What is the Epson EH-TW9300?
The Epson is also available in a TW9300W varient that, for an extra £300, adds MHL connectivity for smartphone and tablet content along with WirelessHD for sending HD signals without long HDMI cable runs and it comes in white. We are reviewing the black coloured TW9300 unit without those features.
We were blown away with the EH-TW7300 a few months back and the only weak point for us was the overall contrast and black levels not quite living up to bat cave standards, but the EH-TW9300 certainly promises to solve those problems in the PR notes so let’s put it to the test and see if spending an extra grand gets you that black level upgrade.
Design, Connections and Control
Looking at the rest of the chassis we have a flap like door to the right side of the body (from the front), which hides a number of manual keys for entering the menu system along with surface mounted power and source buttons. This will allow complete control of the projector should you lose the remote control. Above this area is a blue light, which indicates that the projector is on, powering up or closing down, along with lights to warn against over heating etc.
Rounding off this section we have the provided remote control and yes, you guessed it, it is the same unit that is used by the TW7300. So we have a large and well-weighted unit that fits neatly in the hand and has all the major controls within easy thumb reach. It is backlit for use in a bat cave, which is important for a projector and there are also memory buttons for 16:9 and 2.40:1 lens memories so you can switch between aspect ratios on your scope screen easily and quickly.
Features and Specification
The fully motorised lens memory functionality is almost unheard of at this price point and should appeal to those of us who have gone with scope screens in our home cinemas. There are also two memory buttons on the remote, which makes changing between 1.85:1 and 2.40:1 content as easy as a single button press. Some other systems out there required menu entry and a few selections to move between ratios, so the slick integration here is very welcome. The motorised lens cover is also very much required with an LCD projector and the flexibility of the lens shift helps with installation in difficult spaces.
The TW9300 is also a 3D capable projector using active 3D technology and there is also 2D to 3D conversion available if you feel like a laugh. When using the 3D mode the projector reverts to 1080p output only, so no pixel shift. Sadly Epson didn’t send us a set of the optional glasses and we couldn’t get other brands we have here to work either. Therefore we can’t tell you what it is like with 3D content, but it wasn’t a highlight in the TW7300 so you are probably wise to demo one if that is a required part of your use of the TW9300.
In terms of picture quality features the EH-TW9300 has five picture presents, which are – Dynamic, Natural, Cinema, Digital Cinema and Bright Cinema. The interesting point to take note of here is that the Cinema modes introduce the Epson cinema filter into the light path, which increases the colour space to close to DCI. However in Natural mode the filter is removed and the colour space is close to Rec.709 which is the native colour space for all TV broadcasting, Blu-rays and streaming services in HD. So if you are going to be using Blu-ray and streaming as your main sources you should use the Natural picture preset with the correct setting for 2.4 gamma and white balance. Only when feeding the projector content such as UHD Blu-ray that is mastered in the wider colour space of DCI should you use the cinema modes. Otherwise you are adding too much colour saturation to Blu-ray content and not seeing the graded image as intended.
Other image features include frame interpolation for various sources as well as an intelligent dynamic iris with two speed settings. We found the iris was OK in use but we could still see issues in mixed content and noticeable jumps on occasion. We ended up switching off the iris as the calibrated performance of the shadow details and highlights were superb. There are also five image presets under the 4K Enhancement menu including Noise Reduction, Super Resolution and Detail Enhancement. These are very much a personal preference selection of features and they can all be switched off. Finally for the picture features the TW9300 is also ISFccc certified and has full calibration controls available with full white balance, colour management and gamma controls.
Note that the Cinema picture modes use the Epson cinema filter for DCI-P3 wider colour and therefore are not accurate for use with Blu-ray, TV and streaming services which are all mastered for viewing in the HD Rec.709 standard. So remember to use the Natural setting we are using here.
Moving to the Rec.709 colour gamut performance (top right) we also have yet another superb out of the box performance from the TW9300 with only a few hue and saturation errors appearing on the graph. You wouldn’t be able to see these issues when viewing normal material. We can obviously fix these with the ISFccc calibration controls included in the Epson, but in reality its tidying the graphs more than adding anything that is going to be visible onscreen. Excellent results yet again from Epson.
