Epson EMP-TW2000 Full HD 1080 LCD Projector Review

Epson's latest custom installer based projector is full of surprises....

by Phil Hinton
Home AV Review

1

Recommended
Epson EMP-TW2000 Full HD 1080 LCD Projector Review
SRP: £2,999.00

Introduction

Back in July last year we reviewed Epson’s first foray in to the 1080p projection market, with the TW1000. Following up on that machines success, but not replacing it, is the TW2000. This projector is aimed at the custom install market and comes complete with ISFc3 calibration tools and an improved claimed contrast ratio of 50,000:1.

The unit looks identical to the TW1000 and has exactly the same dimensions (310 (D) x 406 (W) x 124 (H) mm) with only the ISF logo denoting the different models. On the top side of the body are the lens shift wheels which allow 96% vertical and 47% horizontal movement, giving users complete flexibility in positioning. All the expected inputs are around the back with 2 x HDMI V1.3 inputs, 1 x s-video, composite and component plus RS232 and 12V trigger outputs. The TW2000 can either be table or shelf mounted on its adjustable feet or ceiling mounted with the correct mount assembly. Inside the projector the optical path has been improved with an updated OptiFocus engine with DeepBlack phase compensation technology. This means that no stray light from the path leaks from the optical engine, ensuring that the contrast level is not affected. There are three new 0.74-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 C2FINE LCD panels with D7 process technology and a 12-bit LCD driver onboard with light produced by a 170W UHE (E-TORL) bulb, boasting over 3,000 hours of lamp life. There is also a dynamic iris control and colour filter which is claimed helps the projector hit its extremely high contrast figures.

One of the main selling points of this model is a manufacturer's 3 year warranty that also covers the bulb (UK only).

The menu layout is similar to the TW1000 and has everything you would expect in terms of set up and calibration. The remote control is identical to the TW1000 and is backlit although it still feels cheap and plastic. Again one of the traits of the Epson projectors is the scaling menu option. Make sure you set this to 100% so the machines aspect ratios appear correctly. Why this is not set as default I have no idea. One area that is likely to annoy many (especially custom installers) is the fact that when using HDMI connections you cannot adjust the aspect control. This means that anamorphic projection is out of the question unless you use the component input or outboard scaling. In this day and age this would appear to have been a major oversight by the guys at Epson, and hopefully this will be an issue corrected in later models. Set up is easy enough to master quickly.

In the menu areas we have new colour modes to choose from, and with some of the selections the projector adds in a colour filter to the optical path. With ISF certification there are also added memory banks for saving day and night calibrations for swift retrieval. The colour choices are 'vivid', 'cinema day', 'normal', 'cinema night', 'HD', 'silver screen' and 'x.v.Colour'. There are also other added features such as advanced sharpness controls, super white, gamma adjustment and direct power on.

So with a similar design and layout to the TW1000 model, how does the new machine perform? And what exactly does that 50,000:1 contrast ratio actually mean?

Test Results Out of the Box

So starting with the out of the box settings, it was rather obvious that the HD setting on the colour selection was probably going to be the most accurate, and that was certainly how it turned out to be. Indeed this is probably one of the most accurate out of the box settings we have seen yet from a production model. Temperature was almost bang on D65 and all primary and secondary colours were almost correct for REC709, so we can confidently say that the HD setting does indeed get pretty accurate to the HD standard.
Epson EMP-TW2000
Again the TW2000 uses a dynamic iris control, but as we have explained in the past, we prefer to switch these off when doing accurate testing, as the brightness varies too much to give any accurate account of what is going on.

Test Results Calibration

Moving on to a full calibration was easy with the Epson’s excellent RGB tools, and full RGBCYM Colour management system which also includes luminance controls of each of the primary and secondary colours. This is still a rare feature on many CMS systems, and once the greyscale and colour points are corrected, a quick mathematical sum later, gives the desired points for luminance settings, which the Epson achieved easily. Gray scale performance was solid and consistent from 20ire upwards after calibration, and temperature was almost bang on the money with deltaE errors of 2 or less throughout. An added advantage of the Epson is the ISF memory areas to store your day and night settings which then allow quick and easy access from the menu system.
Epson EMP-TW2000
Colour temperature before Colour temperature after
Epson EMP-TW2000
Epson EMP-TW2000
RGB levels before RGB levels after
Epson EMP-TW2000
Epson EMP-TW2000
Gamma curve before Gamma curve after
Epson EMP-TW2000
Epson EMP-TW2000
Next up were our in room measurements of the on/off contrast and ansi contrast levels before and after calibration. Before calibration, and in the HD setting, the Epson meaured a very impressive 1300:1 and 780:1 respectively. Moving to calibrated gave almost exactly the same results at 1278:1 and 735:1 respectively. This is an excellent result for an LCD machine, and since the measurement points are exactly the same for all the projectors we review, looking at other models already reviewed should give you an idea of how good a reading that is! White uniformity was good with a drop of 19% seen at the far top right of the screen.

