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Epson Home 10 Review


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#1 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted January 07 2004 - 12:58 AM

Hello Home Theater Forum Readers:

I recently purchased the Epson Powerlite Home 10 Projector.

The reason why I’m writing this review is because there were little or no reviews out in cyber-space for this projector when I was looking to purchase it about a month ago, so hopefully some of these findings will be helpful to anyone out there currently looking at it.

The main reason why I purchased this projector is that it was the only projector in the sub $1500 price category with an extremely large image size that has a short throw distance. I recently moved and my new home theater room is a lot smaller. I previously had a 19 to 20 foot throw distance and my old NEC VT540 (XGA resolution), gave me about an 8 foot wide by almost 5 foot tall theater wide image. My new home theater room is only about 9 feet long so my NEC’s new image fell considerably short of what I was used to. Its new dimensions were about 3 and three quarters feet wide by about 2 feet tall. You completely loose the theater experience with this small of an image. So the search for a solution began. I first looked into replacement lenses for the NEC. It would be about $1,500 for a high-grade name brand or comparable replacement lens excluding labor. I then looked into the mirrors option, but that soon went out the door since I didn’t have the space for setting up mirrors. I then decided to go back to ProjectorCentral.Com and put in my search criteria. Up popped the Epson Home 10 and the Hitachi Home 1. I was a little more familiar with Epsons versus Hitachis. The price was about $500 less for the Epson. Plus I wasn’t able to find anything about Hitachi’s customer service (i.e. phone numbers, warranty policy, etc…), but knew Epson’s was easy to find & contact so I started researching the Home 10 quite extensively. It was pretty much the only projector in my price range that could give me roughly the image size I was looking for (roughly 8’ x 4’) in the shortened 8-9 foot throw distance I now had to work with. This projector is truly amazing. It does this with a 1.54:1 zoom lens versus the older NEC’s 1.20:1 lens. More projector companies should get the hint.

My basis of comparison will be mainly with my old NEC VT540 unit, but some referencing to the Epson 713c I use at work. Both the VT540 and 713c projectors have the better XGA resolution, which provide roughly about 550 and 750 lines of resolution respectively versus the Home 10’s WVGA’s 480 lines.

The Home 10 is a WVGA projector. The “W” stands for Wide VGA. Its native screen mode is 16:9 versus the other two projectors’ older 4:3 native screen mode. Epson projectors have extremely nice images. We have the Powerlite 713c where I work. I was originally going to purchase one of these a several years ago; but the 713c’s are mainly a 4:3 presentation projector, and are fairly noisy @ about 42db. When it comes to home theater viewing though the quieter the projector is the better the experience is. I ended up opting for the NEC VT540 at the time due to its rave reviews as a home theater projector, its specs, and I also had two friends with them. The NEC in regular configuration was rated for 37db in standard mode @ 1,000 lumens and an estimated 2,000 lamp hours. In quiet eco-mode it was rated at 35db @ around 700 lumens and an estimated 3,000 lamp hours. In comparison, the Epson Home 10 rates at around 34db in the regular three lamp modes with about a 2,000 lamp hour life rating @ 1,000 lumens, and 29db in Theater Dark mode with around 3,000 estimated lamp hours @ 700 or 800 lumens. It is almost whisper quiet when viewing a movie. It only sits about a foot or so behind and above the viewers, and you can hardly hear it during the movie (only barely during a quiet scene).

Its contrast ratio is 700:1 vs. the VT540’s or 713c’s 400:1 ratios, and it has a nice digital keystone correction, as did the VT540’s. All three projectors have manual zoom/focus. It’s replacement bulbs appear to be quite reasonably priced at a street selling price of about $200 versus the VT540’s $350 - $450 bulb or $400 for the 713c’s bulb.

Video Compatibility is excellent. It has capabilities for NTSC/PAL/Secam and many others listed on their spec sheet. The Epson has a nice synch & tracking feature for its image. It also appears to handle my HTPC’s ATI Radeon 8500DV All-In-Wonder’s TV tuner image a lot better than the NEC ever did. There is also a very useful Zoom and Squeeze image resize feature so if you want to scale the image accordingly you can.