Now it is important to stress that we measure only out-of-the-box results for HDR on all displays as that is what the vast majority of users will be watching and we need to give a realistic summary of what to expect. As the standards and tone mapping gets better over the next few months (and years) we will start to add calibration into these results. It is also important to stress that HDR on a projector doesn’t quite have the same WOW factor as it does on a TV screen. Projectors just can’t reach the brightness levels needed to even approach the type of image you get on today’s HDR TVs, but you can benefit from the wider colour gamut and added detail of UHD Blu-ray’s using a projector like the TW9300.
Starting with UHD Blu-ray we spun up The Revenant that has quickly become a reference point for testing displays. As we have said at length in this and other reviews, projectors struggle with HDR content and just can’t produce the same type of image an HDR TV, like our reference Samsung KS9500, can display with ease. They just don’t have the brightness and dynamic range needed to display HDR like a TV. However there are areas where a projector excels with UHD Blu-ray and that is with resolution, image size and colour performance. The TW9300 is capable of showing an incredibly dynamic image with strong blacks and good shadow detail, bettering the performance of the TW7300 with excellent shadow detail retrieval and strong highlights that are not clipped. Image brightness suits a bat cave environment especially with the Epson cinema filter in place that does sit in the light path and take some edge off the overall brightness. You could switch to full lamp mode but this will significantly impact on fan noise from the projector. But if you can get away with it then the Epson is capable of decent image dynamics and brightness. Black levels are outstanding at this price point and compete with the far more expensive JVC X5000 (a fact backed up by our own Steve Withers who has tested both and thinks that the Epson nicks it). Image resolution and sharpness is identical to the TW7300 as are the impressive colours that the TW9300 is capable of. It is extremely accurate with skin tones along with superb hues and saturation of natural landscapes seen in The Revenant. You feel cold watching the hunting scene such is the realism of the images on display.
Switching to Deepwater Horizon on UHD Blu-ray and we are met with stunning depth and detail in the darkness of the corridors of the rig while searching for survivors. Even with such conditions on screen the details in the shadows were excellent with no obvious clipping. Added to that is the dynamic range between the blacks of the night and orange explosions surrounding the actors and rig, with some intense flame detailing seen within the explosions giving them a real sense of depth and weight. Again you can almost feel the heat of the fire given the superb job the TW9300 does with the images it is fed. Even when moving to bog standard HD Blu-ray the accuracy of the projectors Natural preset to Rec.709 is brilliant. We used the same demo scenes from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that we did with the TW7300 and the results where just as stunning, but with the added benefit of better dynamic range and contrast performance. Colours were once again bang on the money and the Epson machines just have a fantastic ability to produce really nuanced hues and tones when it comes to colour accuracy. Images are extremely cinematic and once again you need to pinch yourself when it comes back to performance vs. price.
We really struggled to find any negatives with the Epson given the performance on offer for the price point. Motion resolution is excellent and 24fps material is handled properly with no induced blur not already present in the source material and detail remained strong with no back door processing or noise reduction getting in the way. Sadly we were unable to review the 3D performance as Epson didn’t supply any glasses and we couldn't get other brand glasses to sync. Given the TW7300 wasn’t the best performer with 3D it is possible the same is true here, so if 3D is important try and demo the TW9300.
Epson EH-TW9300 Video Review
- The faux 4K images look stunning
- Fantastic colour reproduction for HD and 4K material
- Superb black levels and shadow detail
- Lens memory functions
- Motorised lens shift and lens cover
- HDR compatible
- ISFccc Certified
- Epson colour filter gets 4K colours close to DCI-P3
- Only one HDCP 2.2 HDMI port
- Nothing else at this price vs. performance point
Epson EH-TW9300 Projector Review
We are really struggling to think of any negatives that would cause anyone not to consider this projector at the money. It clearly beats everything available at the moment (April 2017) under £5K and even pushes a few above that price point.
It looks like Epson mean business in this area of the market and with the Best Buy TW7300 taking care of the £2,000 and under section, the TW9300 quite comfortably has the Best Buy crown for the £5,000 and under sector. Impressive stuff indeed.
MORE: Projector Reviews
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
2D Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-of-the-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
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