The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Epson Home Cinema 6500UB – First Look!

Greetings home theater projector fans,

And happy holidays from our family at ProjectorReviews.com.  The Epson Home Cinema 6500UB has finally arrived.  (OK, I had to drive to Long Beach, CA, to pick it up, and a Home Cinema 6100 projector too.)

Mike was able to measure and calibrate the Home Cinema 6500UB projector immediately for me, so I got to view it all weekend.

Two things before I get started about the 6500UB.  One, I do love blogging, I can be less serious – or perhaps, I should say; I can get away with writing with more humor, and enthusiasm, than in the more formal reviews, which makes First Looks, more fun to write.  

Darn, now I can’t even remember what the second thing was.  So let’s talk Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB.

Whoa!  I remember.  I wanted to say that the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB review has been the missing piece of the puzzle for many of you shopping for home theater projectors between $2000 and $4000+.  That’s not to say there aren’t a few more important reviews to come – notable, the other Epson – the 6100, and the JVC RS10 and RS20, but this is the one many have been waiting for – those trying to choose between the four powerhouse LCD based 1080p brands – Epson, Sanyo, Mitusbishi and of course, Panasonic, as well as the top competing DLPs.

While I will not have the full Epson Home Cinema 6500UB review posted in time for you guys to order one, and have it under your tree for Christmas, it will publish this coming weekend, so at least last minute Hanukah shoppers can get one and put it under their Hanukah bushes.

Let’s get started:

OMG!    Looks like Epson has done it again.  

That’s my initial reaction after a good 12+ hours of watching movies and sports, plus an extra 3 hours last night, watching the Epson side by side with the Panasonic PT-AE3000 and then the JVC RS1.  

I don’t know where to start, so let’s begin with some basic stuff, and I’ll save the really fun – performance stuff, for further down this page.  The Home Cinema 6500 UB, is physically larger than the old 1080 UB, boxier, and definitely not as pretty.  It’s still off white, like its predecessor.  It’s still noisier than most other 3LCD projectors, and still a touch quieter than the average DLP competitor.  Actually it seems to have improved a bit, especially in low power mode, but a few of you who are particularly noise adverse, will no doubt object to the fan noise at full power.

No surprises in terms of inputs – same old, same old.  A new remote though!  Not sure if I like it better or worse than the old one, but it’s got a good, bright, backlight. (I hate dim ones, really I do.)

Brightness – look for lower lumen measurements as we have just switch light measurement gear, for a more accurate setup, however, the 6500UB, is essentially the same brightness as the older UB.  If anything, it might have a slight advantage in “best mode”, but brightest – Dynamic seems to be pretty much the same.

But, to do a paraphrase – “It’s the picture, stupid.”   Which is what everyone wants to hear.

It’s this simple:  Wow!  - and Pop too!

This projector has depth to the image like I cannot recall seeing on any fixed panel projector that I’ve reviewed.  In the “old days” we always liked the depth of DLP projectors – those rich saturated colors especially the darker ones that just seemed to give additional life to the image.  Well, the Epson seems to be doing just that, but at a new level.

From the moment I started viewing movies with the Home Cinema 6500 UB, I noticed the extra depth to the pictures.  It’s almost like movies shot with film were displaying that crispness and depth of 1080p content shot digitally, without film.  This was consistently apparent on Men In Black (the first one), and, in Casino Royale, the Venice chase scenes never looked so alive.  They look almost like a live news cam tracking Bond and the scenery as he dodges through Piazza San Marco - St. Marks Square. Tremendous depth!

And if that wasn’t impressive enough – The Dark Knight was dazzling.  Dark Knight is partially shot in IMAX, and those scenes are nothing short of breathtaking, in terms of depth.  The clown scenes at the beginning, and the IMAX night scenes of Gotham looked outstanding!

I’ve already taken a number of side by side images from Dark Knight, Casino Royale, and Space Cowboys, with the Epson, vs. the Panasonic PT-AE3000 and also the JVC DLA-RS1.  You’ll see some in the full review, and more in the late January 1080p Projector Comparison Report.