I would have to say that this is an excellent entry level WVGA projector. It does have the noticeable screen door affect, but so do most LCD projectors. That is where an XGA or better projector helps minimize or reduce this trait with these projectors. But for a $1,300 entry-level home theater projector you really can’t complain.

It is a little light on the adjustment features though so if you like tweaking your projector’s image to the point of perfection then this projector definitely falls short in that area. There are no RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color settings to configure, but the projector does have a pretty good color setting out of the box. So if it is hooked up to a standard DVD player and you want to tweak the colors a bit, you’ll be out of luck. You’ll have to do it through your TV’s color settings. If you’re hooking it up to a Home Theater PC (HTPC) like I did then you can have some more color tweaking options through your computer’s video card and/or video player software.

It does have all the proper connections on the back compared to my older NEC. It has S-Video, Composite Video, 15-pin VGA, Separate RGB (sort of lacking on the NEC), and a left & right audio input. It also comes with an RS-232 connector. Fit and finish are excellent on this projector. Its footprint is fairly large. It is a bit larger than the NEC or the other Epson projector, but it’s about the size of a small VHS player.

The remote control is small (credit card like) and almost identical to the NEC’s. This projector is also HDTV compatible like the NEC. I haven’t had a chance to check it out in HD mode so I am unable to provide any review in that area.

On the down side though it took me 3 different projectors before I got one that didn’t have dead pixels and/or a ghosting problem. It also took several phone calls to get Epson to properly activate the PIN number to the preferred customer service card for their 2 year immediate overnight warranty/service program. It was around Christmas though so maybe that was a factor that played in the delay. Their Custom Service though has been Great. They are very courteous, knowledgeable, helpful, and on the ball. This played a large factor when I was looking at projectors. I also like their zero tolerance for dead pixels. Other manufacturers aren't as stringent. When a customer pays anywhere from $1,000 up to $10,000 for a projector there should be zero tolerance across the industry board for dead pixels. As mentioned earlier I wasn’t able to find anything (customer service info) out there for Hitachi’s Home 1 projector, which is supposedly suppose to compete against the Epson Home 10, and NEC’s customer service appears to have dropped off a notch or two from when I originally purchased the VT540 projector two years ago.

All-in-All I think Epson has a winner with this projector. Now if they could put the same zoom lens on to their TW100 and drop it’s price a bit that would be an even better hot seller.

In conclusion all of my friends always rave about their big screen TV’s until they come over to my place and see my setup. Their wives’ jokingly hate me, because their husbands then want a projector too. I usually try to tell them that it can be less expensive than a big screen tv, it takes up less room, and their kids would love them even more for having such a large screen to watch movies on. So what do they do??? They send everyone over to my place. LOL!!! It’s great for bringing family and friends together again in today’s fast paced world.

PS:
I still have to spend some more time with it to see what other capabilities and features it has. Also best of luck to all of you out there jumping into the projection world for the first time or if you’re upgrading. There are a lot of choices and information out there. If you can afford it always go for the higher resolution projectors. Just take your time and do your research first so you’ll be happy with your end results.

#2 of 45 OFFLINE   Chuck_W

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Posted January 28 2004 - 02:02 PM

Thanks for the review. I'm looking at jumping up to my first projector and researching the Epson, Sanyo, Panasonic, and INFOCUS X1. You're review was just what I was looking for.

#3 of 45 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted January 28 2004 - 02:38 PM

Thanks for the review also. As you say, it will be available to help others. Can you provide some screen shots?
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#4 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted January 28 2004 - 10:01 PM

Hi:

You're both quite Welcome. I guess Epson came out with 2 new projectors or will be shortly. They are what I was really looking for, but are currently a little out of my price range. They do look like a good bang for the buck though. They are the Cinema 200 & 500 series with WXGA resolution. Their price points are $2,999 & I think 4,999 respectively.

