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Epson EH-TW4400 LCD Projector Review - Epson EH-TW4400 Review


In many ways, setting up the TW4400 is a joy. For instance, simple, immediately accessible and remarkably flexible horizontal and vertical image shift wheels should be able to help anyone get the picture perfectly located on their screen without any need for the image-distorting nastiness known as keystone correction. Nor should you need to faff about with lowering or raising the legs on the projector’s underside.

The zoom and focus lenses are simplicity itself too, and the onscreen menu system is well-presented and logical to navigate. The remote control is quite effective, too, thanks to its combination of a bright backlight, comfortable size, and sensibly limited number of buttons.

The only complaint I’d have with the ‘physical’ side of the TW4400’s set up and operation is that the optical shift wheels are a little imprecise – especially once you start getting towards the extremes of their operational range.

The TW4400 does cause a little consternation when it comes to fine-tuning its pictures, though. For a start, it doesn’t have the TW5500’s Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) calibration support. More troubling, though, was the difficulty I had getting a perfect balance between the projector’s contrast and brightness settings.

None of the presets quite seemed to deliver the right combination of ‘punch’ and shadow detail (though the Theatre Black 1 mode arguably gets the closest if you’re not into the whole picture calibration lark).

And it was only after more trial and error than I would ideally have liked that I settled on the most balanced picture. More on this in the picture quality section of the review.

My slight difficulties with getting a perfectly balanced picture seem surprising given that the TW4400 is actually well-equipped with fine-tuning features. These include various absolute colour temperature settings (including the 6500K one best suited to video playback); a skin tone tweaker; various gamma presets (including the key 2.2 setting); plus offset and gain adjustments for the red, green and blue picture elements, and hue, saturation and brightness tweaks for the red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow colour elements.

The TW4400 also goes big on noise reduction stuff, with separately adjustable standard NR, mosquito NR and Block NR options. Plus it’s out to see off judder thanks to a Frame Interpolation engine.

This judder reduction actually works quite nicely too, if you like that kind of thing, helping DVDs and TV sources look smoother without asking you to tolerate too much in the way of side effects – so long, at least, as you avoid the mode’s ‘high’ setting. Actually, I personally preferred the Low mode to even the mid-level Normal setting. If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention Blu-ray in the previous paragraph, it’s because the Frame Interpolation doesn’t actually work with 1080p/24 Blu-ray playback. Instead you get a 4-4 pulldown system, which again subtly improves motion fluidity without becoming over-obvious.

Many cinephiles will probably prefer not to have any motion processing engaged at all, of course. And if that sounds like you, fear not; even in its ‘naked’ form, the TW4400’s motion reproduction looks natural and seldom distracting.

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