Epson Goes Laser

Epson introduced two new projectors that not only use laser illumination (no lamp to replace) but also reflective LCD technology (Liquid Crystal on Quartz, in contrast to reflective LCDs from Sony and JVC that use Liquid Crystal on Silicon). While both of them employ 2K chips, the top model can accept 4K inputs and reproduce them using technology similar to that found in JVC's upscale projectors. (We call it wobulation in homage to early DLP rear-projection sets that employed a similar idea but to different purposes (they weren't 4K, of course), but JVC and, we presume, Epson, would likely take exception to this characterization!)

The LS10000, which is expected to sell for under $8000, is rated at 1500 lumens. The slightly cheaper (price TBD) LS9600e, which looks physically identical, is rated at 1300 lumens and deletes the "4K" feature. The LS10000 looked very promising in a demo, but appears to still need some refinements in color and sharpness.

Epson also demonstrated a revised version of its conventionally illuminated (lamp) Pro Cinema 6030 LCD projector. The revision involves a new Super Resolution feature. While like most video purists I'm not a big fan of such manipulation, the Darbee processors have demonstrated that it can be done without obvious visible compromises (as long as it's used discretely). Epson's demo started out in unpromising fashion with a still from the recent Lone Ranger to show the feature's operation. The picture was overenhanced to a clownish degree. Hopefully that was because they wanted to demonstrate how the control operated--a dubious choice. But when they went to moving images, the processing was much more subtle and I didn't find it objectionable (though I might have dialed it back a step--it's adjustable and can also be turned off). In fact, overall I preferred the look of this projector to the early sample of the Epson laser discussed above. The enhancement feature will be made available to current 6030 owners as a firmware update.