I know the older InFocus projectors were nothing to write home about. Haven't really demo'd any of their newer lines. I am curious though how their DLP images are these days. They were also fairly noisy from what I can remember. Just my opinion, and personal preference.
I don't like the screendoor affect with LCD's, but it's a tradeoff I chose to live with.

Haven't heard much about Sanyo. I know Panasonic has put out pretty dependable electronics. Their specs seem pretty good too. Just never demo'd any of their projectors. Sharp has been a heavy hitter in projectors for years. Their older units were fairly expensive, noisy, heavy, and large though.

As for some screen shots. I'll try to get one or two on here in the next week or so. I'll have to see if my wideangle lense on my Sony Mavica will get most of the picture in. I have an extremely short throw distance so I don't know how much of the screen will be in the picture.
I also run the projector in Theater Black Mode in a dark room so I'm curious to see how the pictures will turn out.

#5 of 45 OFFLINE   Chuck_W

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Posted January 29 2004 - 12:25 AM

What about a screen? You know anyplace that sells affordable screens to go with these projectors?

By the way...how do you like your Mavica?

#6 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted January 29 2004 - 01:28 AM

I don't know who sells good quality screens at an affordable price. Just surf the web abit. I'd go with a reputable dealer that sells projectors. They might even have a package deal (projector/screen combo deal). I know Da-Lite, Draper, Stewart are the big names out there in the screen business. Maybe you can find a no name brand that is made by one of these big three.

Another option is to find a company to buy the screen material from and make your own. There is even special screen like wall paint out on the market. I haven't used any of these yet though. I use just a standard wall with flat paint on it. My image is so large that I doubt I'd use a screen. Too expensive to find one that large. I'll eventually probably just make my own if I can find the material or more likely just find and use the special screen paint for my wall.

I really like my Mavica. It's an older dual media FD-92 unit. I like the larger size and durability on it. Its only a 1.6 megapixel, but that's fine for me.

#7 of 45 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted January 29 2004 - 01:53 AM

Chuck:

Another place to check out is Carada Screens. I have noticed a couple of people on the forum that have used this company for their screen and they were really happy with them. If you are looking for a screen that is ready to hang and not an arm and a leg I would give them a look over.

Parker

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#8 of 45 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted January 29 2004 - 01:55 AM

Emanuel:

Great review. I look forward to some of your screen shots. I know that the newest generation machines from all the companies are leaps and bounds over what was out just 2 years ago.

Parker

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reason the RNC."
 


#9 of 45 OFFLINE   jeff peterson

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Posted January 29 2004 - 05:03 AM

Is this the projector sold in Sam's Club?

#10 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted January 29 2004 - 05:12 AM

I haven't seen the Home 10 there.

I've heard that the S1, which is more of an SVGA presentation projector, has been at some of them; but I don't know firsthand.

#11 of 45 OFFLINE   joey mr

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Posted January 29 2004 - 05:46 AM

Quote:
I've heard that the S1, which is more of an SVGA presentation projector, has been at some of them; but I don't know firsthand.



that is correct it is the s1 that is sold at sams club not the home10Posted Image

#12 of 45 OFFLINE   James_G

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Posted January 30 2004 - 05:33 AM

Thanks much, Emanuel. I've been searching high and low for in-depth reviews of this machine with little luck. The lack of RGB controls is the most disappointing thing for me, as I'll be using a stand-alone DVD player and not a HTPC. Perhaps there are controls in the service menu?

Anyway, the biggest draw to me is the robust 2 year warranty and incredibly low lamp prices (I've seen them for around $150 online). The screen door effect is not as much of an issue because I've little other options due to my ability to see rainbows on DLP units.

BTW, does anyone know of a brick and mortar chain that stocks these? I checked Best Buy and the aformentioned Sam's Club, but I don't know where else to look.

#13 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted January 30 2004 - 06:11 AM

The screen door affect isn't a problem if your sitting about 8 feet back. unfortunately in my new room I don't have that luxury. Once you start watching a movie, especially the newer ones, it is hardly noticable though.

