Epson Home Cinema 6500UB Projector – Image Quality

Epson Home Cinema 6500UB images below are from either Blu-ray, or HDTV, with the exception of Lord of the Rings (standard DVD). These images are not overly accurate compared to the image the Home Cinema 6500UB projector projects on the screen. There are color shifts (too much yellow, in this case), saturation differences, etc.

The images are provided to support the commentary, so don’t read too much into them, such as expecting an exact reproduction of skin tones. In reality, the projectors always look better than the images in our reviews. From a color standpoint, my dSLR camera still adds a very slight green shift I have not been able to remove.

Home Cinema 6500UB Out of the Box Picture Quality

Actually, the Epson does a pretty good job out of the box, when it comes to having a great “best mode”. Overall, Things like brightness, contrast and color saturation are very good, although color saturation is definitely a little much. I dialed down saturation from its default setting of 0 to -7 for most viewing, but occasionally down to -9 (that’s a very subtle difference between -7 and -9). The default setting for brightness of 0 looses a bit too much dark shadow detail, but a minor adjust to +2 solves that.

The default color settings are a little warm – just favoring red a bit too much. Other than dialing down color saturation though, the Epson is extremely watchable in TheaterBlack1.

I looked closely at LivingRoom and Dynamic modes as well. Both are way too cool (bluish) out of the box, but can be quickly corrected by sliding the Color Temp control down to 6500 or 7000, which really improves things. These minor changes (saturation, color temp), are just that, and obvious things to do, not requiring a calibration.

Dynamic as expected does push yellow and green up, to help cut through ambient light. The result is a bit over the top, and too much (unless you really have major ambient light problem. Our “quick calibration” tames the yellows and greens without sacrificing any significant amount of brightness, for a more watchable image.

Still, the Epson does benefit from a proper calibration, be it one you can do with a simple “end-user friendly” calibration disc (AVIA or DVE-HD). If you don’t have it in you to try that, I recommend you try the settings we came up, and reported on the Calibration page.

Flesh Tones

After calibrating the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB, skin tones improved a bit, to the point of being really very good, but not the best. Still not as natural, as, say the InFocus IN83, and I’d even give the Panasonic PT-AE3000 a slight edge.

While most projectors with good skin tones do differ from one another, they all tend to look very good during normal viewing. Put two such projectors side by side, and you really notice what would otherwise be subtle differences. If one has more red, and the other a touch more green, they tend to both look off, but either, by itself can look very natural.

Here, first are a pair of images from my favorite movie not available yet on Blu-ray: Lord of the Rings, played from standard DVD.

Here are three images of Daniel Craig, as Bond, in Casino Royale, under different lighting conditions. The point here, is that correct skin tones vary, depending on the lighting. You can expect significantly different looking skin tones, when switching from bright sunlight, to nighttime, flourescent lighting, incandescent lighting, or even lighting in the shade, or a cloudy day. Consider these three imagfes, the first, in direct sunlight, the second is a scene with flourescent lighting, and the third, a sunny day, but Bond is sitting in the shade – indirect lighting.

The last image above is from HDTV (the last Olympics), the image was photographed with the Epson Home Cinema 6500UB in LivingRoom mode. Very impressive skin tones and color, for a “non-best” mode.

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As you can see, the Home Cinema 6500UB has a ways to go to catch the JVC RS2, in terms of black levels. The Epson’s black levels however are excellent, with only two or three projectors able to do better, and none in its price range! As you can see in the two side by side pairs below, the Epson has a very distinct advantage over the Panasonic PT-AE3000. In the second pairing, the Epson and JVC RS1 are certainly very close. There’s virtually no difference between them in black levels when compared to the relatively large difference between the Home Cinema 6500UB and the PT-AE3000.

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