While we were reviewing the Epson we also took delivery of the new JVC HD100 DILA projector for a later review. We just couldn’t miss up on the opportunity to do some less scientific side by side comparisons with the two machines, both in calibrated settings. This is not something we normally do as it is almost impossible to get the testing and results of comparisons to be as objective as we would like, but subjectively with two pairs of trained eyes in the room, the results were surprising. Using a standard definition copy of Moulin Rouge in NTSC we did some blind testing swapping out the projectors on a few stills, as well as moving scenes. What was immediately striking was just how well the black levels of the Epson stood up to the JVC. It was just too close to really call the winner from that point of view. This was really surprising given the quoted 30.000:1 contrast of the JVC.

What was even more noticeable was the colour performance between the two machines, with the JVC as expected showing over saturation of reds and greens during the test footage, whereas the Epson did look a lot more natural in calibrated mode. However even though the contrast levels of the Epson are excellent for an LCD projector, the sheer depth of field seen on the JVC was absent for the Epson in the majority of scenes. That’s not to say that the Epson is flat, it was just not as strong a contender in this respect when compared to the JVC. It was very easy to pick out which was which down to these differences rather than the black levels, which were agreed as a draw. So although not entirely scientific, this little side by side opened our eyes to the performance of the Epson and certainly its natural colours and black levels.

Video Processing

Video processing in today’s display devices is as important as ever. With much of the general public's viewing material still being 480 or 576 standard DVD, you want to be sure that the 1080p projector will play this back in the best possible way. You could just use the scaling and deinterlacing in your player, but with the TW2000 we would suggest that you set your player to 576i and let the projector take the workload. And it offers up a superb performance as seen in the test results below.

HD Tests

Tests Possible Score Test Score
HD Noise Reduction
Noise is problem that continues to affect high-definition video sources. While analogue noise is typically introduced during the duplication and editing process, noise in HD sources represents film grain and CCD noise introduced at the time of recording (particularly in the darker areas of a scene), noise introduced during the compositing and post-processing stage due to color and exposure correction, as well as during the compression process itself. Noise affects all HD sources.

The challenge is removing the spurious noise while preserving the detail in the scene.
25 - Noise reduced without loss of detail.

15 - Noise reduced somewhat and detail is preserved.

7 - Level of noise reduced but detail is lost.

0 - There is no apparent reduction in noise and/or image detail is significantly reduced or artifacts are introduced.
15 - Noise reduced somewhat and detail is preserved.
HD Video Resolution Loss
The odd and even fields of interlaced video are recorded a fraction of a second apart (1/60s or 1/50s). This presents several problems to the video processor. When the video contains non-moving objects, it is possible to recover the full resolution of the original scene. On the other hand, if the video contains moving objects, resolution is necessarily lost; it was lost at the time of the recording.

A good video processor needs to distinguish between objects in motion or objects that are not in motion. Doing so ensures that all of the resolution is preserved. If a video processor assumes that a non-moving object is, in fact, moving, as much as half of the useful resolution is being discarded. Likewise, if a video processor assumes that a moving object is, in fact, not moving, then 'feathering artifacts' can be seen.
20 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.

0 - The boxes in the corners strobe - half resolution processing
20 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.
Video Reconstruction test
In these tests, we will evaluate the quality of the video reconstruction. Recall that with interlaced video, resolution in moving areas has been lost at the time of the recording. In order to replace the missing data, most video processors compute the average of the pixel above and below the area of interest. This loss of resolution causes jagged edges to form, most prominent on diagonal lines. High-quality video processors can reduce the appearance of these 'jaggies' by implementing more advanced reconstruction methods such as a diagonal interpolation (also called diagonal filtering).

The only method for dealing with motion is to throw away some of the pixels that would cause feathering. So, the difference between a good and bad video processor is how selective it is at throwing away data. If you only throw away the pixels that would cause feathering, you maximize as much detail as possible.

When you throw away data, you must replace it by averaging pixels above and below the area. The loss of resolution causes jagged edges to form, most prominently on diagonal lines. High-quality de-interlacers can reduce the appearance of these 'jaggies' through intelligent reconstruction methods. The reconstruction process get increasingly difficult as the angle becomes more oblique.
20 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.

10 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.

5 - Only the top bar has smooth edges.

