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Epson Powerlite Pro G6550WU Projector Review - Special Features 2

Posted on June 12, 2015 by Art Feierman
POWERLITE PRO G6550WU SPECIAL FEATURES PAGE 2:  Color Lumens, Split Screen, DICOM (medical imaging) Presenting, Electrostatic air filter, Edge blending

Color Lumens vs White Lumens

On our site I've discussed color lumens vs white lumens extensively, going back to an NEC projector review written back in 2003.  It's only about 3 years, however, since there's been a standard for color lumens.  When you don't have as many color lumens as white ones, bright color images are not correct, in that white is often brighter than it should be compared to certain colors.  Most notably, in brightest modes, projectors with low color lumens tend to have pure reds that instead appear like dark red wine, and so on.

Check out the image above where the projected image on the left is from a 3LCD projector (coincidentally a much less expensive Epson), the one on the right, from a single chip DLP projector (a Mitsubishi - they, BTW quit the projector business a couple years ago).  Both projectors were in their brightest modes.  No wonder that 3LCD and LCoS projector makers love to pick on single chip DLP projectors that use color wheels, especially those with clear slices on the color wheels.  Why is this important?  Well, if you don't have as many color lumens as white lumens, things can never be fully right. Click to check out our Color Lumens video.  We created this video shortly after the new color lumens standard was released in 2012.  The video is still fully current, three years later.

Short version is that Epsons including this one, offer an equal amount of color and white lumens, while some projectors offer a lot of white, but can't muster up as much color.  For openers, that makes colors harder to see if there's ambient light.

As a result, many DLP projectors with such color wheels measure lots of white lumens in their brightest modes, but typically have a real problem producing a decent red or yellow in those brightest modes.

Typically, with projectors that lack lots of color lumens, you have to surrender as much as 50% of total brightness to end up with reasonably good reds and yellows.   That's good color if used in modes with names like movie, theater, and sRGB.  But if you only need white, (seriously - black and white presentations in this day and age?) those whites are bright.  Of course, 3LCD and LCoS projectors don't put their best colors up, in brightest mode either, but most will have some good looking color, just 10-15% below maximum brightness.

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One result, therefore, of not as many color lumens, is that in a picture with a bright scene, (and in a projector's brightest modes) there might be a balloon in the image that's supposed to be pure red in color.  With low color lumens, the balloon would definitely not appear to be as bright as it should, and likely not as pure red.  If you are curious, have a few extra minutes, we created a video to demonstrate the color vs white lumen issue (the image above is from that video), so for those interested, click on Color Lumens!

This Epson does have good, saturated color in all of its modes.  The brightest mode (Dynamic)  is the least accurate in terms of color, but still not bad at all, capable of respectable reds and yellows, just a bit too much green.  The other color modes all have better color accuracy and are within about 20% of the brightest mode.

Split Screen Viewing on the G6550WU

The G6550WUs are very capable at split screen viewing.  It allows for two equal sized images to be placed side by side, using computer or video content.  As is typical, not all combinations of inputs will work, but there's several good combinations that do.

Both screens are "live", that is you can, for example, run videos in both simultaneously.  We've seen some projectors in the past that could put up one active window, and one frozen one.  That's not near as capable.  The Epson's split screen works very nicely.  Both images can be the same size, or one image can be roughly twice the size of the other.  You can switch which image is on which side, change which audio is used, or exit from the Menu button once you are in the Split Screen mode (which happens when you hit the Split Screen button on the remote).

I have not used the split screen capability with the G6550WU as of yet, but did work as described when I reviewed the G6900WU so here's what I learned back then:

The only issue with the Split Screen viewing, is that it can take some time to "sync", and it did have trouble once in a while but correctable. Typically it seems to take 6-12 seconds to get from single screen mode until your split screen is up.   I was using two sources, one was HDMI, and the other a standard computer "VGA" (analog), the HDMI source was 1080i, while the VGA was WUXGA, (the max output from my MacBook Pro).   On one or two occasions, when I tried to switch the left side to the right side, I got a lot of flashing of the VGA, source, and it still wouldn't stabilize after 30 seconds.  But, when I started all over, and the next time, it grabbed it correctly in about 10 seconds.  So, it works well enough, once you have your two sources set up, but can have a bit of a problem locking on, on occasion, so you probably don't want to be going in and out of Split Screen a lot, during a presentations if this is typical.  Only the VGA gave me problems, the HDMI had not issues..  These images are from the G6900WU review.

DICOM Presenting

DICOM is a standard for viewing medical images such as CAT-scans, MRIs, X-rays, PET-scans etc.  A number of commercial projectors out there today do support DICOM Simulation, which means they are rated to be able to project such images at a quality level suitable for presentations and instructions.

The bottom line is that the G6900WU is more than suitable for medical presentations by all types of radiologists, neurologists, and so on, be the presentation for other doctors, or for patients.  Epson certainly isn't the only player with DICOM abilities.  Canon, for one has been offering DICOM on a number of projectors for years.  Today a small but noteworthy portion of the over $3000 projectors seem to offer it.  That's a lot more than a year or two ago.

G series Epson - X ray - DICOM on right

This last image tries to show you the difference in contrast/detail between standard projection and DICOM.

Click Image to Enlarge

10,000 Hour Electrostatic Filter

Epson uses an electrostatic filter on the G series projectors. The 10,000 life is, of course, exceptionally long.  Even in Eco mode, this projector claims 4000 lamp life, so we're talking about only changing the filter every two lamp changes or longer.  In all but the most heavily used environments, the projector might never get to the point where the filter needs changing (20 hours a week usage for a decade!)

That should keep the cost of operation under control. And while no filter at all, is even simpler, think back:  Have you've ever looked inside an old PC to see "inches" of dust covering everything inside, you can appreciate that no filter at all, can't be a good thing, as the more such dust that exists, the hotter the device is likely to operate.

Having a long life filter system that easily outlasts the lamps, makes a ton of sense.

Edge Blending

With edge blending, you can seamlessly merge the images of multiple G series Epson projectors together to create extremely wide images.  Perhaps you need to display imagery on a wall that works best at 5 feet tall, and 20 feet wide.

Edge blending done properly provides a seamless transition from one projector to the next, so you can't tell where one projected image stops and the next one begins.   To really pull that off, of course, you also need the color and brightness of the projectors to also be close to identical. Epson has engineered a Multi-Projector color mode into all of the G series projectors, including the G6550WU, however, we've had no ability to try such things, as they never give us two projectors to review.

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Click Image to Enlarge

In the old days - 5-6 years ago, to do edge blending you would buy an external processor, and spend a lot of money on it, typically more than most of these G series projectors sell for.  There are levels of edge blending ability, the G6550WU has what we could call "standard" edge blending. Epson's flagship G6900WU has somewhat more advanced edge blending features.  Having edge blending integrated into the projector adds flexibility for digital signage usage, as well as specialty uses such as museums, which in particular seem to love edge blended projections as seen in this Epson provided image.

Count edge blending as one more feature in the G series that provides maximum flexibility for handling all types of situations.  You may not need it, but others will.

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