Epson have been the best selling projector manufacturer in Europe for some time now with their business range, and the fact they are now taking the home cinema market seriously has to be a good thing, right? Well I know when I think about the company I cannot shake the image of business like cheap looking grey boxes, not a bad image if you are looking for a cheap presentation light cannon, but when talking about serious home cinema performance it hardly seems inspiring. However after spending three weeks in the company of the TW1000 I have to say that my initial prejudices were well and truly laid to rest.
Design and Connections
On the top side of the machine are the lens shift wheels which allow 96% vertical and 47% horizontal movement, giving users complete flexibility in positioning. We didn’t put these claims to the test as we couldn’t get the unit far enough off to push the machine to it’s limits, instead we set the projector square to our 7.5ft 1.78:1 screen and it took a matter of minutes to get it set up correctly. However I will quickly point out one odd feature which caught me out at first. In the menu system there is an option to set the scaling, although its not a scaling control – confused? I was! What you need to do is set this control to 100% so that you have the correct aspect ratio on screen, otherwise the image has a certain amount of vertical pull, very strange indeed.
Connectivity is reasonable, bearing in mind the RRP, and offers 1 HDMI port which is V1.3 ready, as well as single inputs for component, composite, S-video and RGB scart via a D4 connector which is included in the box. All these inputs are positioned around the rear of the unit as well as the power cable slot. There are also two control inputs/outputs with a 12v trigger for electric screens and an R232 connector.
So what about the actual projection technology? Well again the TW1000 surprises with a 1920 x 1080 resolution via its 3LCD and C2 fine technology. The only other projector in the Epson’s class to feature this is the Panasonic PT-AE1000, and it retails at a full grand more! The C2 fine element repositions the liquid crystal vertically instead of horizontally meaning that light leakage is eliminated and the unit can produce better than normal black levels. And as with other UHP lamped machines the TW1000 also employs an iris and colour filter in the optics stage of the projector to improve colour purity and greyscale.
Finally it looks like the plastic body and skimping in less critical areas has meant the TW1000 has some quality in the optical department with a wide zoom range and manual zoom and focus control from the remote. This all bodes well for power up. And the remote control provided with the unit is better than most, with all the important buttons logically laid out and with a back light included as well, good stuff.
So having gone through the menus which are well set out and easy to follow it was time to check the various settings out of the box and pick the one which comes closest to our desired finishing point of D65. On the TW1000 this happened to be the Theatre Black 1 setting and the results can be seen below.
Hopefully what you are beginning to see with the CIE charts in our reviews is that the myth saying most displays are set to D65 by the manufacturer is just wishful thinking. It is very rare that any device reaches this point out of the box, with the JVC HD1 being a rare case in point. However what is pleasing is that Epson are now following the ISF philosophy and including all the menu options and source memories to allow professional calibration.
As you can see, even the best picture setting in the TW1000 out of the box (and this unit was brand new at zero hours) and with the bulb set at economy, colour reproduction was certainly on the over saturated side and temperature was on the low side at approximately 5800k. The Green was certainly out of the target range by some margin, but also surprising was how pushed the red and blue were. Playing video footage at this setting also proved the point with an overly red looking image.
However there is no need to panic at this point as Epson has seen fit to give us all the controls required to correct the colours and also get the greyscale tracking correctly, so after an hour or so we had our final result and it’s pretty darn perfect if you look at the raw data below.
|Colour temperature before||Colour temperature after|
|RGB levels before||RGB levels after|
|Gamma curve before||Gamma curve after|
Using our now standard King Kong HD DVD we switched to our favourite scene outside the Woolworths building as Kong finally reacquaints himself with his love. The scene is perfect for checking shadow detail and colour saturation and the Epson passed with flying colours. Although not as three dimensional as the JVC HD1 this 3LCD machine certainly handles the blacks and shadow details in a more positive manner than the Panasonic machine. The fur on Kong is distinct even in the shadows and the detail on his face is easily defined. The sunrise at the Empire state building is also very good, although not as fine in detailed colour gradation as the Panasonic, the colour balance is natural. Moving to SD material and the Epson also held up very well with good black detail and superb colours. It s obvious from our testing that the contrast level of the Epson is certainly higher than the Panasonic and this means the Epson provides more depth and accuracy to the image, with very few areas of grey to complain about. For the money this Projector surprised us no end and the images produced were some of the best we have seen from this class of unit. The full HD panel provides a sharp and detailed image with no obvious signs of screen door effect or the dreaded chicken wire, thanks to its C2fine configuration.
- Great value for money
- Excellent image depth and black level
- Full calibration controls
- Easy to use menu system and good build quality
- Lack of HDMI inputs
- 1080/24 not supported
Epson EMP-TW1000 LCD Projector Review
If you have read the entire review and have reached this point, I guess one of the questions on your lips might be; “do you prefer the Epson to the Panasonic?” Well the answer, although we don’t really like to compare products in such an unscientific way as preferences, would have to be yes. The Epson has really surprised us and challenged our thinking when it comes to LCD projectors. The contrast available is excellent and provides good black level performance which in turn brings more depth and scale to images. It was so obvious when switching between the Epson and Panasonic. This along with the very good image processing as well as the full calibration controls and that bargain price tag means we can only hand the Epson one accolade – Best Buy!
Ease Of Use
Value For Money
2D Picture Quality
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.