0 - None of the bars have smooth edges.
20 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.
Film Resolution Loss test
1080p content exists today. In fact, the majority of today's HD content on CBS and NBC is 1080p. Virtually all major Hollywood films and the majority of 'scripted' television shows broadcast over 1080i60 are originally recorded as 1080p24 (1080p resolution, 24 frames per second).

Content that has been recorded at 1080p24 is converted into 1080i60 for broadcast purposes via a telecine process. A good video processor should be able to decode the original 1080p data by recognizing the '3:2 cadence' of the repeated fields generated in this process. This process is known as 'inverse telecine.' With support for this feature, 100 percent of the pixels from the original 1080p source can be seen. Without proper inverse telecine, the video processor discards half of the resolution.

This test is relevant for testing Blu-ray and HD DVD players for any content that is 1080i and was sourced from a 1080p master that underwent a telecine process. This includes some concert footage, documentaries, films, and many television shows. For example Discovery's China Revealed available on Blu-ray is a combination of 1080i video and 1080i 3:2 content.
25 -You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.

0 - The boxes in the corners strobe, or the edges of the boxes have vertical bands - half resolution processing.
25 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.
Film Resolution Loss Test (Stadium)
This test is a follow up test to the film resolution loss test. If you failed the previous test, you will fail this test. Pay attention to the stands. Any moiré or flickering in the upper stands indicates half resolution processing. This test provides you with a real world video that can show you how improper video processing can affect an active image.

The stands in this stadium are very high in detail and a good processor, player or display should be able to reconstruct the intended 1080p image with all of its intended resolution properly.
10 - No moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.

0 - Moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.
10 - No moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.
Total Score for HD Tests out of a possible 100 = 90.

Pal DVD Video Processing Tests

Tests Possible Score Test Score
Colour Bar / Vertical Detail
This test verifies how good the processor is at identifying motion 10 - Image detail Is seen at marker '1', no flicker Is observed. 5 - Minor flickering is seen at marker '1'

0 - No Image detail Is seen at marker '1'
5 - Minor flickering is seen at marker '1'
Jaggies Pattern 1
This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion 5 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the green area; Logo is free of Jaggies

3 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the yellow area; Logo is free of Jaggies

0 - No Image detail Is seen at marker '1'
5 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the green area; Logo is free of Jaggies.
Jaggies Pattern 2
This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion 5 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.

3 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.

1 - Only the top bar has smooth edges.

0 - none of the bars have smooth edges
5 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.
Flag
This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion 10 - Jagged edges are not seen In the red and white bars, and the flag exhibits fine detail.

5 - Some Jagged edges are seen, and/or the background appears soft.

0 - Jagged edges are quite apparent along edges of the bars
10 - Jagged edges are not seen In the red and white bars, and the flag exhibits fine detail.
Detail Enhancemennt
A high-quality detail enhancement algorithm is a mathematical restoration of data that is lost during the recording and mastering process. 10 - The bricks on the white building exhibit fine detail and sharp outlines, resulting In a crisp, realistic Image.

5 - There Is moderate Image detail within the bricks on the white building and the bricks' outline appears slightly blurred.

0 - The bricks on the white building appear to be flat and the bricks' outline Is blurred
5 - There Is moderate Image detail within the bricks on the white building and the bricks' outline appears slightly blurred.
Noise Reduction
Noise, or film grain, is inadvertently added to a program through capture, duplication and editing and compression process. 10 -level of noise Is noticeably reduced without loss of Image detail.

5 - Level of noise Is reduced somewhat when noise reduction Is turned on, or Image detail Is reduced.

0 - No apparent reduction In noise and/or Image detail Is significantly reduced, or the TV or monitor has no noise reduction feature
10 - Level of noise Is noticeably reduced without loss of Image detail.
Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction
In this test, noise has been added to a video of a roller coaster. A temporal filter that is does not distinguish the movement of the roller coaster from random noise will produce an echo or ghost-image of the moving roller coaster. 10 - The sky exhibits little or no noise, Image detail Is sharp and crisp, and no motion trails or smearing artefacts are observed.

5 - Some noise Is evident In the sky and/or the Image appears soft; the roller coaster appears to be slightly blurred.

0 - Noise Is clearly present In the sky and/or motion trails are visible behind the roller coaster as It moves through the scene.
10 - The sky exhibits little or no noise, Image detail Is sharp and crisp, and no motion trails or smearing artefacts are observed.
Telecine A&B Detection
Hollywood motion pictures are shot, edited and screened with a picture refresh rate of 24 frames per second (fps), progressive scan (24p). To convert these films for DVD or 1080i HDTV, a conversion process is used to find a common mathematical relationship between the original program (24fps) and the broadcast format (25fps or 50 fields). One common technique to deal with this issue is Telecine A. With Telecine A the film is digitized at 24 fps (i.e. 2:2 film) and then played back 4.166% faster (25/24 = 1.04166). A less common technique is Telecine B where you take 24fps material and add a field at the 12th and 24th film frame. 20 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A & B.

