The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, Pro Cinema 9500UB – A First Look Projector Review

UPDATE: The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB and Pro Cinema 9500UB review has been posted.

Greetings home theater projector fans.

OK, here’s what I’ve got for you.  I received a sample (no, not production) of the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB projector.  For those of you not familiar with Epson’s projector marketing, they have the Home Cinema 8500UB sold through authorized online dealers and local dealers to0.  The Pro Cinema 9500UB, which is virtually identical, on the other hand is sold only through local installing dealers.  The Home Cinema 8500UB is finished in an off white, the Pro Cinema 9500UB has a dark charcoal case.

Other differences:  The Pro Cinema 9500UB supports 3rd party anamorphic lenses, is ISF certified, comes with an extra year warranty, and the various color modes have different names.

Essentially, therefore, this blog, and the full review next week, will cover both projectors.  There should be no actual performance differences – in terms of picture quality or brightness.  Oh yes, one more difference – the Pro Cinema 9500UB will be more expensive.  Typically the “Pro” version, each year, comes bundled with ceiling mount and spare lamp, but, nothing’s official yet.

There’s a lot of conjecture right now about what the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB will sell for.  This is due to the industry surprise last week, when Panasonic announced it’s PT-AE4000 at $1999 MAP, down about $500 from last year’s PT-AE3000, and lower than most expected.   As it is, the Epson was originally supposed to have a MAP price “under $3000″, but now there’s a lot of guesswork, as to what the official price will be in a couple of weeks when it ships.  (BTW, my best guess would be $2500 – the Epsons historically have commanded a higher price than the Panasonics.  Of course a lot of you have been waiting for this blog to figure if that will be true this year as well.

I’ve only had the 9500UB here for 2+ days.  Mike was able to pick it up to measure and  calibrate the 9500UB  less than two hours after it arrived, and he eturned it later Wednesday night.  (Yeah, too bad I was at a Bob Dylan concert, and didn’t get to fire it up until 2am, or I might have gotten this posted this afternoon – forgive me!)

OK, some basics re the 9500UB – and 8500UB – relating to Mike’s measurements, etc.

Brightness, once again, is similar to last year’s.  Mike actually measured the 9500UB as a touch brighter than last year’s 6500UB, but only by a few lumens.  Given, this is a sample, it measured 498 lumens in best mode, with the zoom lens at mid-point, as we always measure. .  It’s possible (and likely) that production units will be a bit brighter, but no guaranties.

When it comes to brightest mode, the new Epsons are very bright, Mike measured a nice 1316 lumens (mid-point zoom) in Vivid mode (that’s the brightest, on the 9500UB.  Vivid is called Dynamic on the 8500UB).  That makes 1718 lumens with the lens at wide angle (projector at closest).  And that many lumens makes it the brightest of any of the under $4000 projectors I can think of – with one caveat.  The Epson actually has some pretty good color in Vivid/Dynamic mode (minor calibration improves it still).  This is unlike last year’s projectors, which were a touch brighter, but had way too much green in brighest mode.  (We ended up with about 1450 lumens with decent color, but the 9500UB definitely has better color still, in its brightest mode.

BTW the Epson’s this year, are apparently the first lower cost projectors to ship, that are THX certified.  (The first THX certified projectors appeared about 18 months ago, and were all extremely expensive Runco and Vidikron 3 chip DLP projectors.)

The Pro Cinema 9500UB’s THX mode, when comparing the 3 “best” modes, turns out to be the best of them, and as Mike put it, needed only the minimum in calibration.

For those of you rushing out to compare the 9500UB / 8500UB brightness with the Panasonic PT-AE4000, if you have read Evan’s review, it looks like they are pretty close, but with the Epson (as usual) having the advantage.  Still this year, it doesn’t look like the Epson has as big an advantage as last year.   I do believe Evan is measuring the brightest point (at least it reads that way), which is full wide angle.  He mentions that the Panny drops 41% from 548 lumens when in full telephoto – thus only 323 lumens, with lamp on full.   With the Epson, in terms of full telephoto, the 498 (since that’s at midpoint) lumens drops about 25% to 375 lumens.  The Epson drops about 42% from full wide angle to telephoto, so that would put it at maximum best mode brightness (wide angle) of 649 lumens – about 100 more than the Panny.  That would still have the Epson be about 18% brighter at brightest (wide angle), and about 16% brighter in full telephoto, but remember the Epson can be placed further from the screen due to more zoom range.  Figure that at the distance that would have the PT-AE4000 at maximum telephoto, the Epson wouldn’t quite be there, so the brightness difference is probably 18-20% when placed the same distance from the screen.

Ok, enough about the Epson vs. Panasonic, until I get the Panny in for review.   Bottom line, the Epson is the brighter projector, by what would look to be about 20% overall.  Not as great as in the past, but still enough to make a real difference for those with larger screens.

Mike did a real rush job (heading out on vacation), so I didn’t get to “tweak” a brighter still, brightest mode, before he worked on the 9500UB.  (I’ve since pushed up the contrast to get more lumens, at the cost of crushing some of the near white areas).  My best guess is that we can get as many as 1600 or 1700 lumens at mid-zoom point, and over 2000 at wide angle, without sacrificing too much.  That’s great news for folks like me who sometimes need to deal with more than a little, intentional ambient light.  In other words – lots of lumens for my football games!

Epson has improved the CFI – creative frame interpolation.  I actually watched an entire movie, and didn’t find it offensive.  I set it CFI to Low.  The movie I watched was The Water Horse.  I had never seen it before, so it may be that once I watch it again, with CFI off, I won’t like it On again, but it did add some real depth to many scenes, and didn’t scream “live digital video” like most CFI.  Oh, the tendency is there, but pretty tame – let’s say on the edge.  Some will like it, some not.  I watched some HD college football tonight (Pitt – Rutgers), also with it on low, and that worked out very well.

New for this year is Epson’s latest enhancement is called Super-resolution.  I haven’t read anything about it yet, but let’s call it another smart sharpening algorithm, until I learn otherwise.  Turns out, it works nicely, and does seem to sharpen things up, a little, without significant additional noise or other artifacts.  No doubt there are trade-offs that might show up on certain types of scenes, but so far, so good.

In fact I’ve been watching with Contrast Enhancement on 1, and Super-Resolution on 2, and the image really pops!

OK, the good stuff – black level performance – so, what do you think 200,000:1 contrast gets you, compared to last year’s 75,000:1?  Well, if you guessed “a little improvement” you nailed it.  The difference is slight, between the 9500UB and the 6500UB, which I ran side by side on segments from 3 or 4 movies last night.  Still when you have achieved the black level performance of the 6500UB, even a small increase is a real improvement.  On most mixed scenes you really won’t likely notice anything, but on some darker ones the difference is there.

