Big screen projection with no wires attached...
What is the Epson TW6600W?This is a 3LCD model aimed at the home consumer market and features wireless HDMI transmission (the W at the end of the model name indicates this is a wireless product). The Epson EH-TW6600W is sold on the concept of big screen entertainment for the home without cables getting in the way. The TW6600W boasts Full HD wireless HDMI transmission from an adaptor box which can take 5 HDMI sources. Other highlights promoted by Epson for the TW6600W are a claimed 2500 Lumens brightness and 70,000:1 claimed contrast ratio using a dynamic iris. Epson are also promoting the TW6600W as a Full HD 3D with dynamic 2D and 3D colour modes. Priced at approximately £1,700 at the time of writing in October 2014, this places the projector just on the edge of the budget home consumer market. Is there enough here to entice home cinema fans as well as the general consumer looking for big screen gaming and TV viewing? Let’s find out…
DesignThe TW6600W has a very compact chassis which makes it ideal for occasional use and storing away when not required. It measures in at 410 x 157 x 304mm (W x D x H) and weighs 6.8Kg. The body is an all plastic affair with some nice design curves to the face plate and top side. When facing the TW6600 the lens is offset to the right hand side with a plastic lens and manual control rings for zoom and focus.
On the top above the lens are the horizontal and vertical shift wheels, which work well but can feel a little sticky and have the habit of jumping around when subtle movement is required. They also have a habit, certainly on this review sample, to move slightly between viewings. This won’t be an issue however if the projector is just set up and taken down again after a movie, TV or sports event. To the left side of the face plate we have the hot air exhaust which also lets some bulb light escape during use. On the top of the TW6600W are some menu selection buttons and source keys for those occasions where you misplace the remote control.
The remote control is a rather large affair but one with a logical layout for use with multiple sources. Nice touches include a backlight for use in a bat cave and generously sized menu and frequent use buttons. There are options for controlling the Wireless HDMI box from the remote and for selecting various input sources as well as direct buttons for image processing and 3D menus. The remote feels sturdy and well-built with good quality plastics used for the keys.
ConnectionsThe Epson EH-TW6600W is sold on the promise of wireless HD HDMI cable free use, but if you don’t feel like using the wireless approach, you can hard wire your sources to the projector just like any other. Around the back of the chassis under a plastic cover are two HDMI inputs with MHL on 1, a set of component, composite and PC/RGB inputs along with stereo RCA inputs, a 3.5mm audio output, a 12V trigger and RS323 control. There is a service mini USB and a full size USB for charging the 3D glasses. So overall quite a well thought out back panel.
Moving to the wireless tramission box supplied with the projector we have 5 HDMI inputs, 4 at the rear and one at the side which accepts MHL, along with an HDMI output, an optical audio input and a USB port for charging the 3D Glasses. The only other connection is the power supply for the wireless box.
FeaturesThe main selling point of this model is the WiHD transmission technology for hooking up sources well away from the projector's position and using Wi-Fi technology to send them to the projector. The transmission box is basically a rounded block of plastic with 4 HDMI inputs to the rear and one further MHL input to the side and one HDMI output. There is also an optical audio output for sending sound to an AV Receiver and a USB port for charging the 3D glasses. On the top of the transmission box are a power button and input and output buttons. Epson are selling the TW6600W as a projector that does away with messy cable runs and the need to have the projector permanently set up on the ceiling or wall. It opens up the projector market to those consumers who might have been put off in the past when considering the big screen experience.
There is no doubting that this technology works and there are a few ways AV enthusiasts would set it up that maybe go against the designers intended use. Most AVForums readers will likely have an AV Receiver with video switching so with the transmitter you only need to use one HDMI Video input to the box as the AVR will handle the sound and switching duties perfectly well. For more mainstream users there are other solutions including the optical output or HDMI to a soundbar or all-in-one system and the transmission box can handle the video switching. Finally the projector has a speaker built-in for those occasions when you either don’t need sound, or have no other solution. It makes a noise, so it fulfills the definition of a speaker, but you should only use it as a last resort.
