Product Review (March 2004) - Epson
PowerLite™ Home 10 LCD Projector

Epson's latest entry into the home theater market addresses the need for a low-cost projector capable of reproducing a quality large-screen picture. The new PowerLite™ Home 10 LCD projector is the least expensive of three new projectors being offered by Epson for home theater. The Home 10 utilizes three 0.55" wide (16:9), high-aperture LCD panels to produce excellent color saturation, color accuracy and efficiency. The native resolution is 854x480, resulting in true square pixels from the 16:9 pixel array. The projector can be installed on a coffee table or be ceiling mounted. The short throw lens has a 1.54x optical zoom that allows it to be placed practically anywhere in the viewing room. The Home 10 is housed in a silver and soft white chassis that blends in nicely with today's contemporary decor. The Home 10 is capable of producing 1000 ANSI Lumens (in the Dynamic color mode) with a contrast ratio of up to 700:1 (in the Theatre Black mode). The user-replaceable lamp has a life of 2000-3000 hours depending upon the mode of operation. All this is available to the consumer for a mere $1,299.

Setup
The Home 10 is simple to install and setup. Manual focus and zoom levers are located near the top of the lens assembly. We projected video onto a 92" diagonal 16:9 Da-Lite High Contrast Cinema Vision Screen. This gray screen helps to improve black level performance of projectors with limited contrast. We mounted the unit high above the viewing area flipping it upside down and using the separate rubber feet that were provided with the projector. This type of installation is an alternative to having a standard ceiling mounting bracket. The downside to flipping the projector and using the rubber feet is it makes it more difficult to adjust the focus and zoom controls during setup because they are somewhat hidden under the projector.

We positioned the projector on a platform well above the viewer and about 13-feet from the 92" screen. We had plenty of range to adjust to the appropriate screen size and focus. The color-coded rear panel makes it easier to connect the cables. The projector must be positioned slightly away from the back wall to accommodate the cabling.

The projector responds to a power command with an audible tone, which I found to be a nice feature. As the projector warms up the image becomes brighter until a steady-state is reached in approximately one minute. While digital keystone correction controls are available, it is best not to use them. Digital keystone adjustments almost always cause some distortions on the image. The user should always try to adjust the position of the projector to produce a perfectly rectangular image on the screen to avoid this problem.

We set the Color Mode to Theater Black and the Color Temperature to Medium. We were told this would set the color tracking to the factory 6500 °K. This Color Mode also enables the Cinema Filter for the best results when viewing movies in a dark environment. The top of the projector also has buttons for controlling the projector settings. Full menu controls are available for navigation of the available options. Power and Warning light indicators are also provided on the chassis for power status and warning conditions (lamp problems, overheating, etc.).

Both the lamp as well as the air filter are user-replaceable components. Removal and installation are simple. All Epson PowerLite™ projectors come with a 2-year limited warranty that covers the bulb for 90-days. Two special services are provided that enable owners to expedite service in the event the projector needs immediate repair. According to Epson, the projector can usually be replaced within 48 hours.

Connectivity
The rear panel of the Home 10 includes composite, s-video, component and RGB, making it compatible with virtually any video product. There's even a small slot to hold the remote control when transporting the projector. We connected video sources to both the component (RCA x 3) and RGB (15-pin) video inputs. We also used the s-video, but spent little time with the composite input. One thing to note is that this projector does not have a digital input. This should come as no surprise given the unbelievably low price of ths projector. The 3 RCA jacks labeled "component" are used for component video, but can also be configured for RGB video with sync-on-green. This input accepts 480i, 480p, 575i, 575p, 720p and 1080i video inputs. The 15-pin D-sub is for RGB inputs and supports all of the scan rates the component input supports as well as PC scan rates/resolutions (VGA, SVGA and XGA) and many MAC modes. The higher resolution modes must be internally scaled to the native resolution of this projector. The composite and s-video inputs are fully compatible with NTSC, PAL or SECAM standards. A pair of audio inputs are also provided in applications where this might be used with a computer system.

Remote Control
The small remote resembles the type that comes with your camcorder and is certainly not what most consumers would like to see in a user interface. While the rear slot of the projector accommodates the remote so that it doesn't get lost, I would much rather have a real remote for controlling the inputs of the projector. Not only is the remote easy to lose, it's difficult to use in a poorly lit room where the projector performs best. If you happen to own a Philips Pronto or similar remote control, it would serve you well to program it with the Home 10 IR commands.

