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Epson EH-TW5500 projector offers manual control, oik-free cinema

Say goodbye to the cinema and its nightmarish idiots oiking away on their phones and embrace home cinema with the Epson EH-TW5500. Just £4,000 to you, m'lud.

Ian Morris

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If you want a properly cinematic experience without the unpleasant underclass -- chewing loudly and innit'ing on their phones -- you'll be needing a top-notch video projector such as the Epson EH-TW5500.

The TW5500 uses three LCDs to create a 1080p image. Epson claims this technology creates a sharp, bright picture, which is viewable in daylight. It also claims a contrast ratio of some 200,000:1, giving some truly profound blacks. You can have it ISF calibrated, and although that will add to the price, it's worth it when you're spending £4,000 on a projector.

The Epson can accept an anamorphic lens, which enables you to increase the resolution of 2.35:1 movies, on a 2.35:1 projector screen. This is pretty advanced stuff, and it doesn't come cheap. It does, however, mean that Epson is taking home cinema enthusiasts seriously, and giving them plenty of high-quality options.

The downsides to projectors are many though, and this one is no exception. Besides being incredibly expensive, it's pretty large, which means you've got to find somewhere to hide it, or mount it on the ceiling. You need a vast great room too, especially if you want to take advantage of this brilliant projector's full abilities. You'll also need a proper screen -- and don't cheap-out on this, as it can be the difference between a good experience and a great one.

But by far the biggest problem is lamps. In this beast, you'll need to replace the light source every 4,000 hours or so. It costs £300 each time, and if you watch a good deal of movies, that could get expensive. Most people save their projector for special occasions, which reduces running costs, but means you need a TV too -- for those times when you can't face a 100ft Jeremy Kyle.

The Epson EH-TW5500 is out now -- click through our photo gallery for more info.

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Unlike budget projectors, the Epson allows you to adjust the lens mechanically. This gives a massive amount of control over the positioning of the projected image.
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There are controls on the projector for adjusting menu settings, but these won't be much use if you end up mounting the projector on the ceiling. Happily, you get a proper remote too.
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Two HDMI sockets, component and VGA inputs give you good input options. By far the best way of using a projector is to connect it to an AV receiver, which will also handle the audio side of things. It also gives you a single HDMI out for all your video gear.
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Power and input selection buttons are located on the top of the projector, along with the IR receiver.
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RS-232 offers you a way to control the projector via a central control system. Not all domestic equipment has this, but it's a must for home cinema installs and very useful for controlling the projector from a universal remote system.
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And there you have it, beautiful video projected at 1080p. You can't beat it for movies, it's the best.

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