Posted on March 14, 2008 By Art Feierman
Both The Sanyo PLV-Z3000 and the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB offer CFI – creative frame interpolation. There are perhaps, more differences, than similarities, between their implementations.
Of the 3LCD projectors sporting creative frame interpolation, and frame interpolation, Epson was the most ambitious in terms of what they have attempted, with Panasonic being similar, but Sanyo only went halfway. Both the Epson and the Sanyo add a creative frame between every original frame when dealing with 1080p or 1080i /60 source material. Both do a reasonably good job, and both work nicely for sports viewing, which is one area where CFI can really be appreciated.
Where they differ is in how they handle movies. Today, movies on Blu-ray, are almost all provided at 1080p/24fps. Epson can use its CFI to create 3 slightly different frames between each original (down from 4 on the previous model), taking 24fps up to 96fps. The PLV-Z3000 by comparison does not offer CFI for 24fps source material.
Alternately, both the Epson and Sanyo, offer basic frame interpolation to increase the frame rate from 24fps to 120fps (called 5:5 cadence) (Sanyo), or to 96fps (called 4:4) (Epson), but do so simply by duplicating each frame 5 (or 4) times. The end result is that this method does not smooth out the motion of fast moving objects. Still the higher final framework does work to deal with one type of motion blur, which is normally associated with eye movement and some people’s sensitivity.
Theoretically that gives the Epson the advantage overall, but Epson’s handling of CFI for 24fps source material has issues, sufficient that we recommend not using that ability, due to significant artifacts. Epson, as of this writing, is working on a fix, but we haven’t seen it yet. Additionally, the Epson when it “sees” a 24fps movie, delivered over 1080/60 (most movies on high def channels), it deconstructs the 60fps back to the original 24fps, and then applies its problematic CFI to the 24fps. That is just as bad, if not worse than, working with a 24fps movie on disc.
Epson provided an improved CFI early into the life of the old 6500UB, but the CFI for the 8500UB is further improved. It is better than the Sanyo on sports, and, the Sanyo still can’t use CFI for movies, or other 24 fps content. A win for the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB.
Sanyo supports 3rd party anamorphic lenses, Epson does not. (There, something simple for a change!) The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB however, has an almost identical twin, the Pro Cinema 7500UB (sold only through authorized local dealers). The thing is, the Pro Cinema 9500UB is definitely hundreds more than the Home version, and (even after netting out the value of the free spare lamp and free ceiling mount included with the Pro version), and is therefore about $1000 more than the Sanyo.
The PLV-Z3000 was the least expensive ultra high contrast projector that supports an anamorphic lens, last year, but the Panasonic which shifted lower in price, now hold’s that honor.
If you are considering the Epson, but do want to use an anamorphic lens, it is certainly cheaper in the long run to go with the Pro version.
I should note that typically, you will spend more on an anamorphic lens and motorized sled, than for these projectors. (Typically lens and sled together, cost from $3000 – $5000).
Anamorphic lenses are finally becoming more popular, but most using them are owners of high end projectors (over $10K), but it is filtering down into the $3000 – $10,000 range. A recent discussion with a well known moderately priced screen manufacturer – Carada – now leads me to believe, that, at least in 1080p space, as many as 10% of home theater owners/buyers are at least seriously considering an anamorphic solution, though that’s slanted because of the high incidence of anamorphic lenses on more expensive installations. In this price range, it’s likely to be no more than 1 or 2 percent of new systems
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