Epson Demos New 1080p Projector in NYC
4/4/2007 4:00 PM
My colleague, Llanor Alleyne, and I were treated to an impressive video
demonstration today from Epson, in a warehouse district on the westside
of Manhattan. The star of the show was the companys new PowerLite Home
Cinema 1080 3LCD front projector, which also comes in a Pro model
with special features and pricing for custom installers.
By staging the demo in a specially built room within a room, with
standard eight-foot ceiling, dark walls/ceiling, ceiling-mounted
projector, and in-wall equipment rack, Epson was nearly able to
replicate the true home theater experience provided by top custom
installers around the country. A set designer built the room over the
span of a couple days, and systems integration was provided by New York
Citys Kerry Bright of Bright Home Theater. This presentation sure beat
the typical bland, window-filled hotel suite in Midtown Manhattan that
usually hosts these types of events.
Epson's new consumer projector (and its "Pro" counterpart) is designed
to achieve true 1080p resolution by using 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on each
of the projector's three LCD chips. The technologys visual benefits
were clearly evident (no pun intended) with live HD content from a
local Time Warner cable feed, as well as a 1080p clip from the movie, Crank
, from a Sony Blu-ray player, and another couple scenes from Seabiscuit
, shown on a second-generation Toshiba HD DVD player.
Llanor and I were both impressed with the excellent contrast ratio
provided by the consumer projector model, especially in Scene 13 of Seabiscuit
where William Macy is shown in his radio announcers booth. There, the
depth of field was the best Ive seen. The microphone in the foreground
and objects in the background were visible in sharp detail, providing a
layered, nearly 3D, appearance.
Ive said it before in Residential Systems
and Ill repeat it here: Seabiscuit
is great demo material for home
theater. The cinematography offers a rich color pallette and theres
both emotional resonance as well as straight-out action to put any new
video or audio equipment through the paces.
Next, we moved into a higher ambient light environment where the new
PowerLite was set up in a table-top configuration for a true-to-life
gaming experience. In this setting, we tried our hands at an X-Box 360
auto racing game. The resolution held up well even on an entry-level
projection screen, and under less-than-ideal lighting. The projector
was great, but Llanor and I both demonstrated why the world is better
off with us living as non-car owners living in New York City.
The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080, with its elegant pearlescent
finish and compact size, is priced for retail at $2,999. The Pro
version with special dealer pricing is offered in black and features
ISF certification, locking menus, an extra bulb, an extended warranty,
and a $300 customer rebate on any screen priced over $300.
According to Epsons senior product manager, Aaron Marinari, both
projectors offer HDMI 1.3 connectivity with Deep Color support on 1080p
native resolution projectors, and 12,000:1 contrast ratio contributes
to increased visual depth via Epson's C2Fine technology. An exclusive
AccuCinema lens system takes advantage of 14 lenses, including two
aspherical lenses, to maintain superior picture integrity across the
entire image from corner to corner. The projector's lens shift
capability (96-degree vertical, and 47-degree horizontal) makes it more
adaptable to a wide range of room sizes and install situations that may
require unusual setup angles.
It was a great demo, and especially at its price, a great new addition to the competitive video projector landscape.