Projectors

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB LCD Projector

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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB LCD Projector On The Bench

Equipment used: EyeOne Pro spectrophotometer, CalMAN Professional 3.7 analysis software, Accupel HDG-3000 signal generator, Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray disc.

All measurements were taken off the screen (Carada Brilliant White, gain 1.4) from the seating position (10 feet back). Video processing tests were performed using an Oppo BDP-83 connected directly to the projector and set to Source Direct mode.

Unlike most THX-certified displays, the Epson allows full adjustment in its THX mode. This made calibration fairly easy as the starting point was not too far off the mark. Pre-calibration gamut was close to perfect with just a little variance in the secondary colors. Luminance was also within a whisker of perfect.

Pre-calibration grayscale was quite green from bottom to top. As you can see by the high DeltaE numbers, this was plainly visible. It’s a good thing there are white balance adjustments available in THX mode!  Gamma out of the box was not too bad at an average of 2.10 with flat tracking. This was measured with the auto-iris turned off.

Only a few minor tweaks were necessary to achieve accurate color with the Epson’s CMS. There are hue, saturation and lightness controls for all six colors and as you can see, they work correctly. Luminance was within 0.15 foot-Lamberts for all colors and the CIE points are spot-on.

After adjustment, the grayscale tracked with an error of less than 1 DeltaE at all brightness levels except 100 percent. That error of 1.8 is still well below the threshold of visibility. Gamma tracking is also nice and flat with an average factor of 2.21. I only needed to raise the overall correction factor to achieve this. No adjustment of individual points was necessary. Again, this is measured with the auto iris turned off.

Video processing was excellent, which is no great surprise given the included HQV chip. The 2:2 test was a little slow to lock on but once it did, it maintained itself properly. The 8700 passed all the film mode tests. There were no problems with the horizontal mixed film/video test but the vertical one showed quite a bit of line twitter. Jaggies clips were all handled well with minimal artifacting. To see maximum resolution, I had to set my player to output an RGB Video signal. 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 would not show the 1-pixel pattern in either a multi-burst or zone plate. The error is hard to see in actual content but this is the reason you want a Blu-ray player that gives you signal output options.

Epson prides itself on the contrast levels of their projectors and the 8700 is a fine example of the breed. Minimum black measured .006 fL with the auto iris turned off. When it was on, the black level was immeasurable. I recorded a maximum brightness level of 26.4 fL with the lamp in eco mode which is quite high. This makes the on/off contrast ratio 4400:1 which is very good. Perceived contrast improves when the auto iris is turned on. With its high output, this projector would benefit from a manual iris. Closing down a bit would improve black levels further and make it easier to get the max level to a more comfortable 15 fL.

Optics and panel alignment were about average for an LCD projector in this price range. Field uniformity was decent with only a little green tint on the right side of the screen. Focus patterns showed very good panel convergence. When first powering on the projector, the image is a tad soft but after 30 minutes or so, sharpness improves to a good level. The lens showed no significant chromatic aberrations and focus was consistent from edge to edge.