Menus
The menu controls follow a logical format with four main categories (Image, Setting, Info, and Reset). The Image menu has controls for adjusting Picture Quality (Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint, Sharpness, Color Temperature, and Flesh Tone), Color Mode (Dynamic, Living Room, Theater or Theater Black), Memory (Save/Recall Image menu settings to Memory1 or Memory2), and Reset.

The Setting menu selects the Screen, Operation, On Screen Display, Input Signal, Volume, Language, and Reset. There's a Screen sub-menu to adjust horizontal and vertical positioning, vertical keystone, projector position (front/rear, floor/ceiling), and black Level (0 or 7.5 IRE). There's also an Operation sub-menu to adjust the sleep mode and child lock features. The On Screen Display sub-menu allows adjustment of background color and turns the startup screen on or off. The Input Signal sub-menu allows the user to configure the input type for the Video Signals (NTSC/PAL/SECAM) or Input A (YPbPr or RGB with sync on green).

The Information Menu displays the Lamp Hours, Video Source, Signal Type, and resolution/timing information if available. Finally, the Reset Menu allows the user to reset the lamp hours (after bulb replacement), memory for projector settings, or all settings back to the factory default.

Color Tracking
We took measurements directly from the projector using our Sencore CP5000 color analyzer and VP300 video generator connected to the component video inputs. Using 480p video, we set the black level using the PLUGE pattern and checked the stair step levels to ensure we had properly adjusted the display. Using the menu settings we selected the Theater Black Color Mode and set the Color Temperature to Medium. We measured the color temperature in 10 IRE increments starting with 20 IRE. The 6500 °K setting was very close to ideal across all measured IRE levels with only a small deviation from the ideal color temperature. According the Epson, there are no service menu controls that allow a calibrator to adjust the display beyond the user settings. This was not necessary in our case since the projector appears to have accurate color temperature at all measured IRE levels.

Display Primaries
We measured the primary colors produced by the Home 10 using the GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer and ColorFacts System from Milori Software. Data was taken directly off of our Stewart FireHawk filmscreen. The CIE chart shows where the ideal primaries are located with the smaller three points making a dark triangle. The measured primary colors have the red, green and blue markers connected together with the white triangle. Only colors inside the white triangle can be produced by the display. The Home 10 colors looked great and produced accurate flesh tones with excellent color saturation. Primary red was near perfect with both blue and green close to ideal colors.

Performance
This projector is rather amazing considering its price. While it is limited to DVD resolution, the price and performance certainly make it attractive. However, we did immediately notice the Screen Door Effect on this projector. It must be noted that all digital projectors suffer from this issue to varying degrees. This projector was more obvious for two reasons. The fill factor for LCD technology is typically less than what we've seen with DLP-based projectors. As the fill factor decreases, the gaps between pixels become more obvious, which increases the Screen Door Effect. In addition, the lower resolution also increases the probability of seeing the space between pixels. However, this didn't prevent the projector from producing an impressive picture in our theater room. Decreasing screen size or sitting farther from the screen will help reduce this problem. One advantage of LCD-based projectors like the Home 10 is the lack of the Rainbow Effect encountered with all single-chip DLP-based projectors. This can be distracting for many viewers, so it's best to see both technologies before committing to one type.

Upon power-up, the projector produced little noise from the cooling fan. In fact, it's one of the quietest projectors we've heard in our home theater room. Scaling of the incoming video was very good. Even 1024x768 computer video looked decent with some loss of resolution. Some deinterlacing artifacts could be seem with various movies running in the 480i mode. Using 480p video helped significantly since the deinterlacing was performed by our Faroudja-based DVD changer. The aspect ratio control selects between 4:3 and 16:9 when 480i or 480p video is sent to the projector. The Home 10 automatically displays video in the 16:9 mode when 720p or 1080i video is received.

Using the component video inputs, we connected our JVC HM-DH30000U D-Theater D-VHS VCR. We looked at several HD-Net tapes and the picture quality was simply amazing for a projector in this price range. Color were well saturated and the resolution was good considering the limitations of this projector. We also tested over-the-air high definition content from our RCA DTC100 using the analog RGB interface. We watched several HD shows and the performance was equally impressive.

The Dynamic and Living Room color modes work well in situations where ambient room light cannot be controlled. However, this mode adversely affects the black level and is not recommended for serious movie watching. In addition, gray-scale performance was also affected by these modes. The Theater Black color mode clearly performed the best for us. Dark scenes had impressive shadow detail while still maintaining good black levels. While it's a far cry from the best CRT and latest DLP HD2+ projectors, the Home 10 performed very well given its price.

