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Epson Home Cinema 3700 Projector Review - Picture Quality 2

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Art Feierman
Home Cinema 3700 Projector - Picture Quality page 2:  Dark shadow detail, HDTV and Sports, Bottom Line on Picture Quality

Dark Shadow Detail

No problem at all with the HC3700 projector's ability to resolve the darkest shadow detail.  That's pretty typical, in general, of Epsons we have reviewed in recent years.

Look to the shrubs to the right side of the Bond train image, just behind the tracks, and to the woods above there to the right.  The Epson reveals plenty of faint detail, virtually no loss whatsoever.  Even better is the sleeping scene from Hunger Games.  Look to the largish dark area just left of center near the bottom. There is almost no near black information in that entire area.  The Epson HC3700 shows all that should be there.  The silhouetted image of Beyonce' reveals very good detail in the dark fog at the bottom.

Overall, the Home Cinema 3700 is about as good as one can hope for in terms of dark shadow detail.  Good job!

Sports and HDTV on the HC3700

Fire up Bright Cinema mode for your sports viewing (and for most HDTV if you have ambient light present, and the HC3700 should not disappoint.  There's plenty of lumens to go around, so the HC3700 can tackle more than a little ambient light, although if you have a ton of ambient light you likely should be looking at we dub "bright room" projectors.

Colors are rich looking and well saturated (like all 3LCD projectors, they have equal numbers of color and white lumens.  (We don't measure, we take Epson's word, because we have measured Epson projectors in the past).  One expects equal color and white lumens from basically all 3 panel / chip projectors, be they 3LCD or LCoS.  It's the single chip DLP projectors that normally come up way short on color lumens.  I used the HC3700 for some football viewing during this year's NFL playoffs and have no complaints.  I turned on CFI aka "smooth motion" to Epson's low setting which I found to do a bit of smoothing, without noticeable artifacts.

For the non-sports viewing, I normally turn off CFI, as I'm not that big a fan of creative frame interpolation.  I consider it a "nice extra" if you like it, but sometimes I find it "over the top" even on normal HDTV viewing like sitcoms, Blacklist, Westward, etc.  In all cases I find the High setting to be too much, as one can spot artifacts around fast moving objects in the image.

Epson's Bright Cinema mode is just fine for just about all my HDTV viewing, although when there are a lot of well produced skin tones (such as the Victoria Secret shows), I will use my calibrated Cinema mode.  The non-critical viewer may prefer the slight extra punch of Bright Cinema over Cinema, thanks to only a small penalty in the naturalness of those skin tones.

All considered, the Home Cinema 3700 has plenty of horsepower to tackle your HDTV and sports with modest to a moderate amount of ambient light, without major sacrifice.  Count the 3700 as an excellent choice in the price range for "TV" viewing.

Bottom Line on Picture Quality

Epson's Home Cinema 3700 is an especially well balanced projector in it's price range about half-way between $1000 and $2000.  Overall, color is impressively good right out of the box in three of the four modes.  The fourth is Dynamic - the brightest mode - and we never have high expectations for any projectors's brightest mode, although this Epson's color balance in Dynamic is a lot better than many other projectors.

I find this Epson to be great on sports viewing and almost equally good on general HDTV.  Movies only suffer from the less than stellar black level performance, but that is a trait of virtually all under $2000 projectors even if a few do a little better than the HC3700.  I would have to jump up $500 to Sony's HW45ES to claim a better overall projector in terms of picture quality.  There are a couple of very good DLP projectors as well (the ones with the best black levels in the price range), but this Epson typically has the advantage on those in terms of handling sports and HDTV with any ambient light present.


My only real complaint is those black levels for movie viewing.  I'm, of course looking at that from an enthusiast's standpoint.  For example, if you will be watching movies with any ambient light intentionally present, you really won't appreciate the difference between this projector and the few in the price range that can do better on blacks.

I am, however, hoping to see how Epson's own HC3900 compares directly.  It has slightly better 3LCD panels, when it comes to native contrast, so if you are a movie enthusiast and have a few hundred more to spend, you might look for that flagship model in the series, if the rest of the differences in the feature sets are not an issue (no speakers on the HC3900).

Overall, this is a great "home entertainment" projector, or good just above entry level "home theater" projector, when it comes to the picture.

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