Tuesday, 02 August 2016 15:13

Epson sees a bright future in home theatre projection

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While the race is on for the biggest TV, Epson says it has had that trophy for years with its home theatre projectors – in fact, it has one that will do 300” and has 4K and HDR support too.

According to Paul Haddad, senior product manager for Epson projectors, (that also make printers, scanners, and so much more) they have had a bad, undeserved rap.

“Myth #1 is lamp life and cost. Ours last 3500-5000 hours, that is about 3-5 years and most cost under $100 to replace. Myth #2 is that projectors are too dim – our new range has up to 1,000,000:1 contrast and 3000 lumens. Myth #3 was that installation was a bother – with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth you can stream content and audio. And with lens [image] shift you no longer need to place it on a ceiling. Myth #4 was about colour and clarity – Epson’s three LCD/chip produces true colour and fine detail,” he said.

It seems “data projectors” have come a long way, especially in home theatre. Read on for details of the three new models released today for enthusiasts and family viewing. Note at the time of reporting the new models — TW9300/W, TW-8300, and TW6700/W (W = wireless option) — were not on Epson’s Australian website.

Craig Heckenberg, general manager, business division, Epson Australia, said, “We want customers to achieve the very best cinematic experience at home, so we’re excited to be introducing the EH-TW8300, EH-TW9300 and EH-TW9300W. The latest technologies integrated into these models, such as 4K enhancement and UHD Blu-ray and HDR support, mark a significant improvement in image quality and will enhance the user’s overall experience. But what’s great is that they’re also easy to use, with motorised optics and lens position memory making everything from installation to everyday use simple and hassle-free.”

Enthusiasts

Epson EH-TW9300/W (two models with and without wireless comparison – UK website).

This is a large projector – 520‎ x 450 x 170 mm (width x depth x height) and about 11kg. Due to the motorised lens [image] shift and 10 memory positions, it can be placed on a coffee table in front, or to the side or above the viewing area. It will project a 4:3, 16:9 or cinemascope image from 50-300” from 3-6.3m away.

The electronics and lens are optimised for 1080p content, but it has 4K “enhancement” and HDR (High Dynamic Range) that Epson demonstrated. If your content is 4K and has HDR then the electronics processes that, and it makes quite a difference – skin tones, details and more jump out of the screen.

It is all about the colour gamut, sRGB and DCI colour spaces – these display it all. Its 4Ke “enhancement” shifts each pixel diagonally by .5 pixels and gives an apparent resolution of 3840x2160 – it's interpolated, but it is pretty good.

The TW9300/W will be available from selected retailers and home theatre specialists for $4799/$4999 respectively. Epson’s EH-TW8300 offers many of the same specifications at $4499

It is intended for use in media rooms.

Family viewing

Epson has released the EH-6700/W (W= wireless). This is a mid-range option with manual lens shift, 1080p, 2D, 3D, 70,000:1 contrast and 3,000 lumens, and 2 x 10W speakers. It sells for $2649/$2949 respectively.

The EH-TW6800 has a 130,000:1 contrast (good for daylight use) and 2700 lumens (no speakers). It sells for $3199.

These don’t require any special installation or placement and have HDMI, HDMI/MHL, USB and VGA inputs. The wireless model will stream 1080p content. They are available from Epson retailers.

Comment

I guess when you think of TV it is Samsung’s Quantum Dot or LG’s OLED – usually in 55-60” models. I had not looked closely at projectors for some time – mainly because the myths above were reality a few years ago. And mainly because I kept thinking of data projectors with DLP optics that frankly were not a patch on Epson’s 3LCD technology.

I think they offer potential in the right space and with the right screen – no, a painted wall will not cut it. The image quality, brightness and colour of the TW9300 was impressive. But even the family TW6700 was pretty good.

Perhaps that is why Epson has 65% of the market share for projectors over the past 12 months, and the business is expanding. Maybe it is time to review one!

iTWire's Alex Zaharov-Reutt attended and made a video of the presentation. A link will be placed here when its uploaded.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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