There are still features I haven’t gotten to.  Including the ability to split the screen, to observe the CFI in operation on half.   I did note that Contrast Enhancement at 1, is very usable, but 2 is over the top, by my take, and adds a lot of image noise.  Forget setting 3.

For perspective, I did do some viewing (back and forth, not side by side) with the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB projector, compared to my JVC RS20.  JVC owners, no worries, the RS20 still is one magnitude better.  The 9500UB and 8500UB may, at their very best, now rival the RS10 (on just the right type of scenes) but the RS10 too, still should have the black level advantage.

I’ve got just a few links to images for you, although I took a lot of side by sides.

First are 9500UB vs. 6500UB images.  Our first contestant is a space/stars scene from Space Cowboys.  this link will open a 1000 pixel wide side by side image, with the new Pro Cinema 9500UB on the left, 6500UB on the right.  You can definitely make out the difference in the blacks.  It’s not great, but there.  Also the older Epson had a tendency of the “blacks” to have a slight redish caste, almost invisible, but always tends to show up on my dark photos.  The new epson seems more neutral, in that regard.

The next image of Bond in Casino Royale – also comparing old Epson vs. new, is a photo that I really think captures the essence of the difference between the two projectors.  The new 9500UB, and of course, therefore the Home Cinema 8500UB as well, seems to have just a bit better,  more dynamic look.

OK, everyone can contemplate those images.

Next are a few side by sides with the BenQ W6000.  First, the BenQ, while having rather respectable black levels, still isn’t a match for the Epson projector.  Because the W6000 is significantly brighter in best mode, I not only had the W6000 in low lamp (eco) mode, but also had to reduce the size of the Epson’s projected image to try to get the brightness to equal the W6000.

I’ve got the overexposed satellite image from Space Cowboys, for your consideration, and following that, the DC comics logo from the beginning of The Dark Knight.  In the Dark Knight image which is very dark and overexposed, you can clearly see a significant difference in black levels (unlike the new Epson  vs. the old).

One more image – to look at the relative picture quality  - the plane scene from Casino Royale.  (Remember, colors will have changed from the projected image – to digital camera, to file, to web compressed file, to your computer monitor).  Still, both look good, and, not that dissimilar in terms of skin tones.

and finally, from Quantum of Solace:

Ok, time to just about wrap this up, tonight!   After all, need to save something for the full review.

One more thing before wrapping up:

Cost of Operation:

I’ve been blogging about this to people’s questions, about whether I think Epson will match the Panasonic PT-AE4000′s $1999 price.  I seriously doubt it.  True, it would be a good move having a lower price, in terms of more people who might afford it up front, but the Epson can command the higher price because of its lower cost of operation.  It’s lamp at full power is rated 4000 hours, and the Panasonic’s is 2000 hours. Better still, the Epson lamp is $299, vs $399.  For anyone who really watches their setup a lot, in three to five years, lamp costs can save the Epson owners $500 or more compared to the Panasonic.  A 40 hour a week user, can literally save  at least $800 in 5 years in lamp costs.

Final thoughts:  Everyone knows I’m a big fan of the Epson UB series, ever since the 1080 UB.  While last year, the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB and the Panasonic PT-AE3000 shared our Best In Class award (for mid-priced projectors), I personally favored the Epson for its extra brightness, more dynamic look, and superior blacks.

From my perhaps 8 hours of viewing so far, I am suitably impressed with this newest generation of UB (“Ultra Black”) projectors.  How it will stack up against the new Panasonic, I’ll report in a couple of weeks, but having run it with the BenQ W6000, and the Epson 6500UB, I do believe I’ve seen enough to still prefer it over the BenQ, and the Sony (I’ve viewed the Sony and BenQ side by side).

In other words, it looks like a worthy successor, and should prove most successful.  The big questions remaining are how the 8500UB stacks up against the PT-AE4000 of course,  and, on the higher end, the new JVC RS15 and RS25, and Sony VPL-VW85.    I mention these, because, I do get a lot of email, from people trying to decide between spending on best projectors in the $2000 – $3000 range, or whether to dig deeper into their wallets, and drop twice the bucks for an even better overall picture.

OK, the Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB and Home Cinema 8500UB in summary.

  • Likely, still the best black level performance of all the new under $4000 projectors
  • At least as bright as last year’s models, but not significantly brighter
  • New super-resolution may prove to be a nice feature for more perceived sharpness
  • Great 2, or 3 year warranty (Home or Pro), with replacement program
  • Still not bright enough in “best” mode to fill larger screens, but very comfortable at a 110″ diagonal size with a typical screen surface, in a dark room
  • Lots of lumens when you need them, in brightest mode, one of the brightest projectors around
  • Price uncertain
  • Appears a little sharper than the 6500UB
  • Lowest cost of operation!

The end – for now – - – art

News And Comments

  • Jeff Hurst

    I hate to say it but I’m a little disappointed. The tripling of rated contrast implied a “wow” level of improvement over the 6500UB, not just a subtle refinement. It sounds like they’ve made a great projector better, but is it enough better to ignore closeout prices on the 6500UB? After all, the 6500 already had the bulb life, max-brightness, and warranty quality advantages that are the 8500′s main selling points. On flat panels the new LED backlighting really does make an eye-popping difference. I was actually hoping the Epson folks had pulled that kind of Magic out of the hat.

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

      Hi,
      I understand. Keep in mind that since a good chunk of getting the blackest blacks is tied to the dynamic iris, what is happening here, is that we are getting a bit blacker on the darkest scenes, but not much elsewhere. The thing is, improving the blacks slightly on a fairly bright scene might add a touch more pop to the image, but that same slight increase on a very dark scene can be much better appreciated. Keep in mind, the limits of trying to show you what’s really going on, via photography. Much of the time I was watching the Bond sequences, with the two side by side, I found the 9500UB to be visibly better, not a whole lot, but, hey, given a choice… Think of it this way. Let’s say the 6500UB is $300 or $400 less. Almost identical features – then there’s the super-resolution, which so far I like, in moderation, but I really haven’t had the time to see what trade-offs there are, but unlike comparing an Epson to some other brand, here are two projectors fundamentally identical, and therefore it would seem that a few hundred for a little better, of the same thing, is probably worth it to most people, who really care (budget allowing).

      Also, I have really just begun to work with the projector. My overall impressions, frequently change over the duration of a review, as you can sometimes see, between a first look blog and the final review.

      Well, one more football game, and then a movie! Hmm, which one??? (again)

  • Nick

    Hi Art,

    I’ve ordered the pt-ae4000 and I’m trying to decide if I should switch to the 8500 because of the slightly better blacks (I’m guessing they’ll be a little better). I originally thought the 8500 was going to ship late November, but now I’m hearing late Oct/early November.

