Some top screen manufacturers will sell you fabric specifically designed for projection. Da-lite is one of those, I suspect Stewart will as well. Carada, I also believe offers fabric.

    One challenge is you must have your screen surface as close to perfectly flat and tight as possible. That’s the build challenge for DIY folks.

    Then consider, you can buy a very respectable pull down screen for $200 to $300 (US), and very good fixed wall screens in the 100 – 110″ size from under $400 to $600 from folks like Elite and Carada, as well as several others.

    Hope that helps!

  • Bobby

    I was reading through the reviews and found that the Panasonic PT AE2000U would be a good choice for me, as budget is a concern. I read that I should be able to find it at or lower than $2,000, but have been unable to find one for that price.

    Any help in finding a reputable seller for the Panasonic PT AE2000U at a good price (under $2,000)?

    ————————-

    Hi Bobby,
    As per a previous blog, my original statement in the comparison report was somewhat in error. I was figuring that a price of just under $2000 net, was possible with the new promo that Panasonic was about to launch shortly after I published the comparison. Do to errors and foolishness on my part, I expected a markedly different promo than Panasonic actually launched a few days later. I had misunderstood that there would be a $400 cash rebate, and a blockbuster card for $250 (which is worth about that, if you actually use it for rentals), but I valued at $200. That $600 total on a projector that starts at $2699, and you can usually talk your way into an extra $100 off, worked out to a net, of $1999. Thus the positioning in the $2000 and under category.
    The actual promo, when it rolled out, instead was a $400 Blockbuster rental card, and a 1 year extended warranty (which Panasonic sells for $250). Not quite as good a value, overall. Had I been straight on the promo, I never would have put the Panny in the $2000 and under section. Since there is no cash rebate, anyway you slice it, your out of pocket, is going to be around $2600 – $2700. Maybe $100 less than that? And there is value to the promo, but, it won’t help if you don’t have the dollars. -art

  • Bobby

    Art,

    First, thanks for responding.

    Do you recommend this Panasonic unit? I have heard that the Sanyo PLV-Z2000 was supposedly a good buy. I had been looking at the Sony VPL-VW50, Mitsubishi HC-6000 and Epson HC-1080-UB as well. I am just looking for the best for the money.

    I plan on watching mostly sports and dvd’s, no gaming.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Bobby

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

    Hi again,

    OK, you are telling me your budget is up to around $3K, based on that list.

    The Sanyo is a great value, but not overly bright – a downside for sports. The Mits 4900 – lots of lumens, but weak in black levels, good for sports but the Sanyo better in picture quality. Myself, I favor the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, but the Mits HC6000 isn’t bad, if around the same price. The Sony VW40 or the 50 work, unless the VW50 is a lot less, I’d recommend the 40. Looks like your call is lumens vs $$. In that I mean, if you want the better overall image quality, and at least average lumens, you won’t find that in a projector under $2K, But, at at $2500+ you have several good choices. May I suggest the individual head to head comparisons attached to the 1080p Comparison Report? That’s exactly what they are there for, and you’ll find that most of the interesting comparisons you would want, are there, and when not, you can draw good conclusions by comparing several.

    Have a blast – like I said, overall, in your case, the Epson would be my choice. Then you just have to see if you have any problems with its weaknesses (and all projectors have some downside). That is mostly fan noise (and iris noise, but that is less noticeable), and no electronics support for an anamorphic lens.

    -art

  • Dino

    Hello there,

    Very convincing review. Thanks alot.

    So yah you convinced me to purchase the Epson Home Cinema 1080UB and I sure have done so. Now I need few help in setting up the Home Theatre. I am planning to place it on a shelf that is 11.5ft away from a 112” GrandView Fixed Frame Screen. I will be sitting exactly 10ft away. Will there be any Screen Door Effect?