Color Accuracy:  Hmm, the Epson, post calibration looks very good.  It needs just a bit more tweaking, to remove a slight yellowish caste to the whites, but that will get worked out.  

Black Level Performance:  It’s even better than the 1080 UB.  Not drastically, but definitely a little better. The difference between it, and the Panasonic is significant. True, the Panasonic does a very nice job on black levels, but the Epson is definitely a step up in performance, in this regard!  This Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB can even rival the JVC DLA-RS1, on some scenes, when the dynamic iris is most effective. Overall, though the RS1 still has a slight advantage, but that’s the least expensive projector that I can think of, that has an advantage, and it’s definitely not a big difference.  (The JVC RS20 – due to arrive this week, should make for a very interesting shootout.)

Image sharpness:  Wow, an major improvement here – thanks primarily to a new optical system sporting a high quality Fujinon lens.  The Home Cinema 6500UB is very sharp – compared to average for the 1080 UB.  Neither the JVC nor Panasonic is as sharp.  I’ll be doing side by sides tonight with the IN83 and probably the Sanyo PLV-Z3000 (the Mitsubishi HC7000 has gone back to Mitsubishi).  I expect the Home Cinema 6500 UB to match the InFocus in terms of overall sharpness, and crispness of the image.

Overall Picture Quality:  Extremely impressive, although, once again, this Epson doesn’t have the most natural “film-like” image, it, like the older 1080 UB does look a little “hard”, but that look translates to lots of “pop” and “wow” – a dynamic, and striking picture, that immediately impresses.  The Panasonic looks lackluster, by comparison.  Again, it produces an extremely sharp looking image!  I believe the sharpness, and the black levels are the two major ingredients for all that depth I keep talking about.

Feature set:  The Epson, like the other “top of the line” 3LCD projectors offers up to 120 frame per second interpolation, and it does creative frame interpolation to smooth fast motion.  Like other projectors doing creative frame interpolation (Panasonic, Sanyo PLV-Z3000, I believe I’m seeing occasional artifacts from the creative frame interpolation, so some will prefer not to use it, and for those that do, there are three modes, so I’m still figuring out which is the best solution, and which, if any, are a bit, “over the top.”

The manual zoom and focus Epson Fujinon lens has a 2:1 zoom ratio, and there is plenty of lens shift, as with the older Epsons.

So far, I’m pretty much blown away.  Some of the shock will no doubt wear off, and I might not be quite as impressed by the end of the week, as I am now.  Still, my preliminary opinion is that the Epson 6500UB – and therefore also it’s Pro Cinema 7500UB sibling (which does support an anamorphic lens), like the 1080 UB last year, positions itself as the best overall, of the 3LCD projectors.  Last time around, the 1080 UB, was great, but had three slight weaknesses:  Very average sharpness, not as film-like (natural) as some others, and noisy (audibly). With the new Home Cinema 6500 UB, sharpness is now excellent and no longer an issue.  The “film-like” issue is still there, but the great depth to the image changes the dynamic – things look more real – and you start wondering if the end result isn’t better – than film-like.  Afterall, film is a tool to capture real-life.  If you can make the final image more real, and less film-like, you are more faithful to reality, if less faithful to what the “director intended”.  An interesting trade-off.  

And then there’s those great black levels – for a projector that is selling in the US for $2999 – less a $200 mail in rebate.  I realize that in the rest of the world, there is a single model – basically the Home Cinema 7500 UB – (since overseas, they are black (like the 7500 UB), and support an anamorphic lens.

It’s been a fun start with the Epson.  

One more thought – football – college and pro – especially those coming over cable in 1080i resolution looks truly great.  The LivingRoom mode provided both brightness, and very good color balance, while Dynamic, as expected, a bit over the top in color, to fight ambient light, provided better color balance than the quick calibration we did to the older 1080 UB.  One of my regulars for football was over yesterday.  He rarely pays any attention to my projector rambling, or, for that matter, the image quality, just the game (as it should be).  This time, though, he was telling me repeatedly:  “Wow!”, Which one is this (projector)? It looks great!

