It is no secret that I am a big fan of projectors, eschewing a giant television screen bolted to the wall in favour of a beige box strapped to the ceiling at the sweet spot to cause maximum cranial damage to an unwary viewer.
The problem with my approach is two-fold. Firstly, there is the unsightly box hanging from the ceiling like a Sword of Damocles over anyone occupying the viewing sofa, and secondly there is the problem of throw. To get a really big image, you need to set the projector back some distance from the wall, which can end up becoming a logistical challenge once cables need to be considered. And that is before you consider just how small rooms tend to be in an average UK home.
With the LS100, Epson reckon they have cracked these issues, with a device that can throw a 130 inch image onto a wall against which the projector can be placed (as close as 5cm to the wall). This is achieved through the use of laser technology rather than the usual lamp. This is great news since it means the projector should last for 20,000 hours at its highest brightness before needing a service – equating to around 4 hours per day for over 10 years. And the good news doesn’t end there – the laser should project a clear and bright image onto a suitable wall or screen even in daylight thanks to a claimed 4,000 lumens of brightness with a 2,500,000:1 contrast ratio giving rich blacks. Epson’s 3LCD technology also means the rainbow effect associated with colour wheels is also absent, which is a blessed relief to those afflicted by migraines.
However, there is some bad news in the mix, which is that this projector will only run to HD. This means that the 4K content coming online from the likes of Netflix or that recently announced by Apple will be downscaled to HD and the glory of Xbox One X 4K gaming will be something that happens to other people with other projectors. However, with the LS100 coming in at under £2500 with a 5 year warranty, it would be churlish to complain too much. Certainly, tracking down an equivalent 4K projector that marries the convenience of the LS100’s ultra short throw abilities and the 4,000 lumens brightness would stretch the wallet of even the most determined home entertainment enthusiast.
I’m looking forward to seeing where Epson go next with this technology.