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Shootout: See the Epson MovieMate 85HD, Epson HC 8350 and Epson HC 8700 UB in action


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#1 of 27 OFFLINE   ProjectorPPL1

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Posted November 16 2010 - 01:31 AM

There are days when you really can’t call what we do here at Projector People “work.” Take last Friday for instance.


We spent all of Friday locked up in a conference room with the Epson MovieMate 85HD, Epson Home Cinema 8350 and the Epson Home Cinema 8700 UB. We popped the movie Avatar into a Sharp Blu-ray and used an HDMI splitter to feed the image to each projector. The display was shown on a gray wall.


To help customers make the best purchase decision, we asked Rodney Laney, our VP of Display Technology, to talk about each projector’s specs, strengths and weaknesses. Check out the video below.







Projectors in order from L to R: Epson MovieMate 85HD, Epson Home Cinema 8350, Epson Home Cinema 8700 UB.

Video time line:


  • 0:00 – 0:29 – Introduction
  • 0:30 – 2:42 – Epson MovieMate 85HD
  • 2:44 – 3:41 – Epson Home Cinema 8350
  • 3:44 – 4:44 – Epson Home Cinema 8700 UB
  • 4:45 – 5:55 – Compare the three projectors’ contrast ratio with the lights off.
  • 4:46 – Sigourney Weaver helps us turn off the lights.
  • 5:56- END- How the projectors’ contrast ratio fairs in the dark vs. with the lights on.
PS – All of these projectors will be featured in our upcoming Parade of Savings sale, which runs Nov. 24 through Nov. 29.



#2 of 27 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 16 2010 - 09:55 AM

Did you guys do a basic calibration on the projectors first? As we all know, projectors are different in how they look "out of the box".



#3 of 27 OFFLINE   ProjectorPPL1

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Posted November 17 2010 - 05:20 AM

Great question, Jim. I should have specified that we didn't tweak anything on the projectors. We just opened the box and plugged in the HDMI cable. Thanks for pointing that out!



#4 of 27 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 17 2010 - 09:41 AM

Helen, I'm not trying to be rude, but that isn't doing the buyers any favors. Some projectors look very good out of the box and some need much more tweaking.



#5 of 27 OFFLINE   sharkus

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Posted November 19 2010 - 05:09 AM

Great video.  The 85HD looks like a lot of fun, but at this price not having Blu-Ray capabilities is a bit of a deal killer for me.  I could definitely see the difference between the 8350 and 8700.  However, I think this definitely shows the law of diminishing returns kicks in somewhere very close to the 8350.  With 3D projectors just around the corner, saving 1K now might be a very good bet.



#6 of 27 OFFLINE   ProjectorPPL1

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Posted November 19 2010 - 06:04 AM

Hi Jim Mcc. You're not being rude at all. In fact, you bring up a good point.

The goal of our shootouts is to allow customers to see the projectors at their default settings. This way, customers can compare apples to apples. We don't want to tweak one projector and give it an unfair advantage.

On any projector, the calibration settings offer a range of options. Maybe it would be a good idea to do another video that shows each projector under various settings.



#7 of 27 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted November 19 2010 - 06:46 AM

I disagree. Comparing projectors using their default settings IS NOT comparing apples to apples. Comparing projectors after is. All you guys need to do is a basic run thru with a cal. disc to set contrast, brightness, color, tint and sharpness. When I do it, it takes less than 30 minutes. Then you're comparing apples to apples. That's why ALL projector reviewers calibrate the projectors beforehand.


#8 of 27 OFFLINE   ProjectorPPL1

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Posted December 01 2010 - 08:39 AM

You're right on, Jim. But for our purposes, a calibration disc would skew our shootouts.


See, manufacturers have to deliver products that match their advertised specs, like contrast ratio and brightness. We've been there in the factories and watched this measurement process. It's exhaustive. Calibrating a projector may produce a more pleasant viewing experience (for some), but it could also dim the displayed image and/or affect the contrast ratio.


Viewing experience is highly subjective, whereas contrast ratio and brightness are highly objective and, more importantly, measurable. As authorized resellers, we feel it's best to show our customers the projectors in their "natural state." This way, the specs come across as advertised. Most folks know they can calibrate the projector to optimize it for their home theater.


You sound really knowledgeable about projectors, do you have a lot of experience in display technology?



#9 of 27 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted December 01 2010 - 11:33 AM

No. I'm just a huge projector fan. I'm on my 3rd projector now, the Mits. HC3800. The HC3800 and my last one, the HD1000 I bought from you guys.



#10 of 27 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted December 01 2010 - 11:38 PM

wow


The Sonodome - circa 2001
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#11 of 27 OFFLINE   ProjectorPPL1

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Posted December 02 2010 - 01:50 AM

Jim, you're a huge projector fan who knows what he's talking about! Let me know if you're ever interested in contributing to our blog. We'd love to get some user reviews of our projectors.



#12 of 27 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted December 02 2010 - 06:10 AM



Originally Posted by Gregg Loewen 

wow



Is that a cheap shot Gregg?



#13 of 27 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted December 02 2010 - 06:28 AM



Originally Posted by Jim Mcc 

I disagree. Comparing projectors using their default settings IS NOT comparing apples to apples. Comparing projectors after is. All you guys need to do is a basic run thru with a cal. disc to set contrast, brightness, color, tint and sharpness. When I do it, it takes less than 30 minutes. Then you're comparing apples to apples. That's why ALL projector reviewers calibrate the projectors beforehand.



