Projector Reviews

Epson Pro Cinema G6550WU Projector: Special Features

PRO Cinema G6550WU  SPECIAL FEATURES PAGE 1:   Display Port and HDMI, Stacking Projectors, Limited 3D, Interchangeable Lenses

HDMI and Display Port

I think it’s safe to say that all projectors these days support HDMI (or DVI). However commercially, we’re also seeing DisplayPort on some projectors.  Display Port apparently moves data in packets, much like the internet.  More to the point, it is an alternative high resolution interfacing solution. The Display Port connector is slightly different than an HDMI but at quick glance could be mistaken for a normal HDMI.  The G6550 projectors offer one HDMI and one Display Port.  Before you panic, you can use a smart adapter, which will allow you to use the Display Port as a 2nd HDMI input.

That said, for a projector in this class, I like seeing a Display Port, but why not two HDMI’s as well?  There’s room on the back panel – that’s not the issue.

On the plus side, as happened in our review of the top of the line G6900WU, the lack of a second pure HDMI port was one of my biggest complaints.  If I can’t find things to bitch about any worse than that, this Epson’s doing pretty good.

Click Image to Enlarge

G6550WU - Stacking Projectors

Stacking projectors:  Virtually every projector, if you have vertical lens shift, will allow you to virtually double brightness by putting two projectors, one on top of the other, and aligning them.  Based on our measurements, a pair of G6550’s stacked approaches  10,000 lumens.  There was a time, 10 years or so ago when 10,000 lumen projectors were upward of $50,000!   Stacking is a real plus for rental and staging, for major events. The staging company can use just one projector when its brightness is enough, or when needed, double up, gaining both reliability and brightness.

To stack a pair of Epson G6550WU projectors, you would normally use a vertical stacking mount, which is basically a cage to hold securely two projectors one above the other. with adjustments so they are both perfectly aligned with each other (same distance from the screen, both at a perfect 90 degree angle from the screen).  The mounting system allows for that.  Vertical lens shift then allows you to get the two images in what is essentially perfect alignment.

Two could also be “stacked” horizontally, using horizontal lens shift.  They could even both be placed on a table top, next to each other.  That may be easier, but since stacked projectors are mostly in a permanent setup, they are most often ceiling mounted, which is where the stacking mount makes sense.

Click Image to Enlarge

Passive 3D by stacking two G6550WU Projectors

3D is not really a single G6550WU feature, out of the box. Instead, you can stack two of these projectors together, and then you install a different polarizing filter in front of each, feed them 3D content, and use with passive, not active glasses.  (Key to remember is that passive 3D needs a polarized screen.)  The image below is a simulation of a 3D projection in a large venue – basically museum type usage.  Image curtesy of Epson. 

If you need 3D, going passive 3D makes perfect sense for larger venues where a pair of G6550WUs would be used. Using passive in the long run costs less than using active 3D glasses.  Active 3D glasses are many times the price, per pair of passive glasses.  Whereas, in quantity, passive glasses should be in the $1 to $2 range. The least expensive active glasses I believe are still over $10 a pair, plus those lowest cost ones run on a lithium battery, so there’s time and effort keeping all those glasses in fresh batteries.

Click Image to Enlarge

I don’t envy the person who would have to go through hundreds of pairs of active 3D glasses every so often (50-100 hours of use), testing and changing out batteries.  Or if using more expensive rechargeable glasses, plugging them in after 25-50 hours.  That’s a real expense, since it would take hours of someone’s time.  In a large university classroom or lecture hall, going passive 3D is obviously a plus. Not to mention the dollar savings if one has to replace lost or broken glasses.  It’s the same reason all US movie theaters use passive 3D glasses.   Even with the usual loss of brightness when viewing 3D, a pair of 6000 lumen projectors can produce 3D that’s nicely bright on some seriously large screens!

Although I only received one G6550WU to work with, previously I worked with 2 of Epson’s lower cost W16SK – which is a pair of much smaller Epson projectors that comes with a stack for passive 3D.  The W16SK was designed specifically for classrooms, but is far less powerful, so more suited for a K-12 classroom than a university’s.  To learn more here’s a link to the W16SK projector review.

Interchangeable Lenses for the G6550WUNL

When it’s time to purchase, you can order the G6550WU projector which has a list price is$4999 with standard lens, or the G6550WUNL without the lens for $4599.  (NL stands for No Lens included).  For those who need a different lens than the standard zoom – there are five other lenses including a fixed very short throw (for rear projection), a short throw zoom, different medium throw zooms, and one long throw zoom lens for this Epson – order the NL version. Epson zoom lenses retail from about $1399 to $2899.  Those are reasonable prices for interchangeable lenses for commercial projectors of this capability.  Lenses on significantly more powerful projectors tend to cost far more.

Click Image to Enlarge