Let's not beat around the bush here: Epson's EMP-TW2000 doesn't arrive on our test benches with the greatest of heritages. Its cheaper brother, the EMP-TW1000, promised much on paper when we reviewed it last October, but ended up delivering little but disappointment once we actually settled down to watch the thing. Black levels, in particular, were pretty dire by today's high standards.
So it's with a mixture of trepidation and hope that we approach the TW2000. Trepidation because we can't help but fear that it will suffer the same sort of problems as the TW1000, but hope because, well, things can only get better…
Indeed, things get off to a good start with the TW2000's build quality. It feels reassuringly solid, its design is attractively curvaceous and imaginative, and its polished finish looks great on a coffee table.
It's also unusually easy to set up. Two superbly simple wheels on the projector's top edge enable you to easily shift the image left and right or up and down optically, over a surprisingly flexible range. The projector can also adapt to an impressively wide range of image sizes thanks to its superb 2.1x optical zoom from the Fujinon lens, and there's even a handy test pattern to help you get the image's geometry correct.
The TW2000's onscreen menus are clearly presented too, and the remote control is excellent; comfortable to hold, well organised and easily illuminated by a single button that's left in acres of its own space at the bottom, minimising the chances of erroneous button presses in a darkened room.
It's worth adding here that although it's mostly easy to calibrate, the TW2000 does support tweaking by an engineer from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) if you'd rather have a professional sort everything out for you.
Turning our attention to the TW2000's connections, it's particularly gratifying to spot two HDMI inputs, especially as these are both built to the latest v1.3 specification and so enjoy compatibility with the extra colour range possible via the xvYCC picture format. They can take 1080p/24 feeds too, plus you get the inevitable component video input, D-Sub PC port, composite video and S-Video fallback options.
As you'd expect of an LCD projector costing the best part of three grand, the TW2000 is a full HD (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) affair. But that's certainly not the end of the impressive optical specification. For the three LCD panels at the projector's heart are Epson's own, well-regarded C2Fine efforts, and a combination of a dynamic iris system with proprietary Epson Cinema Filter and DeepBlack technologies helps these panels deliver a startlingly high claimed contrast ratio of 50,000:1.