Posted on December 11, 2020 By Art Feierman
Great for families, sports fanatics, serious gamers…
The long awaited Epson LS500, first announced just over one year ago at the CEDIA show, is now starting to ship. The LS500 is a laser powered, 4000 lumen, 3LCD projector with an ultra short throw design, and it is bundled with either a 100” or 120” screen. It’s built for your living, family, or other common rooms, and will make sure they remain common, no more!
The Epson LS500 is a great TV replacement option and offers, essentially, unlimited content from streaming services. Plus, you have inputs for your cable/satellite box, game console, or 4K Blu-ray player.
It’s has audio that’s better than most wall mounted TVs and, most importantly, it produces a large sharp image, one that makes a 65” LCD TV look like something that’s more suitable for a spare bedroom.
But what makes it TV-like, perhaps more than anything else, is how it differs in one way to traditional dedicated home theater projectors: All considered it’s an easier installation than wall mounting an LCDTV. I’ll discuss that more in the hardware section as it is a key reason for the fast growing popularity of Laser TVs.
All that said, it’s about the experience. The LS500 just arrived last week, but I’ll be writing this review throughout 3-4 week period of using it. I’ve already watched 15+ hours of football, and I have started streaming from Disney+, Netflix and Prime, watched 4K UHD disc, and cable TV. I’ll be describing some things later, that I have yet to look at as I write this opening.
Blacklist pilot - 4K content (no HDR), from Netflix. Picture picks up some purple in lighter areas, due to purple ambient lights being on in room during shoot.
Football looks great on cloudy days, evenings, and nighttime, in my living room with very limited ambient light control. Sunny days are more of a challenge.
Rich vibrant colors in this scene from Jumanji: The Next Level, 4K UHD disc.
Passengers - image taken at night. Looks really good, but lacks the black levels of a great dedicated home theater projector!
Jay Leno's Garage: Great content, vibrant colors...
The Big Screen Experience: This should help you decide if a Laser TV like the LS500 is right for you:
Last night my wife and I watched The Mandalorian, for the first time. I hadn’t set up the Disney+ app for the Epson, so, I lowered my 120” VividStorm ALR screen, turned off the Epson and fired up my 77” LG OLED TV – arguably one of the best pictures you can buy.
We will be watching more of The Mandalorian soon, but next time it will be on a “decent” sized 120” screen.
Update: I watched more Mandalorian, this time using the Epson and 120” diagonal, after I loaded the Disney+ app (easy enough). Now, by comparison, the LG OLED with it’s perfect blacks and beautifully saturated colors had looked great, but merely 77”. The shear enormity of the 120” image immerses you, making the LG seem very small, and non-immersive, by comparison. This Epson LS500 is the movie theater in your living room. Now, to fully enjoy a theater like experience, (as opposed to say, sports viewing), you will have to darken your room almost completely, so serious movie watching is probably a night time thing in rooms with little or no lighting control, or window coverings.
But, if you have shades on your windows, etc. You be the judge of what is dark enough to give that movie theater experience. Just add popcorn.
BTW, for the image above, I tried to take some good Mandalorian pics, but Disney+ makes a mess of the screen when paused. (dims much of the top and bottom, and overlays text.) So I tried to capture a moving scene – note some blurring.
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