Rs. 2, 54, 999
• High contrast, vivid colors
• Vertical and horizontal lens shift
• Backlit remote
• Big and bulky
• No horizontal keystone adjustment
• No onboard speakers
It’s risky to nominate a projector for TV replacement. TVs screens are so vivid nowadays; some are even turning to UHD resolution on bigger sizes, where can a projector stand? They are compact, can create a big screen that vanishes (and hence saves space) as soon as it is shut. But main ingredient being the picture quality stops projectors from challenging physical standalone screens (i.e. TVs).
There are a few of them that could be considered without a second thought, if one is looking forward to put up big screens at their home. Epson EH-TW8200 is one such exception that can actually act as a TV replacement. Apart from being bulky in size, this projector can do almost anything a big size TV can, and sometimes more in important ways.
Though it might appear to be costly at Rs 2,54,999 when compared to other Full HD projectors like the EPSON EH-TW5200; and is not as 'short throw' as the BenQ W1500. But it has got the walk to stay up to the picture quality level maintained by thin TVs.
Design and Built
The Epson EH-TW8200 is big and heavy. Any normal home or office projector would be only slightly more than half of its size. If it was any bigger and built with morality in place (not that it isn't already), it would have had a wooden coating and double up as a small coffee table. Sipping beverage while watching is fun and heat thrown out of projector can be better utilized to heat up coffee.
So it’s better hanged from the ceiling or put up and away on a rack. This not only would save space but hot air from attacking that can be strongly felt in its proximity once it gets down to the job. Its 8½ Kg self can also be placed securely on a big table far away from movie watching civilization; which calls for easier connections, lens shift controls or zooming for picture adjustment.
The Zoom, focus and lens shift rings are big and placed near the lens with grooves all over them for traction and easy rotation. A lever would have been easier and faster. There are two height adjustment screws at the bottom front for height adjustment but the lens shift option itself makes the installation so much flexible. The image can be shifted 47% horizontally and 96% vertically (percentage of the width and height of the projected image). When kept within 2m from the screen, the projector can carve up bigger than 65 inch screen (using 2.1x zoom on the lens). Take it away from the screen and the projection gets bigger without losing sheen. We tested it to nearly its maximum screen size of 300 inches and still it worked amazingly the same, because of the super resolution I guess. But the throw isn’t particularly short; with zoom capability, the figures can challenge a good short throw projector.
A shutter at front protects the lens when not in use. It opens automatically when the projector starts. LEDs lined up on the left side light up to indicate power input or overheat. Buttons on-board the projector are hidden under a small shutter beside the lights.
Connections at the back are also placed in a line and projector’s size only manages a single one. There are 2 HDMI ports (support HDMI link), one component, one composite AV, one PC video in (VGA).
At front, the left grille (right one in the photo) can be opened and the inside filter removed for cleaning or replacement.
Whenever we check a projector (to see if the unit is working fine or not), we just project it on any wall in normal office lighting condition. On Epson TW8200 we watched half a movie in those conditions and I guess we also turned off the lights many a times, disturbing everyone around.
How good could it get? It is full HD, so are many other projectors available at fraction of its cost.
At first look, the projector feels like serious equipment, a powerful one made for launching missiles rather than just throwing a harmless beam of light. But even in ambient light, the projection from its 2400 lumen bright lamp was bright and colorful enough that it kept us glued to a green (not even a white) wall bearing the projection. Appreciable black levels and still very bright, the projector is meant to be a part of some serious home entertainment setup.
The images aren’t only bright; they are drenched in wide and thick color palette; something that you will see on likes of high-definition TV. It’s actually the same RGB matrix, but a color filter uses the lamp’s white light to create colors for vivid imagery. It’s Full HD, but it’s so much more colorful.
Epson EH TW8200 uses 3LCD technology to create the projection. LCD projectors are known for their bright and vivid output with good contrast ratios; as are LCD panels used in TV industry. The use of 3LCD technology ensures great color output and there’s no Rainbow effect whatsoever.
The effect is aggravated with use of a dedicated projector screen and lights off, as you would notice in the images above and in the gallery below that also shows how the projector reacts to different color mode presets. More on mode presets, settings and adjustments in The menu.
If you have used an Epson projector before, you would feel at home with TW8200’s settings menu. If not, it will only come with time.
The menu is organized nicely and everything would most probably be found easily but selecting and changing parameters can get confusing. The technique used nonetheless is good and you would get used to it.
After selecting a parameter to change, for example the color sharpness in the image quality, pressing the ok button would exit the menu and a smaller bar appears at the bottom. The effect of modifying color sharpness can be witnessed live on the screen. Now to carefully save changes and return to the menu, you will have to read the described buttons and follow accordingly. I mean, instead of just changing stuff in the menu itself, there are things that happen outside. It’s not a harmful practice though, just requires a little getting used to.
The menu lists everything from picture settings to 3D selection, projection management, keystone adjustment, etc.
The lamp used in the Epson EH TW8200 has a theoretical lifespan of 4000 hours which is great. On an average a projector lamp lives for 2000 to a maximum 3000 hours (economy mode). In economy mode TW8200 squeezes up to 5000 hours. In a mixed usage scenario, the practical figures would remain around 4000 hours which is a relief as the replacement won’t be cheap.
High amount of brightness that the lamp exudes also has a pronounced effect of 3D viewing. TW8200 uses the active 3D technology that uses a radio synchronized glasses. After the projector detects 3D input, it automatically switches to 3D mode. The glasses then need to be paired (by pressing the button at the top until the pairing notification appears on screen) for them to work.
With the glasses on, the brightness requirement goes up. In 3D mode there are two color mode options in the settings menu- 3D dynamic and 3D cinema. In 3D cinema, the brightness is higher than that in 2D cinema so you wouldn’t require tweaking. But if there’s ambient light, 3D dynamic boosts the light output but gives a greenish tinge to the screen. Increasing brightness contrast and color a little in image settings will help.
The crosstalk was minimal and we didn’t encounter and frame skipping or jitter during 3D playback. It is not likely as the projected screen has a refresh rate of 480Hz. This not only means good for 3D output, even in 2D Epson TW8200 won’t be overshadowed by DLP projectors that remain sharp and the image intact during fast moving scenes.
A great projector with vibrant color output and bright imagery, the Epson EH-TW8200 is sure to win your heart. It might seem a little costly, and it is. But only a little, as many other projectors near its price range are bright and feature laden; but it’s difficult to find one that is capable of such beautiful contrast and color output.
Its setup is also flexible with 2-dimensional lens shift capability, height adjustment screws and 2.1x optical zoom; though options get limited owing to its huge size. The backlit remote is such a thoughtful addition that it nearly makes up your mind to regard the whole projection system to be purposely built to cater to problems that no one seems to care about or even know they ever existed. It’s true to a good extent.