I can’t think of any way that the 6500UB doesn’t match, or outperform, the 1080 UB, and that, right there, is saying quite a lot about the Home Cinema 6500 UB.

BTW, with Mike’s new metering, the 6500UB measured low 400 lumens in Theater Black 1 (post calibration), and mid 1200 lumens in Dynamic.  Since I found LivingRoom to be a great setting, I should report that this UB produced just over 1000 lumens in LivingRoom mode, as well.  Overall it’s brightness in different modes is not significantly different than the older 1080 UB, that based on normal viewing.

One last thought – movie watching in Theater Black 1 (“best” mode).  As with the 1080 UB, about 110 inches diagonal in a darkened room, with a typical screen is pretty much the largest screen size I can recommend.  If you want larger – you’ll need a high gain screen, or other magic.  Trying to stretch Theater Black 1 across all 128 inch diagonal of my Firehawk G3 definitely resulted in a dim look to images.  I couldn’t watch enjoyably at that size.

OK, that’s more than I intended to share, at this point.  On the other hand, I’m thinking it is enough for those sitting on the fence, trying to make a last minute decision.  BTW, I’m slammed this week, sorry, but I won’t be answering emails relating to the Epson until after the review is posted.  I’ve got a SIM2 arriving tomorrow, and hopefully the JVC RS10 as well.  Too much to do before CES.  

Again, happy holidays – and I must say, to the wives and significant others out there –  a Home Cinema 6500 UB really would be a spectacular gift for under the tree.  -art

News And Comments

  • Fred

    Art-

    Can you recommend a mount (that comes in WHITE) that would work with this? Would need a threaded rod to drop it a little.

    Think a standard universal mount would work?

    thanks,
    Fred

    ***********

    No reason to think any universal mount wouldn’t work. They always did in the past. Beyond that, no, I don’t pay attention to mounts, but Premier Mounts, I think, has mounts in different color finishes. My old company used to sell a lot of them, with nary an issue. If a projector doesn’t work with one of their universal mounts, then they usually make a custom one. It’s a good place to start. -art

  • Dave

    Art:…AWESOME first take….thanks a lot for those of us that have been waiting on this pj. It is very timely too…I was on the fence, but committed last week and tomorrow I pick it up from the local distributor, so I only had 24 hours to back out and now I KNOW I will NOT want to do that. One thing….can you or Mike just jot down for folks your calibration settings for Theater 1 and Living Room…normally the best modes for movies and sports respectively on these Epsons? Knowing we will need to adjust for our own environment, but these “starting points” will be awesome for us to jump into them quickly for all the christmas family visitors…they would terrificly helpful…

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

    Hi Dave, the full set of settings for Theater Black1, and Dynamic will be posted, as should be Livingroom although Mike hasn’t done that one yet – but not likely until the review publishes, which hopefully will be Saturday.

    Hey, one normally can never get rid of family that visit for the holidays. Here’s the ticket: Just run the 6500 UB in a fully dark room, in Dynamic with no adjustments – that should drive unwanted guests away. (kidding)

    Actually I’ll consider providing some of the info, if I have time. I’m still not happy, as noted, with the slight yellowish whites. Likely won’t even have that worked out until end of the week. -art

  • Matt

    What are the shortcomings of the Dynamic and LivingRoom modes? Is it just inaccurate color? Or is it lower contrast, poorer shadow detail, some kind of misconvergeance or anything else really bad?
    I’m hoping to use one of the brighter modes while using an external filter to correct the color balance. My screen is 133″.

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

    Greetings Matt,

    Oh, off the top- Dynamic and LivingRoom modes are pushed to cut through ambient light – too much contrast, oversaturated colors, too much green/yellow (helps cutting through the ambient light), and so on. No affect on convergence.

    One big difference, which accounts for most of the lumen difference between TB1 and Dynamic or Livingroom modes, is that the Epson has it’s own color correcting filter in the UB. It moves out of the way for Dynamic and Livingroom mode, which immediately seems to more than double the lumens.