    The projector will be centered vertically and will use the lens shift horizontally about 44” (max. allowed is 48”)? Is that recommended? I understand that it is better not to use the Minimum Zoom Distance which is (10.8ft) and it is better not to use the entire limit of lens shift; but my question is: Will the image quality degrade significantly? Or it would be obvious to notice the difference as in placing the projector say 18ft away and use the lens shift only 12”. Will the Image dim if it is placed 18ft away from the screen?

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

    Hi,

    No, at 10 feet from a 112″ screen, you won’t have to worry about screendoor effect. That’s not to say that you won’t be able to spot pixel structure on things like movie credits or the “signage” on sports programming (scores, info, etc.) However, there won’t be enough pixel visibility to create the distortion known as screen door effect. I sit just under 12 feet from a 128″ screen, and when I am using the UB, it’s just fine!

    Now, as to using minimum (or maximum) zoom, or maximum lens shift, lenses are never at their best in extreme settings. However, the types and magnitude of optical distortion (and light leakage through the lens), may be at their most, with the extreme settings, but the optical distortions themselves are very minor things. For example, with the projector at minimum throw, you’ll get more bowing of the image (the center top of the image being slightly lower than the corners, or the other way around – depending on whether you are mounting up high or low. Bowing however, is pretty neatly managed by a little bit of the edges of the image hitting into the screen’s border by an inch or so. Hey, lens shift inherently takes a 16:9 image and makes it no longer exactly 16:9 – but we generally don’t notice, thanks to the screen’s black border.

    I’m rambling, but, bottom line, I really wouldn’t worry about it. I typically recommend with a projector with a 2:1 zoom, that you should try to avoid the most extreme 5% at both ends (wide angle and telephoto), but it’s just one of those little things. We’re probably quibbling over well less than 1% of overall image quality. There are so many aspects far more important – black levels, brightness, accurate colors, that make any slight optical distortions insignificant. And, btw, none of those optical distortions are remotely as bad, as, say, using even a small amount of keystone correction. Having 1:1 pixel mapping, is far more important than lens shift, or zoom lens issues.

    So, go for it, and: Enjoy! -art

    The projector will be centered vertically and will use the lens shift horizontally about 44” (max. allowed is 48”)? Is that recommended? I understand that it is better not to use the Minimum Zoom Distance which is (10.8ft) and it is better not to use the entire limit of lens shift; but my question is: Will the image quality degrade significantly? Or it would be obvious to notice the difference as in placing the projector say 18ft away and use the lens shift only 12”. Will the Image dim if it is placed 18ft away from the screen?

    I really need to know before I start the set up and regret after.

    P.s. it is very convenient to have the projector sitting on a shelf that is 11.5ft away and 44” off the centre in the Horizontal direction as compared to ceiling mounting 18ft away.

  • Fritz

    Art,

    Unbelievably informative site.

    It has been a few months since the last post on the 1080UB. Has anything replaced your strong recomendation for this projector in the under $3-4K class? Or on the horizon that I should wait for? I am excited to pull the trigger and replace the dying 720p I have.
    Again, Thanks for your insights.

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

    Greetings Fritz. No, my enthusiasm for the Epson UB projectors is unchanged. I’m reviewing now, the rather excellent InFocus IN83, which is far brighter in best mode than the Epson, and has the most natural color of any projector I’ve reviewed, but then, it’s easily twice the price of the Home Cinema 1080 UB.

    In the Epson’s price range it is still my first choice. -art

  • Fritz

    Art,

    Perfect, I pulled the trigger… Which begs the installation question that you seem to have answered in multiple stages many times.. Thanks in advance for your patience! Is there a best practice for the set ups ( color settings,etc.)that could be provided for someone who is a novice on this type of work? I have a theatre room where the projector will be centered on an 18 inch high table (actually a bass speaker) 12.5 feet from the screen. The only other obvious complication is the receiver is on the other side of the room and the connections travel approximately 25 ft to the projector.
    Again thanks

    Fritz

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

    Greetings again, Fritz,

    You can try the color settings posted in my review, or other reviews. Don’t forget, that the defaults are a bit oversaturated, but different screen materials make it seem more or less so. You can do color saturation by eye, especially looking at skin tones – not to pale, not to intense and unnatural.

