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Epson TW100 mini review!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Kane D Williams, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. Kane D Williams

    Kane D Williams
    Active Member

    Jan 24, 2002
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    Nr London
    Here is LiOn's first thought of the Epson. Care of AVS.

    The new TW100 is a 1280x720 native 16x9 LCD projector. Rated light output is 700 ansi lumen and 600:1 contrast ratio.

    The unit I tested is a evaluation model and it's usage counter DON'T count! The lamp hour is always at 0. Don't know if there is any real difference in the machine compared to a shipping model.

    Screen is the usual Stweak Ultramatte 1.5 gain 67" wide 4:3 screen. Room is totally light controlled. My viewing position is at around 110".

    We first tried a direct S-video connection from the Sony S7000 DVD player. The TW100 Faroudja DCDi deinterlacer worked as expect and give a correct film mode and DCDi video deinterlaced picture. Picture quality is quite good with little scaling artifact.

    Then we tried progressive RGB via the TW100 15pin port from a iScan line doubter. The TW100 display a picture but we can't get the aspect ratio correct. The TW100 assume a 4:3 PC signal and won't go to unsqueeze mode for anamorphic source.

    Then we tried iScan component progressive via the TW100 15pin port (the TW100 15pin accept both RGB and component). Now we get a correct aspect ratio but the picture jump up and down slightly in 1hz! It seems don't like the iScan.

    Finally we tried a Skyworth 1050p via progressive component to the TW100 15pin. The picture don't jump up/down and the aspect ratio is correct. Finally we can start watching! With a few clips, I found the TW100 internal scaling of a external progressive source is lacking. The whole picture has a layer of fine stairstep artifact and looks somewhat pixelized.

    Can't understand why the TW100 show different scaling artifact with a direct 480i S-video and a 480p component progressive source because both need to go through it's internal scaler to output at the LCD panel resolution 1280x720. The 480i feed has much less scaling artifact.

    Then we tried HTPC setup in native 1280x720. The HTPC outputted a standard 720 timing but the TW100 saw a weird 1888x662 mode from it's about menu. No luck here.

    Then we tried a Radeon 7500 and went with the DVI-D path. This time the TW100 won't even display a picture in 1280x720. It flesh a message in the lower left corner "Not Supported". The DVI-D port did show all other resolutions such as 800x600, 1024x768 and even 1280x1024 (compressed of course). No luck here.

    Finally we tried HDTV. First with the KeyDigital KD-CTCA2 component to RGB transcoder. Source is a JVC DVHS deck outputing component 1080i to the transcoder then in 1080i RGB to the TW100 15pin. The TW100 once again saw a weird PC resolution and gave a crap picture.

    The ONLY thing left: direct 1080i component to the TW100 3 RCAs component input. And we had a correct picture. After fine tune the TW100 picture control (lots of adjustments here, black level, white level, color, sharpness, picture mode, color temp, R/G/B cut off/gain, R/G/B gamma), the resulting HDTV picture is VERY GOOD. Color rendition is especially accurate and smooth.

    Screendoor: Very very min. IMO even less than a Sony 10HT which has higher pixel count. The TW100 looks almost as good as the Sharp 9000 in screendoor. Not a issue at all at normal viewing distance.

    Light output: Not that bright at all. IMO the AE100 in eco mode even looks a bit brighter than the TW100! The TW100 has no eco/theater mode.

    Black level: Slightly better than the AE100. Hard to tell without side by side.

    Contrast: Weaker than my tweaked AE100. While the picture is certainly much smoother (less screendoor), it has don't have the AE100 punch. Hope it can get better with more tunning.

    Fan noise: Non-existing. Even quieter than the Sony 10HT.

    Compared to my AE100:

    - much LESS screendoor
    - smoother color
    - higher resolution in 1080i HDTV

    - weaker contrast, not enough punch
    - overall softer (but smoother) look, not as 3D (pop-out)
    - in HDTV viewing, MPEG compression artifacts are MUCH more visible!

    Overall it's a give and take. Not yet my dream projector performance! Looks like I've more hour to burn on the AE100...


    Li On

    I believe that with more tweaking, it should at least be able to equal the AE100 is all areas, but with a higher res and less screen door, as the panels are the same only 1280X720 versions!?
  2. Dubbing Mixer

    Dubbing Mixer
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    Jan 27, 2002
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    By, and sometimes in, the sea

    At three times the price this does not look too promising. I won't judge just yet but it rather looks as if my search for something markedly superior to the AE-100 (at no more than three times the price, not crt) still has some way to go.......
  3. jrwood


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