The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB – a new, better UB – pre-announcement info

Greetings All!

OK, I’ve already blogged about the Epson Pro Cinema 7500 UB, but missed a few details.First of all, the pricing, will be under $5000 (which sounds a lot like $4999 to me, but we shall see).Final pricing is not yet set.I will update the first blog with this same information.

So, let’s talk Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB.First of all, it is not officially announced yet, and it sounds like it won’t ship until December.That means some of this info may not be completely accurate, as the product isn’t finalized yet.Normally I don’t worry much about products 3 months out, but it seemed that Epson was releasing a fair amount of information, to the CEDIA public, and I can’t rationalize keeping a secret, since much of the information is already circulating!

I’ll need to clarify how it will be different from the Pro Cinema 7500 UB. For those of you who haven’t been following home theater projectors for very long, Epson offers up both Pro, and Home versions of their Cinema projectors.The Pro Cinema 7500 UB, is sold through local installing dealers, while the Home Cinema 6500 UB, will be carried by selected (authorized) online resellers.Epson normally differentiates the projectors slightly, with the Pro version offering some extras.The Pro version is ISF certified and has the required extra memory slots for a professional calibrator to use. Still, the Home version has plenty of memories, so it is a minor point, for most.

One new thing not found in previous Epson’s is support for an anamorphic lens, for those that want to go with a wider, full Cinemascope screen shape, so most movies do not display with the letterbox at top and bottom.The 7500 UB, has the support, while the 6500 UB, does not.Keep in mind that a typical motorized anamorphic lens, needed to do this, is typically $3000 – $4000+, about as much as these projectors.As a result, few people buying projectors in the price ranges we are talking about, will go with the anamorphic option.

If you want to keep your options open (to add an anamorphic lens system later), you’ll need the Pro.However, if you are buying a screen now, without the lens, then you would be going standard 16:9, and that means a new screen later.

Back to the Home Cinema 6500 UB.Yes, it also comes with a 75,000:1 claimed contrast ratio.In addition, it too (like the Pro), can interpolate frames, to visibly reduce motion blur.Now, I figure to really appreciated whether it works, a side by side comparison is most helpful.It just so happens, that Panasonic was doing a side by side between their PT-AE2000U, and their replacement model, the new PT-AE3000U.Based on what I saw, it really can make a difference.It’s always nice to see some new technology, that improves picture quality, and this does.

BTW, on the slightly technical side, Epson has been shipping a new version of their D7 LCD panels (the older D7′s were used in the Home and Pro Cinema 1080 UB, as well as the Panasonic, and other 3LCD projectors).The new version is designed to reduce reflected light inside the optical path, and I take it that this is where a large chunk of the improved contrast is coming from.

I think that about covers it for the Home Cinema 6500 UB, except to say that pricing has not yet been set, but sounds like under $4000 MSRP.More importantly, the question is, what it will sell for (more or less), I’ll post on that, as soon as I have a better handle.

Bottom line, is that the Home Cinema 6500 UB, really should improve on the Home Cinema 1080 UB’s performance.It may not be a giant step, but then as many of you know, I have considered the Home Cinema 1080 UB, to be the best overall projector under $3000.

I can’t wait to lay my hands on the new Home Cinema 6500 UB, for review!

It’s going to be a busy 3 months for reviewing new home theater projectors.I’ll get to them all, as fast as I can, and as fast as they can get me review units.The website (top right column), will keep you advised as I get confirmation of arrival of new home theater projectors for review.

Hang in there!-art

News And Comments

  • Jim Murphy

    RE: “may not be a giant step”

    Love your writing. I’ve actually visited a few of your advertisers to check prices on the 1080UB. I doubt I’ll be able to wait until December to make my purchase. Here’s the thing… in your comparisons the RS1 seems to be better, but in many cases only slightly than the Epson. If the new 6500UB isn’t as good as the RS1, then the current deals on the 1080UB seem too good to pass up.

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

    It comes down to the level of perfection you seek. As I’ve previously stated, the RS1, overall, is better than the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, a bit more “film-like” (a subjective term, for the most part), definitely better black levels – but at it’s best the UB – on the right – dark scenes comes close, while the JVC has a touch better color accuracy post calibration (and noticeably better out of the box).

    But my key point is, that, if someone took away my RS1, I could get along just fine with a UB. (which probably explains the almost 400 hours I’ve got on the UB, Epson told me I could hang on to for comparative work with other projectors. The JVC would still have an advantage on movies, but the Epson’s extra horsepower, would make sports viewing with some ambient light, a better experience. In fact it was the lower lumen count of the RS2, that made me decide not to upgrade from the RS1 when it came out.

    As such, it’s a hell of a deal, especially with the new pricing and rebates.

    The new units, will improve on black level performance, etc., but, it reaches a point, where you have to say – how much will I pay for slight improvements. You’ll not only get black level improvement (probably still won’t beat the RS1 – and almost certainly not on scenes that have both very dark and very bright – and almost certainly not not the RS2), but at some point what is extremely important – ie. black levels, becomes secondary to other things like brightness, sharpness, etc. The new frame interpolation scheme launched in the new UB’s the Panasonic PT-AE3000U, a Sony and probably one or two others, is a plus for the newer projectors, but then, most of us lived with 3:2 pulldown for years – which creates “judder” a slight jerkiness on all movies. With everyone now supporting 24fps, the whole judder issue goes away, and leaves behind far less significant (less noticeable) things like motion blur…

    Hey, if bucks are tight, and you’re in a hurry, probably the Home Cinema 1080 UB is the way to go, save the balance, and in 2-3 years, you’ll be able to spend $2K – $3K for something probably at least as good and brighter than today’s $4K – $5K projectors.

