A little late to the 3D game, last year Epson joined in with not one but five 3D projectors. This one is the top of the line, its most expensive and its highest performing, yet still comes in at a surprisingly low price of just under US$4000.
Epson has long been an LCD projector company, so nothing has changed here, with three of its own full HD proprietary panels to cover the three primary colours. Any weakness in black levels due to LCD technology — and there isn't much weakness left here thanks to Epson's improvements in panel design — is counteracted by a dynamic iris, which reduces light levels during dark scenes.
The unit has two HDMI inputs, plus component, composite and VGA for analog. Oh, and it also has WirelessHD. This is a new standard to allow full HD — including the frame-packed 3D format, which doubles bandwidth requirements — to be transmitted over a short range in the 60GHz band. The projector comes with a WirelessHD transmitter with a single HDMI input, and has a WirelessHD receiver built in.
The advantage of this is that you can avoid running a signal cable to the projector, which can be particularly convenient if it is ceiling mounted. Of course, you still have to run a power cable.
The projector is flexible with regard to installation. Its lens zoom range is 2.1:1 and it has both horizontal and vertical lens shift, all manually operated.
The 3D sync transmitter is built into the projector and it comes with two sets of 3D glasses (which use cheap disposable button cells for power). There is a socket for connecting an external optional transmitter if the signal proves to be insufficient in a particular environment.
Epson has had 2D home theatre projection nailed for its last few top-end models, and this one simply continues the trend. Even with the dynamic iris switched off, the black levels were perfectly acceptable. To the point where it is hard to believe that this is an LCD projector. We still remember the constant pearly grey glow of what purported to be black from the LCD projectors in their early years. Switching on the dynamic iris added an additional layer of darkness in largely dark scenes, and perhaps allowed just a little more detail to be revealed. Its cost, though, was that its operation was quietly audible as a gentle chuffing when it switched, frame by frame, to a size appropriate to the light output for each.