    However I still recommend buying a calibration disc. I used to recommend either the AVIA or DVE discs which many online dealers sell. HOWEVER, Mike has just written up a review of the new DVE-HD version. Truth is, I gave him my disc, unopened for him to do the review, so I’ve never tried it myself (I will).

    I just got his review this week, and haven’t read it yet, but should post it tomorrow, if I can get to it, if not, by Monday. Since it is designed for HD, it may have distinct advantages, and the old interface and instructions would benefit from improvement, which, again, I don’t know what they’ve done with it. Otherwise, I favor the AVIA, over the SD version of DVE -art

  • Caroline

    Hi Art, hope you can help us, as part of a youth arts group we were successful in getting a grant to start a community cinema project in our country town. The room we are using is 44 feet by 24 feet (13.5 mts x 7.3 mts, 3.4 mts high) and will have some ambient light although we plan on projecting at night so this will be minimised.

    The first lot of information we were getting was to go for a data projector the Benq SP831 or Mitsubishi WD2000. But we have one supplier recommending the Epson EMP-TW1000, I think the Epson 1080UB would be a better option if we decide to go this way. But I’m wondering is this projector suitable for a 150″ screen?

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

    Hi Caroline,

    Hmmm, you find yourself a bit “between a rock and a hard place”. With the right 150″ screen, the Epson can handle it in what I call brightest mode, but that’s with noticeably less color accuracy, than the best modes (too much green, etc.). Of course a higher gain screen, really helps.

    Also, where you place the projector. It reads that you are ceiling mounting (I’m assuming your screen is going to be on the 24 foot wall, so your room is 44′ deep, which is too deep to shelf mount in the rear.

    Therefore placing a projector near the wide-angle end of it’s zoom lens, gives you more lumens, which also helps – for a 150″ screen, that would be around 16-20 feet (furthest back would be around 36 or 37 feet (quick math in my head – don’t take it to the bank). I generally recommend not going to the widest position, so let’s say 17.5 to 20 feet back (measured from the front of the lens.

    With a high gain screen (I’m assuming you haven’t bought one yet), you will have more rolloff to the sides. If you go with a gain of, say 1.8 (pretty high, but still well below some in the 2.5 gain range,) rolloff should not be too big a problem (certainly not for folks sitting between the left and right edges of the screen (about 12 feet or so).

    But it comes back to the overall picture quality. With a new lamp, in best mode, I found the Epson could just barely fill my 128″ firehawk screen (relative gain of 1.25 – no, don’t ask what that means).

    So, with a higher gain screen, it is doable, and you can always compromise among the many modes and adjustments, and probably get a more than acceptable image with a solid 1000 lumens output (I recall about 1660 lumens after improving “brightest” mode a bit, but further color improvement could be had and still stay at 1000 lumens or brighter.

    Biz projectors have issues – first, the LCD types have poor contrast ratios and with them, poor black level performance. Biz DLP projectors mean typically 2x color wheels, and a higher percentage of people sensitive to the rainbow effect, than home theater DLP’s typically with 4x or 5x color wheels

    Sadly, no one has an affordable home theater projector that can crank out 3000 or 4000 lumens (the Panasonic PT-AX200U (only 720p resolution) can almost hit 3000 in brightest mode, but again, colors are well less than ideal.

    As between the TW1000 and the UB (TW2000), the biggest difference is in black levels, which may not benefit you with some ambient light on, but I’d still favor the UB if the price difference isn’t huge.

    The TW1000 was a very good projector for the bucks, the Epson – is a spectacular projector for the bucks. End of conversation.

    Hope that helps! -art

  • Allan

    hello art,

    i’ve got the epson 1080ub paired with a da-lite damat w/ protrim (1.0 gain) 106″ screen. both are on their way.

    projectorcentral’s calculator is telling me to put it at 14’2″ back from the screen (18-fl).

    your post above says: “15.5 feet back puts your projector just about right in the mid-range of the zoom, so you should have about the same 468 lumens we measured.”

    i’m confused… how far should i place the projector? fyi, i’ve got an almost batcave room (15′ long) with beige color walls and neutral carpeting.

    thank you so much!

