Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector – Image Quality

These Home Cinema 8700UB home theater projector images below are all taken using Blu-ray or HDTV sources. By the time these Epson Home Cinema 8700UB projector images get to your eyeball, via digital SLR, software, browsers, and your monitor, there are definite color shifts, saturation differences, contrast differences… We attempt to have the images as close as possible to what was on the projector screen, but even then, I’m trying to match on the display of a MacBook Pro. Your setup will likely look different. The Home Cinema 8700UB images are here to support the commentary, but keep in mind these limitations when trying to compare images from the Home Cinema 8700UB projector with other home theater projectors. Take them “with a grain of salt”. Those images relating to black level performance and sharpness, however, are pretty reliable, color accuracy, getting to you (and dynamic range) are the tough issues.

All these images, unless otherwise noted were taken using the pre-production 8700UB I received first. Due to slightly lower than expected measured brightness, we asked for, and just received a full production version. That said, we will only use that one for brightness measurements, we won’t has the second one fully calibrated.

Let me say that all home theater projectors, including the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB, definitely look better live, than in even the best looking images here would suggest. (If you have a decent screen, and good lighting control.)

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Out of the Box Picture Quality

Wow! I am impressed. Of the projectors I’ve reviewed, in recent years, perhaps the only projectors that have looked as good as this Epson – right out of the box, without any calibration or adjustment, have been the JVC models that have also have a THX mode.

Now those JVC’s aren’t much brighter, in “brightest mode” and are also very good at that. With the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB, there’s a huge difference in brightness, and the Epson color filter is moved out of the way (thus the more than doubling of brightness). Even so, this Epson is sporting the best looking Dynamic mode I’ve seen from Epson, and other than reducing color saturation (if you aren’t fighting a lot of ambient light), it looks great for a bright mode.

The THX mode is gorgeous! No adjustments necessary to fully enjoy a good picture. After Mike’s calibration it’s a little better still, but hey, if you aren’t an enthusiast, and just want something that looks great (though perhaps not as perfect, but great), the THX mode is all you need. Just adjust your brightness and contrast settings slightly so as not to crush whites or blacks, and you are all set. If you are more of a perfectionist, calibrate the CMS – the individual primary and secondary colors. Unlike previous UB projectors from Epson, this one allows you to adjust the CMS – in THX mode! Thank you. (BTW, JVC was allowing that ability last year, but first time for Epson).

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector - Flesh Tones

Below are our three James Bond images from Casino Royale. Each has a different lighting scenario, the first – full sunlight, the second image; indoor fluorescent, and finally, filtered sunlight in the third image. And as one would expect, that causes each image of James Bond – Daniel Craig – to have different looking skin tones. All look pretty good!