Epson Pro Cinema 6040UB 3D LCD Projector Review Tech Talk

Tech Talk: What’s New in Epson’s 6040UB

Epson’s 6040UB is the flagship model in the company’s new, improved Pro and Home Cinema projector lineup. In this case, when Epson claims new and improved, they mean it. Along with accepting 4K-format signals, the entire model range is compatible with high dynamic range content (HDR10) and incorporates a number of enhancements to optimize the resolution, brightness, and contrast of images. Color reproduction also gets a boost in the new projector lineup, with full coverage of the DCI (P3) color space and improved edge-to-edge color uniformity.

While the 6040UB and kin don’t use native 4K imaging chips, they do take advantage of the 4K Enhancement technology first introduced by Epson for its PowerLite Pro Cinema LS10000, a laser-based LCD projector that Sound & Vision reviewed in November 2015. Similar to the e-shift tech used by JVC projectors, Epson’s 4K Enhancement uses video processing to intelligently determine which pixels will be shifted and then offsets them by a half-pixel diagonally to increase the number of pixels appearing onscreen. One key difference, Epson says, is that while JVC uses a liquid crystal panel for the pixel-shifting function that the image must pass through optically (with the potential of some loss of light output), their system uses an unspecified device to shift the image mechanically (probably some kind of chip-based MEMS or micro electronic mechanical system). In either event, all of the pixels in a 4K image signal are displayed, just not at the same time, with persistence of vision relied on to blend them together. The process works in tandem with Epson’s Super-resolution and detail enhancement processing to improve apparent detail in 4KEnhanced pictures.

Epson has also given their new HDR-compatible projector line a light output boost, claiming up to 2,500 lumens of both color and white brightness for the 6040UB. That improvement is supplemented by a new Auto Iris with a quieter motor and an angled wing design that is said to improve linearity as the iris tracks from 100 percent light blockage to full brightness. According to Epson, the end result helps to convey the powerful bright highlights and deep blacks required for HDR content.

Color enhancements in the new lineup are made possible through an improved dichroic mirror and a cinema filter that serves to expand the projector’s color gamut. A new optical assembly design also improves edge-to-edge color field uniformity by more precisely aligning RGB inputs in the projector to eliminate noise. While Epson had previously used stock Fujinon lenses for their projectors, lenses in the new lineup are being produced by an “artisinal” Japanese manufacturer in nearby Nagano prefecture. According to Epson, a new lens assembly was required because the signal quality with 4K is now so high that distortions such as lens flare had to be reduced through tighter precision of the optical properties.

Another change Epson introduced for their new Pro and Home Cinema projector line is powered zoom, focus, and horizontal/vertical lens shift. While these features have appeared in previous Epson projectors, this is the first time they can be found in models under the $4,000 price point. Each projector also provides 10 lens memory positions to accommodate different aspect ratio setups, while the 6040UB reviewed here additionally provides ISF ccc modes that enable calibration by ISF-certified professionals with two lockable modes per video input to store calibrated picture settings.—AG


brenro's picture

Where is the Texas Instruments 4K UHD chip announced last year?