Epson 8700UB LCD Projector First Look

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
We've reviewed most of Epson's latest projectors and the 8700UB grabbed our attention for several reasons. First off, it can be had for a mere $2199 - bringing most of the features of its Professional big sister to a more affordable consumer level. In fact, aside from a very small amount of features, extra lamp, and an admittedly mediocre mount, the 8700UB is the spitting image of the 9700UB that represents the top of the Epson LCD line. The 8700UB features 3LCD technology with Epson's C2Fine D7 chipset and UltraBlack technology. The projector aims to please by providing some of the deepest blacks yet seen in LCD front projection systems. The delivered contrast is stated at up to 200,000:1. It also delivers sharp, detailed images with Epson’s latest Super-resolution technology, real color reproduction and frame interpolation. And with new pre-set color space selection and a new anamorphic lens mode for 2.35:1 viewing without an external processor, the Home Cinema 8700 UB really offers a cinematic experience in the home.


Discuss "Epson 8700UB LCD Projector First Look" here. Read the article.
 
A

Alain Singapore

Enthusiast
it means that you no longer have to buy a separate lens system in order to enjoy full-pixel implementation of 2.35:1 content on your projector.
You still need to get an external lens if you use the internal scaller otherwise your picture will only get sterteched vertically, removing the black bar in the process, but it will never fill the full width of a 2.35 ratio screen on its own.

If you do not want to buy a lens then your only choice is to use zoom. This does not require any scaler, internal or otherwise, just a zoom lens with a range greater than 1.33X.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
Since it comes with a free spare lamp, this really makes this projector a deal buster for those looking for a top shelf product for not a lot of coin. The new JVC HD250 is in a price range which is scary close to the new Epson and the Panasonic AE4000, so this is going to make things interesting this year as they are put head-to-head.

More interesting since Panasonic may pass by this year on introducing a new projector model in the 1080p class.

Sanyo hasn't learned from prior years, and still has a somewhat dim and limited feature set for their home theater projector... They've been a bit out of the running for a while now.

Epson or Panasonic or JVC... A hard decision that really is hard to go wrong with.
 
A

audiofox

Full Audioholic
Since it comes with a free spare lamp, this really makes this projector a deal buster for those looking for a top shelf product for not a lot of coin. The new JVC HD250 is in a price range which is scary close to the new Epson and the Panasonic AE4000, so this is going to make things interesting this year as they are put head-to-head.

More interesting since Panasonic may pass by this year on introducing a new projector model in the 1080p class.

Sanyo hasn't learned from prior years, and still has a somewhat dim and limited feature set for their home theater projector... They've been a bit out of the running for a while now.

Epson or Panasonic or JVC... A hard decision that really is hard to go wrong with.
Well said-I went through this exact trade not more than a couple of weeks ago and selected the JVC DLA-HD250 to replace my Panny PT-AE900U-it cost a bit more than the other two, but it had (allegedly) better real world brightness performance and equivalent black level performance without the need of a dynamic iris. So far, my decision has been a sound one-the performance is spectacular and has met or exceeded all my expectations. Having said that, the other two contenders are VERY worthy of one's consideration, and the performance comparison makes for a very difficult decision-let the mid-range projector wars begin.
 
C

Copper

Audiophyte
Anamorphic Lens

In Audioholics 'First Look', by Clint DeBoer, of the Epson 8700UB ($2,199) you talk about it having..."a new anamorphic lens mode enables 2.35:1 anamorphic viewing without an external processor."

Yet on Epson's web site the product specifications (4pg pdf) state that the anamorphic lens is an option:

(page 1 of 4) "Use the projector’s anamorphic (stretch) mode to display 2.40:1 cinemascope content* in its original format."
(page 4 of 4 on bottom) in fine print on Epson's Product Specs it states:
*Requires optional anamorphic lens.

:confused:

Thanks!
Copper
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
In Audioholics 'First Look', by Clint DeBoer, of the Epson 8700UB ($2,199) you talk about it having..."a new anamorphic lens mode enables 2.35:1 anamorphic viewing without an external processor."

Yet on Epson's web site the product specifications (4pg pdf) state that the anamorphic lens is an option:

(page 1 of 4) "Use the projector’s anamorphic (stretch) mode to display 2.40:1 cinemascope content* in its original format."
(page 4 of 4 on bottom) in fine print on Epson's Product Specs it states:
*Requires optional anamorphic lens.

