Epson EH-TW9100W Review

Sections

Pros

  • Mostly excellent 2D and 3D pictures
  • Very easy and flexible to set up
  • Runs very quietly in Eco lamp mode
  • WirelessHD system introduces outstanding connection options

Cons

  • Native panel alignment not the best
  • High input lag when using the WirelessHD system
  • WirelessHD system didn't like our Onkyo receiver

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £2899.99
  • LCD projector
  • active 3D support
  • 320,000:1 claimed contrast ratio
  • ISF certified
  • Wireless HDMI included
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Introduction


Looking back at it now, the Epson TW9000W
projector was quite a watershed product. For as well as redefining the
2D and especially 3D picture quality we could expect for under £3,000
(forcing JVC to get its prices similarly low), it also introduced the
brilliant idea of wireless HD video transmission to a projector for the
first time.

We’re pretty stoked, then, by the arrival on our
projector stand today of the TW9000W’s eagerly anticipated sequel, the
TW9100W. Especially as this new projector comes packing a more flexible
version of the wireless HD system and a contrast ratio that rises from
the TW9000W’s already impressive 200,000:1 to the heady heights of
320,000:1.
Epson TW9100
Admittedly
this figure isn’t a ‘native’ one like the 100,000:1 and higher figures
quoted by some of JVC’s D-ILA home cinema projectors now, meaning it
relies on a dynamic contrast/iris system for its contrast claims and so
could suffer with brightness instability and a lack of punch and shadow
detail during dark scenes. There’s also no avoiding the fact that
Panasonic’s AT6000E projector claims an even higher dynamic contrast of
500,000:1. But the bottom line is that 320,000:1 is still a very large
figure for an LCD projector, and should hopefully result in pictures
that look extremely dynamic and enjoy a profound black level response.

Epson EH-TW9100W – Design

Aesthetically the TW9100W is
pretty much identical to its predecessor. Which is no bad thing, since
its combination of a white main top and side plate, contrasting black
front edge, large centrally mounted lens and subtly rounded edges make
for a projector that’s really easy on the eye. Just bear in mind that
it’s got quite a large footprint for a relatively affordable projector.

Epson EH-TW9100W – Connectivity


The TW9100W’s connectivity initially looks in line with that of the
TW9000W too, with its rear boasting highlights of two HDMIs, component
video inputs, plus RS-232 control port and 12V trigger output
installation aids.

However, there’s a big surprise in store when
you look at the TW9100W’s WirelessHD transmitter. For while the HD video
transmitter on the TW9000W only carried one HDMI, the larger one you
get with the TW9100W remarkably carries no less than five HDMI inputs.
This means it’s effectively a very handy HDMI switchbox, allowing you to
shift between as many as five different video sources just by cycling
through them using a set of buttons at the bottom of the (large, backlit
and well laid out) main projector remote control.
Epson TW9100W
The
potential convenience of being able to connect up to five sources to
the TW9100W without having to worry about trailing five separate cables
right around or across a potentially large room really can’t be
overstated, and seems at this stage at least to make the £300 price
premium the TW9100W commands over the non-WirelessHD TW9100 seem like
money well spent.

The multi-HDMI streaming is supported by an
onscreen menu, which even shows you what video is playing through each
input via a row of small, selectable ‘windows’.

The actual
process of picking which of the input ‘windows’ you want to watch is a
touch faffy, but it’s hard to be churlish about this when the TW9100W is
trying so hard to make our lives easier in so many ways. You don’t even
need to worry about placing an external WirelessHD receiver somewhere
near the projector, as the necessary receiver is built into its
bodywork.

Epson EH-TW9100W – 3D Capable

As is the TW9100W’s 3D
transmitter. For yes, as with its predecessor, the TW9100W plays active
3D pictures. It even ships with two pairs of 3D glasses – pretty
generous given its aggressive sub-£3,000 pricing.

The
convenience pointed to by the wireless HD transmission and HDMI
switching is backed up by the simplicity of the TW9100W’s other main set
up areas. For instance, it features simple and robust zoom and focus
wheels accessible through its top edge, and at 2.1x the level of optical
zoom available is excellent, making it easy to adapt the TW9100W to a
wide range of room and screen sizes.
Epson TW9100W
Also
supported are vertical and horizontal optical image shifting, and this
is extensive enough to mean that in the vast majority of cases users
won’t have to resort to using the projector’s keystone correction system
(which essentially distorts the picture).

Epson EH-TW9100W – Interface

The
TW9100W’s onscreen menus, meanwhile, are very good for the most part.
They’re easy to read and generally divide options across their submenus
fairly sensibly, and they harmonise nicely with the tactile remote
control.

Delving into the menus’ features uncovers plenty of
genuinely useful calibration aids – along with a few intriguing
oddities. The immediately useful stuff includes a series of Kelvin-based
colour temperature presets (including the best-for-video 6500K); Eco
and normal settings for the lamp output; a series of straightforward
gamma settings; offset and gain adjustments for the RGB colour elements;
hue/saturation/brightness adjustments for the RGBCMY colour elements; a
skin tone adjustment; and a trio of colour gamut settings covering the
HDTV, EBU and SMPTE-C systems.

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