    Do you have a hunch on when Epson will announce concrete pricing and ship date details? Right now, this stuff is fuzzy and I’m wondering if they’ll announce something soon to quell some of the hype due to the 1999 pt-ae4000 pricing bomb. The fact that reviews will be out next week makes me think that epson is close to revealing the detailz.

  • Gary J. Svehla

    How does the noise of the iris on the 9500UB compare to the noise of the nosiy 6500UB iris? This was one of the Epson’s major noted flaws.

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

      Hi Gary,

      I’m not particularly noise adverse, and have never been bothered with the iris noise of the 1080UB or the 6500UB in either of my rooms. That said, the noise is there, that low occasional rumbling. I’ve had some people who are shelf mounting, partially reduce the noise, but puttting a piece of something or other between the Epson’s feet and the shelf. In other words, some shelves are resonating a bit with the iris vibration.

      That said, I haven’t noticed, or paid attention to the iris noise of the 9500UB. Tell you what, I’ll set up the 6500UB and 9500UB side by side again, and check it out, and report it in the full review next week. -art

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  • kev

    Man I cant believe that none of these new generation of projectors cant bash the jvc’s rs10 into a corner and tells it to stay down . Its amazing because it has been so long since the rs10 hit the streets and just keeps coming up against the best of the under $3000 especially on mixed scenes . Why cant these other pj’s just copy jvc? ive been waiting a long time for another projector to replace my panasonic 200 . If epson wants $3000 for this then I should maybe just save a few hundred and buy a jvc rs20 . This way I can feel good about projectors with 800.000to 1 not being to bash the rs20

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

      Hi Kev,

      Well, the secret to JVC’s success is their proprietary design of their LCoS chips. So far, their design, when it comes to black level performance seems to be significantly better than Sony’s design. Canon also makes their own, but don’t dabble in Home Theater space, although they publish rather mediocre contrast levels.

      That’s different than DLP or LCD. For example, Panasonic (PT-AE4000) and Epson 8500UB, 9500UB are using the same Epson panels, along with, I believe the Sanyo Z3000 and Mitsubishi HC7000. And of course, TI is the only manufacturer of DLP chips, so all the competitors on the DLP side start with the same basic performance (for a given level of DLP chip).

      So, perhaps there will be another design breakthrough – from Sony, Epson, or TI, but basically, it’s a 4 horse race. Until a couple of years ago (and the advent of dynamic irises, and JVC’s new designs), black level performance was dominated by DLP. Meantime this year, doesn’t look like we are seeing anything but incremental black level improvement. Panasonic has a “contrast” plate added to their light path, to improve blacks, but Epson, I believe has already been doing that in the last generation, and that may well be a key part of why Panasonic hasn’t been able to match the Epson UB’s. Whether the new PT-AE4000 can match the 8500UB and 9500UB, well I’ll have to wait and see the Panasonic. If “tradition” holds, though, the Epson will maintain the edge, and the question would be how much closer has the Panasonic come.

  • digitalboy

    for all you guys here, i think the panasonic pt-ae4000 is no match for the epson 8500ub and tw5500 (european version) do you now why??? its very simple… NATIVE CONTRAST. the panasonic sports a 3000 to 1 native contrast ratio, the epsons on the other hand give you a stunning (in this pricetag) 8000 to 1 native contrast! ratio what translates in a more dynamic look of the picture and a better blacklevel. the epson gives you also a sharper picture for sure. like art said the lamp tech is also better with doubling the life 4000 hour in full mode! the epson 6500ub,8500ub,9500ub,tw5000 and tw5500 has a better contrast than the panny with or without iris.
    people be serious, i have a optoma here (hd 65 about 800 dollar) with
    3000 to 1 native contrast the same as the panny native contrast ratio.
    here in europa the panny is going to cost about 2500 euro thats more than 3000 dollar!! why i spend a couple of thousand for a projector (panny) thats sports only the contrast ratio of a budgetprojector!!! panasonic claims for improved
    native contrast ratio by a special contrast plate
    placed by the lcd panels. it seems its not working because the n.contrast is exactly the same as the pt-ae3000 old model! why is that? because panny is a couple of generations behind in native contrast!
    not only panny the same for mits hc 7000 with old epson d6 lcd panels n.contrast about 2200 to 1 (i own this projector for a couple of months) and the sanyo to. what you see is that panny try to composate with a lot of features like red lamp, lens aspect ratio memory, motorised focus etc.
    you dont need all this features its commercial to attract customers. the epsons have enough features for the videophiel. the epson have also enough zoom range to fit in almost every room. and are very bright but NO tradeoff here in the blacks!
    like art said the epson are the champion in contrast and black level in this price range.
    no brand can beat this!
    i own many different projectors but i think a get me a tw5000 or tw5500 here in europa also, i search almost ten years for a really good projector for a relative low price, the technology is far enough now, the epson give enough contrast for most movies
    and very good black level and very good colour and sharpness and lumen what do you want more for the money?
    the panny? i think not, but we wait for the review
    of the panny and than we can see if am right!
    keep up the good work art. respect for the time your spend in this!

  • Jeff Hurst

    I vote for the last movie to try being the new Blu-Ray of Lord of the Rings! You’ve been using the DVD version in your testing for years, and I’m dying to hear how the Blu-Ray compares! I know this is a Projector blog, but LOTR and Planet Earth are the eye-candy that made me insist on 1080P and a High Contrast projector. Some things cross the line into glory, and just deserve the best presentation possible. Home Theater is a can turn watching a movie into Having an Experience.

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

      I personally can’t wait to get LOTR. If they ever ship it… -art

  • Adam

    Art,

    I am curious why you choose to use the zoom midpoint as the standard for lumen measurements. It seems a little arbitrary, as one projector may have a 1.6 zoom and another may be a 2.0. This would generally make the 1.6 zoom projectors numbers at the midpoint look better.

    How about measuring at the closest zoom and (for best and brightest modes) at the furthest telephoto and make it easier for us to calculate an estimated lumens for our individual setups?

  • Elio

    During the review can u measure input lag for gaming? The game mode and price of the 4000 are the only thing keeping me from an epson.

    Thanks!

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

      Elio, Sorry, I don’t have any equipment or guidance (re input lag) – as to how to best do that. I’m definitely not a gamer – I’ve got a Wii here with a sports package, and for my 2 PS3′s one copy of Carbon Canyon, which I haven’t played in 6 months. If someone (keep it simple) can give me a useful, easy way of evaluating, let me know.

