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Epson EMP-TW2000 LCD Projector - Epson EMP-TW2000
It's a relief to notice within seconds of starting to watch the TW2000 strut its stuff that its black levels are hugely improved over those of the TW1000. After shooting out all the lights in an already dark interior while playing - appropriately enough - The Darkness on the Xbox 360, I was really pleased by how little of LCD's common grey clouding I was left to peer through. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the TW2000 delivers one of the deepest black levels I've ever seen from an LCD projector.
It's also a success with its colour tones, which are impressively natural when showing low-lit skin during an HD run-through of Heroes on BBC HD, and also strikingly vibrant during a sun-lit external shot, such as the one where Heroes' Hiro character first meets Takezo Kenzei in 17th Century Japan.
More good news comes from the lack of noise in the picture when watching high definition sources. The only noise to be seen in the Heroes HD TV show and The Day After Tomorrow on Blu-ray is noise that's there in the source. The TW2000 adds absolutely none of its own.
For much of the time the TW2000's HD pictures look very sharp and detailed, too, thanks in no small part to the full HD pixel count of the LCD panels. This fact further enhances the projector's colour talents, as the greater pixel density enables colour blends to look finer and smoother. It's also worth adding that the lack of banding in colour blends owes a further debt of gratitude to the TW2000's 10-bit video processing, with its greater colour range potential.
While the TW2000's strengths are enough to make it a very good projector, it has got enough flaws to stop it being a great one.
For starters, although black levels are deep by LCD standards, there are rival models at the same sort of price which can go deeper still. I'm thinking of one or two DLP models, and JVC's remarkable DLA-HD1 LCD projector.
Staying on the subject of black level, dark scenes don't seem to have quite the same amount of visible background detailing as I've seen with the best £3k rivals, suggesting that the projector's black level response is a touch ‘forced'.
Furthermore, horizontal movements tends to look a touch blurred no matter what motion compensation setting you use, and every now and then I felt as if the image softened up a little, for no particular reason.
Finally, I found the projector's standard definition presentation to be a touch rough and ready, suggesting that the onboard DNX image processing from Pixelworks isn't being used as effectively as it is by some rival projectors.
Had it been a little cheaper we might have been able to really love the TW2000. For there's no doubt that it's comfortably Epson's finest projector to date, and a good projector by any brand's standards. But at just under £3k it finds itself up against the likes of the InFocus IN82 and, especially, the JVC DLA-HD1. And in that company it feels just a little bit outgunned. That said, prices do fall rapidly on the web so keep an eye out.