Only a few months ago the arrival of a 3D projector was a big deal. Now it’s almost commonplace, with the likes of Sim2, Panasonic, Sony, Optoma, Vivitek, and Sharp all whisking 3D projectors to us in recent times.
There has been one key brand conspicuously absent from the 3D projection list, though: Epson. The Japanese brand announced a range of 3D projectors at the IFA show in Berlin in September, and promised they’d hit our shores in November. But in what’s become typical Epson fashion, this deadline came and went, and it was starting to look as if Epson’s 3D models wouldn’t make a 2011 launch at all.
Just as we were about to down tools for the festive season, though, we finally received an Epson TW9000W. So over the Christmas break, while we quaffed and scoffed we set to watching a few movies on this new flagship 3D model.
The first thing to say about the TW9000W is that it’s a really nice looking bit of kit. It boldy blends a textured white finish with black grilles and lens mounting that sit right across its front. Its sculpting is pleasant too, with curves on the corners and a pleasing sense of symmetry thanks to the centrally mounted lens.
It’s also a very large unit for something which, at £2,649.60, sits at the relatively affordable end of the market (though obviously the ballpark has shifted in this respect since the launch of the £1,249 Optoma ThemeScene HD33). This size is actually only to be expected with a ‘serious’ 3D projector, given the need for such projectors to produce more brightness while also keeping a lid on running noise.
The TW9000W delivers a claimed maximum brightness output of 2,400 lumens - a figure which is 20% higher than the figure quoted for the Panasonic AT5000E, and nearly double the figure quoted for Sony’s HW30ES. Despite the fact that both these rival 3D projectors cost more than the TW9000W.
Its striking max brightness figure isn’t the only number game the TW9000W plays unexpectedly well, either. For despite its extreme brightness it also claims a mighty contrast ratio of 200,000:1.
Furthermore, to boost its 3D credentials it manages a 480Hz drive rate for 3D playback, to tackle the thorny problem of crosstalk ghosting. This high drive rate is a potentially very important feature, especially considering that LCD has, to date, struggled more with crosstalk noise than the faster-responding DLP technology.
Further underlining the seriousness with which the TW9000W takes its 3D duties is the fact that it ships with two pairs of active shutter glasses free. We were also pleased to find the projector supporting two different 3D colour modes.
We thought for a minute, too, that the TW9000W’s 3D pictures might benefit from its provision of a frame interpolation system. However, as with most 3D displays, the frame interpolation processing is actually deactivated for 3D playback - presumably because of the heavy-duty processing power required. Obviously, though, we’ll be looking later at how the TW9000W’s frame interpolation system works with 2D. Please note, too, that the frame interpolation system isn’t found in any other model in Epson’s new 3D range bar the TW9000.
And no, we didn’t put the wrong model number there by mistake. For Epson really does have both a TW9000W and a TW9000, the differences being that the TW9000W is white and ships with a WirelessHD transmission system while the TW9000 is black and doesn’t support wireless video transmission.