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Epson 31000 Reflective 3LCD Projector First Look

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Epson 31000 Reflective 3LCD Projector

Epson 31000 Reflective 3LCD Projector

Summary

  • Product Name: 31000 Reflective 3LCD Projector
  • Manufacturer: Epson America
  • Review Date: September 23, 2010 23:50
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now
  • Native 1080p (1920x1080) resolution
  • Includes two anamorphic lens (squeeze and wide) modes to enable 2.35:1 viewing without external processor; lens position memory for 2.40:1 Cinemascope screen
  • Delivers outstanding video image quality with Fujinon OptiCinema Multi-Lens Optics System (2.1 zoom ratio); projects clean, precise edges with consistent image quality across the entire screen
  • Cinema Filter feature delivers larger color space for improved color fidelity
  • Features two HDMI 1.4 inputs with Deep Color support, HDMI CEC for control of connected devices
  • Epson’s exclusive 200W E-TORL (Epson Twin Optics Reflection Lamp provides optimum light uniformity and output for screen sizes larger than ten feet using less energy for up to 5,000 hours
  • Spare lamp, ceiling mount, and cable cover included (Pro Cinema 6100 and 31000 only)
  • Small footprint and center lens design, as well as powered zoom, focus and lens shift (40 percent horizontal and 90 percent vertical) ensure a range of installation options and flexibility
  • Projects brightness up to 1,200 color and white light output for the optimal visual experience
  • Offers five different color modes, including Dynamic, Living Room, Natural, Cinema, x.v.Color
  • ISF Calibration for customizable settings, new color modes, pre-set color space selection, and color isolation for easy color adjustment without color filter glasses (Pro Cinema 61000 and 3100 only)

Executive Overview

We got to see a new 3LCD technology today first hand, which Epson America is dubbing "Reflective 3LCD". The technology basically involves sending light through an LCD panel which then bounces off a mirror, passing through the panel twice. There are to advantages using this method. First, since the light isn't passing through the panel once and then moving on, there is less bleed, leading to a darker image when blacks are present in the signal. Second, the smaller pixels can adjust more quickly, reducing the pixel lag inherent to LCD. The company announced its entry into a new home theater projector market with three 1080p 3LCD Reflective home theater projectors, the high-end PowerLite Pro Cinema 61000, the 31000 (which we saw demoed), and the Home Cinema 21000. Each of these models is designed as a premium to their new x700 models and are designed for custom installers and home theater aficionados. These projectors are the first to feature 3LCD Reflective technology, along with Epson’s UltraBlack technology for exceptional picture quality and impressive contrast ratios. The specs, which are the typical senseless numbers, put the Home Cinema 21000 and Pro Cinema 31000 at a 500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio while the Pro Cinema 61000 produces the world’s first mega contrast ratio of up to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000:1 (OK, that's not really their number, but since it's fiction why not go REAL big, right?)

31000 rear

I will say this, Epson's new reflective 3LCD technology looks great. It's a completely new light engine and the fact that they are shipping 3 new products with this technology - and putting them as their high-end products - means the technology is likely a future trickle-down. The 31000 has 1200 lumens (max). What we were looking at was around  800 calibrated in THX mode. The new projectors feature powered zoom and focus and have memorizable lens shift, so you can adjust all parameters of the project and have it recall the exact position. This is extremely convenient when you are using a constant-height screen and engaging the anamorphic scaling mode. Epson's top model (61000) has networkability, meaning it is IP addressable so you can log and make adjustments remotely. All of the new models feature CEC control and the bulb life has been expanded to 5000 hours, while dual 12V triggers means that custom control is just a connection away. Epson's 3 year warranty is made more impressive by the fact that it includes a no dead pixel guarantee and covers unlimited hours for the duration.