:confused:

Thanks!
Copper
Copper - WITHOUT AN EXTERNAL PROCESSOR!

It does not say without an anamorphic lens.

If you want to use an anamorphic lens for a 2.35:1 constant image height setup for maximum quality, you will need to perform a vertical stretch to the image before sending it through the lens.

On the older 8500UB, this feature was not built into the projector.

On the new 8700UB, this vertical stretch IS built into the projector.

It does not alleviate the requirement for an anamorphic lens, which will typically cost more than the projector itself if you want best results.
 
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K

kiwiaudionut

Audioholic
Well said-I went through this exact trade not more than a couple of weeks ago and selected the JVC DLA-HD250 to replace my Panny PT-AE900U-it cost a bit more than the other two, but it had (allegedly) better real world brightness performance and equivalent black level performance without the need of a dynamic iris. So far, my decision has been a sound one-the performance is spectacular and has met or exceeded all my expectations. Having said that, the other two contenders are VERY worthy of one's consideration, and the performance comparison makes for a very difficult decision-let the mid-range projector wars begin.
Let the midrange wars begin exactly. If anyone sees these three tested in a shootout, i would love to hear about it
 
K

kiwiaudionut

Audioholic
noisy auto iris

My only complaint about this otherwise wonderful PJ is the noisy function of the auto iris. To quote a recent reviewer, it sounds like a "gurgling coffee pot". (I just love that line!)
Hopefully Epson will do something about it, or i'm going to have to crank up the sound - admittedly not a problem :D
 
J

jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
My only complaint about this otherwise wonderful PJ is the noisy function of the auto iris. To quote a recent reviewer, it sounds like a "gurgling coffee pot". (I just love that line!)
Hopefully Epson will do something about it, or i'm going to have to crank up the sound - admittedly not a problem :D
Is the DI defeatable as on many PJs, and if so, how much do you suffer in PQ when it's defeated? I'm sure it will suffer at least some, but the less light controlled your room is, maybe the easier the compromise will be to swallow. After all, the sound you will hear no matter what the light control.
 
K

kiwiaudionut

Audioholic
If "DI" is the auto iris, then yes it can be turned off, but it is responsible for the amazing inky blacks this PJ produces. It is so good, the black bars are barely discernable. I'd prefer to live with the noise than turn it off !
 
K

kiwiaudionut

Audioholic
Epson said they would send me a replacement, which they did, overnight, and the replacement does not have a noisy iris - all good right !
Except they sent me a refurbished unit ! Apparently that is their procedure, but I paid for a new one and have never bought a refurbed anything before.

Not sure what I think of this :(
 
goodman

goodman

Full Audioholic
You've made a good point. On the other hand, if you had sent Epson your old PJ, and they repaired it and returned it to you, you would have a refurbished projector.
 
K

kiwiaudionut

Audioholic
Very True ! Guess I didn't look at that way. Hmmmmmm - Okay, I'm good with it !
I have Approx. 20 viewing hrs into the replacement unit and I have not heard a peep out of the auto iris. Yes, I have checked that it is on, and set to high speed.
Epson stated "perhaps 1 in 1000 will display this noisy iris issue".
I guess if i had known what i was hearing earlier, (within 30 days) I would have gotten a new replacement.

Hope this helps folks that are considering this PJ anyway !
 
R

Rob B

Audiophyte
I too am having a problem with my projector (Epson 8700UB) that I purchased in December 2010. Yesterday while switching from HDMI to component video, both the lamp and temp lights started flashing red. I followed the directions in the manual which state to turn the projector off in the rear, unplug the unit, and call Epson. The customer service rep was useless. He said since I had the projector more than 30 days, he cannot guarantee that I will receive a new unit. He said that I would most likely receive a replacement. I am in the process of contacting the store were I purchased the unit and will take my complaint higher in Epson if necessary. BTW, my projector has approximately 50 hours on it.
 
basspig

basspig

Full Audioholic
The thing that would make me jump from my current InFocus IN82 to something else would be a couple of things:

1. 2560x1080 anamorphic mode using a special imager with the extra pixels (no add on lens required)

2. Solid state lamp source with more than 2500 lumens (yeah, I like having 120FL on my screen, especially if the blacks are full black! Dynamic range, baby, dynamic range!

For now, I'm happy with my InFocus projector.
 
