The Epson UB projectors have always had excellent black level performance. The Home Cinema 8700UB claims 200,000:1 contrast ratio. That's the same spec as last year's 8500UB. I don't worry about contrast specs. Ever since the dynamic iris, they have been all over the map, though generally, higher is better. Still some 50,000:1's do better overall blacks than some 200,000:1's. Let's leave it at for now.
The Home Cinema 8700UB is typically equipped for a home theater projector, in terms of inputs, which will be covered on the Physical Tour page.
The Home Cinema 8700UB is shipping this month (October). Time to explore the finer points.
Home Cinema 8700UB Lamp Life
Epson states that the lamp is rated up to 4000 hours in either full power or economy mode. That's better than most. Industry standard is now a little better than the old 2000 hours at full power, and 3000 at low power. That said, there are still projectors claiming as little as up to 2000 hours in either mode. Epson keeps their lamps below typical price at about $299 last I looked. Bottom line, is that keeping yourself in lamps isn't the expensive burden it was just 3-4 years ago, when most lamps were $400 - $500 and 2000 hours was about as good as it got, at full power. The way our electric bills keep going up, the Epson lamp can only help
Most lamps are rated 2000 hours at full power, and 3000 in low, or "eco-mode" power. That's been getting longer over the last couple of years, but 2000 hours is still the most common at full power. The Epson's claimed life is almost double that of most of its competitors.
This seems to be a dynamic feature, that has three settings for different amount of sharpening (resolution enhancement?) If one looks you can see a slight sharpening of the image, and a very slight hardening to surfaces. There's always a trade-off. I find the #1 setting, the lowest setting does provide me with a feel of a touch more sharpness, whereas any downside is off my radar, unless looking for it. I've been leaving it on for a lot of movie watching. I like it. I haven't really played with the higher settings, they might be fun for all digital content, like sports and Discovery HD type content..
2.1:1 Zoom Lens
Same old Fujinon 2.1:1 zoom lens that Epson's been using for 3 generations. Same old repeat for me. This lens has more range than any competitor, although there are a number of projectors (Panasonic, JVC mostly) with 2:1 zooms, which come very close. Bottom line is you get maximum front to back flexibility, short of having interchangeable lenses. In addition the Epson has extensive lens shift for height placement flexibility.
As with all lenses with this much zoom range, there's a big difference in brightness between wide angle and telephoto. (We do our measurements with the lens at the mid-point.) Wide angle (placing the projector the closest possible to fill the screen), will be a good 60-65% brighter than at full telephoto. Where you are mounting the projector will affect the overall brightness. Consider that in your calculations.