Epson Home Cinema 8100 LCD Projector Review

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admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
The industry simply can't deliver brand new mind-blowing technological advances in projectors every year. This year, Epson is focusing on making strides in terms of value and bang-for-the-buck. Its Home Cinema 8100 projector has most of the features of the former Home Cinema 6500UB, but with a sticker price that is over $1000 less. It's also $2500 less than its THX certified big brother, the Pro Cinema 9500UB, yet it shares about 90% or more of the same technology. Indeed, 2010 may mark the year where consumers are spoiled on what to expect for their money. With excellent high lumen color reproduction and fantastic low level blacks, the 8100 is a steal at just under $1500.


Discuss "Epson Home Cinema 8100 LCD Projector Review" here. Read the article.
 
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davecraze

Audiophyte
It is unclear from the article which (if any) HQV processor resides in the Epson 8100. I suspect the answer is "none"

The text on page 2 (second paragraph) says it is the Realta, but the spec chart below it says "undisclosed." Also, above the spec chart there is some additional confusing text stating the "8100 scores somewhat lower with a more mainstream processor."

Admittedly, it is hard to find this info online.

If the 8100 does have HQV processing, I suspect it is the Reon (which is a stripped down version of the Realta also used in the 6500 and 8500) and not the Realta.
 
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davecraze

Audiophyte
OK.

If so, then there is still a disconnect with the second paragraph on page 2 where the article says it is the Realta and a disconnect with the spec chart on page 2 that says "Video: Undisclosed."

Also, the HQV test score for the 8100 in the spec chart on page 2 of 130 points doesn't match up with the 105 score on the Benchmarks page.

If it had the Reon, seems like it should score the same 130 perfect score that the 6500UB obtained.

None of Epson's website, the official product spec sheet, or any other review I have seen of the 8100 says it has an HQV video processor. If it does, Epson is doing a poor job of marketing the 8100 as this is a rather rare feature at its price point.
 
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curlyjive

Audiophyte
I own this projector and agree it is a great value!

In the review, it says:

"To begin with, the HDMI Range settings needs to be placed into "Expanded" mode in order to see Blacker than Black (below black) signals."

Are we talking expanded mode on player or is there a setting on the 8100 that I have missed? For example I have my PS3 to output YcbCr, superwhite on, RGB limited. Now that was for my isf'd DLP. Should I switch to RGB Full for the 8100?

Thanks for the info!
 
indulger

indulger

Audioholic
Sometimes I hear my wife in one ear and see the gapping hole in my wallet left by my purchases this past year... and I start to second guess myself. Then I read reviews like this and it just gives me warm and fuzzy all over again.:)

Thank you Audioholics.:D
 
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curlyjive

Audiophyte
Reporting back on the normal versus expanded settings:

There is something in this review I can't make sense of. The only picture modes where you can adjust the HDMI range are living room and dynamic. IF you are using one of these modes and change to expanded, then you can see BTB.

For any other mode, including the "best" mode (theater black 1) the HDMI range setting is grayed out and BTB is not passed.

For the heck of it I tried changing the PS3 settings from my default (YCbCr, RGB limited, SuperWhite on). I went through every variation of these while in theater black 1 using the spears and munsil contrast patter. In every case, except my default settings, whites would be so blown out that only the lowest 2 or 3 bars where barely visible.

So I am not sure what to make of the reviewers suggestion to change the HDMI Range setting to Expanded since it is grayed out in all modes except living room and dynamic.

Thoughts?
 
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curlyjive

Audiophyte
Nevermind I think I figured it out:

If superwhite is turned on in the 8100's menu, then the HDMI Range is grayed out. Turning it off allows you to set the range. I found my brightness to be the same as the review's at -10. But my contrast was -6, nowhere near the 12 in the review. Anything above +1 and I clipping was evident in a ramp pattern.

I'll have to do some comparisons with the new settings.
 
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jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
FWIW, you can't really rely on others' settings as so many things can differ, bulb life, size of screen, type of screen, throw/zoom, room conditions, unit to unit variation, etc. And as far as unit variation, a well known seller/calibrator/expert said that Epson had the greatest variation between units of all the major brands. However, that was said a couple of years ago, and I don't know how much they've improved that over the years. Still, you can't rely on others too much.

I've got three different calibration discs, including the Spears/Munsil, but I do remember that the DVE says that contrast and brightness are interrelated. That if you tweak one, you have to recheck the other. IIRC.

Here are some good directions from Stacey Spears at these boards, in case you haven't run across them yet:

http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showpost.php?p=700302&postcount=10
 
G

gotchaforce

Junior Audioholic
Lets get to the nitty gritty.. how woudl you guys at audioholics compare this to the viewsonic pro 8100??
 
C

curlyjive

Audiophyte
Thanks for the link. The Spears and Munsil website also has some great info as well if you haven't checked it out. Yes, contrast and brightness do affect one another. I know that units vary, especially due to their bulbs. I did find the difference between 12 and my -6 pretty big though. The kind of clipping I saw at +12 is more likely to be seen at a certain level regardless of bulb or other variables I believe. I thought maybe it was a typo and should have been -12. Especially since brightness was dead on at -10.

This review has been great though in that I finally can get BTB to pass. I never realized why the HDMI range was locked. I had been running in regular mode with brightness at -1 and contrast at -6. Turning off superwhite and changing to extended made the image brighter, hence the difference in brightness values before and after the change. Once adjusted, doing and A to B comparison I really can't see much difference. But I'd rather use settings that allow BTB to pass than not.

