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Epson Home Cinema 3500 Home Theater Projector Review - Special Features

Posted on October 30, 2014 by Art Feierman
EPSON HOME CINEMA 3500 PROJECTOR - SPECIAL FEATURES:  Super-Resolution, Picture-In-Picture, HDMI-Link, Built In Audio, MHL

Home Cinema 3500 Super-Resolution

Epson has been offering Super-Resolution - their name for their detail enhancement / sharpening feature, for several years now.  They continue to refine and improve it.  The Home Cinema 3500 (and the 3600e) share this feature.  It should be noted that the less expensive Home Cinema 3000 lacks Super-Resolution.

The best way to explain Super-Resolution is simply to show you the results.  Super-Resolution has six settings - 0 through 5.  0 is Off.

The two sets of images in the player here, show the same image first with Super-Resolution Off, then a setting of 2, and then 4 and when indicated 5.  The highest setting - 5 does even more detail/sharpening, but I usually find it to be "over the top"  You might like it for sports, but it hardens the image enough that its not really natural for movie viewing.  Generally settings 2 and 3 are most effective with the least artifacts, but I do find 4 works great when I watch football.  You can see the specific setting (0 through 5)  in the menu bar at the bottom of each photo.

PIP - Picture In Picture

The Home Cinema 3500 has PIP.  On the downside, like most PIP implementations at other manufacturers, you can only have one of the two windows populated with an HDMI source, the other has to be PC or a video source.  One of the higher end Epson's doesn't have that requirement, but it also doesn't support MHL on its HDMI ports.  That may have something to do with it.

With this Epson you can have one full screen image and a much smaller "In Picture" image.  That smaller image is available in two sizes - small, and very small.  PIP is fine for seeing what's going on, but since it's pretty small, you won't want to watch anything at that size.  Still, you'll easily tell when the commercial ends and you are back to the programming you want to watch.

To toggle the sources so that the picture in the small window now fills the full frame, and the former full frame ends up in the small window, all you have to do is hold down the PIP button on the remote for about 3 seconds.  Voila!  Bottom Line:  PIP is a nice touch.  Not something most folks need, but it can be fun.  From a practical standpoint, I can use PIP to put my Fantasy Football browser page in one Picture, and the football game off of DirecTV on the other.


I'll give Epson credit.  They call their implementation of HDMI-Link:  HDMI-Link.  So many companies cook up some fancy name, trademark it, (Panasonic calls theirs Viera-Link) and then taut that they are the only folks that offer "Viera-Link.  No matter. Here's the scoop.

By setting up HDMI link, you can use the Epson remote to control other HDMI-Link compatible devices.  For example I have a Panasonic Blu-ray player with Viera-Link.  Once set up, I can use the Epson's remote to hit Play, Chapter Forward, Pause, Fast Forward, Stop, etc.  Similarly, if properly setup, I could use the Panasonic's remote to access menus on the Epson, although i admit I haven't tried it.

It's another way to cut down on remote control clutter.

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Seems I'm writing about MHL as a special feature on just about every home entertainment hitting the market, and even a home theater projector or two.

So, here goes.  Again!  The Epson supports MHL on it's HDMI 1 port.  MHL is just a smarter HDMI port, that accepts the MHL ("Mobile High definition...).  It allows you to plug in a range of smart devices, even including some Android phones and tablets.  The best example though of what MHL is about, that I frequently use, is to talk about the Roku stick I own.

My MHL Roku stick plugs into the Epson Home Cinema 3500.  It is a Wifi device that brings me content over the internet via my local Wifi.   It is an alternative to my satellite box, blu-ray player, etc.  It's closer to Apple TV.  I can stream movies from Netflix and other services through my Roku stick, there's a huge wealth of channels - of content, out there, some free, some with fees.

You can almost think of using Roku stick or similar, as similar to cutting the cord with phone service, no more "old school" land line.  Here with MHL, and devices like my Roku stick I can cut the cord - no satellite or cable, no Blu-ray.  Truth is, I wouldn't even think about abandoning Blu-ray, the picture quality is so much better than streaming, or HDTV.)

BTW not all content is accessible via Roku and similar products  (Google has Google Play, even Amazon has one. for example to get a live NFL broadcast, that might come from a different channel, perhaps via an NFL channel. But, you can't count on access to everything you get with 600 channel satellite.

That said, MHL simply expands your source options with the HC3500.

One thing.  For most things MHL, you get audio as well, and also some command and control.  As a result, a projector pretty much needs to have its own audio built in.  Well, Audio is next!

Home Cinema 3500 Built in Audio

Way better than most!  The Home Cinema 3500 has a pair of 10 watt speakers built in.  They are rear facing.  Let's face it, built in speakers aren't going to compete with expensive surround sound systems, but Epson has at least made an effort to deliver some respectable sound.

20 watts is a fair amount, especially when you know it's not trying to tackle deep bass.  This Epson may not have the deep bass but it has the volume to fill a room like my home theater (roughly 400 sq feet, with reasonably loud, and well balanced sound, in the sense of enough mid range and upper bass so as to not sound tinny.

On the downside Epson provides no controls.  It would have given owners more control if there were your basic equalizer or bass / treble and loudness controls.  Hey, it's only firmware.  That would have been a real plus - maybe next generation.  While their at it, they should have a night time mode that moderates the peaks for listening when others are asleep.

My complaining aside, the Epson has better sound than any other home projector I've reviewed.  Given they are less expensive, the BenQ HT1075's audio sounds overly bright by comparison.  The HD141X, of course is only about $600 but its level of hi fidelity was not even close.

Score the speaker system as "about as good as it gets" for a home projector.


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