    So, the question becomes? Do you not use theirs, and instead use yours?

    As to shadow detail – yes that can deteriorate (or improve) depending on the settings used for Livingroom. Remember Livingroom mode presumes some ambient light. I also don’t worry about black levels in those modes for the same reason – more than a little ambient light.

    That’s a big screen. I can tell you that the out of the box settings for Livingroom should handle your 133 inch screen in a properly darkened room, however whether you can tune it to have great quality without giving back most of the extra lumens, is a good question.

  • Mark

    Thanks for the 6500 news – any 1st look feedback on the 6100??

    Thanks!

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

    Not yet, in fact I just powered it up for Monday Night Football. Looks good in Livingroom mode after dialing down the color temp from an absurd 8500K (increments are 500K). It’s working well at 7000K for the moment, but it will get calibrated in the next few days. I’ll probably blog on it Friday, or if not, after I post the 6500 UB review on Saturday. I will do a quick side by side against the Epson Home Cinema 1080 (from my Ensemble HD). That will tell me how much the black levels improve, and if it looks substantial, I’ll put it up against the Panasonic as well. I need to calibrate first though before doing that, and Mike points out, that it’s a holiday week, and he’s mr. calibration around here, these days. I’m pushing him to pick it up tomorrow. -art

  • Matt

    Thanks for the in depth answer Art.
    I’m also really interested in how 6500ub compares to mitsubishi hc7000 and benq w20000.

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

    Well, I’ll get to all of that in the competitors section. -art

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  • Eric

    Is there not an equivilent to ‘normal’ mode (like i have on my powerlight 400)? When I switch between theaterblack1 or 2 to dynamic, you can hear the filter moving out of the way. When you switch it back to TB1, the filter moves back into place. If I select ‘normal’, (which is basically in the middle of the choices), the lamp basically gets brighter, but the filter stays in place. It’s a good few more lumens, with still VERY accurate color. (Trust me, i’m extremely picky about color – I can’t stand living room or dynamic – those neon greens and horrible reds – yuk!)

    Anyway, with regards to lumens, no one ever seems to mention this very useful mode.

  • Eric

    And yes, I know black level suffers a hair as the modes get brighter, but we all know that a few extra lumens for those afraid of dimness won’t hurt this thing!!!

  • http://familyhometheaterguide.com Bryan

    Thanks Art,
    I was hoping that your review would be somewhat lukewarm so I could choose to save a few bucks and choose between the 6100 and the Sanyo z3000. With such a glowing first look I am now feeling compelled to throw this one in the mix and try to justify the cost difference.

    I look forward to more in depth comparisons and the review of the 6100. Thanks.

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  • Jim Metheny

    Hey art, thanks so much for the blog. I was leaning toward the w5000 because of the DLP “pop, wow” factor and how “soft” the AE3000 is compared to it but now I have changed my mind…again!

    Bottom line, has LCD(the 6500ub) finally caught up to DLP regarding the depth and pop factor? I know you said it in your blog but I want to hear it again! Maybe your initial enthusiasm has died down a bit.. :) If that’s the case, I wonder why anyone would go DLP at this point?

    ***********

    No doubt about the “pop and wow” with the Epson. If I have a question, it’s whether it is over the top. I don’t think so, but coming from watching the Panny, or even my RS1, it definitely blows away the Panny in this regard, and even the JVC.

    This morning SIM2 came by and dropped off a D80E, their $9K single chip DLP. While the SIM2 guy was here, in the course of conversation (he was here for about 3.5 hours), we decided to compare the Epson with the D80E. Most interesting. Not surprisingly, the SIM2 did better on shadow detail. (The Epsons are always good, but not the best – at dark shadow detail, they do lose a little.) But the Epson was just as sharp, and definitely “out-popped” the SIM2. I have to say the SIM2 is the more natural of the two, but even the SIM2 guy (and Alberto really does know his stuff, as I learned today), was extremely impressed with it’s performance.

