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TW500 Vs HT1000

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Liam @ Prog AV, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Epson have still not given us a delivery address to send the 500 on, so I took my opportunity over lunch and set it back up again in the same room as the HT1000 to see where the differences lie. Now this has taken me all afternoon (in between phone calls etc) and i'm still not sure i've actually put across what it is that makes the TW500 good enough to warrant a demo alongside the NEC. All I can say is this is what my findings are and why I now am no longer able to to say I would without a doubt go for the HT1000.

    Kit - Myryad CameoTheatre (Z122 based DVD reciever) showing Gladiator, Matrix II, LOTR I and mainly Biker Boyz, Van Damme cabling, Extron Distribution amp, Epson running in Theatre Black Mode, NEC running in movie mode, both then further adjusted in isolation

    Well lets cut to the chase and talk about blacks first, because the first thing you notice is that the NEC is not significantly blacker than the Epson. It does produce a nicer black though and has a massive contrast edge, cold hard road tarmac will never look as cinematic as it does on the NEC. Neither will dark skin look better anywhere else in this price range.

    On contrast the NEC wins. But not by the kind of margin the Panasonic plasma beats the Pioneer plasma. Here's where things begin to get tricky since the NEC is fabulous at producing detail in dark hair, shadows, folds of dark clothing etc but the Epson seems to give more of a feel for the texture of the hair/clothing/road. Moonlight reflections on leather jackets, water on the road, drips of sweat on skin are all remarkably well defined on the 500. So the NEC can make a better black, but the Epson can do more with the black it has if that makes any sense!

    Colour wise this is also a very tricky test. The NEC has all the advantages you would expect of a DLP. At first glance the TW500 is different in the same way the TW100 was, it is a brighter, livlier picture. In the case of the 500 though the picture is definitely richer too. The Epson is definitely stronger here, more able to control various shades of the same colour, and also more accurate and showing the same colour in several different lights. This was very noticeable on Biker Boyz where scenes were regularly shot at night, but while the camera stays on the motorbike it is driving through alternating streetlight and moonlight, and is also at times in close proximity to a large fire!! The way these lights were reflected off of the riders leathers, the gleaminging metal and the multi coloured faring on the bikes was far beyond anything the NEC could do.

    Switch over to daylight scenes (chap 2 of LOTR, daylight scenes on Biker Boyz) and the NEC starts to look like a dark picture, rather than the Epson looking bright. The contrast advantage is minimized and the Epsons immense colour performance is really shown. The power of the processor becomes more apparent too, on a wide pan of a farm in Biker Boyz with a convoy of motorbikes turning into a farm lane - the background detail is far stronger than the NEC, and combined with the better colour control the Epson has the tree-lined backdrop was just as interesting as the foreground! I will reiterate that the NEC still has the bolder colour as you would expect of the DLP, but the overall affect of the Epson is going to be more appealling to many.

    The last factor is that of detail. The NEC has it in shadows, the Epson in colour. Kid Rocks argument with Laurence Fishbourne in biker Boyz showed this perfectly, Kidrock was wearing a blue wooly jumper under a black leather jacket, Fishbourne was all in black, and standing in the dark. The epson showed more shades of blue from the jumper than the NEC, and also could more define the odd bit of fluff hanging off it! The NEC could make out Laurence Fishbournes hair and neck better from the dark position he was in. The Epson could sharpen up the hair at the edges but couldn't quite get into the thick of it.

    Stepping back from staring at individual areas and focussing more on the overall picture (and also running out of lunchtime to do this in) you start to appreciate where the Epson is definitely smoother and sharper (but not by much), definitely more 3 dimensional and rich in colour, but not as accurately black and not as good in contrast.

    All in all I really do think this is as close as the Panasonic VS Pioneer debate. Many people will prefer the Epsons picture, many people won't but will still prefer it's connections and resolution, many will laugh in my face for even considering a LCD over the HT1000. In the office we're all confused and don't know which one we'd buy! While we all love and adore the HT1000, there's no denying that there's something very exciting about the Epson.
     
  2. KraGorn

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    Well since I had to get Andrew to take the NEC back due to my problems with rainbows ... :bursts into tears again: ... I'm very interested in the Epson, but need to know a price. :)

    Have you seen an HS20 yet? I'm wondering how that competes with the TW500.

    If we assume the price would be in the range, say, 2500-3000, would it be worth £1000+ more than a Z2? Obviously it's superior, but to anyone for whom money is at least some issue, is it worth that extra?
     
  3. Kane D Williams

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    I would too like to know a price on the TW500. The TW200 is now down to around £1500 and so I would assume a £2500 price tag for the 500? As one can get a HS20 for £2100 and a Z2 for £1350, I don't think Epson should aim much above the Sony's price!
     
  4. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    We've not a clue on price either! We'll be on to Epson as soon as they are ready to let us know. And then we'll be on to Sony to get a HS20 down here and get the TW500 back for another shootout!!
     
  5. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    I've heard from Epson, launch is delayed (surprise surprise) and price isn't confirmed. But, it is going to be a similar price, or more expensive than the HT1000.....
     
  6. KraGorn

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    IMHO, speaking as a relative newbie to the HT scene, that pricing will be very silly... so it was about to be launched and they then postponed
    it, bit suspicious n'est pas? :confused:

    Thanks for posting that update Liam, makes my decision about what to replace my AE300 with almost a 'given'.
     
  7. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    I think Epson just saw the common sense in not trying to rush out a new product before Christmas. With other manufacturers suffering last minute firmware revisions, bug fixes etc I reckon Epson are making the right decision.

    Pricing wise i'm not so sure it will be silly, at one extreme and to a majority of people, it can't produce the kind of picture the NEC can. At the other extreme you're getting an incredible amount of kit for your money (HDMI, High Res, DCDi+, 1 Billion colours, motorised zoom, focus and IRIS, loads of inputs).
     
  8. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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  9. KraGorn

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    Have to say from reading that thread one wonders what NEC has been doing since they released the 1000 :eek: ... the 1100 just seems tinkering, albeit with what was a pretty spectacular device from the little I saw of it ... does this mean this is the pinnacle of their DLP hopes? In a world where 16:9 native seems to be the name of the game does it really make sense to come out with a 'new' XVGA model?
     
  10. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    I was wondering the same thing! No mention of Faroudja, 10 bit processor but 16.7 million colours (which is starting to look old hat now!!!). Then again, the spec (apart from contrast and DCDi) wasn't that amazing on the 1000... but the results spoke for themselves.
     

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