Epson EH-TW570 – Picture Quality
A number of aspects of the TW570’s specification sheet and feature list had us feeling as if the TW570 might be more a repurposed data projector than a true ‘from the ground up’ home entertainment machine. And sadly these suspicions are born out by the TW570’s largely unsatisfying picture quality.
The most fundamental problem in a nutshell is that it just doesn’t deliver enough contrast/black-level depth to really warrant being called a home entertainment projector. Watch any dark movie scene or play any dark game scene and you’re painfully aware of a starkly grey, milky look to parts of the picture that should be black. This ‘mist’ hides shadow detail, distorts colour response and basically just makes dark scenes look unconvincing and unimmersive. It also means dark scenes look out of kilter with the more satisfying look the TW570 gives to bright scenes, making a full movie experience feel inconsistent.
Nothing we could do with the TW570’s settings really improved the poor black-level response either. The dynamic iris should be set to on but doesn’t make nearly enough difference, the Eco lamp setting similarly improves things a touch without getting close to saving the day, while the brightness setting just makes images even harder to see without seemingly doing anything to turn the grey wash into believable blacks.
As alluded to in passing earlier, the TW570’s inability to deliver a convincing black colour is damaging to its colour performance too, as the whole palette feels flattened and ‘distorted’ by the grey wash that lies over everything.
Other smaller issues with the TW570 are that motion can suffer with judder; the dynamic iris system can occasionally cause noticeable brightness leaps no matter which of the two settings you use; you can sometimes see jaggedness in the rendering of bright diagonal and curved edges; and there’s some pretty unpleasant light ‘staining’ around very bright picture elements that appear against dark backgrounds.
Looking for positive things to say, the picture is decently sharp – certainly more detailed and textured than might have been expected given that this isn’t a full HD projector. It’s nice, too, not to have to worry at all about the rainbow effect colour striping issue that affects budget projectors that use the rival DLP projection system. And finally the problems we have with the TW570’s pictures are far less obvious when using it in a bright room than they are in a blacked out room. Though having said that, images still feel rather flat and lifeless during bright room viewing thanks to the lack of contrast support for the brightness.