      Most likely, that should happen in 2 weeks when the Panny arrives and I can have a PS3 game going to both projectors at once, and view side by side. -art

  • Jeff

    Art,

    Thanks for all the great work. You do very good reviews. I am anxious to see the review of the 8500UB. I was hoping when you do, that you could include more depth on the video processor. The 8500UB uses the Silicon Optix HQV chip, and I am very curious to hear how well it does, and how the video processor in the Panasonic PT-AE4000U compares to it.

  • M

    I object to the cost of operation claims. Anyone that is a heavy projector user, (and also informed enough to visit review sites) should know that there are extended warranties that are available from companies like Mack. It would make no sense for even a moderate user to neglect purchasing such a warranty, they are cheaper than even a single lamp. The cost of the lamp warranty is the same regardless of lamp cost, and only an extremely heavy user, someone using over 40 hrs/week, would ever use up the lamps offered by these warranties. If they are a light user a 2000 hour bulb would cover them easily for 3 years, again rendering your point essentially moot.

    This means that the initial cost really is the primary cost of ownership difference. I wouldnt go so far as to say its the only difference, but to suggest that the majority of people would save money by getting a more expensive projector (if the epson is 500 more as you suggest) seems an exaggeration.

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

      Greetings M – the strider (LOTR?)

      First, this isn’t an attack on Panasonic. Over the years Epson has always had the better warranties, and Panasonic has traditionally had the lower prices. I’m sure Panasonic would easily justify a few hundred more for their projectors if they felt they had to match some of the better warranties out there. It’s a marketing decision – lower price – less warranty.

      Hmm, Well, I guess I’ll have to object to your objection of my cost of operations claims. Let’s work through it. First, though, what is missing is a good estimate of how many hours of lamp use a year is typical? Let’s assume that users come in the under 500 hour a year, 500 – 1500, 1500 – 2000, and 2000+ hours per year variety.

      Certainly those who buy projectors with sports, and TV, as well as movies, in mind, are likely to all be two top tiers (1500 or more), though some might be around 1000.

      Over here, on a week when I’m not doing a review, but just using my own projector, depending on the time of year, I use 30 – 50 hours a week, with under 40 hours being infrequent.

      Anyone just seriously into NFL football (I’m college and NFL fan), figure roughly 15 hours a week just for Sunday and Monday games (set comes on here before 10am, goes until 10 – 11pm Sunday night, plus 4 hours for MNF. I’m more like 25 hours just for football. Baseball fans – they watch all the time. Basketball – I’m college and NBA playoffs only, but easily 40+ hours for the better part of 2 months of playoffs…

      Movie only people are the only folks with low hours – 2 – 15 hours a week. Sure, for those people, the lamp life issue isn’t a big one at all, although due to their limited hours, an extended lamp warranty isn’t of any use, either, since even a 3 year warranty might not come into play, and that’s got, typically a $239 price tag. That would take the Panny owner out to 3 years and 90 days. at 10 hours a week, that’s 1600 hours, so you would have paid $239 for a warranty, that would only “pay off” if the lamp didn’t make it to its rated 2000 hours. In other words, a poor investment. For this crowd, the Epson won’t need a lamp (based on 10 hours a week) for 8 years, so that means they will never buy a replacement lamp.

      So, bottom line, the lamp life issue is less of a factor for movie only viewers that full family usage, but still comes into play there. The low lamp hour person won’t spend $239, so ultimately, when the lamp hits it’s 2000 hours, it’s time to spring the $400 for manufacturer replacements (discounts are typically no more than 10%, usually a lot less). That may be 3 or four years out, of course, but it’s still a $400 expense that the Epson wouldn’t have.

      No doubt there’s a middle ground area – maybe around 1000 hours a year, where an extended warranty might actually make sense, but anyway you slice it, you are shelling out a 2 or longer year warranty ($159 for 2, $239 for 3). If your lamp makes it – well, then you’ve saved some money, but to really cover yourself, you need the 3 year package, and, geez – there goes $239 of your expected $500 difference between Panny and Epson, right there.

      Then, are you getting a lamp that is manufacturer – or 3rd party? If not manufacturer – your projector warranty is technically void, and performance, including life, and color balance, may be very different from the manufacturer’s lamp.

      While I recommend that any over $1000 projector have at least a 2 year warranty. If it doesn’t I recommend the buyer should opt for a 3rd party warranty (due to high costs of out of warranty repairs). We all know that 3rd party warranties are not as “painless” to execute as manufacturer warranties. I’ve heard mixed results – complaints and satisfaction relating to 3rd party warranties. Way back in 2005, we had a number of issues (when I was still working part time for the folks that bought my online reseller company), with 3rd party lamp warranties. In fairness, some good results too. One not so good story – One of my old buddies had a 3rd party lamp warranty. When his failed, they sent him a replacement lamp, which was apparently a 3rd party lamp. He always said, it was never as bright as the original, and it didn’t have the same lamp characteristics, when it came to color, either. He had to recalibrate his projector completely with the new lamp. Fortunately, he has all the gear to recalibrate, for he said that there was no way to use the new lamp, with his old settings, the two lamps were different enough…

      However, the first point is that few people buy them, to begin with. And there’s the rub. You can buy one, but most people simply won’t. And for those folks who won’t, my numbers are very valid. In fact few people pay any attention to warranties at all – until they need them.

      So, for people who aren’t going to buy a lamp warranty, It’s like the point that “yes, if I ceiling mount the projector close to the screen it’s a lot brighter…but, I can’t do that, I must shelf mount in the rear. (for whatever reason). So, that extra brightness is meaningless – a talking point only.

      But, I digress. Don’t forget, virtually any manufacturer will void their warranty, if there’s a 3rd party lamp in the projector. (And don’t think that some of them can’t tell if one was, by the various tracking information the projector records (many lamps/projectors are smart – believe me, you can replace a lamp, and reset the counter, but any service technician, can still determine how many total hours on the projector, how much in full power, vs eco, and lots of other information.

      So, yes, you could go with the 3rd party warranty, and if the projector then has a lamp related problem (or if you send it in for another problem, with the 3rd party lamp inside, bingo – no warranty! (And pray a 3rd party lamp doesn’t explode inside your otherwise, under warranty projector.)

      So, sure, you can take your chances. Or you can just run the Panasonic in low power, to extend its lamp life, but then it still wouldn’t match the Epson lamp at full power, in terms of life, and you’d have something like 40% less lumens than the Epson. (Evan says 32% less bright in low power than full, so actually you end up with a noticeably less bright projector in “best” mode, and a drastically dimmer projector when comparing bright modes. (OK, that’s probably not an option for most – too dim.)

