There has been a great deal of progress in the home theatre projector market this year, providing consumers with excellent hardware options, at significantly lower prices. Epson's EMP-TW600 Dreamio projector is an example of this, with high definition inputs (HDMI and component), a high contrast ratio and a low-power, high intensity lamp. We have seen these features slowly become standard, and hopefully this will continue.
- HDMI input, high brightness, low noise operation, extensive colour and image configuration options.
- Fast action images showed some lag effect, bright colours seemed washed out.
Priced to compete, the Epson EMP-TW600 is a welcome addition to the high definition, home theatre projector market.
Price$ 2,999.00 (AUD)
The EMP-TW600's design is similar to that of the Epson EMP-TW500 , with a slick Ipod-white finish and heat exhaust located at the front of the unit. One great feature common to most Epson projectors is the E-TORL lamp. This lamp is capable of delivering high lumen output whilst keeping heat to a minimum. The operational noise of the projector is quite low, at 26dB, and this is due to the low amount of heat generated from the unit. Placing the exhaust at the front of the unit makes it ideal to position this projector on a bookshelf or wall unit at the back of the room.
When setting up the projector we used the HDMI port to ensure the highest quality throughput image. HDMI is the highest bandwidth input for video signals and is a great feature to look for if you plan on future proofing your purchase. Alongside the HDMI input, there is also a component input (Y-Pb-Pr), S-Video, composite and VGA input. Users will notice the lack of audio input, as there is no onboard speaker. Epson has marketed this projector as a high definition home theatre projector, and as such it is intended for use with a home theatre audio system. After selecting the input source and firing up the projector, we noticed the ability to shift the image, both manually and digitally. This is an invaluable option if you intend on positioning the projector off-axis to the projection. Being able to shift the image allows the projection to appear un-skewed without using the digital keystone correction.
Many other image configuration options can be accessed through the menu system, in fact, the EMP-TW600 has the greatest amount of image configuration options we have seen in home theatre projectors. Most of the major image adjustment functions have their own button on the remote, including source selection, keystoning, zoom selection, aspect ratio and colour adjustment. Accessing the extended functions through the menu system reveals features such as digital image shift, colour balance, gamma control, lamp modes and more. We feel this might be too much control for the average home theatre user, although even if it is not used by the majority of consumers, it will allow more advanced home theatre buffs to get into the nitty-gritty settings.
The projected image itself was quite impressive, showing a high contrast ratio (specified to be 5000:1) and bright projected image. We projected in several lighting conditions, and the projection was clear and defined in all but the brightest of ambient lighting. Colour levels also seemed very accurate with skin tones and similar coloured gradients being rendered brilliantly. There did seem to be some image processing problems, with fast motion exhibiting some lag. This could distract viewers with sensitive eyes when watching action flicks, although for majority of audiences this will go unnoticed.
There are only a few projectors which provide the same functionality and price point, an example being Panasonic's PT-AE700E although this does come with a higher RRP. We enjoyed using Epson's EMP-TW600 home theatre projector, and we are sure many consumers will also find benefit in its performance and price
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