Anyone played with Gamma on the 8100? I have mine at 2.3 currently
 
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Jim Robbins

Audioholic
Hey all,

Just for reference, I see that this projector is on sale at Best Buy this week for $150 off the normal price. Actually, I think this is the second time in the last month or two that I have seen it on sale there. Seems like a very good entry into the projector world for the uninitiated or the outdated. Later!

Jim
 
just-some-guy

just-some-guy

Audioholic Field Marshall
Lets get to the nitty gritty.. how woudl you guys at audioholics compare this to the viewsonic pro 8100??
there is a guy that sold his epson in favor of the viewsonic.

but. the newer viewsonics have problems. i would not recommend them now.
 
mpompey

mpompey

Senior Audioholic
How does it do with video game material

I remember a while back the 6500 got some negative marks regarding lag in the display when using with video games. I'm about to pull the trigger on an 8100 but there are a couple of things I need to iron out.

1. I use my Xbox in my theatre alot, how does the 8100 do with material coming off of an xbox.

2. The article mentioned organic LCD panels. What is the difference between organic vs. inorganic? Is one preferable to the other?
 
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jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
1. I use my Xbox in my theatre alot, how does the 8100 do with material coming off of an xbox.
I have no idea, but many think that the ideal size for HT is sometimes too big for gaming. My brother has brought over his xbox, and it was pretty nuts.

2. The article mentioned organic LCD panels. What is the difference between organic vs. inorganic? Is one preferable to the other?
Organic can degrade, so therefore inorganic is desirable. Both can suffer from dust blobs eventually as the path is not sealed, as it is with DLP or LCOS.
 
mpompey

mpompey

Senior Audioholic
I have no idea, but many think that the ideal size for HT is sometimes too big for gaming. My brother has brought over his xbox, and it was pretty nuts.
How big of a screen are you running? Is pretty nuts a bad thing about quality or a comment about playing on a large screen? I'm currently running a 84" 16:9 DIY screen that I love. I've never had much of a bad issue about the screen being too big. I guess if I hada 120" maybe that might be a bit overkill but 84" sitting about 10.5' away feels good.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
How big of a screen are you running?
huge. You could put three of yours together, and it still wouldn't be as big in surface area as mine.

Is pretty nuts a bad thing about quality or a comment about playing on a large screen?
No, not necessarily, it depends on what games you're playing, and your own handling of it. For instance, over Thanksgiving weekend when my bro hooked it up, along with the entire Beatles rock band kit, it's just kind of too much to watch those frets/markers coming at you. OTOH, MW2, my brother, and other friends, were laughing diabolically. I had a bunch of people over the weekend, and there were at least a few that disappeared into the gaming void, never to be seen again . . . They felt like they were 8 year old kids in some arcade heaven, without having to pay anything for it either. So, I mean: nuts in multiple ways, both good and bad.

With 84", of course while absolutely dependent on how far you sit, I wouldn't be worried about it. But, I'm not a psycho gamer either with .00000001 sec trigger response time reflexes either. In fact, I don't even own a gaming machine.
 
mpompey

mpompey

Senior Audioholic
How big is your screen exactly? Did you encounter any issues with your 8100? Did you get the 8100 or the 8100 UB?
 
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jostenmeat

Audioholic Spartan
How big is your screen exactly? Did you encounter any issues with your 8100? Did you get the 8100 or the 8100 UB?
I never said I had an Epson, let alone 8100/UB. I don't want to go too off track in this thread based on the 8100 review; I only jumped in for a moment to lend my help towards a particular post. If you have more questions regarding my setup, please free to continue via PM. FWIW, my PJ is not always known to be exceptionally good with motion, but it's fine for me, and my guests. In fact, I'll send a PM now.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
Good review. I will continue to complain, with a smile, that I wish the reviews got into a bit more detail on some of the basics...

ie: What does the offset mean when it comes to a 100" diagonal screen? (I know this, but others may not)

What is the actual brightness of the projector and what environments is that amount of brightness, and at what screen size, is it usable?

How well will the remote work within a universal remote system? Sometimes the on/off is really tough to deliver with a single power button.

What models are comparible? The 6500UB is discontinued, so what is the real competition for this model and at what price point? Viewsonic 8100? Optoma HD20? BenQ W1000? Other?

Is there frame interpolation on this model? How does it perform if so?

Really, just a few questions that I think would be good to answer and help people with their buying decisions. This is one of the best reviews overall that I've read and I have no issues with the scoring/rating which I typically like to complain about. ;) I've not installed one yet, but will be doing so hopefully in the next month or so. The 8100, in my opinion, is one of the best super flexible install projectors available. The lamp life is better than average, and it has good brightness. Image processing could be better, but is not inappropriately poor either. Feed it a good source (Blu-ray, high quality upconversion) and you will get a good image.

A blurb on organic vs. inorganic panels is also necessary since most people are unaware that the inorganic LCD panels, as used on the big brother 8500UB and the old 6500UB are designed to last longer compared to the organic LCD panels which the 8100 uses.

I am a bit suprised that the 8100 is being compared so much to the 6500UB, when it is designed as the replacement for the 6100. In almost all regards it's an upgrade on the 6100, which was no slouch either, and comes in for less money there as well.

Good stuff on this review and people really should be putting this projector way up there if they can hit the price point for it. Epson has really been putting out some nice product in the past few years for the home theater market.
 

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