    The short answer – yes it’s got the BenQ’s and Optoma’s beat, in this regard. In a fully darkened room, the black levels + the sharpness + whatever else, provide depth which makes these words come to mind: breathtaking, uncanny, spectacular, and perhaps the best: startling.

    But, with the caveat, again, is it too much? When playing with the Epson and the SIM2, using the natural look of the SIM2 as a reference, I backed off color saturation more than a little below the settings that Mike came up with when calibrating, and it still maintained really impressive depth, but, a little less “live digital video” look than where I started. We looked at some Casino Royale and even more The Dark Knight – expecially the IMAX content.

    I won’t, however, get to watch anything in my main theater until tonight though, with those changes, and some minor tweaking of the gamma.

    So, a possible “over the top” condition after the new adjustments can’t be checked out until tonight, but, I fully expect the end result to be lots of pop and wow, and still spectacular depth.

    The first viewings were startling. I’m sold, but some may not be. But I expect by the time I get done, I’ll have settings that should please just about everyone, even if it’s not the most “film-like” projector out there.

    We shall see, but at this moment in time, for example, I, personally, from a picture only standpoint, would definitely take the Epson over, say the BenQ W20000, or anything in the Optoma line-up.

    The IN83 – incredibly natural looking, will be an interesting side by side. The Epson will destroy it, in terms of black level performance, the InFocus will reveal more very dark shadow details. The IN83 has good depth, but no match for the Epson. (Though I haven’t set them up side by side yet – probably tonight.

    -art

  • Bart

    Art. Thanks for the mini-review. I’m wondering if you were using Frame Interpolation in your movie viewing. I find that frame interpolation makes film look more like video, but does add more of a “3D” being there effect. Was it the Frame Interpolation that was giving you that depth you mentioned or was it more to do with the increase in contrast and black level performance. Thanks again.

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

    Greetings Bart,

    Excellent, you raise a good point. Here’s my take so far:

    First, the Epson (and I can’t get any answers from them – they shut down for two weeks about 2 hours after I picked up the UB, last friday) – seems to only do creative frame interpolation, with 30/60 sources, not 24. The Epson “normally” uses 4:4 pull-down for 24fps source material. You can run it that way, or turn 4:4 off. If you turn 4:4 off, you can turn on frame interpolation (creative). There are three speeds to creative frame interpolation, but all of them seem to make a mess of smooth motion, lots of hiccups, and noticeable. Not a workable option.

    I have tried watching in all three creative frame interpolation modes – the jerkiness appears often enough to be visible, and annoying. 4:4, on the other hand, works fine – no jerkiness that I have noticed relative to creative on.

    I have watched 4:4 extensively, and even watched with that turned off, for several hours. The creative frame interpolation definitely tends to make the image more live digital video looking than with frame interpolation off, (“frame interpolation off” being whether 4:4 is turned on, or off).

    I still need to do more watching to get a complete handle on 4:4 on, vs. off, but, the depth seems to be excellent in either, and there is still that live digital video impression, although less in either of those modes, than the generally unworkable creative frame interpolation for 24fps sources.

    So, the creative definitely enhances that impression, but even without it, it has that feel. My daughter and I watched a bunch of the last Harry Potter movie last night, and her comment was immediately – that looks strange. She made a good point, that it looked like some of the cuts you see in special features sections of DVD’s where they show you deleted footage that was never fully finished. The problem is, I’m not sure if 4:4 was on at the time, or off, but creative frame was definitely not engaged, so we had a good image, either way.

    I may well blog on this again in the next 48, before the review, as nailing down what’s happening in what modes is driving me crazy.

    Bottom line: Creative definitely has that effect, but it’s still there, at least with 4:4, and maybe with both turned off.

    Stay tuned! BTW, I had someone from SIM2 by this morning. He got a look at the Epson and was most impressed with the depth, etc.

    Gotta run! -art

  • Jim

    That’s great. I’m not a “purist”…I don’t care about film-like as much as I want a 115″ Plasma/LCD TV to watch sports, HDTV and bluray movies on. Over-the-top is a plus in my book.

    Sounds like this is the winner I was looking for. Can’t wait for your review…but I might not wait that long to order it.