I can see both sides.  One one hand a lot of enthusiasts/HTF members will use a calibration disc, and a small percentage will spring for a professional calibration.  On the other hand as prices drop I bet a lot of people get it, plug it in and turn it on, never calibrating it.  For that latter group a shootout like this is helpful,


Thanks for sharing this Helen Anne.  Adding the time code was very helpful too!  The MovieMate sounds like a great buy for someone without a dedicated room wanting a basic projector to pull out for occasional gaming or movie watching.  The 8700 looks like it has great price/performance for a dedicated room.



#14 of 27 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted December 10 2010 - 12:52 PM

hmmm...thanks for this...  I currently don't have speakers hooked up to this computer so maybe it's said on the video:  Are all three screens the same size and same screen surface?


What is size/make/model/screen surface material?


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#15 of 27 OFFLINE   maherelharake

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Posted December 11 2010 - 04:50 AM

I am very close to purchasing the 8350, but my only worry is that my room is too bright for it. During the day, my room has 3 very large windows, and while I can draw the shutters to cut down a considerable bit, I would prefer not to. However, I don't think that ANY projector is bright enough for just how bright my sitting room gets during the day. My room is a lot brighter than the room in the video above, and that's why I am hesitant to purchase.



#16 of 27 OFFLINE   ProjectorPPL1

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Posted December 14 2010 - 02:38 AM



hmmm...thanks for this...  I currently don't have speakers hooked up to this computer so maybe it's said on the video:  Are all three screens the same size and same screen surface?


What is size/make/model/screen surface material?


Hi Michael,


All three projectors were filmed on the same screen: the gray wall in our conference room.



#17 of 27 OFFLINE   ProjectorPPL1

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Posted December 14 2010 - 02:47 AM


I am very close to purchasing the 8350, but my only worry is that my room is too bright for it. During the day, my room has 3 very large windows, and while I can draw the shutters to cut down a considerable bit, I would prefer not to. However, I don't think that ANY projector is bright enough for just how bright my sitting room gets during the day. My room is a lot brighter than the room in the video above, and that's why I am hesitant to purchase.


Hi Maher,


Hmm, that sounds like quite the predicament.

Personally, I'd recommend calling a Projector Expert at 1-888-248-0675 to talk one on one about your setup. You can also post a picture here so we can see how bright your room is during the day.

At 2000 lumens, the Epson 8350 packs a pretty bright punch.It might be enough to overcome those windows.




#18 of 27 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted December 14 2010 - 09:31 AM

Why do you prefer not to "draw the shutters" during the day? Is it that much trouble? If it's too much trouble, you need to buy a TV, or watch projector only at night.


Originally Posted by maherelharake 

I am very close to purchasing the 8350, but my only worry is that my room is too bright for it. During the day, my room has 3 very large windows, and while I can draw the shutters to cut down a considerable bit, I would prefer not to. However, I don't think that ANY projector is bright enough for just how bright my sitting room gets during the day. My room is a lot brighter than the room in the video above, and that's why I am hesitant to purchase.





#19 of 27 OFFLINE   GeorgeAB

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Posted December 14 2010 - 11:08 AM



Originally Posted by ProjectorPPL1 

Hi Jim Mcc. You're not being rude at all. In fact, you bring up a good point.

The goal of our shootouts is to allow customers to see the projectors at their default settings. This way, customers can compare apples to apples. We don't want to tweak one projector and give it an unfair advantage.

On any projector, the calibration settings offer a range of options. Maybe it would be a good idea to do another video that shows each projector under various settings.

I doubt Jim was suggesting to calibrate only one of the units.  Please consider setting a new goal for the next shootout you publish in a home theater forum.  The only "apples" that have any chance of becoming common to movie fans is image fidelity.  In case you don't already know, both the movie and video industries work according to world wide standards for picture quality.  The most fundamental performance criterion that matters in the context of home theater projectors is- will they produce a correct image that follows motion imaging industry standards?

It seems to me that in recent years the home theater industry has been increasingly losing ground in the category of basic education of consumers.  Consumers come to forums like this one for a better understanding of how to get the most from their hobby and budget.  It sounds too often like display vendors have begun losing sight of basic fundamentals.  The Imaging Science Foundation started a movement in the consumer video market to educate consumers about what constitutes correct picture quality.  I doubt readers of this forum want to know much about how distorted a picture an "out of the box" projector can produce.  Most regular forum readers already know that manufacturer contrast and brightness claims are purposely deceptive.  They also know that most settings options on video displays are destructive to good pictures.

How about offering the next shootout with calibrated projectors, so readers/shoppers can know which ones come closest to offering fundamental image fidelity.  We are inundated in this industry and hobby by marketing hyperbole, deceptive claims, and performance options that deviate from correct picture quality.  Can we get back to what delivers accurate images as a base line, and then add all the other stuff after that is established?  In my experience, folks on this forum want to know how to get the most beautiful pictures from their video display budget.  In the video arena, there is a very specific, standardized definition for picture quality.  How close can your products come to delivering such quality?


Best regards and beautiful pictures,

G. Alan Brown, President

CinemaQuest, Inc.

A Lion AV Consultants Affiliate


"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"



#20 of 27 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted December 14 2010 - 07:07 PM

Yeah !!!!  Posted Image


To me, it's like going to Best Buy and picking out a TV that looks best on the shelf before adjusting anything. They're all set in "torch mode" to look good under the bright lights.


BUT, I do think Projector People is a great company. I bought my last 2 projectors there, and I'll probably be back in about 2 years for a new one.







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