      OK looking a little further into it, one of the brands of 3rd party warranties, that is well known, is Warrantech. $99 will get you a 1 year extension warranty (on top of the manufacturer’s warranty, which is usually 90 days, sometimes 6 months, and rarely, a year.

      Since this cost discussion is really about the value proposition/cost of ownership between the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB and the Panasonic PT-AE4000, you force me to bring up a number of points, relating to warranties and operational costs. Normally, this is just too much to get into, in a review, so here goes:
      Projector warranties (excluding the lamp):
      Panasonic PT-AE4000: 1 year or 2000 hours operation – parts and labor warranty. Note, if you hit 2000 hours when your projector is 10 months old, that’s it – no more warranty.
      Panasonic PT-AE4000: Usually Panasonic offers a 1 year extended warranty at no charge as a registration/mail-in type rebate. What few folks pay attention to, however, is that with the extended warranty, you now have 2 years, or 2000 hours hours coverage. Panasonic does not extend the total hours.

      So, with the Panasonic, heavy users get little, or no benefit from the extended warranty.

      If the Panasonic should fail, while under warranty, you will call for return authorization, pack up your projector, and pay the freight to send it to them ($30 – $100) depending on how close you are, to a repair facility, and how fast you want it to get there. Panasonic’s repair company will pay the freight back (for warranty repairs). Typical downtime – 5 days to 2+ weeks (oh no, not during superbowl party!)

      Epson Home Cinema 8500UB: Two years parts and labor, with overnight (typically – depends when you call them, time of day, weekday…) replacement. Any time during the two year warranty, if your unit has a warranty problem, Epson will overnight you a replacement unit (no, not brand new, but from a pool of units set aside). You will then send your broken one to them, in the box the replacement came in. Epson picks up all freight costs. Down time, typically 1-2 business days, or if your timing and luck are both really bad, maybe 3 business days.
      Epson Home Cinema 8500UB vs. Panasonic PT-AE4000 : Bottom line, far less downtime, no cost. No limit on the number of hours warranty. A really heavy user can put on 50 hours a week, for 23.9 months and still have a warranty in place. With the Panasonic, with those heavy hours, the warranty would run out (even if you filed for the extra) after 40 weeks – 9 months and change.

      So, for the light user of the projector – a 3rd party warranty is useless, as even a 3 year warranty may run out before you hit rated hours.
      For the medium user, a 2 or 3 year warranty may be a good move, probably 3 years, for the better chance of actually getting to use it.
      For the heavy user, well, even with a 3 year warranty, what do you do in year four, when you will need still another lamp – $400 (less minor discounts). So, you spent $239 for the 3 year extended, got one free lamp out of them, and then before you know it, it’s time to have to buy a lamp, because it’s past 3 years, and your last lamp is over 2000 hours.

      In other words, in most circumstances, the longer lamp life negates the need for a 3rd party warranty (save $160 – $240), and then, for planning to keep their projectors more than 3 years… no more lamp warranty and it’s $400 every 2000 hours, instead of $300 every 4000.

      Yes, if you have just the right profile, the long lamp life may not save you any significant amount, but that’s going to be a small group, as most of the rest would need a long 3rd party warranty with the Panasonic, to cover what should not even be an issue for an Epson projector’s lamp.

      We won’t even get into reputations for reliability – but, hey, you can always check out the forums, and get a good feel for which companies have the rep for reliable projectors and which for details. And believe me, the differences from one brand to another can be rather startling if one has the time to research.

      I don’t have any hard numbers anymore, but I do know that when the reseller I owned (we sold Epson, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, BenQ, InFocus, Sony, etc), in volume. Over the years upward of 20,000 projectors), Epson was always the most reliable brand. Rarely were there problematic projectors, with very high failure rates, but, it’s a crapshoot out there, and let’s say a reliable brand has a failure rate of 1% and an relatively unreliable model – maybe 8-10% over a 2 year warranty. So, even if you pick an unreliable model, you aren’t likely to have an issue, but if you do, believe me, you want it to be covered by warranty. And don’t forget, heavy users, the Panasonic warranty, even with year 2, is capped at 2000 hours total. Epson has no cap that I am aware of, so if you put 4000, even 5000 hours on the Epson, it’s still covered.

      Anyway you slice it, the warranty (projector and lamp) is an Epson strength and a Panasonic weakness. Whether that’s important to you???

      Whether you can rationalize away a $500 difference in selling price (if that’s what it turns out to be), by virtue of lamp costs and potential out of warranty costs, will be an individual decision based on usage, budget, etc. Just figure at least $150 for the minimal lamp warranty that would be needed to even “play” the game.

      Finally, if you are a hobbyist only planning to own the projector for a year, or at any rate, less than two years, then, the Panasonic will come through as the lower cost projector, in terms of operation, and based on your anticipated use, you may not feel you need an extended lamp warranty with the Panasonic. Even then, though, if you go to sell your projector with 1600 hours on a 2000 hour lamp, your projector isn’t going to command as much as the other projector with 1600 hours on a 4000 hour lamp. In one case, the buyer figures he must spring $400 for a lamp soon, and the other projector, far far longer or never, and only $300.

      Enough! -art

  • Matthieu

    You have to wait a little longer for the Bluray LOTR, aspecially when you go directly for the extended version.
    I think nobody falls for the theatrical version first twice haha.

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

      Ahh, but I’m an LOTR fanatic (I even re-read all four books – lotr+hobbit) every 4 or five years). I will, as will most LOTR fans, unfortunately spring for the Theatrical, and later the Extended.

      Now, if they really didn’t want to piss us off so much, they would at least have the decency to include a $20 mail-in-rebate with the Theatrical, that can be claimed when one later buys the Extended. oh well. -a

  • maurice raya

    Art,

    I have a 2:40.1 screen that measures 140″ diagonally. You said “•Still not bright enough in “best” mode to fill larger screens, but very comfortable at a 110″ diagonal size with a typical screen surface, in a dark room” You mean the max in best mode is only good for 110 max? My theater is a bat cave, but will add some minor ambiant light at the rear of my basement for football games. This will be my first projector and the two finalist are the panny and epson. I mainly will be watching movies and some sports/hd tv.

    Thanks Art

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

      Hi Maurice,

      Yep, that’s about it. Without getting into conversions of 2:40:1 (let’s say only, that when you are watching HDTV 16:9 sports), your diagonal is about 20 inches less. (59 inch screen height – which at 16:9 = about 120″ diagonal.

      I’ve been doing all my sports viewing this weekend using either Vivid (Dynamic on the 8500UB), or Cinema Day (LivingRoom on the 8500UZB), and filling my 128″ firehawk g3. Plenty of lumens, no problem.

