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Update: Epson Home Cinema 5010 Review Progress

Greetings people, The Home Cinema 5010 is here, or actually it's a Home Cinema 5010e. Upon opening it up, Mike quickly discovered that there are no THX modes.  This is different than the original Pro Cinema 6010 I had seen, and my expectations were that the 5010 and 5010e would have THX, since the Epson Home Cinema 8700UB, had THX.  My best guess is somewhere in the process, Epson had to decide if the more expensive Pro Cinema 6010 should be the only one with THX modes.  Epson has always saved a feature or two for the Pro series.  Online shoppers tend to favor the lower price of the Home Cinema 5010, while those wanting local install, got some extra goodies for their extra dollars. The biggest problem here, is that I've been reporting that the 5010's would have THX, and that's now apparently wrong info. I'm in the mood for rambling so...   No matter, the implications to everyone considering one of the Home Cinema 5010 projectors, the Panasonic PT-AE7000, the Sony VPL-HW30ES and others, are relatively minor.  The loss of THX modes should have zero effect on absolute performance, but what it does mean to you, is it takes an advantage away from Epson. We have consistently found that projectors sporting THX modes have excellent color in those modes.  They are typically pretty close to ideal, realizing that there is lots of lamp variation.  As a result, their calibration is for one with the most median lamp characteristics, that's why Michael would still recalibrate grayscale.  We'd end up with a just slightly better picture, but because, we were basically simply recalibrating for the lamp variation. Or at least that's how it seems. The bottom line on that means that this time, our published settings that Mike comes up with, will simply be of more use to those buying one of the Home Cinema 5010s, than if they had a THX mode.  So do let us know how those settings work out. For some of you though, really wanting close to dead on, the lack of THX, might drive you to hiring a calibrator.   My thoughts are that you do have to be really picky to appreciate a good calibration, compared to a THX mode.  You know who you are, and it's not a lot of you. More importantly, the Home Cinema 5010 is about to be plugged in.  I'm finished viewing the lower cost Acer H9500BD, a $1699 1080p 3D projector that competes with Epson's own Home Cinema 3010 and the Optoma HD33.  Tomorrow I start writing up the Acer, while viewing starts now, for the Epson.  I'll try to give you a decent First Look  on the Epson tomorrow night, but it might be Friday.  (It's Wednesday now - for you folks reading this in the far distant future.) OK, one, actually, tasty tidbit for you all: Mike says that black levels of the 5010e are definitely as good as his 8700UB  (no, he's not trading up).  And from that he says Epson, therefore, still has a notable advantage in black levels over the new Panasonic.  I already noted that I didn't think the PT-AE7000 improved their blacks.  So even though Epson never suggested the 5010 would be better than last year's 8700UB projector, it's looking like Epson still has that noteworthy advantage. And he also mentioned that gamma wasn't as well behaved as the 8700UB, but then, this isn't a final production model, So you never can tell.  -a      

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