Epson Brings It Again With New 1080p Projector

The most recent projector I reviewed here at UAV was a real standout, Epson's Powerlite Pro Cinema 1080p. This projector is among the more marvelous packages of peformance and price I've seen. Especially susprising was that the color fidelity was so pristine and on this LCD projector, along with a relaxed and naturally detailed image with real depth. The only thing that held this proejctor back was slightly dim light output and softer image. The Pro Cinema 1080p UB is here to settle both scores.

Epson's new projector is a remarkably vertically integrated effort- Epson manufactures the LCD chips themselves, the light engine, and the bulb. Perhaps this is why Espons is bringing these three-chip 1080p projectors in between $3K-$5K in spite of feature top drwaer features like an auto iris, horizontal and vertical lens shift and ISF CCC calibration compatibility.

The star of the Pro Cinema 1080P UB (Ultra Black) is Epson's new D7 LCD chips, which are 12-bit and use a polarizing light filter for better blacks, shadow detail and contrast. Best of all, Epson OEMs this chip to other manufacturers so even other LCD projectors coming to market in the next year will see these improvements.

The new projector adds an additional HDMI 1.3 input for a total of two, also uses an auto iris, horizontal and vertical lens shift, extensive color and grayscale adjustments, and is spec'd for 1600 ANSI lumens of brightness. The projector still accepts 1080p/24 and displays it at 1080p/60, but I was told that a multiple of 24p might be avaialble by the time the projector ships in December at a price under $5K.

Renowwned ISF calibrator Kevin Miller set up a demo with a 100" wide Stewart GrayHawk RS screen and anamorphic lens. Kevin was getting 12fL off the screen which is oustanding brightness for a screen with a gain of less than 1.0.

Kevin went for the jugular in choosing a tough nighttime sequence from Casino Royale on Blu-ray. I was more than impressed with the image sharpness and depth, but especially with the balance of white and black and shadow detail, which was superb. I was absolutely floored to find out that Kevin eschewed the use of the auto iris. And you know what? This PJ didn't need it. It looked terrific in that regard.

It still wasn't the sharpest 1080p PJ I've seen, but it looked excellent, and that's with the additional anamorphic lens elements and the image processing required to throw on this large 2.35:1 setup. I have a standing prder for a review sample, and for me this is one of the most anticipated products of the year.