      But for movie viewing, using a re-calibrated THX mode, I never push it larger than 110″ diagonal. My room isn’t a cave, but dark rust colored walls and black window shades. Not bad, though. I could probably go a bit larger, but! Also remember that lamp isn’t going to get any brighter while using it over time…

  • Tim

    Art,

    When the Panny PT-AE4000U was announced at $2000 I was ready to place my order. However, with your bulb analysis, the accountant in me is saying wait a minute. I am buying my first system for a dedicated home theater. I have been learning alot and appreciate your website. I just purchased my audio receiver (Pioneer Elite VSX-23TXH). While I was reading a user review on receivers, I read this and was very confused about upscaling to 1080P:
    “I have this in my home theater connected to (1) Nintendo Wii via component video and stereo audio (2) HD cable box via HDMI and (3) DVD via HDMI.
    I only have one HDMI cable running to my projector, so it was essential to have the analog-to-HDMI output for the Wii. At first the video wasn’t working well with the projector (Mitsubishi HC5500), but I reconfigured the video upscaling to “pure” which I think is just a pass-through, and now it works great because the projector does the upscaling. I figure the upscaling in a $2,000 projector is going to be better than any mid-range AV receiver anyway.”
    Is the post correct, I was of the assumption video projectors don’t perform upscaling. If they do, I’m interested in which projectors do a better job. Another concern is how my standard DVD’s will look on a 1080p projector. I was of the assumption that the quality of the DVD player is the key to upscaling and the video projectors have nothing to do with upscaling. I appreciate your comments on this issue and I am very much looking forward to your reviews on the Epson 8500UB and the Panny PT-AE4000U. I was convinced on buying the Epson 6100 based on your reviews. With the rapid drop in prices, the mid range projectors are falling into my budget and it sound like it is money that will be well spent. My guess is that 80% of the time will be spent watching sports, based on your reviews it seems that Epson has the edge over Panny in viewing sports. I’m anxious to see if they drop the price on the 8500UB enough to tempt me in spending the extra $.

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

      Hmm, let’s see, where to start?
      Yes, all projectors upscale (all home theater projectors at least). This has, to my knowledge, always been the case with modern fixed panel projectors. (this was not the case, generally, with old CRT type projectors.

      The whole “upscaling thing” at least in projector space, started, when Oppo (and perhaps others), started touting upscaling in their DVD players – probably about 5 years ago. Back then, we were pre 1080p, the average entry level projector was finally coming down near $2000 (ok, maybe still $3000), etc. At the time, there was a great deal of variation among projectors in terms of their various image processing abilities. The Oppo, with particularly good scaling, was superior – at least a little, compared to a lot of the projectors. Many of the upscaling DVD players since, however, were’nt even that good, but capitalizing on “upscaling” as a way of charging twice as much for a DVD player.

      Over the last 5 years, however, internal processing on home theater projectors has also improved. As such, I don’t recommend upscaling DVD players, as a rule. Better to spend the money towards a decent Blu-ray player.
      And remember, no matter how wonderful the upscaling – nothing is going to make 480i source material on a DVD, look like the latest remastered 1080p on a blu-ray disc (or even a sloppy blu-ray release). IN other words start buying Blu-ray as soon as you can. Now, with the Nintendo, it’ isn’t a high def source, so upscaling is needed, regardless whether the Wii, a 3rd party scaler, or the projector does it, if you want to fill the screen.

      I’m not sure if the $2000 receiver is going to have better or worse scaling that a projector, but my money would tend to be on the projector. STill many quality AV receivers may be using the same Faroudja, Silicon Optix, Pixelworks, or other processing as the the different projectors do. That said, there are probably some receivers with HDMI switching that figured they could save some money re image processing. Remember, most projectors don’t use their own processing, they buy/license the best out there, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

      Yes, for those primarily sports – definitely the Epson of the two. For those purely movie, lots of trade-offs. -art

  • Buster

    I really do find the comparison between the 8500UB (or the Panny) and the RS-15 to be the compelling one.

    I think the Panny and the Epson are relatively close performers that I would have a difficult time telling apart in a blind test.

    But trying to decide to spend twice the money on an RS-15. Then people complain about the RS-15 colors and I end up going in circles.

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

      Hmm, better wait until the RS15′s are around. The original RS1 had the most minimal color controls. The RS10, much improved but still not the a full CMS system (color management system) like the RS20. Perhaps the RS15 will again, provide more controls, in which case, better color still. Also, as a former RS1 owner, yes, colors could have been improved, but they were pretty darn respectable to begin with. -art

  • Mark Pitchford

    Obviously, the big comparison is going to be the shadow detail difference between the Panny and the Epson.

    Art, I’d really like to see the new Epson and Panny compared to the old ones so that we can see how much of a step up this over last year’s models.

    Last year, I just couldn’t decide between the much brighter Epson and the more refined Panny, so I sat it out. I’d appreciate it if you could show me what I was waiting for, even if that means just comaparing the photos from last year’s shoot out to the new photos from this year’s competitors.

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

      Hi, Shadow detail? Naw, black levels, skin tones, brightness, are the big three in my book (at least until a point of limited return for each). Sharpness is probably next (there are really roughly two groups – average sharpness (most non DLP projectors), and sharper than average (mostly DLP projectors).

      I’ll save the usual conjecture until I get a PT-AE4000 to play with. But, it looks like this year’s contest won’t be too much different than last. If I go by Evan’s numbers, then the two projectors in best mode still aren’t overly close, with the Epson still being brighter – but not as much as last year. (I measure mid-point zoom, Evan measures wide angle.) While he didn’t provide mid-point numbers, most 2:1 zooms are pretty similar. He says the Panny drops 41% from wide to tele, the Epson drops 42%, but is actually a 2.1:1, not 2:1, so slightly longer range. The Epson increases by 30.5% from mid-point to wide, and I used that same percentage to come up with for the Panasonic: 548 at wide, 420 lumens at mid-point, and 315 at full telephoto. That compares with 651, 499 and 375 lumens respectively for the Epson.

      The Panasonic may be brighter this year, but it’s still not a match in best mode for the Epson. It’s closer, but we’re still talking about the Epson being about 20% brighter, and as I’ve mentioned in other comments, that works out to the Epson, for example, being pretty much exactly the same brightness on a 110″ diagonal screen as the Panny would be on a 100″ screen. (And of course, the Epson lamp – rated twice as long, will also stay brighter longer. And as we all know the Epson is much brighter than the Panny, in brightest mode. Evan didn’t provide a measurement for brightest – Dynamic, but he puts Normal at 20% brighter than last year. If the same is true for Dynamic, then 20% more than last year’s AE3000, in Dynamic mode should be about 1030 at mid-point, compared to at least 1309 on the Epson. and at full wide angle – 1344 vs. 1718. That would still have the Epson be 31% brighter. That’s roughly the difference between handling a 106 inch screen (Panny) and 121 inch screen (Epson).