Other features include a pair of 3D active glasses in the box which are well built and actually quite light. They also do a decent job of sitting over glasses if you have to wear them. Powering them on is simple and they don’t block too much light from the screen through the lens. The remaining features are picture quality related and we will mention them in detail in that section of the review, but it is safe to say that some of these enhancing features will be switched off rather quickly if image accuracy is what you desire.
Test ResultsWith a projector like the Epson TW6600, finding the best possible picture settings is important. When we get to the budget end of the market, the costs of a professional calibration start to make little sense, so good out-of-the-box presets are a must. This is also where guides like our own Picture Perfect also become very useful.
We found that the default out-of-the-box image settings on the TW6600 were terrible, but by switching to the native picture mode and switching off all the picture processing, including the dynamic iris, presented the best possible image the projector is capable of producing without any calibration required.
As you can see in the charts above, the greyscale in the 6500 colour temperature mode and the native colour preset gave a decent result in terms of tracking and Gamma. Red energy was high in the higher reaches of the grayscale, but this didn’t impact too much on actual viewing material and the slightly higher than 2.2 gamma didn’t negatively impact on the projected image either.
The colour gamut, shown in the second graph, is restricted natively. This means that the Epson will never be able meet the full Rec.709 colour gamut used for HD playback. Instead colours are slightly undersaturated, but colour luminance (brightness) is good, meaning we have no colour clipping. Overall, despite there being restrictions placed on the TW6600 due to its native colour gamut being smaller than required, the image on screen using these settings is still very watchable and as accurate as you can expect at this price point without a full calibration.
Moving on to our calibrated results and we have a mixed bag really. We would never expect a projector at this price point to be capable of reference image quality, even after calibration and as such we can forgive it slightly for the mixed results we see. What is disappointing with this review sample, however, is the CMS not working at all. Even if 99% of the buying public won’t use it, if it's a feature on a product then it should work properly.
The white balance (RGB) controls did work and although very coarse in use, we were able to get a decent greyscale track and improved error results. Looking at on-screen viewing material we didn't see any discolouration or colour tinge. Sadly with the CMS not working we could only look at the improved results caused by correcting the greyscale, which brought the secondary colours back towards where they should be. But with a restricted native gamut, it wouldn’t have mattered if the CMS had worked as we can’t add what isn’t there to start with. Overall we found the best out-of-the-box settings are going to be most valuable to potential owners, who are never going to pay for a full calibration, and on these results and restrictions they wouldn't need to.
Epson EH-TW6600W Video Review
Epson TW6600W Picture QualityThe first thing to mention in the picture quality section of the review is that the default settings are shocking. All the sharpness controls are turned up to 11 and as such the image is alive with fizzing grain, false contours around edges and an image that would make any self-respecting home cinema fan cry with despair. However, switch most of the ‘image features’ off and do the basic set up routine of contrast, brightness etc. and you soon have a very watchable image that suits this projector's core use.
That core use is as an every once in a while big screen performer. It doesn’t have silk smooth, inky deep black levels with copious amounts of shadow detail – and you shouldn’t expect anything at this price point to have those or any other picture characteristics you would expect on a dedicated mid-level home cinema projector. The image from the TW6600W is what you would class as functional, bright, colourful and engaging. This is the type of projector designed to be pointed at a white wall for the occasional big screen TV event, gaming contest or movie. The fact it doesn’t have ultra-deep black levels should not be seen as a weak point if the TW6600W is being used in a normal living room with light coloured walls and some ambient light.