    - allan

    *******************
    Hi Allan,

    For your sized screen, the full range of the Epson’s lens is about 11 feet. The difference between 14.2 and 15.5″ is only about 8% out of the 100%. In other words don’t worry about it. I have no idea why their calculator picks exactly that spot. It’s obiviously a bit more wide angle than dead center, but the difference in brightness based on an 8% shift, is likely going to be only about 15-17 lumens. Not enough to care about.

    They are obviously using a formula, but it doesn’t seem to be effected by screen gain, or other relevant factors. Perhaps they just chose to recommend about 1/3 back instead of using mid-point.

    Bottom line – place it where you need to – you should have no visible difference whether you use 14.2 or 15.5 feet. -art

  • Allan

    Hi Allan,

    For your sized screen, the full range of the Epson’s lens is about 11 feet. The difference between 14.2 and 15.5″ is only about 8% out of the 100%. In other words don’t worry about it. I have no idea why their calculator picks exactly that spot. It’s obiviously a bit more wide angle than dead center, but the difference in brightness based on an 8% shift, is likely going to be only about 15-17 lumens. Not enough to care about.

    They are obviously using a formula, but it doesn’t seem to be effected by screen gain, or other relevant factors. Perhaps they just chose to recommend about 1/3 back instead of using mid-point.

    Bottom line – place it where you need to – you should have no visible difference whether you use 14.2 or 15.5 feet. -art

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

    art,

    great explanation, as always… keep up the good work!

    - allan

  • http://www.htmarket.com alan hutchinson

    our customer lover the new epson ub as the black levels are really good.

  • David Knight

    Hi Art

    I’ve had my trusty Sony VPL-VW10HT for 8 years now and I think it is time for a change.

    My dilemma is this; four years ago I built a dedicated cinema room and mounted the projector on the ceiling. I laid a reasonable quality component cable behind the wall before the builders plastered it. (I didn’t know about HDMI / DVI back then)

    My problem now is I can’t connect an HDMI cable without completely destroying the walls and removing shelving.

    I therefore have two questions:

    1) The most important question. I see the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB supports 1080p 60/50/24 with a component cable. Is this worth doing or will the difference in quality be too poor compared with HDMI?

    2) Minor Issue. From your review of the Epson (one of the most comprehensive ones I’ve read) it seems perfect in it’s versatility for placement and performance. The only negative comment I have seem is the slow iris, apparently it can take a couple of seconds to catch up from dark to light scenes?

    I hope you can give me some advice,

    Many thanks

    David Knight

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

    Hi David,

    I love the UB projector. It is my first choice – (the iris is slow, true, but far less intrusive than other slow irises. I never considered it a problem, except for those who spend far more time analysing every frame of a movie looking for artifacts and issues, than watching the movie.

    don’t open your walls. not only should your component be fine, but there is a Plan B.

    If it ships on time, you will have the option to add a wireless HDMI solution before year end, or early next year. Belkin is launching Flywire, a 1080p HDMI 1.3b (with Deep color, 24fps, etc. support). Two versions – #1 roughly $699 for one room, or $999 for one that can have multiple receivers so one source can be routed to several rooms. (I’m guessing that the more expensive one will come with two room capability, then a couple hundred for each addtional “receiver”.

    I’m planning on intsalling one in my house as soon as they are out. I too, have old wiring, with CAT5 extenders. I still can’t get a 1.3b signal to work, as the extenders are still only 1.2…

    Thus the Belkin for me, if it ships, and works as demonstrated.

    so, point is, go component for now, if you feel the need for HDMI – that should do the trick, down the road.

    -art

  • Don Jackowski

    Thanks for the continued great info. I was about to plunge on the 1080UB but have just heard about the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 6100 shipping in November for (gasp) $1999! The specs look terrific. Can’t wait for you to get your hands on one and give us your review!!