      Ok, lumens aside, everything else has to wait until I get to put the PT-AE4000 though its paces.

      Anyway you slice it, though, it should be similar to last year. Panasonic may also have improved black levels more than Epson has, but from what I’m reading, the Epson still has the black level advantage too. -art

  • Elio

    Hi Art,

    Thanks for the response.

    The first post of this thread(url below) shows a great easy way to measure input lag with no games or consoles required. It does need a computer feed to the projector.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1068844

    If you dont have that, you could download a demo game for free from the Playstation store on your PS3. Killzone2 would be a great one (worth it just for the amazing eye candy), and give it a try, and see if you notice any delay from the time you hit a button on the controller, until when the game responds to that button with an animation that you see via the projector. Im guessing the more processing and settings turned on, the more noticeable it gets.

    Thanks and love the blog!

  • Grant

    Art,

    i’d be interested in your opinion as to how good the CFI is in the aggressive mode (3) for animation and filmed live music concerts.

    Thanks,

    Grant

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

      Hi Grant, Good question. I’ve been running CFI on all weekend for sports, but even then, I’ve never left the Low setting. I’ll see what I can find out for you… I’ll be doing much of my photo shoot tonight, and will remember to try CFI on high when I get to Wall-e! I’ve got Monday Night Football on now, switching to high… -art

  • Raks

    Hi Art,

    I need your direction in making my Projector decision. I have 17′ wide x 21′ deep room with 10 ft ceilings. Walls and ceiling are painted medium blue tone. I have windows have in the rear which will be covered by blinds and thick drapes. So I will have pretty good light control.

    Screen: 118″ or 120″ Elite Cine White or Carada Brilliant White

    Projectors: Epson 6500UB or BenQ W6000

    Need: Bright and Punchy images with brilliiant color Pop

    As per your review, Epson in best mode throws only $550 Lumens max where as BeqnQ throws around 1000 Lumens.

    If I am looking for a bright punchy images with excellent color pop..which projector would you recommend ?

    Is epson capable of throwing a bright punchy picture on a 118′ screen with 1.1 / 1.4 gain ?

    Thanks
    Raks

    PS: Brightness in BEST mode is the only reason why I am considering BenQ W6000

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

      The bottom line, is that if you want the best quality out of each projector, then the Epson is going to come up a little short on lumens. It might do the job when you first get it, but the lumens will drop off (as with all but LED projectors) over time as the lamp ages. Of course the Epson has brighter modes, and their pretty good, but if you want to use THX or TheaterBlack1/HD mode, I do think, based on your desire for “bright punchy”. YOu would be using the BenQ in it’s best mode, and the Epson in Livingroom/Cinema Day mode. In best modes, there’s no comparison. Even with the BenQ lamp on low power, in its best mode its still a notch brighter than the Epson in THX with lamp on full.

      I can tell you that I wouldn’t buy the Epson to pair with my 128″ Firehawk G3, but my screen is not only a little larger, but it’s a relatively bright high contrast gray, so not as bright as the screens you are talking about. Hope that helps. -a

  • digitalboy

    Art, is the 8500ub the same as the european tw4400
    i ask this because in europa the tw4400 is slighty
    less picture quality than de tw5500:

    tw4400 130.000 contrast and no HQV Video processing!
    and no Deep Black Technology!
    tw5500 200.000 contrast and HQV Video processing
    and Deep Black Tech.
    is the tw4400 the same as the 8500ub?
    and the tw5500 the same as 9500ub?

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

      Hi, I’m sorry, I just haven’t had a chance to take a look and figure that out. Anybody out there know?
      Over hear the 8500UB and 9500UB both are HQV, etc. The 8100 and 9100 only claim contrast of 36,000:1.
      We have a mystery. Perhaps a marketing mystery.
      Anyone?

  • digitalboy

    okee Art, thanks for your response.
    let me put it the other way is the 8500ub
    technical exact the same as the 9500?

    or is the 8500ub 130.000 claimed contrast
    no hqv en no isf en no deep black technology?

    i ask this because as the 8500ub is the same as
    the tw5500/9500ub, i maybe buy this projector
    in the us.

  • Darryl Lowe

    Hi Art,

    Here is an idea I have been playing around with in my head, but would like to have an expert opinion on. It pertains to what you said above “…Epson is going to come up a little short on lumens. It might do the job when you first get it, but the lumens will drop off…over time as the lamp ages.”
    (Note – I am looking at a 134″ diagonal screen – 16:9 aspect)

    To get that “bright punchy” capability from the Epson & maintain the life of the bulb, without losing much in terms of color balance, gray scales, etc., could the following work?

    …Take the Epson 8500, set it to THX, put it in ‘econo’ mode, maximize the brightness by placing it as close to the 134″ screen as it will allow, and use a Da-Lite High Power screen, while positioning your seating so that you get close to a 1.8-2.0 average gain (assumes I am using a couch no more than 7feet wide so not to get too far outside the best viewing angle)…?

    Would that particular screen and that particular configuration above, hinder sharpness or color balance/grey scale…? Or would it allow me to get more ‘bright punchy’ life out of my bulb, without much cost to picture quality…?

    rgds
    Darryl

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

      Hi Darryl,

      Well, I’m not much of a fan of high-power (high gain) screens. Especially when combined with a very short distance mounting. the closer the projector to a given sized screen, the more roll-off in the corners, etc. (It’s why, for example, for a 100″ diagonal screen, that Stewart makes two versions of their Firehawk – yes I realize I’m now talking HC gray, not Hi-power. One version has slightly higher gain than the other (by 0.1 gain). The standard G3 would be recommended if the projector was 15 feet or more back from that 100″ screen, and their Firehawk SST, for less than 15 feet.

      The point – you can muster up a lot more lumens that way, but I expect your corners will be fairly dark. (and why eco mode – you don’t get a lamp life increase, and you need every lumen – unless your plan is to kick the lamp to high as the projector dims.

      Bottom line: I think it’s a stretch, but if everything else supports it (nice black walls, etc.), and the corner roll-off isn’t too bad, you will have the lumens you need. Afterall, a gain screen of 134″ needs about 80% more lumens than a 100″ if the same gain. With a 1.8 gain, you would technically have a brighter image on a 134″, than you would get with a 100″ diagonal screen with a gain of 1.1.

  • Darryl Lowe

    thx Art!

    From what I’ve read, the Da-lite High Power doesn’t have ‘any’ corner roll-off because it is a retro-reflective screen (micro beads), as opposed to the more common angular-reflective screens; thus is completely uniform throughout the entire screen.

