Projector Reviews

Epson Ensemble HD 1080 Complete, Projector Based Home Theater System Review-3

What's Involved in Doing a Home Theater, Epson Ensemble HD Style

  • Pick out a suitable room
  • Buy the System
  • Watch it get installed one afternoon
  • Enjoy it that night!

That’s right, Epson comes along with two Ensemble HD systems, and changes everything! These make owning a complete home theater room, something you can have up and running in less than a day.

For the purposes of this review, we will concentrate on the Epson Ensemble HD 1080, which I have just had installed as my second home theater room. (Much to the thrill of my teenage daughter, who would often “fight me for” my main home theater, so she and her friends can watch movies and reality TV (Idol, etc.) This complete Ensemble HD 1080 system is only $6999 (plus a very modest installation cost), offers full 1080p resolution, while a second, lower cost ($4999) Epson Ensemble HD 720, provides a slightly lower resolution system but is essentially identical in all ways but price and resolution. A companion article will be written that goes through the value proposition of the lower cost Ensemble HD.

Epson Ensemble HD 1080 System Overview of Equipment

  • Epson Home Cinema 1080 projector (previously reviewed)
  • Motorized 100 inch diagonal screen
    • Front speakers – a left, center, and right speaker (designed by the well respected team at Atlantic Technology) – all built right into the casing of the motorized screen
  • Projector housing: The projector neatly fits into this good looking, white “housing” and
    • has, built in, the left and right rear (surround sound) speakers
  • Equipment cabinet. This black cabinet sits on the floor and is less than 27 inches high, the cabinet has
    • A built in sub-woofer
    • A middle and top shelf for other equipment
  • AV Controller – this small black unit will normally sit on one of the shelves. The console does a lot of things:
    • Is the surround sound amplifier for the speakers
    • Has an FM Tuner
    • Has a built-in DVD player (standard DVD, not Blu-ray, more on that later)
    • Lots of extra inputs
    • Acts as the hub for all wiring, including video, audio, and power
  • Pre-programmed universal remote control, to run the entire system
  • Wiring and channels – the Ensemble HD comes with all the wiring you need for everything included – you’ll still need a couple of extra cables for your Cable/Satellite feed, and perhaps a Blu-ray player and game machine
    • Channels – in “big installations” people run all the wires in-wall, making for a major project. With the Ensemble HD, you still can, but the vast majority of folks will use the provided thin wiring channels that can be attached to your walls (corners usually, and run along the ceiling).
      • The channels make for a nice, neat – potentially spouse pleasing solution, that works, and saves tons of time and money

Estimated time for a complete installation using the channels (which can be painted if you choose), is only four to five hours!

And that, is the bottom line. Perhaps Epson should have called it The Instant, Huge Home Theater, With Excellent Picture and Wall Rattling Surround Sound System, but Ensemble HD will just have to do.

Ensemble HD 1080: Basic Specifications

The Ensemble HD 1080 review will not duplicate much of the original Home Cinema 1080, that is the included projector, as it was reviewed back in early 2007. For some things, though, I will repeat some information found in the projector’s review, for convenience. In addition, we calibrated the Home Cinema 1080 included with the Ensemble HD1080, and will report the new results in the General Perferformance section.