The major selling point of this projector, over say the more home cinema focussed Sony HW40ES, is that the Epson offers 70% of the image accuracy in non-ideal surroundings and with no cable runs to think about. It is the type of projector that should never go near the bat cave surroundings the Sony will excel in. No, the TW6600W is best suited to being shoved in a cupboard until needed – quickly set up pointing at a white surface with the sources connected via the Wireless HDMI connection box. From this point of view we are assessing the Epson in the type of environment it has been designed for and as such, we didn’t see any real faults with the design, approach or resulting picture quality when the ‘image features’ were tamed.
Image features include a curious auto iris that was slow in operation and also quite noisy. We also couldn’t see any improvement with contrast when it was in use, because the native black levels are so poor to start with. Forget about the Iris would be our advice as it made no perceivable difference to image quality. The same was also true of the sharpness features which caused nothing but image artefacting in anything but the off position. So, with those issues sorted out the TW6600W produces a very bright image which will suit most non-bat cave surroundings.
We watched a variety of content on the Epson from HD sports to movies and couldn’t fault the image quality when assessing it as it is intended to be used. That is not as a dedicated home cinema projector. The image quality just doesn’t stand up to critical viewing of movie material in the way that many AVForums members would expect. However with that said, we think the idea of wireless connections, special big screen viewing treats, occasional movie nights and some big screen gaming will appeal to a wider audience and with this the Epson does very well.
If anyone is still interested in 3D then the TW6600W comes with one pair of active glasses and the performance is good, if a little crosstalk heavy in places and not fantastic with fast moving images. However, if 3D is important at this price point there are better DLP models available in this market position with far better motion handling and hardly any crosstalk.
- Wireless HDMI works well
- Bright images with good colours
- Fits the role for occasional big screen thrills
- Suits bright rooms and non critical movie viewing
- Not a projector for critical movie watching
- 3D has crosstalk issues
- Blacks are poor
- Restricted colour gamut
Epson EH-TW6600W 3LCD Projector ReviewEpson have seen that there is a market for the occasional big screen movies, game or TV event in your living room. They have also identified that in such a room the last thing you need are cables running everywhere and that people are less likely to have a dedicated projection screen. With the TW6600W they have tried to provide a product that fits all those points and in our opinion we think it works very well.
Don’t expect deep blacks or stunningly accurate colours as they are not here. But when used in the environment this projector is designed to work in, you don’t need them either. The Epson is likely to be pointed at a white wall in a living room. The sources will be connected using the easy to use wireless HDMI box with audio sent to a soundbar (if you’re lucky) or from the built-in speaker. It produces a bright and clear image with good detail and nice understated colours that everyone will be able to see. Motion handling is good for a 3LCD model but perhaps not as good as some of the competing DLP models at this price point. But then again with the Epson you don’t get the rainbow effect. The Epson is designed to solve a problem for occasional big screen viewing, to be simple to use and to do so without cables everywhere. That is what the TW6600W is designed for and it works.
What if you want a home cinema projector and have a bat cave?
Look at the Sony VPL-HW40ES which is £100 more than the Epson and better suited to critical movie watching.
What about the competition?
Well, it all depends on what you want and the product that suits your needs. The Epson is a solution to occasional big screen thrills without trailing cables, attaching projectors to ceilings and being disruptive to the living room environment. Other models out there can do some or most of those things or offer a slightly better image or better 3D, but with their own caveats. If rainbow effects are not a problem for you then also have a look at the BenQ W1070 or W1080 or the Optoma HD26 or HD50
Overall the Epson sets out to fill a place in the market with some nice solutions such as wireless HDMI and in our opinion succeed in doing so with a high level of technical success. This projector will not appeal to the home cinema enthusiast who wants the best possible image quality for critical viewing and it doesn't pretend to be that kind of product. Instead it appeals to a wider audience who want the occasional big screen experience, without the hassles of cable runs and setting up screens. They also want a bright image with good colours and once again the TW6600W fits the bill nicely.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels5
2D Picture Quality6
3D Picture Quality6
Ease Of Use8
Value For Money7
Our Review Ethos
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