I thought Staples was supposed to carry them, but with a little more research I found out that they are carrying the S1 in the stores. I've noticed that it is really difficult to find a local retailer carrying products such as these. I hate buying high priced items sight unseen. That's why I put the review out, and went with the Epson. It would make things a lot easier if and when you get a bad unit (no matter what make or model). Yes, Epson's warranty is Well Worth it's weight in Gold when purchasing projectors.

I took some screenshots last night and an mpeg or two. I need to sift through them this weekend and choose a couple to post per other members' requests.

#14 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted January 31 2004 - 08:44 AM

Hi Everyone:

I had a chance to take some pictures.

How do I go about getting them on here?

I looked around, but didn't see much.

I saw the hometheaterforum/htforum/images reference under the assistance area for [img] images, but wasn't able to get it to work. I tried going to member gallery, but I don't have access so I wasn't able to post there.

Any information is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Emanuel

#15 of 45 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted January 31 2004 - 05:35 PM

Emanuel:

You have to have your pictures uploaded to a server somewhere and then link to them. We have several pictures on the forum but we try to limit them to conserve on bandwidth. I know that yahoo and other sites offer web space to host pictures on that you might want to check out.

Parker

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are confidential and can only be released to other insurance companies,

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reason the RNC."
 


#16 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted February 01 2004 - 04:02 AM

I tried putting in a weblink, but it said I didn't have enough privileges or posts??? Does that sound right?

Posted Image

#17 of 45 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted February 01 2004 - 04:38 AM

You have to have over a certain # of posts to post a link, I think 10 here at HTF. It's to cut down on random advertisers. If you wanna send me the pics I can host them for you so you can post them right here in the thread (kungfu52 comcast) net.

What's the street price for one of these babies anyway? I'm seeing $1,300.. still more than an X1. Posted Image I'd also like to see a shootout of the Home 10 vs the Panny 300.

#18 of 45 OFFLINE   James_G

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Posted February 01 2004 - 03:09 PM

Does anyone know how good the onboard chip for handling interlaced sources is? I would not be using a HTPC, and I'm wondering if purchasing a modest progressive scan DVD player would be better...if so, which standalone DVD player do you guys recommend to compliment this projector? I'm only looking to spend a couple hundred bucks max. I would be willing to spend more if it could handle multiregion and PAL though. Posted Image

#19 of 45 OFFLINE   Emanuel

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Posted February 02 2004 - 02:23 AM

I would say that it is probably pretty good, since I run standard (not digital) cable TV through my HTPC. It is an analog (non-progressive scan) signal. It is much better on my Epson than my older NEC VT540. I don't know first hand how it would handle a standard dvd player.

My dvd player is on loan to my brother indefinately. It is the older Panasonic RP51 progressive scan unit that had the Sage/Faroujda DCDI processing chip in it. Eventhough it wasn't advertised that way.

All I can say is that when I would run that player through my NEC projector there was a considerable difference between progressive scan and regular settings. The progressive scan was a lot sharper and the image was much better, but the image still wasn't crystal clear. The main problem with the older projectors though was that they were designed mainly for computer presentations. The resolution on the older projectors (i.e. XGA - 1024 x 768) wouldn't match up to a dvd player properly, which would max out to 480p, which translates to 640 x 480. Hence my interest after in HTPCs. Resolutions on HTPCs and Projectors do Match Up... Images are crystal clear. They do have their own set of opportunities though.

My understanding though of the Epson Powerlite Home 10 is that it is supposedly designed to be compatible with home dvd players. If I get the chance to test this I will and I'll post, but I doubt that I'll have the chance to for quite some time.

#20 of 45 OFFLINE   Chuck_W

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Posted February 02 2004 - 05:42 AM

Here's what projectorcentral has to say:

"Onboard video processing on this unit is not as comprehensive as it is on more expensive projectors. That means with a standard interlaced input you will get some deinterlacing artifacts, and with film sources you will see some instability related to 3:2 pulldown. It is easy to avoid this problem by using a good progressive scan DVD player with effective 3:2 pulldown compensation (the process by which a 24 frame-per-second film source is converted to 30 fps video). With a progressive scan input the Home 10 produces a sharper and more stable image."