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Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector Review

Posted on November 1, 2010 by Art Feierman
Epson's Home Cinema 8700UB has replaced the Home Cinema 8500UB. Each year there are a few basically all new projectors, but most are simply minor improvements, sometimes minor additional features. The Home Cinema 8700UB is an improved and slightly refined version of the older projector, which was our top rated in the price range. The 8700UB is also less expensive than its predecessor. One improvement relates to the THX mode. Read on!

Specs Preview

Epson 8700UB Specs
Price 2199
Technology 3LCD
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 1600
Contrast 200,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio 2.10:1
Lens Shift Yes
Lamp Life up to 4000 hours at full power, up to 4000 hours in eco mode
Weight 16.1
Warranty 2 years

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector Highlights

  • Essentially an improved Home Cinema 8500UB, at a lower price
  • Improved "out of the box" picture quality
  • Brighter than average "brightest" mode
  • Excellent black level performance for its price
  • Excellent placement flexibility
  • Very low cost of operation
  • Offers CFI - creative frame interpolation - for smoothing fast motion
  • Excellent value proposition
  • Street price approximately $2199
  • Projector launched with a free spare lamp promotion, (that likely means they will stay with that promo)

Epson Home Cinema 8700UB Projector Overview

Epson had a challenge in bringing out its fourth generation UB projector ("Ultra-Black"). What improvements could be made to a stable, top performing projector in its class, that would make the Home Cinema 8700UB able to maintain, or even gain ground over the competition? As it turns out, the Home Cinema 8700UB in terms of performance, isn't greatly improved, but it is a better projector. The best example of a subtle, yet effective change, might be the Epson's THX mode. Last year, with the older 8500UB, the THX mode locked users out of a lot of controls. We would have to start with a mode like Theater Black 1, and calibrate from there, whereas THX mode definitely looked a bit better to begin with.

This time, you can start calibrating the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB projector from the THX mode, and tweak or calibrate, and that's a plus. The THX mode, I should note, is excellent in terms of color. Most impressive. Speaking of impressive, the Home Cinema 8500UB - last year's model, received our Best In Class award, for home theater projectors between $2000 and $3500. That's our highest award for a Home Theater projector (we give out one in each of three price classes.) This year, the Home Cinema 8700UB is improved, and less expensive.

In the next pages, we'll try to tell you how much difference there really is, how the Epson 8700UB performs, and whether the competition should be nervous.

The $2199 Home Cinema 8700UB has some siblings that should be mentioned. There is the more expensive Pro Cinema 9700UB ($3099). It comes finished in black, has a third year warranty, and more sophisticated anamorphic lens support. Other than those points, the two are pretty much identical. Note that the Pro's are sold by authorized local installing dealers, while the Home Cinema series is sold by authorized online dealers and some "big box" houses. On the lower end of the Epson 1080p lineup, for only $1299, comes the Home Cinema 8350. It is a slightly brighter projector but not a match for this Epson projector for movie watching. That's due to the Epson 8700UB's excellent black level performance, which will be discussed later in depth.

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