Projectors

Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8100 Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup and Bench Tests

Out of the box, the picture was already excellent. We ran the projector for about 40 hours before we decided to calibrate. But with some minor adjustments using a basic setup disc I was able to achieve impressive calibration, at least to my eyes.

The setup menu is broken down into basically 4 sections; the image section handles the bulk of the setup with the color mode, brightness, contrast, color, tint and sharpness, which includes a line enhancement feature. Color temperature is adjustable from 5,000K to 10,000Kelvins with 500K increments. A skin tone setting allows adjustment for magenta and green while also correcting for black and white images if they appear out of tint.

And advanced menu adjusts for gamma, RGB, and RGBCMY – more on that later.

Finally in this menu are settings for power consumption, normal or economic, and Auto iris, which can be turned off, set to normal or to high speed. We ultimately chose normal.

Seven color modes are available dependent on your conditions but are plentiful and include: Dynamic, Living room, natural, theater, theater black 1 and 2, and x.v. Color. The latter removes the ability to control most functions. The 8500 substitutes a THX mode.

The Signal menu includes aspect and zoom, and also a 2-2 (4:4 for the 8500) pulldown as an on/off for 24 frame movie sources. An advanced menu will give you several key options for analog sources including NR or noise reduction and Super white for washed out images, this feature on will compensate.

A Settings menu will allow for how the projector functions, power on, sleep modes, trigger, high altitude, whether the unit is ceiling or shelf mounted, input signals, etc..

Finally, the Epson 8100 will allow you to keep 10 memory settings - very functional if you have a variety of viewing conditions, or if you prefer different settings for different sources.

The (ceiling mounted) projector’s lens is mounted about 7 feet from the floor and fed native source material from an OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray player.

Tests and Calibration - by Chris Eberle

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

All measurements were taken off the screen (SnapAV Dragonfly, gain .9) from the seating position (10 feet). The screen size is 106” diagonal and the throw distance was 14 feet.

After measuring the three Theater modes, I settled on Theater (as opposed to Theater Black 1 or 2) as offering the highest native contrast and most accurate color. While red and blue were close to the Rec 709 standard, green was further outside the CIE triangle. Luminances were excellent with a deviation of no more than 0.2 foot-Lamberts.

The measured color temperature was close to the D65 spec. The error progressed to the warmer side as light level rose. At peak output, color temp measured 5864 Kelvin. Gamma was too bright at an average level of 1.9. It also rose in brightness too quickly with a reading of 1.57 at 90 percent stimulus.

Though the 8100 has a color management system, I was only able to improve the luminance of each color. The Hue and Saturation controls would not move the color points. Hue appeared to do nothing and Saturation had the same effect as Brightness which was to change the luminance only. Ultimately though, getting the luminance correct has a bigger impact on image quality than lining up the color points. You can see on the chart below this was essentially perfect after calibration. When the secondaries were re-calculated to compensate for the measured primaries, their positions were within a whisker of correct. I cannot explain why cyan is slightly inside the line between blue and green. The error was not visible in actual content.

Grayscale tracking was improved by calibration to an average error of 1.6 Delta E which is below the threshold of visibility. Only 100 percent was over 3 Delta E. This translated to a slight reddish tint in the brightest whites. Normally I can fix this by reducing the Contrast control. In this case, I could not. Lowering it only reduced light output. Again, the impact on actual content was not perceptible.

Gamma performance was a compromise. The 8100 does allow you to create a custom gamma curve but it starts at such a low factor that the end result is an image that looks washed out. To get flat gamma tracking, the best average number I could achieve was 1.9. I decided to raise the correction value and accept the dip in gamma from 70 to 90 percent. This preserved the detail and depth in the picture.

I didn’t take the usual contrast measurements since I wasn’t benchmarking the 8100 in my theater. With a different screen, room color and throw distance, the numbers would bear no comparison to those I have measured on other projectors. In making a visual assessment, it is my opinion that the 8100 meets or exceeds the contrast performance of previous generations of projectors using the Epson D7 image chips; i.e. the home theater models from Panasonic, Sanyo and Mitsubishi.

The 8100 uses an HQV Reon VX chip for video processing duties. As such, the benchmark tests fared very well. All motion adaptive tests were passed with the exception of 2:2 video, a common failure. Jaggies on the Spears & Munsil content were handled well. Lines were smoother on near-vertical content while near-horizontal elements displayed some twitter. Lens aberration was minimal with good field uniformity. The only coloration in a full-screen white pattern was a little green on the left edge and a little red on the right. Focus was quite sharp from side to side and top to bottom. Image convergence was quite good on this sample with only the above-mentioned colorations. 1080p/24 material was processed correctly and there were no pixels cropped in the screen aspect’s Auto mode.

Final settings

Theater mode Brightness -10
Contrast 11
Color/Tint 0
Sharpness Advanced (all 0)
Color Temp 6500K
Skin Tone 3
Power Consumption Normal
Auto Iris On
Gamma 2.4
Offset R 12
Offset G -10
Offset B -12
Gain R -10
Gain G -5
Gain B 8
CMS
Brightness R -8
Brightness G 4
Brightness B -5
Brightness C 3
Brightness M -17
Brightness Y 0
no change to Hue or Saturation
Noise Reduction Off
Super White Off
Overscan Off
HDMI Video Range Expanded (to show BB and AW)