  • Steve Atkinson

    Well Art, Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

    Looks like you will have your hands full for a couple of weeks.

    Like Matt above I have a 135″ (1.8gain) 16×9 screen I am using with my InFocus 7210. I keep trolling looking for a 1080p replacement. If I decide to try a dip in the CIH pool I was going to try a 141 x 60 screen.

    When the folks at Epson come back to work can you find out the “skinny” on the LPE (Light Power Edition) of the TW5000 (ne: 7500UB) that Epson sells ONLY in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (for some bizarre reason). Supposedly this unit has an extra filter (either internal or external… there are several debates about that) that allows the projector to run in Dynamic Mode but still provide D65 color and correct grey-scale.

    Obviously for those of us addicted to big screens… it would certainly be nice to have the LPE added to the list of choices.

    Epson for years has had some very peculiar ideas about marketing… before the Home versions they used to charge those of us in the USA double for their projectors than they did the rest of the world… I am glad they finally came out with the Home version here in the US, but why they would only sell this LPE version in three countries is just plain weird!!!

  • phil

    So looks like its got even the RS1 beat. How about the RS2.

  • Grant Smyth

    Hi Art,

    O.K. you’ve been very enthusiastic about a few projectors before, but I can’t recall you being this enthusiastic before! I had an experience a few months ago when I walked into a Best Buy store and saw a Samsung LCD T.V. playing an animated feature. It stopped me dead in my tracks! I’ve seen a couple of 3D features at the IMAX, but what I was seeing from this T.V. was a 3D effect that, to me at least, was more appealing and natural than what I saw in the IMAX theatre. Apparently, its the frame interpolation feature of the Samsung T.V. that lends itself to creating an impression of massive depth, at least with some material. I am looking forward to your full review of the 6500 and your impressions concerning, in particular, the 3D appearance of the image.

    Thanks.

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

    Greetings Grant,

    Hmm, I think I posted an update right after you sent in this comment. Yes, it is the frame interpolation, and after much time studying what it was doing. Your Samsung story fits nicely with what I am finding.

    That’s the problem with my “first looks” they are just that. Perhaps I should have waited the extra day or so, but then everyone has been dying to hear anything about the 6500 UB. Cie la vie!

    The depth (24 fps, frame interpolation on at any setting) is definitely unnatural – un-filmlike, but very cool looking. And the motion artifacts that I describe in the 2nd look blog, are more than enough to be annoying to any enthusiast, and perhaps most people. (on the other hand, many might rank it with rainbow effect – they can see it, but don’t care. I concluded that it’s fun, at times, but you really wouldn’t want to watch a movie that way because of the jerkiness of the image. It might be great in a chase scene, but not in a relatively still one.

    Thus, for now, I recommend not using it for movie viewing (assuming a 24fps source), and I have some issues on some scenes with just the 4:4 running as well., with blurring. Evan, at projector central reported related things a while back on an article about 24 fps itself (not related to frame interpolation).

    I’m hoping that the frame interpolation will work much better with the source having 24fps output turned off, which is what I will try next. Since I didn’t notice any obvious issues when watching football, with a 1080i source, I suspect that not feeding 24fps is the key to getting the most out of frame interpolation.

    We shall see. As noted, I will be observing the same material from my PS3 but with 24fps off on the PS3. I plan also to do side by side comparisons with the Panasonic (definitely) and Sanyo Z3000 (likely) trying various frame interpolation setups. Unfortunately, the Mitsubishi HC7000, the fourth 3LCD projector with 120 hz support, has long since gone back to Mitsubishi.

    Bottom line: At worst case, I expect that the frame interpolation will be a good thing for sports and 1080i source material in general, but may not be viable for movie watching.

    More likely, (I hope), by not using 24fps at all, the projector handle frame interpolation well, regardless of the source.

    Stay tuned!

    And happy holidays! -a

  • Scott Plant

    Art – Any update as to whether Epson is working on a firmware fix for the frame interpolation issues you reported in your review?

