Epson Home Cinema 8100 and Pro Cinema 9100 Projectors – Quick look

UPDATE: The Epson Home Cinema 8100 projector review has been posted.


The Home Cinema 8100 and Pro Cinema 9100 projectors are very similar.  In fact there are only a few differences which I’ll touch on below.  Let’s start with the Home Cinema 8100.

The first news is very good – though price is not finalized, something like $1599 MAP pricing is likely.  If that’s the case, it would be several hundred below the Home Cinema 6100 it replaces, rebates and things, notwithstanding.

I should point out now, I didn’t see the Home Cinema 8100 or Pro Cinema 9100 projectors in action, when I visited Epson.  I only saw the Home Cinema 8500UB work.

The Epson Home Cinema 8500UB, I should mention offers CFI, 200,000:1 contrast, and other enhancements, for under $3000.

BIG SPEC news – Contrast of  36,000:1, which is double the old 6100’s.   That’s higher than the original 1080 UB, which was Epson’s first ultra-high contrast projector, just two generations ago, and a price breakthrough at the time.

If the Home Cinema 8100 can deliver on the contrast, we should see a nice improvement in black levels.  Remember though, a doubling of contrast is not a huge visible difference, but should be a worthy improvement. As they say, every bit helps.

If Epson can deliver on that, it may well have the best blacks under $2000, but  no doubt, there well be some real competition.

For those of you not familiar with the Epson lineup, the Home Cinema 8100 looks and works like the older projector.  There will likely be a few menu additions though.

Epson is rating the projector at 1800 lumens.  Last year’s model tested out at about 1500 lumens, and could go higher by sacrificing image performance.  That would be brightest mode.  Because of the similarities between projectors, we can probably expect right around 500 lumens in its best movie mode.

The Home Cinema 8100 lacks the creative frame interpolation – CFI – capabilities that the more expensive 8500UB offers.  Like it’s big brother, though, the 8100 does not have support for an anamorphic lens.  The Epson 8100’s lens shared with the others, and is their usual 2.1:1 zoom manual zoom lens.  There’s lots of lens shift.  It’s almost impossible to find a projector with more placement flexibility, other than really expensive projectors that offer interchangeable lens options.

Epson rates the lamp at 4000 hours in low or high power – which, I believe is the longest life in high power, currently offered in projectors using lamps. (Lamps are in verything but a few new expensive LED projectors, such as the $15,000 Vivitek H9080FD projector, recently reviewed).  That should make for a nice low cost of operation.  The warranty is two years, parts and labor, but Epson also offers their two year home replacement program, which is excellent.

Epson Pro Cinema 9100 Home Theater Projector

The first difference is that the Pro Cinema 9100 is finished in a nice piano black.  Other than that, everything physically, is identical to the 8100.

From a feature set difference compared to the 8100, the Epson Pro Cinema 9100 adds:

  • Support for an anamorphic lens
  • ISF Certification, with two additional lockable modes for pro calibrators to use (ISF Day, ISF Night)
  • A third year warranty, and third year of the replacement program

The Pro Cinema 9100 comes packaged with a ceiling mount, and a spare lamp, as well.  With the extra features, warranty, mount and lamp, the Pro Cinema 9100 is likely to list for about $1000 more than the Home Cinema version.

News and Comments

  • Slarity

    Thank you very much, this is what I’ve been waiting for. Now I just need to figure out which site to preorder it from.

  • Robert

    Hi Art,

    Exciting news. Do you know if the 8100 has organic panels or inorganic?


  • Tom

    If I remember correctly the Epson 6100 had whats known as an organic LCD panel. The 6500ub had an inorganic LCD panel.
    Does the 8100 have an organic or inorganic?

  • Slarity

    I just noticed this (I’ve read this post like 4 times). You say the 8100 will have higher contrast than the 1080ub, wasnt the 1080ub rated at 50000:1?