    Don

    **********

    Hi Don,

    Yes saw it at the show, but it wasn’t being demo’d. I’m going to include it in the next blog, late tonite, with preliminary comments. -art

  • Carmen Marchesani

    I have a thin green line (1″) on right side of screen from my new epson 1080ub. Sreen is 92″ and is 16′ from where the projector is mounted. Any idea what this green line might be from. Any help would br great. Thanks

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

    Greetings Carmen,

    Not sure. You say it’s 1 inch wide? That’s obviously far too much to be a panel alignment issue.

    Are you getting it from all sources, or only TV signals? My first thought would be a broadcast issue. The Epson is very good, compared to some, but SD-TV (standard definition), and also standard definition content over an HDTV broadcast often has a line at one of the sides or the top, or bottom.

    For that reason, projectors all have an overscan control, which basically doesn’t use the outermost lines of information, typically cropping off a couple of percent of the picture.

    However, that wouldn’t occur with a DVD or Blu-ray DVD.

    If you are getting it on multiple sources, then I do believe you have a problem. Give Epson tech folks a call. They can confirm, and replace if needed. Or if you just got it, and Epson says it’s a problem with your unit, you probably will want to go back to the dealer. Epson sends out refurbs, but if it’s a brand new unit, your dealer most likely will swap it out with another new one.
    Best of luck. Let me know how it all turns out. -art

  • Carmen Marchesani

    Thanks. I will check out the other inputs and get back to you.

  • Carmen Marchesani

    It only happens on the HDMI input when I am watching an HD channel and not when watching a digital/SD channel.

    **********

    OK, still could be overscan. What about DVD, or Blu-ray DVD. What about TV through another input (if you have that option (such as component).

    Anyway, you should try turning on overscan in the menus. It should eliminate the line. But you still need to determine if it is overscan. Thus the DVD or Blu-ray test.

  • Stan Wulf

    Hi Art,
    Great info.
    I have a den setup with a moderate amount of ambient light coming into the rear of the room (not directly onto the screen) from one side. 14 feet projector to screen. Given this setup, what screen material would be best with the 1080UB?
    Thanks very much
    Stan

    **********

    Hi Stan, With your ambient light source coming from the back, and only slightly to the side, high contrast, gray and high gain screens will not help you with ambient light issues. For that reason, I would probably suggest a white surface with modest gain – 1.0 – 1.4 gain. If fixed screen, something like the Carada Brilliant White. But everyone’s got screens like that, so if you need motorized, and low cost, you might look to Elite. Da-Lite and Draper are more expensive, and well respected US screen manufacturers, and then, there are plenty of other companies, such as Grandview, Vutec, etc., without getting into the really expensive brands like Stewart. -art

  • Don Jackowski

    Hi again, Art. This might seem really dumb, but…I’m using a Panasonic PT-AX200U with a Da-Lite 110″ HCCV screen in controlled lighting and am not satisfied with my blacks and shades of gray, as well as clarity. I’m close to buying the 1080UB as an upgrade. Best choice under $3k? I can’t find any here locally to demo, so I’d appreciate your opinion on this.
    Thanks
    Don

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

    Greetings Don,

    Considering the net on the Epson is now down around $2150, I definitely think it’s got to be the best overall buy under $2500 – while they last. It has been my favorite overall value when it was roughly $2800 a couple of months ago, and while better projectors (including their December expected Home Cinema 6100), will cost more, the Epson, with its superb black levels, for an entry level price is going to be tough to beat. I suspect that they will last only for a month plus, but almost certainly will be gone some time in December. Get’m while they’re hot! -art

  • Don Jackowski

    It’ll be here on Wednesday and the company I bought it from has a “no charge” restocking if under 4hrs of use. That means I can compare it to the PT-AX200U before deciding to keep it. It doesn’t get any better than that! Thanks for your help, Art!

