Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB – a new, better UB – pre-announcement info

Greetings All!

OK, I’ve already blogged about the Epson Pro Cinema 7500 UB, but missed a few details.First of all, the pricing, will be under $5000 (which sounds a lot like $4999 to me, but we shall see).Final pricing is not yet set.I will update the first blog with this same information.

So, let’s talk Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB.First of all, it is not officially announced yet, and it sounds like it won’t ship until December.That means some of this info may not be completely accurate, as the product isn’t finalized yet.Normally I don’t worry much about products 3 months out, but it seemed that Epson was releasing a fair amount of information, to the CEDIA public, and I can’t rationalize keeping a secret, since much of the information is already circulating!

I’ll need to clarify how it will be different from the Pro Cinema 7500 UB. For those of you who haven’t been following home theater projectors for very long, Epson offers up both Pro, and Home versions of their Cinema projectors.The Pro Cinema 7500 UB, is sold through local installing dealers, while the Home Cinema 6500 UB, will be carried by selected (authorized) online resellers.Epson normally differentiates the projectors slightly, with the Pro version offering some extras.The Pro version is ISF certified and has the required extra memory slots for a professional calibrator to use. Still, the Home version has plenty of memories, so it is a minor point, for most.

One new thing not found in previous Epson’s is support for an anamorphic lens, for those that want to go with a wider, full Cinemascope screen shape, so most movies do not display with the letterbox at top and bottom.The 7500 UB, has the support, while the 6500 UB, does not.Keep in mind that a typical motorized anamorphic lens, needed to do this, is typically $3000 – $4000+, about as much as these projectors.As a result, few people buying projectors in the price ranges we are talking about, will go with the anamorphic option.

If you want to keep your options open (to add an anamorphic lens system later), you’ll need the Pro.However, if you are buying a screen now, without the lens, then you would be going standard 16:9, and that means a new screen later.

Back to the Home Cinema 6500 UB.Yes, it also comes with a 75,000:1 claimed contrast ratio.In addition, it too (like the Pro), can interpolate frames, to visibly reduce motion blur.Now, I figure to really appreciated whether it works, a side by side comparison is most helpful.It just so happens, that Panasonic was doing a side by side between their PT-AE2000U, and their replacement model, the new PT-AE3000U.Based on what I saw, it really can make a difference.It’s always nice to see some new technology, that improves picture quality, and this does.

BTW, on the slightly technical side, Epson has been shipping a new version of their D7 LCD panels (the older D7’s were used in the Home and Pro Cinema 1080 UB, as well as the Panasonic, and other 3LCD projectors).The new version is designed to reduce reflected light inside the optical path, and I take it that this is where a large chunk of the improved contrast is coming from.

I think that about covers it for the Home Cinema 6500 UB, except to say that pricing has not yet been set, but sounds like under $4000 MSRP.More importantly, the question is, what it will sell for (more or less), I’ll post on that, as soon as I have a better handle.

Bottom line, is that the Home Cinema 6500 UB, really should improve on the Home Cinema 1080 UB’s performance.It may not be a giant step, but then as many of you know, I have considered the Home Cinema 1080 UB, to be the best overall projector under $3000.

I can’t wait to lay my hands on the new Home Cinema 6500 UB, for review!

It’s going to be a busy 3 months for reviewing new home theater projectors.I’ll get to them all, as fast as I can, and as fast as they can get me review units.The website (top right column), will keep you advised as I get confirmation of arrival of new home theater projectors for review.

Hang in there!-art