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The other area where the TW5500 delivers a truly significant improvement over the TW5800 is black level response. This comes as a surprise given that the TW5800 itself set new black level standards for the LCD projection market. But honestly, the really quite revolutionary double iris arrangement takes things to a whole new level, producing black levels so rich and deep that they even give JVC's D-ILA models a run for their money. And you can't say fairer than that.
With the dynamic iris system engaged, it would be scientifically impossible for Epson to produce such dazzling black levels on the TW5500 without some loss of brightness and, thus, a little bit of black 'crush'. But while this may still give JVC's upcoming - and more expensive - new D-ILA models an edge when it comes to portraying dark scenes, the amount of dynamism and even greyscale/shadow detail information retained by the TW5500, despite the depth of its blacks, is actually still extremely impressive.
The improvements wrought to the TW5500's optical engine in pursuit of better black levels - as well as an improved Cinema Filter - seem to have boosted its colour reproduction, too. Colours look richer, more expressive and even more natural than they did on the TW5800, ensuring that films and games alike look so solid, rich and real that you feel like you could just step right into the fictional worlds being shown.
Facial close-ups, in particular, prove just how much effort has gone into fine-tuning the TW5500's colour palette - as well as highlighting how subtle the projector is when it comes to portraying colour blends and tonal shifts.
Another thing I personally love about the TW5500 is the way it doesn't try to shoe-horn you into watching colours - or other aspects of the image, come to that - the way that other people think you should watch them. For while the projector obviously caters - extremely well - for the usual industry colour standards, reflected in some of the best-calibrated preset modes around, it also bravely offers presets which clearly emphasise, for instance, intense colour saturations or warm colour temperatures over absolute colour accuracy - just in case any of its customers prefer that. And for me, providing the flexibility to cater for the potentially diverse personal tastes of paying punters is far more important than merely slavishly obsessing over 'industry standards'.
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