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Epson Pro Cinema LS10000 Laser Home Theater Projector Summary

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Art Feierman
PRO CINEMA LS10000 LASER PROJECTOR - SUMMARY:  Broad Capabilities, Picture Quality and Brightness, "4K" Competition and Value Proposition

LS10000 Broad Capabilities

As Epson's flagship home theater projector, the Pro Cinema LS10000 is extremely feature laden.  Let's start our summary with the new technologies.

A solid state light source features dual blue lasers and a long life of 20,000+ hours (we assume at full power) and 30,000 in eco mode.  That folks, is longer than the practical life of the projector, for most users.

The LS10000 uses its light engine as a dynamic iris when it encounters a frame with 0 brightness - a black frame.  Those tend to show up briefly in between scenes.  It's stunning to see (or, really, not see)  total blackness.  But this Epson achieves some pretty competitive black level performance, without a dynamic iris.  I wish Epson would provide a useful contrast reading instead of comparing full on to off, though since that only really comes into play on those black scenes.  If there's just a little very dark content, the light engine is back on, and the blacks aren't near as black.  In the real world it's normally going to be dark scene, not completely black.

Epson has built a projector that can handle 4K source material as well as 1080p.  The brand new 3LCD Reflective panels, are, best I can determine, liquid crystal on quartz.



Epson is using pixel shifting, in this case, firing the panels then shifting 1/2 pixel upward to the right and firing again with slightly different data.  That data is image processed either from say 1080i or 1080p, using upscaling, and techniques to as close as possible restore  higher resolution info that disappeared in taking it down to 1080 res.  This is the type of image processing that's done these days.  At some point its adjusted and processed to match the pixel shifting design.  The end result has impressive enhanced sharpness.

If the source material is true 4K, then there's no upscaling, etc., just the processing to make it work best with the pixel shifting.

The Epson also offers 3D and does an excellent job of it.  It does not support 4K 3D, but then there aren't any standards yet.

The firmware of the projector can be upgraded via your local network.  The hard wired LAN connection to your router is all that's needed.

Lens Memory is new for Epson.  That's because Epson's never offered a home theater projector before with power zoom, focus and lens shift.  With Lens Memory its easy to choose to go with a Cinemascope type wide screen, such as a 2.35:1.

Picture Quality and Brightness

Above, a mix of true 4K material, 1080i, and 1080p.   Pre calibration the Epson puts up a very good looking image in THX and Natural modes which are very similar.  On paper it is pretty good right out of the box in terms of accuracy.  After Mike calibrated the LS10000 the color accuracy was further improved and became very accurate.  Despite the solid state laser light source this projector looks very much like a good lamp based projector.  One trick up the Epson's sleeve is that the laser light source boasts a great deal larger range of colors than lamp based projectors.

Current standards like REC 709 are doable by those lamp based projectors, but if a wider color gamut source is provided, such as the DCI used by commercial cinemas, the Epson will have color range that the lamps should not be able to approach.    We can only hope that DCI reaches consumers in the next couple of years.

So, add to a very good color picture, plenty of brightness, with around 1300 lumens calibrated.  That's pretty bright, and there's almost an extra 500 lumens under the hood when you are willing to sacrifice the best picture quality for more brightness.

3D is great.  I haven't figured out why, but the Epson seems almost crosstalk free, which is something normally thought reserved for DLP projectors.  There's a good amount of brightness as mentioned, and that's enough to do a reasonable job on screens up to about 125" in Dynamic-3D and 100" or a little better with THX-3D, with its better picture.

The "4K" Competition and Value Proposition

At this point in time only Epson and JVC are using pixel shifting with 1080 panels to accomplish a type of 4K.  As far as I'm concerned, true 4K needs to have roughly 4000 x 2000 pixels on the panels.  I like to think of what JVC and Epson have as "pseudo" 4K.  This Epson's got game, but still has to work with those oversized pixels on its three panels.

With an estimated price of "under $8000" the closest competition to the LS10000 are the pair of JVCs:  X700R and X900R, at $8K and $12K.  Both offer pixel shifting, 2:1 zooms, lens memory.  There's also, of course the true 4K Sony VW600, but that's at $15K roughly twice the price.  There are the lower priced Epsons and Sonys with good image processing, but they aren't a match for the LS10000 with its final picture.

We somewhat recently reviewed another JVC, a little less expensive at $5000, which also has  pixel shifting.  We have comparison samples in this review.  When both are using their "4K" processing and pixel shifting, the Epson definitely seems to end up creating a somewhat visibly sharper looking image.  Sony's lower cost VPL-HW55ES is no match for this Epson, and the same can be said for the Epson UBs, and the BenQ W7500.  Sony will have a new replacement to their VW95ES which is 3 years old. That replacement could be real competition, we shall see.  Certainly the VW600ES (although the Epson should beat it at black levels) with its true 4K produces the better image thanks to those smaller pixels, but again, it's twice the price, and it's still lamp based.



The Epson offers great black level performance and very good dark shadow detail.  There are only a handful of projectors that can beat its black level performance, but I think when you add everything up, the Epson has a great shot at being the best overall home theater projector under $10,000.  And as a bonus, you've got the long life light source, so no expensive lamps to replace.  Also as a bonus, the laser light source should hold brightness, and color very steady for thousands of hours, whereas lamps shift noticeably in as little as, or even less than 500 hours.  Wrap it all up with a great 3 year warranty with Epson's rapid replacement program for all three years and you have the complete package.  And don't forget, that package includes a ceiling mount, cable cover and two pair of 3D glasses.

The Epson LS10000 isn't "true" 4K, but it seems to be the next best thing, with a vibrant image that seems almost DLP like at times, especially on darker scenes.

Looks like a real sweet ride.  In summary  -  This is a projector I can live with.  You probably can too.  Check out the update based on a full production LS10000.

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