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

    Hi Scott,

    yes Epson will have new firmware. It is apparently getting close to ready. However, Epson has not determined how to handle the upgrade. Last I spoke with them, they indicated two likely possibilities – something that could be downloaded by people and installed, or having people send their projectors in for the upgrade.

    What I do know, is that the projector can be field upgraded, so possibility #1 is doable. The issues will tend to relate to protecting copyrights, etc. Pixelworks, and independent company that makes scaling and image processing code/software, for outboard processors, projectors and flat panel TVs designed the CFI for the 6500UB. As such, Epson Japan will have to come to an understanding with Pixelworks if they are going to let end users handle the firmware. Typical legal issues, but, they likely will determine the “final solution”.

    I don’t have a timeline, but I’d be surprised if Epson didn’t put forth their solution in the next 4-8 weeks. It is definitely coming, they tell me, only the delivery method is in question. -art

  • Sergio

    Art,

    Would you mind re-posting your calibration settings for the 6500? I have tried using what is in the official review on Projectorreviews.com, but it seems like part of the text refers to a Sanyo projector, and also there seems to be two different values for color saturation in Theatre1 mode…

    Thanks

    ********************
    Greetings Sergio,

    Actually, everything there looks right (I took a quick look), with the exception of the two different numbers for color saturation.

    Mike’s numbers from his calibration, produce the -3 saturation. I do most of my watching on the Firehawk G3 screen (HC gray). I find that most typically, I run the saturation between -3 and -9, but most often, between -6 and -9. The -8 is what I put in as most typical. With a white screen surface, most people would increase the saturation, compared to the settings for an HC gray screen. Depending on your overall setup, you should find happiness somewhere in that -3 to -8 range. The difference between -3 and -8 is noticeable, but hardly drastic. -art

  • Rich

    Greetings Art, I know this may seem like a silly question, but can you explain how to calibrate the projector? Is it just as simple as taking those numbers and dumping them into the color, brightness etc.? And does changing those numbers automatically change all the other settings or do you need to updates those 6500 type numbers as well.

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

      Not sure if you are asking me how to calibrate a projector (you’ll need at minimum, some equipment – a light meter and filters or probe or… and you can take a course from ISF, or others…

      Now, assuming you just want to know how plug in the numbers we provide based on the unit we calibrate and review, here’s the short version.

      1. Start in a mode, say Theater Black 2, if that’s the best Cinema mode (I’m not checking now to see if it was 2, or 1).

      2. In the menus: Adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. with the numbers Mike provides in the projector’s calibration page.

      3. From the same menu, scroll down to advanced: Select RGB… Open that, and put in our settings. go to the Save Memory menu item (on a different main menu (Memory?) And save into User Memory 1 (or whatever you like. rename it so you know more of your setting, if you like.

      4. Start over for your next mode. if a brightest mode, I believe we compromised and based on Livingroom (bettrer color but less lumens than dynamic) You would be saving two memories minimum – one for best, one for “brightest” tweak from there, as needed. Make sure other things are on, or off, as needed, such as for creating a bright sports mode, you’d want the iris off, and likely the dynamic iris On (low setting) For a bright mode for viewing general HDTV, though you might like having a second bright mode with the iris on. or perhaps, and perhaps with Creative Frame Interpolation off. I have about 7 different customized settings for different viewing situations, some are almost identical – ie. two brightest modes identical but for different color saturation. The one that’s oversaturated noticeably, I use when I have maximum ambient light, and the other when the light is more under control, and I don’t need the extra saturation to punch through. Have fun! -art

  • Rich

    Thanks Art, one last question, were there no RGB numbers for the TheaterBlack 2, Theater and Natural? I only see TB 1, Dynamic and Living Room listed.

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

      We typically only do one full mode – and do a “quick-cal” on the brightest mode. (the purpose of that is to improve color as much as possible for the brightest mode, without sacrificing a lot of brightness. I could justify having 4 or 5 different modes for my normal use, but hey, for you guys, I just want to give you something to start with, for those not into spending to have a projector calibrated. (which is a really good idea, if you “care” about getting all the value out. -a