Review: Epson EH-TW9000W 3D projector with Wireless HDMI

Review: Epson EH-TW9000W 3D projector with Wireless HDMI

The Epson EH-TW9000W is certainly, to look at, a beast of a projector, although surprisingly light for its size. Designed to allow real flexibility in mounting with modes for Front/Rear and Roof/Stand mounting, this is near the top of the line in Epson’s projector range and it shows.

 

Build quality is really good with nice features like a powered lens cover which clunks satisfyingly open on warm up. Another advantage this model has over its cheaper siblings is two dials on top  to allow manual lens-shifting. These physically move the lens and, although I would have liked a little more range of movement made setting up the image a breeze. Adjustable feet at the front mean you should be able to get pretty perfect alignment and hopefully be able to avoid using the keystone adjustment. The built in keystone adjustment works well but appears to lose some resolution and with an image as good as this projector gives you don’t want to lose any resolution. This projector uses 3LCD technology and claims a  2,400 lumens White output with a 200,000:1 contrast ration. I was unable to test these figures but with Epson Super-White mode switched on (buried deep in the advanced mode of the menu),  the whites certainly zinged and the blacks, well were black.

The calibration options are plentiful, you can even pay to have it professionally ISF calibrated as it is ISF certified, but even  the out of the box experience seemed really good with both natural and movie modes giving a very nice colour balance.  The Living Room mode gave extra brightness when used in a daylight environment.

In my preferred movie mode, the black levels were nothing short of remarkable. The contrast  can be enhanced further using the Epson’s Auto-Iris feature. This automatically adjusts the iris based on the content being played. I have to say I found the noise of this feature in practice a little disturbing, and the contrast without it was more than good enough, so I turned it off to avoid the whirring. This is a full 1080p projector and it shows. Once focussed, a fiddly job due to the manual Zoom and Focus rings – I would have preferred some motor control – the image was remarkably crisp. It was quite something to view a nearly 80ft Windows screen in all its glory. I don’t usually like any form of digital signal processing for video but the Super-White mode was definitely worthwhile, as was something Epson calls super-resolution which although I’m not totally sure what it is doing seemed to improve the definition  and I found seemed to work really well on a setting of 2. I certainly did not bother with Frame Interpolation but I do accept that some people do like this technologies ability to smooth out fast moving action by creating frames in between the ones in the source material. I’m not picking on Epson here as I personally find this mode to artificial on all platforms I have seen it on, but if you do like it then the Epson seems to do it  well.

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Connecting up the projector is a breeze with component, PC, two HDMI’s and with this model Wireless HDMI connection. I really liked this latter. Basically the Projector has a built in receiver and in the box there is a Wireless HDMI transmitter which you can connect to any HDMI source. It is worth reading the Wireless HDMI guide to get the best connection. I had an issue at first where small text on my display would appear to pulse but I managed to solve this issue by moving the Wireless HDMI transmitter away from the HTPC. I also found the transmitter worked best from in front of the projector but this is probably the natural position for it where the source device is likely to be in front of you with the projection coming from behind. Once set up  properly the Wireless HDMI source was every bit as good as the physical HDMI connection and even able to support 3D transmission. I did have a couple of issues where the signal dropped out when changing resolution  and the only way to reconnect was to power off/on the transmitter but in the main the convenience of this connection was a real winner. Although whether it is worth the extra cost of this model will depend on your setup – if you have already wired in a long HDMI cable then you have the option of going for the slightly (approx. £300) cheaper EH-TW9000 model without Wireless HDMI but with all of the other features.

Watching HD material on this projector was a great experience and was surprisingly good even in daylight. The projector is plenty bright enough for most domestic viewing situations and the aforementioned fabulous black levels certainly make watching  cinema aspect movies pleasurable with the cropping bars top and bottom just disappearing. I even had a very good experience projecting the image on to a light-coloured wall  but obviously a proper screen is recommended. For the real home cinema enthusiast the Epson does provide a trigger output to lower a projection screen when switched on.

One area where projectors have been improving is in their portrayal of 3D material and the Epson is no exception. In the box are two infra-red controlled shutter based 3D glasses which whilst a bit chunky were quite comfortable to wear. The synchronising transmitter  is built into the projector although their is an option for an external transmitter if your set up would block the internal transmission. I said the Epson was no exception in 3D except that it is. Put simply this is the best 3D I have ever seen in a Home environment.  Both depth (behind the screen) 3D and in your face (out of screen) 3D was really good and I found myself watching hours of 3D BluRay without eye-strain. What I particularly noticed was the lack of cross-imaging between eyes and the precision of the image alignment with out of screen material. I have a test 3D video of an elephant’s trunk coming out of the screen  and on all other domestic 3D platforms I have tried the tip of the trunk appears to split in two as it reaches out – not so the Epson. On the Epson the trunk appeared to be just that  a trunk emerging from the screen. Excellent stuff. I wasn’t quite so enamoured with the built in 2D to 3D upscaling which I didn’t feel was anywhere near as good as that, say, produced in Cyberlink software.

