OK, to summarize, it's been reported on avsforum, and probably others, that a small number of Epson 8500ub (and 9500ub?) projectors are sporting some vertical red lines and possibly other red artifacts.
I had a discussion yesterday with Epson product management. Of course, so far, it's only been a short time, since the first reports of this issue, but Epson assures me (so, I guess, that I can assure you), that Epson is:
1. Aware of the issue
2. Currently trying to nail down the cause, in order to determine the scope of the problem and to rectify it.
3. Coming up with a solution as soon as possible.
Epson, from our conversation, believes this is a problem affecting a very small percentage of owners. From their perspective - so far - and I imagine it could change if they get a lot more reports, it is affecting very few. As Epson indicated, and industry stats would tend to support, Epson by now has likely shipped at least a couple thousand 8500UB's in the US, as well as perhaps an equal or greater number of the equivalent overseas models.
I do note that only 12 people (out of 31) in the AVSforum survey report a problem, which sounds like a lot, but based on previous surveys done for other problems, including Epson's defocusing issue, and possibly the CFI, as well as older ones done relating to the BenQ PE7700 lamp issue, Panasonic vertical banding (several Panasonic models) etc., the forums are truly bad places to try to figure out accurately how many people are affected.
I say that, because it's the nature of forums that people who buy a projector - whether familiar with forums going in, are often likely to search them out, when they have a problem. This tends to make the numbers higher. After all, as of a minute ago, if you google 8500UB, red, line; then AVSforum's survey page is the top search result.
Also, interesting, I'm talking with one user who not only suffered the red line problem (that's you Bruce), but has with the replacement unit as well.
That's strange, especially if Epson is right, and that this problem is affecting a small group (single digit) of owners. That would tend to, though not necessarily, indicate that while a problem may lie in the Epson firmware, it's only triggered when certain other conditions are met. That type of problem can take longer to solve.
Bruce tells me that the problem is few and far between - he uses the projector 20-30 hours a week and it happens, I believe, about once a week. That makes it hard to nail down what modes prevent the problem from happening, if any.
I'd like to engage a couple of other folks with the problem, to go over cables, switchers (including AV receivers), sources, etc., to see if we can find common threads and help Epson nail this problem down.
So drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a red line problem and still have the projector. I'll pass on everything of use, to Epson.
That brings me to the "commercial".
Epson asked me to assure everyone, that Epson, as always, is fully focused on customer satisfaction. That they will figure out the problem shortly, that they will come up with a fix, where needed, and everyone will "live happily ever after" (my words), with their Epson projectors.
I recall that with the de-focus problem of last year, it took several weeks from first reports until a manufacturing fix was found. The same was true with the issues with their first CFI firmware.
Epson does get my endorsement. As an online dealer we did sell something in the order of 10,000 Epson projectors over a decade, over the course of the decade, they were our largest line (but we sold almost all the majors - Sanyo, Panasonic, BenQ, Optoma, Sony, Toshiba, Mitsubishi...) My experience with them, from the dealer standpoint, and how they took care of customers with issues, was always exceptional. It's no wonder they have a closet full of awards for Epson customer support.
So, all I can tell you, is, so far, that if Epson is right, the problem affects a very small group. In that case, there's little to fear in buying a shiny new 8500UB. And, should you be one of the unfortunate to encounter the problem, Epson will take care of you. Among other things, remember, they have their overnight replacement program, which is about as close to "no questions asked", as you will find. More important, though, is that Epson really does take any such issues extremely seriously. While other companies often take a while to debate whether there is a problem, Epson seems to sort of assume, upon hearing there is one, that it's real, and their challenge becomes - how quickly can we make this go away, and have all our owners happy.
OK, yeah, I like Epson, we all know that. I own a 1080UB in my Epson Ensemble HD, I also have an Epson printer (two actually, the other is an ancient MX80 (now approaching 30 years old - (great paperweight). I worked for them '82 - '86, (no, there weren't Epson projectors back then, only Epson dot matrix printers, and Epson IBM PC clones). But, I can tell you, Epson had the same almost "anal-retentive" focus on building quality product, and providing excellent support, then, as they have today. They are in a rut. It just so happens that for end users, it's a good rut.
OK, one more time. I'm looking t hear from 2-3-4 of you who have experienced the problem. Especially anyone who is having it frequently (every couple hours), which helps in determining all circumstances in effect when the problem occurs.
Meantime Epson will keep me apprised once the cause is determined, once a fix is readies, and how to take advantage. If like the last couple of issues to hit Epson, response should be pretty fast, with a solution found, and hopefully implemented in the next few weeks.
It's not likely a cable quality/length issue, as Bruce has tried with short and long cables, but, more results are needed.
Thanks! Let's get this problem nailed, and corrected so we can get back to the business of sorting out projector image quality.
BTW, the Epson 9500UB I have here on loan, is now pushing close to 200 hours and it does not exhibit any red lines. -art