  • Stan Wulf

    Hi Art,
    What do you think of perforated screens – do they effect the picture to the common eye at all?
    Thanks
    Stan

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

    Greetings Stan,

    Yes, acoustic screens can have an impact on image quality, such as noted in the Elite Acoustic screen surface I reviewed early this year. In that case, there is enough reflected light (if the wall behind your screen isn’t black, to ruin the picture. (BTW, I’ll be reviewing their new, improved acoustic material in the next month or two.) It’s a trade-off, but with the best acoustic screens any loss of quality is minimal. -a

  • fleck

    Hi Art, i am just finishig of my room i liked the reveiws on th epson1080ub , just need a little help on the screen,romm almost black no light size20/13ft like to get a 106 or a 110 screen for that room is it wise or a smaller screen white or grey,i like quality ,and a good picture.

    thanks,

    ***********

    Hi fleck,

    Assuming no side ambient light conditions, I’d say you can go either size, however, considering the 1080 UB’s excellent blacks, unless you are a real black level fanatic, I’d say go white surface, the usual 1.0 to 1.4 gain screens, like the Carada Brilliant White, the Studiotek 130, and equivalents from Da-Lite, Draper, etc. If you are strictly movies, (no lighting on for HDTV, sports, you could go with a high contrast gray at 106, or even 110″. As per my review, I did much of my watching of the 1080UB with about a 110 inch image shining on my 128″ Firehawk, which is an HC gray. -art

  • Philip

    Hi Stan,

    First, thanks for your review give me the confidence to let me bought the amazing Epson 1080UB.
    Second, during the several months I find out this projector still has some minor issue:
    1. Still can fell the noise when in high light mode
    2. When turn Irie on can clearly hear the noise (like a computer hard drive reading) from the lens side.
    3. The manual H&V key can’t stay in the place after setup and use for a time. Because several times when I turn on the projector, I find out the image movie out from projector screen.
    Third, pleas give me some advice for the following questions:
    Watching env& machine:
    Light cond: Full dark basment
    Bluray player: Denon 2500BT
    Amp: Onkyo 805
    Speaker: KEF 3005SE 7.1
    Projector: EPSON 1080UB celling mount
    Screen: Elite VMAX moto 92″ matte white
    Most time watch Bluray movie with Cinema 1 mode
    1. What kind of screen suggest to use in the full dark env with this projector. What gain is best? The reason I want to change my screen is when has the big white color image (like white cloud on the sky, snow…)project on the screen I can clear to see the screen painting material and small shine spot reject to my eyes, that make the image unclear. For example ,when watching the movie “House of Flying Daggers”, I get the better image on my white wall that the screen. But the other side, got no problem on the other without white color image on this screen. I think maybe this screen is old model not good for HD projector, the painting material is not small and smooth enough, and the gain is too hight.
    2. Why can’t see any different when set Irie to on&off
    3. Weather need the Bluray movie also support the x.v deep color, otherwise you can’t see any advantage even the player, amp and projector set to deep color support.
    4. How to know this is a deep color image when check the source option on the projector.
    5. Why can’t see any different when set the projector 24P support to on, weather it also very depends on weather the bluray movie support it or not?

    Thanks!
    Philip

    Greetings Philip, As you can see, I’m way behind on answering questions. I’ll try to be brief: You have two sets of numbers above, I’m answering the lower ones. But first, regarding the iris noise.
    Seems to be some variation in the noise the iris makes from projector to projector. Mine is reasonably quiet, but I can still pick it up during silent scenes. If it’s bad, that’s why Epson has a replacement warranty.

    1. Well, some companies have come out with screens with finer surfaces for 1080p work. The Stewart Firehawk G3 which I own, is an example, and I could see the difference, though not great, compared to my older Firehawk that I replaced. As to a bright spot, most better screens should not have a hot spot, at least not one that would normally be noticeable.

    2. On the right scenes, you can definitely see it. For example if you have a fade to black between scenes, you should see it there. Also on very dark scenes with no really bright areas. A night scene with more than the tiniest amount of pure white, won’t allow the iris to stop down, so on those mixed scenes, the iris does little (but the eye adjusts to the bright area, a partial offset).

