For those of you not familiar with the term ultra short throw, aka UST, projectors like the LS100 are placed, typically only inches from the screen. They can be positioned just below or mounted just above it. These UST projectors are a bit limited in the range of screens they will work with, but that’s rarely an issue.
In the case of the Epson LS100, for example, it can work with the sizes of screens most people use – up to 130” diagonal. That should be large enough to keep almost all of you happy.
The laser engine's 20,000 rated life (at full power) means that this projector's "engine" should easily outlive this projector's practical life. We're talking 15 years of 40 hours a week viewing in Eco mode (the mode that most will use). 15 years ago we barely had HDTV and we didn't have Blu-ray disc, just the '90's left over DVD which isn't even close to high definition.
Ultimately though, the picture itself is what we all care about, so we'll be sure to cover that in great detail in this review.
We've provided plenty of photos in this review of the LS100 in action. None were taken in a full dark room with no lights. The photos cover a range of brightness of the rooms from near impossible sunlight pouring into my overly bright living room, to the same room at other times of day, and at night with lights almost directly on the screen, and night with only back room lights on. I also shot photos in my home theater with its all dark surfaces, but even there, I either had all my rear lights on, or in the day time, shot with the shutters on the side and back window at least half open on sunny days. I never shot pictures in the theater in full darkness, because, strange as it sounds, the LS100 is really too bright for that. OK, with those notes on photos, let's get this review moving along.
The movie Red, photo taken in darkened theater projected with LS100
LS100 photo in home theater - moderate ambient light
LS100 photo - Passengers - taken in home theater - modest ambient light (low)
LS100 - photo from the movie Red - home theater, darkened
LS100 HDTV photo - taken with modest ambient light in home theater
Daytime - living room bright sunlight outside, bright room
Let’s talk background for a second. Epson, as regulars know, dominates home theater projectors with over 50% of the North America home theater projector market, (per Pacific Media Associates which has been tracking projector sales for more than 20 years). They have a ton of models, and they are in pretty much every segment except the very small pico and pocket LED projectors.
I would attribute the pedigree of this projector, to (like a number of other Epson home projectors), to their Education (and Business segments). Epson has been offering UST projectors in those markets for more than 5 years, but this is the first time they’ve brought one to the home.
The force is strong in this projector - in case you have the need, remember that it is a highly capable business or classroom projector as well.
No matter the background, we try to judge each projector on its merits - and shortcomings. When it is all considered, it comes down to one question, and it is not: I's this the best projector out there? The only question that really counts is:
Is this projector the best one for me/my family, in terms of budget, picture quality, compatibility with the room it will be going in, and best suited for the types of content we'll be watching on it (and that, includes video games too)!
Also of note, although Epson has been offering laser projectors in their home theater line-up for 3+ years, this is the first one that combines laser and UST technology.
So what we have here, is a pretty unique projector in the Epson home theater / home entertainment line-up.
I had a pre-production LS100 unit here to work with, that Eric calibrated. Because it was a pre-production unit, I had it in my hands – no, make that in my home theater, and in my living room, for a little over a week.
I’ll summarize the highlights here, and then get into the details of the review, starting with the Special Features section next.