J

jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
2. Solid state lamp source with more than 2500 lumens (yeah, I like having 120FL on my screen, especially if the blacks are full black! Dynamic range, baby, dynamic range!
basspig, I'm surely missing something, but you can get 120 FL on your screen with 2500 lumens? (I mean, I wouldn't call your screen small!?) 2500 divided by, say, 50 sq ft = 50 FL?

Well, if one could achieve 120 FL, the first concern I have is how long it takes for the eyes to adjust back to dark! :) You see, when the sun is hot and high overhead, it takes a while for it to set, giving us plenty of time for our eyes to adjust. :D

In the HT, going from a bright day scene right into night, would I miss out on all the black detail? As it is, I already sometimes try to give myself a little bit of time for my eyes to adjust before a movie.

Wiki says that direct sunlight gives about 100,000 lumens per sq meter. When I translate that to sq ft, I get about um a tad shy of 9,300. Hahaha.
 
basspig

basspig

Full Audioholic
Right now, about 59FL, but 120 would be nice. 1,000 FL would be even nicer, if the contrast could maintain a true black. The issue is that real life has more than 14 f-stops of dynamic range. Good projection approaches 10 f-stops. LCD monitors top out at 6-7 f-stops. When the sun is shining into the camera lens on a Hawaian sunset scene, there's 100,000 lux hitting the camera. In a theater, you're doing really good if you have 1/100th of that much light. It's just not realistic.
I know this is impractical, but high fidelity theater should have a picture that approaches real lifelike conditions. We can approach that incrementally. More than 2500 lumens, of course! More like 10,000 lumens and a static contrast ratio of over 1,000,000:1 (black should be totally black).
When solid state sources reach that level of intensity, amazing things will start to happen on the projection front.
We're just starting to see projectors with native 2.35:1 capabilities (extra pixels in the horizontal dimension), thus eliminating the need for special lenses. When these start to become affordable, then we will reach projector heaven.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
I agree that we will see native 2.40 projectors in the next couple of years. I'm wondering if Texas Instruments is going to be a jerk about the pricing of these chips as they come to market and overcharge like crazy for them... It's been their practice for a while now.

Hopefully Epson will come out with a new LCD (or LCoS?) chip which is also native 2.40.

I'm not with you on the lumens thing. Our eyes need time to adjust from bright to dark and it can cause eyestrain and headaches to put to much light on screen. A theater is not the real world and I don't want to feel like I actually just turned the lights on crazy bright, then turn them back off again while using my projector. The only reason for more lumens is to compete with ambient light in the room, and at that point I've already lost my black levels so it hardly matters what the projectors does with black levels.

I'll stick with a dark theater area and 17 lumens per square foot.

What size screen do you have? It looks big, but I didn't read through everything to find a size. If it's 120" diagonal 16:9 image, then that's 43 square feet, and at best with the IN82 you may get just under 30 lumens sq/ft with the projector in the worst possible mode it can be in (dynamic, iris open, worst contrast, poor color reproduction). Still, very high. But, in standard mode, at medium image quality, it's more like 15 l/sf on the same size screen. At best quality, best contrast, it's more like 6 l/sf!!! That doesn't take into account lamp decay. All numbers are pulled from Projector Central's review of the IN82 projector. It is possible, if you have a light meter, that you are getting more out of it, but if you are just going by the numbers, and/or your screen is smaller than it appears, then it could be completely different.

The important thing, is that brightness can hurt the experience more than most people understand. The dark room is the key, the contrast of the projector is the next. Color reproduction comes in next. Absolute best projector I've seen is the JVC RS50 on a 106" diagonal screen. Completely floored me when I first turned it on with Blu-ray.
 
J

jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
BMX, what title were you watching on the RS50 by chance, on what screen, if you don't mind me asking?

Forget 17 FL, I think I'd be lucky if I could consistently grab 12 FL. Maybe I'm not even at double digit at this point. :(

I forget the measured gain of my screen, but I think it's just barely under unity gain (even though labeled something like 1.2, IIRC). At least it's dark in the HT. :)
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
Carada Criterion Brilliant White 106" screen and I watched a bit of Star Trek and some Tron. Star Trek is pure reference with their opening scene. Tron is weird because the colors are very unnatural throughout. But, to test the Epik subwoofer in conjuction with 8" 3-way in-wall speakers was definitely solid with Tron. Very jealous of that projector and the client who I installed it for. I've heard nothing but good things about JVC projectors I've sold to this point, though I've heard of a few bad apples being out there in the JVC bunch for some reason.
 

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