    3. yes, so far Blu-ray will be the primary source of Deep Color and x.v. color, but I’m not aware of any titles offering this yet. It’s a “future” feature, but true 10 bit/channel source material should provide a visible (though not great) improvement, especially on closeups of faces.

    4. Don’t know what the projector info will say, when they find a Deep Color source, as I haven’t seen one yet.

    5. Yes, you need 24 fps source, which most blu-ray discs now have. However, be sure your player is set up to output 24fps. Some players have an “auto” feature to determine whether to send 24fps, but there’s no guaranty that it recognizes every display devices ability to support it. Such a feature will not output 24fps unless it understands that the display can accept it. Also many AV receivers (other than the newest) and HDMI switch boxes do not fully support. For example, my old Marantz THX cert. receiver doesn’t. (And I don’t use it for switching, for that reason, among others). Also some of my switch boxes are really 1.2 devices, even though they recognize 1.3 data with 24 fps. What happens is that my switch box sees the 1.3, but tells the source to send it 1.2 so it can distribute that.

    Hope that helps. -art

  • Noel Keith

    Hi Art,

    I know you have heard this a million times but I have to say how informative and appreciated your reviews are. I am considering the Epson Home Cinema 1080UB as I can get a great deal right now due to the soon to be released 6500 and 7500. Are there any glaring upgrades to the 6500 over the Home Cinema 1080UB ? I have 120″ screen and would like to place the projector at a distance of about 17′ (front of the lens to the screen) At that disitance, are there any loss of brightness concerns. Finally, I have heard rumors about the 6500 coming in at around $3999US and the 7500 at $4999US. I live in Canada and can pick up the Home Cinema 1080UB for $2700CAD. I like the savings, but would you pay the differnce for the 6500 ? I know its a personal choice, just looking for your opinion. Many Thanks. Looking for forward to your feed back.

    Noel

    ****************
    Thanks Noel,

    Tough call. Let me put it this way. the 1080 UB is a great projector for the money. The 6500 will be better, but, most likely not a great improvement. There are few people who would ever complain about the 1080 UB’s black level performance, even if the Home Cinema 6500 UB is a little better. The new model will have creative frame interpolation, which is a nice touch, but I’m not fully sold on its importance yet. Still, it is a benefit. I’m really more interested in whether there will be subtle improvements in the naturalness of the overall image. I’ve said that the 1080 UB is not the most film-like, but has a lot of “wow factor” – a dynamic looking image. To guess at those differences would be just that, an uneducated guess.

    So, hang in there if you can. I imagine there will still be 1080 UB’s around after the 6500 UB starts shipping, and their pricing isn’t likely to go anywhere but down slightly.

    With luck, after talking to epson today, the 6500 UB (or the 7500 UB) may well arrive in time for me to have a full review published before Christmas. No promises, I’m at their mercy, waiting for the first shipment of review units to land, but Epson is optimistic, in that I may well get the projector in two weeks or so.. It is my highest priority, so I’ll publish within 7 days of its arrival. -art

  • AJ Johnson

    Hi Art,

    I finally pulled the trigger on the UB and I love it! I’m still playing around with the settings to figure out what I like the most.

    One quick question – your review refers to the setting “Theater Black”, is this the same as “Cinema Dark”?

    Thanks for the informative site!

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

    I use the Theater Black 1, option. I just can’t recall, which is the equivalent mode, but comparing the manuals probably will allow you to figure it out. Anyone else recall?

  • Arminn

    Hi Art,

    What mount would you recommend for the epson 1080 UB?

    Thanks

    **********

    Hi Arminn,

    I’m afraid I’m not qualified to recommend one. I just don’t get to play with different mounts. Your dealer is likely a much better source of information. Other than that, over the years, I’ve had good luck with Premier Mounts universal mounts. When I owned a dealership, we sold their mounts for most projectors to the tune of 50 – 100 mounts per month, with good success. (That was more than 3 years ago, though). -art

  • Mike Flynn

    Hi Art,

    I picked up a demo Pro Cinema 1080ub that included a bulb with 2000 hours on it. The dealer will order a free bulb if I decide to keep it. I have been comparing it with the W5000 with a brand new bulb side by side.