15 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A.

0 - Flickering and Jaggies apparent with telecine A & B.
20 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A & B.
Total score out of a maximum 80 = 70

Picture Performance Out of the Box

Using the Epson’s HD setting out of the box and our usual test material (King Kong HD DVD), the TW2000 offered up a tour de force in picture quality. The black levels were instantly noticeable and inky black. This added an obvious depth of field to the image and colours looked natural with no signs of over saturation present. Shadow details were easily picked out and fine detail was sharp and crisp with no signs of blurring or softening in fast moving scenes. The added contrast performance of the TW2000 gives this LCD projector a real leg up when compared to other models in its class and black levels which are truly inky black. During all our testing and viewing the dynamic iris was switched off. We did some testing with the iris in the on position and had no issues with its overall performance, but as with every other adaptation of this technology it did become distracting for us on some scenes where the jump in brightness was noticeable, no matter how fast the iris moved.

Picture Performance Calibrated

The calibrated performance of the TW2000 added to the already excellent performance of the projector, with shadow details and blacks looking just a tad better overall compared to the out of the box settings. Colours were even more accurate and this is one of the major plus points of this projector. When the greyscale and colour performance is this good, you just want to watch more and more material.

Reds are strong but never over the top or over saturated in appearance, and the intensity of a sunrise such as that over the Manhattan sky line (from King Kong) takes on a realism that is hard to put into words. The three dimensional look of HD material is simply stunning on this projector and my only niggles are the lack of a true depth such as we have seen on models like the JVC HD100. Again this is hard to quantify in words as the Epson does justice to HD material, but it also just lacks that "looking out of a window" feeling of depth (which is a cliché but so true in this respect). But what else can I say, other than stunningly good for an LCD machine.

Picture Performance Standard Definition

The Epson doesn’t let its guard down with SD material either, and that excellent picture performance seen on HD material is again present here. Accurate colours with strong black performance and very good video processing built in, gives the TW2000 a solid all round pedigree. I just couldn’t find anything negative to say about this projector which would affect your viewing pleasure when it comes to SD material.

Verdict

7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

The Good

  • Excellent Colour performance
  • Feature packed performance with full ISF calibration tools
  • Excellent black level with solid screen uniformity in both out of the box and calibrated use
  • Very good Video Processing
  • Easy to use menu system and good build quality

The Bad

  • No anamorphic stretch when using HDMI connections
  • UK pricing is out of step with the rest of the LCD market
  • Cheap looking remote control

Epson EMP-TW2000 Full HD 1080 LCD Projector Review

Overall the Epson has surprised us immensely over our 5 week reviewing period. The black performance is a real step up on previous LCD machines and its improved contrast levels also come with the added benefit of better depth of field on most viewing material. We love the natural colours of the projector, even out of the box, and of course they improve again using the superb CMS menus.

The only negative I can put to Epson is the lack of anamorphic stretch control when using HDMI connections. This is one reason that would stop me personally buying a TW2000. As this projector is aimed at the custom install market, the lack of anamorphic stretch is going to be a major issue for many and even though the blacks are improved immensely over the TW1000, (which is still a current model, the TW2000 will not replace it), we also cannot see why the price of the projector is a full grand more than it's LCD competition.

This, in our opinion, takes some of the shine away from what could possibly have been the most stunning performance upgrade for LCD technology. As it is the TW2000 has been left to compete with the JVC brothers, and although the black levels are too close to call and the colours on the Epson are sublime, the JVC just has that extra depth of field and more cinematic image traits which keep drawing us to them. So it’s a tough choice at the end of the day, when you look at what is also on the market compared to the Epson (including far better pricing on the TW2000 in the US and Japan). For us that price point is just too hard to swallow against the performance benefits.

Having said all that though, there is no doubting the Epson has moved up a gear in performance terms. The TW2000 is by far the best LCD projector we have seen yet, with stunning black levels, sublime colour performance and most of the set up and calibration tools you could ever need. Now if they just fixed the stretch mode and pricing………it might just have received a reference badge.

Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

.
.
8

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
.
8

Image Uniformity

.
.
.
7

Video Processing

.
.
.
7

2D Picture Quality

.
.
8

Features

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
.
7

Value For Money

.
.
.
7

Verdict

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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