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

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

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