With so many high-level adjustments tucked within its onscreen menus, though, we were rather disappointed to find the Epson TW6000W lacking what we consider one of the most important set up tools for any projector: vertical image shifting. Being able to shift a projector’s image up and down optically is hugely important to many living room set ups, since it prevents people from having to use keystone correction.
Keystone correction, if you’re not familiar with it, manipulates the shape of the image so that its edges appear straight rather than trapezoidal as will otherwise happen if your projector’s image is hitting your screen at an angle. And obviously such image reshaping is hugely problematic from an AV enthusiast’s point of view, since it essentially means the image is no longer being shown with ‘pixel for pixel’ accuracy.
Epson provides two types of keystone adjustment on the TW6000W: a lens-based one achieved via a slider on the projector, and digital keystone contained within the onscreen menus. But our fervent desire to avoid both led to all kinds of tricky shenanigans trying to get the projector positioned in exactly the right place in our test room to produce the right-sized image without having to use keystone correction.
At the risk of labouring the point here, while we could comfortably accept not having keystone on a projector costing £1000 or less, it seems a rather tough omission to take for £1600. Even on a projector that gives you active 3D playback.
Moving on from our keystone obsession, first impressions of the Epson TW6000W’s 2D pictures aren’t especially positive, surprisingly. The main problem is that the projector’s black level response isn’t particularly good, so that dark scenes appear with a quite noticeable blue/grey tinge to them thanks to the projector’s inability to render a really convincing black colour. This is true, moreover, even if you use the Eco lamp setting, the Cinema preset, set auto iris to Normal, and reduce the brightness level.
In fact, reducing the brightness quickly results in some pretty serious crushing out of shadow detail, illustrating all too clearly that the TW6000W’s black level issues are fairly fundamental to its optical arrangement rather than being something you can fix through calibration.
The black level issues have a knock-on effect, moreover, with the TW6000W’s colours. Try as we might, we weren’t able to achieve the same levels of consistency and tonal accuracy you can get from the Epson TW9000W, with reds tending to look a touch muted, skin tones tending to look a touch yellow, and very dark colours tending to look slightly blue. All are problems associated with projectors that struggle to provide the key foundation of a great black level response.
This being an Epson projector, the TW6000W’s 2D pictures certainly have some significant strengths, too. First, they look exceptionally sharp and detailed with HD footage, even handling grain in the best Blu-rays with a level of accuracy and naturalism that’s very rare on a sub-£2k projector.