    Always a personal call, too many trade-offs. Bottom line: unless you are a purist, any of the aforementioned projectors should knock your socks off! Make the call, pull the trigger, and start enjoying! -art

  • Wade

    Art:

    Thanks for the info on Epson’s new projectors. I noticed that the 7500 will have the Silocon Optics chip set. Will the 6500 as well? With the chip on board, will it the need for a video processor i.e. Denon 5308 or their 602 video processor unnecessary.

    I called Epson yesterday and the guy on the phone didn’t know anything.

    Thanks!

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

    Hi, I believe it is using the same Silicon Optix processing, with one exception. Epson, in order to differentiate between the Pro Cinema 7500 UB, and the Home Cinema 6500 UB, has apparently decided that the Pro models would support an anamorphic lens, while the Home series would not.

    This is not uncommon. When I bought my JVC, I was surprised that JVC (also using a Silicon Optix setup, capable of supporting an anamorphic lens), also chose not too include that item. I suspect the projector manufacturers pay ala carte, for various features. Certainly though, for someone looking to have an anamorphic lens, it makes sense to by the Pro version rather than the Home version plus an outboard processor. -art

  • Wade

    Thanks Art!

    Not really intersted in the anamorphic feature, but I am seriouly debating beteen the 1080p ub and the 6500. Since the chip set appears to be the same Reon from Silicon Optics, the real differences between the 1080ub and the 6500 are the new LCD panels, the Fuji lens, and the 120mhz refresh rate. The latter in an of itself may prove to be the best feature if the new 120 mhz LCD TV’s are any indication. That said, it now comes down to price. I priced out 1080ub last week for $2,650 before a $300 rebate, a FREE spare bulb, free shipping, and no tax – WOW! If I hold out, the 6500 will probably run $3,500 with out any rebate and a $300 bulb. Thoughts?

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

    Hi Wade!

    First, hard to say where the 6500 UB, will price. the “under $4K they talked about a the show, is probably the MSRP. I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out with a MAP at $2999, like the 1080 UB had when it launched. But, that’s only a guess on my part. Nothing to substantiate it.

    Yes, the new panels, 120hz (and better – 96hz on 24fps), should be real pluses, especially with the frame interpolation, which is what should really bring out the benefit. We’ll have to see about the lens. If the projector is sharper, that would be really nice. But then, I’m sitting 11.5 feet from my Firehawk 128″ right now, and have the Epson 1080 UB running, and while I know there are other projectors here (W20000, IN83), that are a bit sharper, it still looks really good!

    Of course the 6500 UB, isn’t technically officially announced, and isn’t expected to ship until December. Tough call. -art

    Also, any thoughts on a Draper screen? I see you have a a nice selection of Stewarts in your test suite, but cost is a concern. I’ve got a totally light controlled basement where I’m setting up my HT. It has a drop ceiling (white, light colored flat walls, and beige berber carpeting. What size screen would you suggest? Can’t decide between a 106″ and a 119″. I’ve got a 14×30 space, but am planning on rows of seating at 11′ and 16′+/-.

    BTW- Your reivew of the 1080UB was excellent!

    Thanks!

  • BOBBYENERGY

    FOR WADE AND ART
    UNLESS YOU ARE PRICING ANOTHER PROJECTOR.
    THE EPSOM HOME 1080 IS GOING FOR $2199 AT VISUAL APEX. MINUS $300 REBATE AND $350 LAMP.
    SEEMS LIKE THAT EQUATES TO $1550.
    BOBBYENERGY

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

    Sounds like $100 less than I published. ($1649) That’s fairly typical. I try to stick to MAP (minimum advertised price). However, dealers often provide a little extra discount in their shopping cart – depending on the brand and profit margin. It’s impossible for me to monitor the prices at dozens/hundreds of dealers, for more than 50 home theater projectors. I do try to comment though when there is a drastic change in price from manufacturers, due to discontinuation, very large rebates, etc., as they do weigh into people’s purchase decisions

  • Wade

    Thanks Bobby!

    That’s a heck of a price for the 1080P UB. projector.

    Did some recon on a German HT review site as well as Epson Japan. (Have a friend fluent in German plus Google Translator) The 7500 aka EW-TH5000 and 6500 aka EW-TH4000 are improved in several area, black levels, image (Silicon Optics Reon VX), processing @ 120mhz, brightness, bulb life, and reduction of the screen door effect. Pricing is $4,500 +/- for the 7500 and $3,500 +/- for the 6500.

  • Wade

    Hi Art:

    Just finished your review of the new Mitsubishi, impressive for sure. Great review as always BTW.

    I am still looking at the 6500 however for my HT, especially now with a quote from Jeff @ Projector Point of $2,995 before a $200 rebate.

    Have you had the chance yet to check out the 6500?

    Thanks,

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

    Hi Wade,
    I reviewed the HC6500 back in October. Here’s the review.
    . -art

  • Wade

    Hi Art:

    Doesn’t look like my earlier reply posted.

    Sorry I wasn’t clear, I was curious about a review of the Epson 6500.

    Thanks,

    Wade

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

    Hey Wade!

    I picked up the 6500 UB at Epson, in Long Beach, Ca. yesterday. I will be publishing this week. The review will go up after Christmas, but I will post a “First Look” blog either Monday night or Tuesday.