My budget projector review

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Scott.T, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. Scott.T

    Scott.T Agent

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    I got my Epson EMP-TW10 on friday (sold in the US as the Home 10). These are my impressions so far. I'm not going to post technical details, they are available elsewhere.

    BACKGROUND:

    I am a newbie to front projection, this is my first projector, so don't take my review as coming from a guru.
    I started out looking at the Infocus X1, but both my wife and I were distracted by rainbows, so I looked at the Epson S1, because my budget was pretty tight. But in the end the lack of an optical zoom on the S1 persuaded me to spend a little more.
    All my viewing so far has been of Zone 4 PAL DVD's, so I can't comment on NTSC. My DVD payer doesn't do progressive, so it just a standard interlaced source.
    The Hifi shop I purchased the projector from was out of component video cables in the length I need, so they have loaned me an S-video cable to use untill the component cable arrives this week.

    SETUP:

    I have set the projector up in our relatively small lounge, which is about 4 meters deep. One of the major problems is that the room has windows on all 3 walls (the 4th side of the room joins to th open plan dining room). So my only real option was to use a pull down screen in front of the curtains, and mount the projector on the ceiling or wall above the seats.
    I bought a Dalite 100" diagonal (4:3) matt white screen which I have hung from the ceiling in front of the ranch slider. That was easy enough, or would have been if I didn't read the tape measure incorrectly. Now I have 2 more holes than I need in the ceiling!
    I made a custom bracket to mount the projector on the back wall above the seats. I was lucky, I made the bracket just long enough, so that the throw distance was just within the limits of the optical zoom for my screen size. I haven't got a digital camera at the moment or I would post some pictures, as I am quite proud of the bracket, and more importantly my wife will be happy that I have not put something really ugly on her ceiling (once it is painted of course).
    This projector is not small, in particular it is wide, but relatively short. But it has attractively styling, that does not attract attention to itself.
    The air intake is on the bottom, and the exhaust is on the front of the unit, so you don't have to worry about clearance on the back. I'm not sure how well this works when it is table top mounted.
    One feature which I thought was cool, is that there is a remote controll sensor on the front and the back. Not sure if other models do this, just struck me as a good idea.

    THE PICTURE:

    This is what I have watched so far, with viewing conditions and my impressions. Note that I have been experimenting along the way. Animated movies feature more than usual as my 3 year old son is mesmerised by the big screen.

    Ice Age - Threw this one in the DVD player after hanging the screen, with the projector sitting on the coffee table on friday night. It is hard not to be blown away by an image that is 2.2 meters wide, when you are used to watching DVDs on a 4:3 29" TV. I used 'theatre black' mode which drops the lamp output for better contrast and black levels. The colours were great, and even with some lights on, I was impressed. Screen door was visable, but not annoyingly so. I don't think you would want a bigger screen, or screen door would become a problem.

    Star Wars 2 - Watched this during the day on Saturday. It was a sunny day outside (I know it's sad, I should have been outside), and even with the curtains closed there was quite a bit of light about. Switched the PJ to theatre mode to get more brightness. Even with quite a bit of light, it was still quite watchable, but the detail in dark scenes was not great.

    Saving private Ryan - Watched this in the dark on Saturday night. My wife is into doing craft and stuff while we watch, so she had a lamp on, directed away from the screen. Back in theatre black mode. The impact of this movie on a screen this size is amazing (the great sound track helps too). I found my heart beating at twice it's normal pace during the beach landing. I found the colour a little green which was distracting, but changing the colour temperature setting and lowering the skin tone setting seems to fix this. For big impact the big screen is awesome.

    Shrek - I haven't watched this for a while, and had forgotten how much I love it! I think I have got the settings just about right now, and shrek looked fantastic. I watched this on Sunday afternoon, which was a gloomy day here, so I didn't have sun streaking in through any gaps in the curtains.
    I was extremely happy with how this looked, fantastic colour, very minimal screen door. To be honest I found myself forgeting about the projector, and just enjoying the movie, which is exactly what I wanted.

    Bridjet Jones Diary - My wife picked this one out to watch on Sunday night. I have to say that I enjoyed this alot more than the first time I saw it. I'm not sure if it was the big screen, or just I was in the right mood for it. The picture looked great, screendoor is hardly noticable, so it is not just animated movies that look good.

    CONCLUSION:
    I am very happy with my purchase. I will continue to play with the settings, and am looking forward to conecting up the component video cable when it arrives, but it is 98% there already (maybe more). Yes I can see screen door when I look for it, yes it is an LCD projector and so has the contrast and black level limitations that go with that (but no rainbows). It is widescreen native, has fantastic colour, better contrast than other LCD projectors in my price range and most importantly I'm still smiling. I've got the huge screen I have always dreamed about, but thought I would never be able to afford. Budget projects rock!
     
  2. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    Once you go FP, you'll never go back.
     
  3. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    I wonder how this Epson compares to the sanyo PLV-Z1...because the replacement lamp is listed at only $199.

    Scott do they have any policy on Dead Pixels?

    Also I agree with Neil's question....16:9 but 4:3 SCREEN?
     
  4. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Neil Joseph
    I am curious about the 100" 4x3 screen considering this projector is 16x9 native as you mentioned?

    BTW, congratulations.
     
  5. Scott.T

    Scott.T Agent

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    16 x 9 screens do not seem to be widely available here, and are about 50% more expensive for the same width screen. (Which is kinda dumb because they use less material). And in the end it is the screen width that determines the image size. And lets face it, most of my movies are 2.35:1 so are going to have grey bars on a 16:9 anyway.

    I didn't think to ask about dead pixels, luckily mine doesn't have any.

    I have just looked on the epson US web site, doesn't look like this PJ has been released there yet, it says late September release. It is not often we get something here before the US.
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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  7. Scott.T

    Scott.T Agent

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  8. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Hey Scott,

    Curious here...so how is 1.33:1 material presented--is it windowboxed on all 4 sides on the screen?

    BTW, granted that there is a difference between 1.78:1 and 1.85:1...but most DVD transfers open-matte or crop 1.85:1 material to fill the 1.78:1 frame (not what they *should* do IMO, but what they often do nevertheless).

    Naturally adjustable masking is ideal. If I didn't have a drop-down screen coming to my HT room I'd do variable masking so my 2.35:1 presentations would feel "native" without any unused screen-space to cause guests to ask "why isn't the movie filling the whole screen?". Right now I'm trying to figure out if I can have a pull-down black shade to take care of the top letterboxing bar for 2.35 material and just "raise the screen" to meet the bottom of the image. That would be an oh-so-sweet looking picture if it wasn't too complicated to employ. Of course, that still leaves me with side-bars for 1.33:1. The black-level of the 2000:1 CR HD2 DLP projectors is black enough that the letterboxing bars are easy to ignore so maybe by the time I actually get my PJ masking won't be such an issue (hopefully I'll get an affordable price on a 2000:1 + CR PJ).

    Naturally it's you're screen and as long as the image is satisfying and the area of unused screen material is not a source of distraction during viewing...then there's no problem! [​IMG]

    Besides...you actually *have* a projector to watch so I have no room to say anything! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. Scott.T

    Scott.T Agent

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