Conclusion
The Epson PowerLite™ Home 10 is a remarkable achievement given its low price and great performance. While the Home 10 does have some limitations, such as resolution and contrast ratio, it does produce an impressive picture from a wide variety of video sources. Its ability to accept 480i, 480p, 575i, 575p, 720p and 1080i with exceptional scaling performance makes this projector an excellent choice for any home theater on a budget. When mated to a quality screen and a good progressive scan DVD player, the performance of the Home 10 is maximized. We were particularly impressed with the color tracking right out of the box and amazed to see the factory settings produce a steady 6500 °K color temperature across all IRE levels. The low noise level was also a great benefit. Anyone on a budget who is looking at large screen projection systems should spend some time with this projector.

- Kevin Nakano

Special Note: Epson has introduced the new Home 10+ projector that basically offers the same features found on the original model, but with 200 more ANSI lumens (now 1200) and an increase in maximum contrast ratio from 700:1 to 800:1.


Review System

Screen #1: Da-Lite 92" Cinema Contour Frame with High Contrast Cinema Vision Screen
Screen #2:
Stewart Filmscreen 100" Luxus Deluxe FireHawk Screenwall
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 TripoleŽ Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box #1: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
Set-top Box #2: RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver
HDTV Receiver/Controller: Mitsubishi HD-5000 Receiver
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
Laserdisc Player: Pioneer CLD-D704 CD/VCD/LD Player
A/V Cables: Ethereal A/V Cables
DVI Cable: Transparent Audio High Performance 30-foot DVI-D Cable
DVI Extender: Gefen DVI 1000HD DVI Extender Systsem
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Video Signal Analyzer: Sencore VSA794 NTSC Video Signal Analyzer
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 Multi-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer with ColorFacts


Review - At a Glance

Epson PowerLite™ Home 10 LCD Projector Specifications

General
Projection System Epson LCD technology
Projection Method Front / rear / table / ceiling mount
Panel Size 0.55" 16:9 format
Type of Display Poly-silicon TFT Active Matrix with Micro Lens Array
Pixel Density 854 x 480 pixels
Native Resolution 480p
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Lamp Type 132W UHE User Replaceable Lamp
Lamp Life Typical 3000H (Color mode: Theatre Black)
2000H (Color mode: other color modes)
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Contrast Ratio (typical) 700:1 (Color mode: Theatre Black)
Color Reproduction Full color (16.7 million)
Brightness (typical) 1000 ANSI lumens (Color mode: Dynamic)
Brightness Uniformity: (typical) 90%
Lens Throw Range Wide: 30" to 300" (2.4' to 24.9')
Tele: 30" to 300" (3.7' to 38.2')
Keystone Correction Vertical ±15°
Effective Scanning
Frequency Range
Pixel Clock: 13.5MHz to 162MHz
Horizontal: 15KHz to 92KHz
Vertical: 50Hz to 85Hz
Adjustment Function Tilt angle 0° to 10°
Noise Level 29dB (Theater Black color mode)
35dB (all other color modes)
Sound Output One watt monaural
Operating Temperature 41°F to 95°F (5°C to 35°C)
Cool-down period: Approx. 20 sec
Start-up period: Approx. 10 sec
Power Supply Voltage 100-240VAC ±10%, 50/60Hz
Power Consumption 200W, 5W at standby mode

Connectivity
Composite Video In

1 x RCA (Yellow)

S-Video In 1 x (4-pin mini DIN)
Component In 1 x RCA x 3 (Red, Green, Blue)
RGB In 1 x D-Sub 15
RS232C 1 (D-Sub 9)
Audio In 2 x RCA (White/Red) drives built-in speaker

Remote
Range 20 feet (6 meters)
Battery Lithium (CR2025)

Miscellaneous
Operating Temperature 41°F to 95°F (5°C to 35°C)
Cool-down period: Approx. 20 sec
Start-up period: Approx. 10 sec
Power Supply Voltage 100-120VAC model, 50/60Hz, 2.3 Amp
200-240VAC model, 50/60Hz, 1.0 Amp
Power Consumption 200W, 5W at standby mode
Dimensions Inch (D x W x H) 11.6"D x 15.8"W x 4.8"H (includes lens and feet)
11.6"D x 15.8"W x 4.5"H (excludes lens and feet)
Weight 7.9 pounds (3.6 kg)
Warranty

Standard two year parts and labor limited warranty
90-day lamp warranty



Company Information
Epson America, Inc.
3840 Kilroy Airport Way
Long Beach, CA 90806
Phone: 562-981-3840
Support: 800-922-8911

Source: Manufacture loan
Model Number: Home 10
MSRP: $1,299

URL: www.epson.com

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