Projector Reviews

Epson LS100 Hardware Tour

Home Cinema LS100 Hardware: Overview, Lens And Placement, Control Panel, Inputs and Connectors

LS100 Hardware Overview

The LS100 isn’t a large projector, more medium sized.  It is, however wide, with a pretty low profile,

I always like to start in the front, but the question is, which end is the front of this projector. The part facing the screen, or the part you see, from further back in the room? We’ll call the part facing you to the screen the front. After all, it is designed to look good, and be seen. Ever see a good looking back of a TV?

The optics are on the top, toward the front of the projector. Also found up there is the grill hiding the 16 watt speaker. The speaker seems to be primarily aimed toward you and up.

Everything else but the four indicator lights (top) – Power/Standby, Status, Laser, and Temp – and the IR sensor found on the front top edge, for the remote control, is found on the sides. Remember, this being a laser projector, there’s no door for the lamp (which is usually on the top). Air intakes and exhaust are on the sides.

There’s a single screw thread adjustable drop down foot centered below the front.

Looking from behind the projector the connectors are located on the sides. The Control Panel is on one side, near the front, while all the inputs and connectors are on the the other.

There are two more screw thread adjustable feet on the bottom by the back, for a solid 3 point stance.

LS100 Lens, Throw Distance

Epson doesn’t say anything describing the optical system of this ultra short throw projector, but I’ll say, it’s very different than traditional projectors. The bottom line is that it projects from a very short distance, and puts up on your screen a proper rectangular image with very acceptable levels of optical distortion that manages to be focused across the screen. Well, like any projector, the entire screen isn’t perfectly sharp, but it resembles similar edge to edge focus of typical projectors.

Think about it, what makes this so tricky, is that, on say, a 100” diagonal screen, the closest part of the screen assuming the LS100 is table top) to the optics will be about one foot, while the upper corners will be about 5 feet away. And think of the angles too:

The projector has to project to the left and right bottom of the screen at almost a horizontal angle (about 10% above – a quick guess) while also having to be sharp, and evenly bright at the top and the corners.

To focus the projector, you’ll find the control hiding behind the door for the air filter on the right side (if you are facing the screen). It sides up and down to focus.

LS100 optics
Top down view shows lens/optics on angled surface, facing the screen

Here are some basic numbers on placement of the LS100 relative to your screen.  The LS100 does have some zoom lens ability, so there are two distances quoted for each screen size – closest and furthest back.

Measurements are from lens to screen.  The lens itself is located 13.7 inches from the rear of the projector (that closest to the screen).

For the smallest screen size:  

70 inch diagonal: The lens of the projector sits just 15.9 – 22 inches from the screen (of course it’s slightly below the screen, where the screen would be if it came down further).  Apparently after a point, the zoom aspect is out of range, so that for 100″ or larger there’s no adjustable distance per the manual.  Since the lens is 13.7 inches from the part of the projector closest to the screen, therefore, the closest part of the projector sits between 2.2 and 8.3 inches back from the screen.

For a 100″ diagonal screen size:  The lens sits just 23.3 inches away.

For 130” diagonal screen size (the largest): , the lens sits just 30.7 inches away.

The size of the screen also affects where the LS100 sits in terms of height:

70”   diagonal:  The bottom of the screen is 5.1 inches above the lens

100” diagonal:  The bottom of the screen is 8.4 inches above the lens

130” diagonal:  The bottom of the screen is 11.7 inches above the lens

The foot of the projector furthest from the screen sits almost directly below the lens, so that, for example, with the largest sized screen – 130″ diagonal, that foot is about 30 inches from the screen, which means that a 30 inch deep credenza or table sitting just a couple inches from the wall and screen should work fine.

LS100 Control Panel

This is a typical control panel for an Epson projector which means a few more buttons than most, for the convenience of those not relying on the remote control.

I usually start on “the left side” but this time lets start the control panel buttons with those closest to the back of the projector.

First tthere’s the Power button, and next over and above it, the Source select button. (BTW, below is the Kensington lock slot for security.) Below the Source is the Home button which Epson ahs added to their projectors starting a couple of years ago. I’ve included a photo of it here as well, it lets you navigate directly to a number of features.

Next over comes the full navigation area with four arrow keys in a round configuration. The keys do double duty, they navigate the menus, or, when you are not in the menus, the control keystone correction (top and bottom arrows), and volume – always a nice touch, especially if that remote isn’t handy (it’s usually hiding between the couch pillows!)

Of course you need to be able to get into the menu system, before you navigate it. The Menu button is below the right arrow key.   Below the left arrow key is the last button, which is the Escape. Escape will back you up through the menus, one level at a time. (Pressing Menu again, when in the menus, turns off the menus.)

All considered, the LS100 has a well laid out control panel, and it’s easy to access there on the side.

LS100 Inputs and Connectors

There are a lot of them. In this day of projectors tending to have less, the Home Cinema LS100 is well endowed.

First of all, there are three HDMI inputs – the first one with MHL. If you are not familiar with MHL, and are skipping around this review, I cover it in the Special Features section. Regular readers of our reviews know that I almost always list on the Cons at the end, that projectors should have 3 HDMIs not just two. That’s because not everyone uses an AV receiver or wants to buy an HDMI switch box with separate remote to change sources. Better to offer all of those folks (that included me until 4-5 months ago when I broke down and bought a new Anthem AV receiver). So, thanks for the third one.

ls100_inputs-and-connectors

There’s a computer input aka VGA (video graphics adapter – with the traditional analog HD15 connector. For that input or some others, there’s a pair of stereo audio inputs.

And this projector has a stereo (note – not surround sound) audio out, to feed a larger sound system. Of course normally if you have an AV receiver, it gets the sound directly from the source. Let’s say, though you are going portable – say in the back yard for movie night. If you have a boom box with better sound than the built in speaker – plug it in there. Or, you could use that as a headphone jack!

The LS100 also has the traditional composite (low def) video input using a standard RCA connector, and there’s an RS232 serial connector for “old school” command and control, such as controlling features from your computer.

There’s more – the input jack highest up on the panel is where you plug in the optional wireless networking adapter ($99).

Back near the bottom closer to the front than the three HDMI inputs, is the LAN connector – a standard RJ45 “Ethernet” type and the three USB connectors

The last jack is very atypical for a home projector. That’s a monitor out. That lets you feed the same image back to a traditional computer monitor. That’s primarily a business/education feature.