PowerLite Pro Cinema 1080 Projector Anderson SC
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Johns Island, SC
PowerLite Pro Cinema 1080 Projector
November 1, 2007 By David Birch-Jones
Epson is known for printers and PowerPoint-oriented projectors, but its new PowerLite Pro Cinema 1080 projector is specifically tailored to the custom home theater installation channel. The company included several thoughtful (and proprietary) design touches, such as an unusual lamp said to provide more uniform light with less stray "splatter." A ceiling mount and a spare bulb are included, and the projector features horizontal and vertical lens shift for greater installation flexibility. The projector offers the Imaging Science Foundation 's suite of calibration adjustments and password-protected Day and Night settings. It's fully compatible with the latest HD DVD and Blu-ray high-definition disc players, because it's equipped with an HDMI 1.3 digital video input, and xvYCC and Deep Color capabilities.
One look at the backlit remote control convinces me Epson has done its homework. It's equipped with separate power on and off buttons (de rigueur for integration with deluxe control systems and all-in-one system remotes). It also includes discrete input selector buttons so you can go straight to an input without having to scroll past others—another important feature for automated systems.
Setup is straightforward, and the ISF's contribution is evident, with clear menu screens and adjustment windows that stay on screen for as long as is necessary (how I do hate fiddling with controls only to have the adjustment menu disappear within a few seconds). While the horizontal and vertical lens shift adjustments are manual, rather than motorized, and a tad more coarse in adjustment precision than I would like, I'm still able to get everything optically adjusted and squared in a relatively short time.
After fine-tuning the basic picture controls, I run a preliminary set of measurements with the color analyzer to evaluate the out-of-the-box performance, and find a gray scale that is very close to the 6,500 degrees Kelvin ideal at the brightest white end of the range. In the darker parts of the picture, though, it drops to a decidedly reddish 5,000 degrees. Fortunately, I'm easily able to adjust the gray scale to a much more consistent result—an excellent outcome, although I do end up with a slight blue tinge in the dark grays.
With high-definition material, the Pro Cinema 1080 delivers sharp and stable results with 1080i and 1080p program material as well as test patterns. I'm pleased to note that the Epson easily handles a single-pixel 1080p torture test pattern, providing alternating black and white pixels with nary a hint of ringing or smearing. This is one 1080p product that truly delivers full 1920 by 1080 resolution. It does a superb job at upconverting 1080-line interlaced high-definition sources, and is relatively quick at detecting film-originated material and locking into the 3:2 pulldown sequencing.
With standard-definition sources, I find the same quick film-to-video cadence detection...