    I am more concerned with is how that particular screen fairs with color/greyscale/etc.

    What I would love to see is if you could do a review on the Da-lite High Power Screen. See if it retains full screen resolution, color, greyscale, etc..? Any possibility of a screen review…there’s been a lot of chatter in forums about this particular screen!

    rgds
    Darryl

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

      Greetings Darryl,

      I understand that the High Power is atypical, and reflects light best, back at the source, instead of on angle. That said, I don’t think that has much bearing on whether a screen hot spots, or rolls off in the corners. Da-lite itself rates it a 30 degree half viewing angle. A number of their screens are as high as 60 degrees, and many are around 45 degrees.

      Here’s what they say:

      High Power

      A technological breakthrough, providing the reflectivity and optical characteristics of a traditional glass beaded surface with the ability to clean the surface when necessary. Its smooth textured surface provides the highest gain of all front projection screen surfaces with no resolution loss. The moderate viewing angle and its ability to reflect light back along the projection axis make this surface the best choice for situations where there is a moderate amount of ambient light and the projector is placed on a table-top or in the same horizontal viewing plane as the audience. Flame retardant and mildew resistant. Viewing Angle: 30° Gain: 2.8

      As to reviewing them, therein lies the rub. As I mention we really aren’t set up to fully and properly review screens. We do not have a process to measure such issues as viewing angle, color accuracy, gain, etc., that would be tight enough for comparative reviewing. As a result, my attempts at screen reviews has been more of sampling one of each type, (including factoring in prices). Allow me to explain.

      If you look at all our reviews (of which are no more than 10 I think, without looking), you’ll find variety. There’s the Firehawk G3, which while an HC gray surface is somewhat unique. There’s also an Elite HC gray, with a very light gray surface. There’s an acoustic, a motorized matte white, and a fixed wall Carada BW – a white with a 1.4 gain, etc.

      At this point, we don’t have the time or setup to review screens so people can compare 4 different brand’s HC gray fixed wall screens, and determine the one with best performance, and most suitable for a user, as we try to do with projectors. It’s more of this screen type is best for meeting these requirements, then with specific aspects of the screen I’m working with. That’s one reason why there are so many Elite screens reviewed, relative to other brands. They happen to be relatively local, and they are always asking me to do reviews, and when I say yes, they send people down, assemble and install the screen and then will remove it and put things back the way they were, when I’m done.

      In a perfect world I’d like to review about a screen every month or so. I’d look for someone else with more screen knowledge than I have, to do the reviews. That way, over a two year period I could review 3-4 each of Stewart and Da-lite, and 1-3 from Vutec, Draper, Screen Innovations, Carada Grandview and others. That would be a pretty helpful review library.

      I’d really like to accomplish that, and hope to get it started within the next year. Certainly the High Power is a curious screen and well liked by many (based on my forum visits). Who knows, we might get to it sooner.

      BTW I’m pretty adverse to corner rolloff. Even with my head only about 18 inches off of the centerline from my screen, I have no trouble seeing rolloff in the corners with my Firehawk. It’s acceptable, but I’d still prefer less. The Firehawk otherwise, though is an excellent choice for my tastes, and particularly my room situation.

  • Darryl Lowe

    thx Art!

    I hope things work out for your expanded screen review plans. I think a lot of people would be interested in reading you reviews. It is certainly intriguing to me as a solution for extending bulb life while maintaining proper lumens for someone who needs less than a 30deg view angle.

    You’re right, the High Power is definitely a curious screen. From what I’m reading, screen hot spots or rolls off in the corners, are pretty much non-existent…whether this is due to the microbead technology, something else, or maybe it isn’t as good as non-professional reviews are saying, that would be interesting to know from a professional review.

    Thanks for your reply. Looking forward to your next review.

    Darryl

  • Lorne

    Hi Art,

    First time comment. I often read your reviews to make my purchase decisions. Thanks. I originally had a Panny 2000, now I have the Epson 6500. When it comes to calibrations, I do my own settings. I used to mix and create colors in the fashion business so I have a good eye for it. This is not about colors but I wanted to tell you that I believe I found a new setting that seems to increase the contrast of the Epson 6500 by a significant visual margin. It’s really quite amazing. Please excuse me if you already addressed this issue, but I have never seen it written anywhere. It requires the use of the Super White setting. I never wanted to use that setting because it seemed to make the picture darker, but what I discovered is that if you bring the brightness level back up to match equal brightness of when the Super White setting was off, what happens is the white levels becomes whiter and the black levels return to the same levels un-effected. The contrast levels should also be reduced by 2 to complete the task. I confirmed my setting for accuracy with the THX contrast and brightness tests. The result is quite astonishing with brilliant whites while holding the black levels. Please let me know your thoughts on this and if you would like, I will submit to you what I believe are the picture perfect color and contrast calibrations.

    Regards,
    Lorne

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

      Hi Lorne,

      The Super-white setting, if I recall, does have an extended color gamut. However, I really haven’t worked with it. Please do post your settings in this comment and Mike and I will have a look. I’ve still got a 6500UB sitting here, which I need to return soon, but, I’ll check that out and report. Thanks! -art

  • Lorne

    Hi Art,

    Please find my settings below. The brightness was @ -12 and the contrast was @ 14 with the Super White set to OFF. Please also note these setting are for the HDMI Expanded range. One example where you can see how the colors are very true is the Jokers jacket in The Dark Knight which becomes a real purple as opposed to a blueish purple in the default settings. The natural Red, Green and Blue colors were established and carefully maintained and skin tones are true to life. Let me know how you find them.

    Thanks and regards,
    Lorne

    Epson Calibration Settings

    HDMI Home Theatre – Super White

    Image Color Mode Theatre Black 1
    Brightness 0
    Contrast 12
    Color Saturation 0
    Tint 0
    Sharpness Standard
    Abs Color Temp 6500
    Skin Tone 6
    Advanced
    Brightness Control High
    Auto Iris High Speed

    Advanced
    Gamma 2.2
    Contrast Enhancement 1

    RGB
    Offset R -14
    Offset G 10
    Offset B 12
    Gain R -10
    Gain G 0
    Gain B 1

    RGBCMY Hue Saturation Brightness
    R -4 16 7
    G 0 0 0
    B 12 16 25
    C 0 0 0
    M 0 0 0
    Y -7 -27 -20

    Signal
    Aspect Normal
    Frame Interpolation OFF

    Signal –Advanced
    Noise Reduction OFF
    Super White ON
    Output Scaling Auto
    HDMI video range Expanded
    4×4 pull-down ON

  • Lorne

    Hi Art,

    Sorry, correction: Offset R is 0

    Thanks and best regards,
    Lorne

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