Having said that one area where upscaling did work well was in 2D with standard definition material. Playing some streamed material in standard definition from Sky Go looked surprisingly good on the big screen (I did have to switch the HTPC to a standard definition resolution to trigger the upscaling but this was only to be expected as otherwise the projector would assume it had an HD source).

Controls are pretty clear with the, well spaced and backlit, remote combining well with the onscreen menu. I didn’t like the positioning of the default and Esc keys on the remote, as I kept hitting the former instead of the latter. The Esc key is to the right of the Menu button and I felt it would be more natural on the left. I also question the use of Esc, which seems to show Epson’s computing routes, surely Back would be better for most users to understand. The remote does have transport controls which can be used if your source device supports HDMI Link (CEC) – a nice touch.

One thing to note is the projector does not have any form of audio pass-through from HDMI so you will need to have it at the end of your HDMI path.

One thing that always concerns me with Projectors is noise. The fans used to keep the lenses cool can be pretty loud. I’m pleased to say running in Eco Mode the Epson was hardly audible. It does generate a fair degree of heat so wouldn’t be pleasant in a confined space on a hot day but to be fair it is not designed for confined spaces.

Current street price for this projector seems to be around £2,900 with replacement lamps at £227.10 on Epson’s site – so not a cheap option but you get what you pay for.

As you can probably tell I really liked this projector. It is a high-end bit of kit suitable for a consumer environment with great performance in all areas that truly matter. It produces fabulous and very watchable images even in a sunlit room (although better in a darkened one) and is simply phenomenal when it comes to 3D material. Well worth a look if you are in the market.

 

The Digital Lifestyle.com

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

Specifications from Epson’s Web Site

What’s In The Box

Power cable, Remote control, Wireless HD emitter, HDMI cable clamp, 3D active shutter glasses x 2, Batteries (2 x AA), User manual set

Technology

Projection System
RGB liquid crystal shutter projection system

LCD Panel
0.74 inch {1.87 cm} wide panel with MLA (D8, C2 Fine, 12 bit, OD)

Image

Colour Light Output
2, 400lm

White Light Output
2, 400lm

Resolution
1080p (1920 x 1080)

High Definition
Full HD 3D

Native Format
16:9

Contrast Ratio
200 000:1

Lamp Hours
Eco: 5, 000 hours

Lamp Type
230W UHE (E-TORL)

Keystone Correction
Vertical: ± 30 degrees

Colour Reproduction
Full-colour (1073.74 million colours )

Colour Video Processing
Full 10bit (Partial 12bit)

2D/3D Frequency
240Hz / 480Hz

Cinema Filter
Yes

Frame Interpolation

Super Resolution Function

Optical

Throw Ratio
1.34 – 2.87:1

Zoom
2, 1x

Projection Lens Zoom Ratio
1 – 2, 1:1

Lens
Optical

Lens Shift
V / H

Lens Shift Vertical and Horizontal
± 96, 3% / ± 47, 1%

Screen Size
30 – 300 inches {76.2cm to 762cm}

Projection Distance
100 inches {254cm} screen: 2.98 – 6.36m

Projection Lens F Number
2.0 – 3.17

Projection Lens Focal Length
22.5mm – 47.2mm

Connectivity

Input Video
1 x RCA (Yellow)

Video Component
1 x Component (D-sub 15-pin)

Input Computer
1 x D-sub 15-pin (RGB)

Input: Digital
2 x HDMI

Input Audio
2 x RCA (Red / White), 1 x HDMI (NOTE OUR REVIEW MODEL DID NOT HAVE THIS)

Input HDMI
2 x HDMI (3D and CEC)

Input: Control
1 x RS-232C (D-sub 9-pin), trigger out

Wireless Connection
Yes

Wireless 3D HD Function
Yes

Output Computer
1 x D-sub 15-pin (RGB)

Advanced Features

ISF Function
Yes

AV Mute Slide
Yes

Direct Power On/Off
Yes

Lens Protection
Slide lens shutter (Powered)

2D Colour Modes
Dynamic, Living room, Natural, Cinema

3D Colour Modes
3D Dynamic, 3D Cinema

3D Active Shutter Glasses
2 pairs

Other features
2D to 3D conversion, ISF calibration menu

General

Power Consumption Lamp On
342W / 252W

Power Consumption Stand By
0.35W

Dimensions W x D x H
466 x 140 x 395mm

Weight
Approx. 18.0lbs. / 8.15 kg

Noise Level
Eco: 22dB

Operating Temperature
5°C to 35°C {41°F to 95°F}

Operating Altitude
0m to 2, 286m {0ft to 7, 500ft}

Options
3D glasses ELPGS01, External 3D IR Emitter ELPIE01, MB22 Ceiling mount

Lamp Warranty
3 Years

Projector Warranty
2 Years

Footnotes

*1 As of September 2011
*2 Wireless HD function is available across the 27 members of the EU in addition to Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Subject to change. For more information, please visit www.epson-europe.com

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