    • Busted – well that’s what happens when I work from memory. You are correct, the 50,000:1 spec is correct for the old 1080 UB projectors. Ultimately though, I believe the real difference is due to the different LCD panels. Afterall, the contrast specs include the dynamic iris working. Remember, a doubling of contrast (all else being equal) is just a small increase in black level performance. In other words, 36,000 for the 8100, vs 50,000 for the 1080UB in it’s own right would be a barely detectable difference. In reality, it will probably turn out that the 8100 gets close on very dark scenes, because of an iris with more range, but overall, the 1080UB would still have the better black levels (by more than the 14,000:1 difference.) -art

  • Jeff M

    same question – the only way this really competes with the new crop of 1-1.5k dlps is inorganic panels, otherwise we’ve got the same 3 year expected lifetime issue. Interesting that folks in this price range tend to use their pjs far more (2,000+ hours a year) than the folks who are dropping 3x-4x times as much.

    • Greetings Jeff,

      You raise an interesting point. Not sure how many hours you can get out of the current generation of organic panels. While I’ve never seen good numbers on panel life before any color shift, Epson, etc. have said that the newer organics are still much better than the older generations, if not up to the inorganics. No way to really know. And, there are multiple factors. The cooler a projector runs, the more likely the panels will go longer without shift, so always good to clean change filters as often as recommended.

      I’ve seen very few complaints about panel fade on the forums, with the newer projectors, although I’m sure there are some. As to people with less expensive projectors using them more, that’s likely true. Entry level projectors are more likely to end up in family rooms etc., where they are used in many cases as a regular “TV”, as opposed to those dropping it into a more dedicated theater. I guess I’m the exception, even with the thousands of hours looking at review projectors, I still manage to put on about 150-200 hours a month on my JVC. -art

  • Greg

    I called Epson about the organic panels. They won’t confirm that it is organic as it is not shipping yet, but they strongly suggested that that is what is in there right now.

    • Hi, I’ve already confirmed, the Home Cinema 8100 and Pro Cinema 9100 have organic panels. -art

  • Hieu Ninh

    What is the actual release date for the Epson 8100? When can I get it?

    • Officially, Epson is saying “before the end of October”. OK, that’s 4 weeks away, +/- a couple of days. Epson is usually very good when it comes to shipping on time. -art

  • Alan

    Walked into best buy today, and they’ve got 25% of the Epson 8100 … down to $1199, so I scooped one up

    • Alan, Very cool news! People, hear that? -art

  • fred

    I bought the Panasonic ae-500u about 5 years ago for 2100 dollars with a free lamp and I now have 2700 hours on the original bulb.I decided to go to 1080p after I got a ps3 and after looking I almost bought the epson 6100 but I found out the 8100 was due out in october.I looked at stores and got a great price at Hawthorne appliance.I just picked up the 8100 for 1079 plus 100 rebate which you can’t get at best buy.I hooked it up and was amazed at the picture quality,blue rays looked fantastic and the brightness and contrast are great. I have a 106′ screen and it looks like a giant flat screen.Buy this projector you will not be sorry!

  • fred carr

    I just got the 8100 for $979.00 after the rebate,epson will not send you the rebate if you bought at best buy.It says so on the rebate form.I got mine at Hawthorne appliance and I had the panasonic ptl500 720p projector for 5 years and decided to upgrade to 1080p. the epson8100 puts out a fantastic picture and it has a very bright picture.the contrast is great and is a very solidly built machine.the picture quality from hd-dvds and blue rays are awesome.I am running it on a 106′ screen.get this projector you won’t be sorry ,but shop around and never pay list price.

  • fred

    inorganic or organic, who cares! my panasonic probably has organic panels and it still looks great after almost six years so if I get six out the epson thats only 175 dollars a year. I can live with that.

  • dj

    Bummer. I just checked at Hawthorne Appliance and the price is back up to $1419. Wished I could have got into the great deal you all found.

    • Greetings Thue,
      Confuses me to, but has always been the case with my setup. Note, however, other than some additional baggage that both would carry, there really shouldn’t be any real difference.

      there’s 2.25 times as much information (pixels) in a 1080 signal, compared to 720. That’s not much different than the 2.5 times of 60 over 24. But, my guess is that 24fps is far harder to compress, as there is logically more change from frame to frame. As a result – who knows, on average 1080p 60 may need 50% more bandwidth? No Idea on my part. I’ll leave that for the engineers to debate. -a