    The Epson is VERY dim compared to the BenQ in `best mode`…and thats with the benQ iris set to zero and brilliant colour off. The differences in contrast are dramatic in favour of the BenQ.

    I hesitate to return the epson because of your review. Is it possible that a bulb at the end of its life would seriously cut the brightness and contrast of the EpsonÉ Can I expect a large difference with the new bulbÉ I am really sitting on the fence here with just 3 days decide on which projector to return.

    Thanks so much for such a valuable resource.

    *********************
    Hi Mike,

    The BenQ would still be a step brighter than the Epson even with a brand new lamp. Still, at the end of the lamp’s life, you probably have no more than 60% of the lamp’s original brightness, if that. So, try switching from low to high lamp, and figure a new lamp would give you about the same brightness increase as two increases, each the amount of the difference between low and high.

    The BenQ is also a hell of a good projector. I really liked it last year, it shared a Best in Class, Runner-up Award (along with the Sony VW40), right behind the 1080UB. And that was when it still had too much image noise – corrected by newer firmware. If you like the horsepower, and the picture overall, it too, is an excellent choice. -a

  • Steve Rompre

    Hi Art,

    Thanks for all your incredible reviews.

    I’ve just got a Pro 1080 UB that’s been pro ISF calibrated on an Elite screen CineWhite 1.1 gain. My question is : should I buy the same type of screen? And that way the calibration would still be effective? Or I do’nt mind and I can go with a Da-Lite HC cinema vision for exemple…?

    And for the throw distance, is a lens at its best at mid range zoom?

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Steve

    p.s.: sorry if my english is’nt good… I live in Quebec, Canada. French is my 1st language. ;-)

    *********************************
    Greetings Steve,
    OK consider:
    1. Contact the person who calibrated your projector, if you don’t already have them, find out the settings he used (ISF Day, Night) in calibrating those modes. And hang onto a print copy of the settings as well.
    2. Duplicate those settings in two of the 10 user savable settings areas.
    3. Ask the calibrator if any of the work he did, is screen dependent.
    4. To answer your question, most of a calibration is screen independent, although changing to a high contrast screen is likely to cause you to make minor adjustments to brightness, contrast, and, likely, color saturation. The color aspects should remain essentially unchanged.
    5. You’ll want those duplicate settings (#2) to test minor changes against the calibrator’s original settings.
    6. Lens – well, best not to use the extreme range (most wide angle, most telephoto. No lens is at it’s best at the extremes. That said, backing off a little from the extremes is probably sufficient. If you mount close (lens toward wide-angle) you’ll get more brightness. You will also get a bit more roll-off to the sides, corners, in brightness, in a wide angle setting than mid-point, and more at mid-point than telephoto. If you can, stay within the 10% to 90% range of the lens. Other than brightness and hot spotting, any other aspects should be very minor.

    Hope that helps! -art

  • Pete Pallotto

    Hi Art, I purchased a 1080UB home projector late last year, I did not change any of the settings(FACTORY). It looks great, but am i short changing my self since i didn’t get it calibrated by a pro. Thanks Pete.

    **********************************
    Pete, try this. Go to my review of the 1080 UB, to the general performance page. Find the Calibration section, and drop in all the settings into one of your user savable memories. Then compare. Theoretically, you’ll like our settings even better than the defaults, and since you are already pleased, you can probably save that money and put it to something else you need for your theater.

    Back when I reviewed the HC1080 UB, I didn’t always drop in our Brightness, Contrast and saturation settings, but you can handle that. A number of discs have all you need to adjust, such as most of the star wars discs, and a number of Disney animations. (or you can buy a calibration disc). Color saturation is easy. Adjust by eye – if skin tones are too intense, reduce, if things are too pale, raise it. The proper setting should look good on almost everything. -art

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