The demo we saw used a Stewart Studiotech 130 screen and a full 5.1 set of Atlantic Technology 8200TX speakers. The use of a standard screen was nice, since many manufacturers were using gray screens from Screen Innovations when doing demo rooms. We love SI Screens, but using them in a demo to show off black levels isn't really showing you the capabilities of the projector - just showing off how good those screens are. For Epson to go real-world showed real chuzpah. We saw clips from Alice in Wonderland, G.I. Joe and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Everything looked really good - meaning colors were vibrant and the blacks were pretty good. During Alice in Wonderland I was convinced Epson had 120Hz processing engaged (they said it was off), so deep was the depth of field. It may have indeed been on, but if so, they seem to have taken care of most of the artifact problems they had with prior models. If it was off, well, then the picture is even more stunning than I thought. It's a win-win either way.

With Epson’s newly developed 3LCD Reflective technology, along with fully optimized high contrast ratios, these projectors deliver the deepest blacks and brightest whites we'e seen from the company yet. In addition to the new light engine, each model features a dual-layer auto iris, built-in IDT HQV Vida Video Processor and PW390 video scaler, and Epson's Super-resolution and FineFrame technologies to deliver next-gen performance and image quality in each of their respective categories.  This new series of home theater projectors also delivers a smaller footprint and center lens design which we like better than the current x700 series..

“We are very excited to debut our new home theater projector line-up to the custom installation channel. These powerful, feature-packed projectors demonstrate Epson's commitment to provide dealers with top-of-the-line products that allow them to design customized home entertainment systems for their customers."

- Marge Ang, senior product manager, Epson America

Pricing and Summary

Epson's flagship Pro Cinema 61000 offers a new ultra-fast, dual-layered auto-iris to control light reduction rates to reach up to 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It also includes a host of value-added features, including ISF calibration, color isolation, new color modes and new networking features for installers to access an easy remote management system to minimize down time for consumers. Encased in an elegant black design with a copper lens ring and priced in the sub-$7,000 category, the Pro Cinema 61000 is designed for AV elitists looking for top-of-the-line home entertainment quality and performance.

The Pro Cinema 31000 and Home Cinema 21000 round out Epson's mid-level offerings in the sub-$4,500 and sub-$3,300 categories, respectively. Available in black with a silver lens ring, the Pro Cinema 31000 offers 500,000:1 contrast ratio as well as the professional-level ISF Certification color tools featured in the Pro Cinema 61000. The Home Cinema 21000 is cased in a white design and delivers outstanding image quality for a reasonable price for home theater enthusiasts who don't require the professional-level color tools and installation management features.

Epson's 3LCD Reflective Home Theater Projector Features

The projectors share a range of high-quality, premium and powerful new features designed to enhance performance, image quality and total cost of ownership, including:

  • Native 1080p (1920x1080) resolution with newly developed 3LCD Reflective technology
  • Includes two anamorphic lens (squeeze and wide) modes to enable 2.35:1 viewing without external processor; lens position memory for 2.40:1 Cinemascope screen
  • Delivers outstanding video image quality with Fujinon OptiCinema Multi-Lens Optics System (2.1 zoom ratio); projects clean, precise edges with consistent image quality across the entire screen
  • Cinema Filter feature delivers larger color space for improved color fidelity
  • Features two HDMI 1.4 inputs with Deep Color support, HDMI CEC for control of connected devices
  • Epson’s exclusive 200W E-TORL (Epson Twin Optics Reflection Lamp provides optimum light uniformity and output for screen sizes larger than ten feet using less energy for up to 5,000 hours
  • Spare lamp, ceiling mount, and cable cover included (Pro Cinema 6100 and 31000 only)
  • Small footprint and center lens design, as well as powered zoom, focus and lens shift (40 percent horizontal and 90 percent vertical) ensure a range of installation options and flexibility
  • Projects brightness up to 1,200 color and white light output for the optimal visual experience
  • Offers five different color modes, including Dynamic, Living Room, Natural, Cinema, x.v.Color
  • ISF Calibration for customizable settings, new color modes, pre-set color space selection, and color isolation for easy color adjustment without color filter glasses (Pro Cinema 61000 and 3100 only)

Availability and Support

The Pro Cinema 61000 and 31000 and Home Cinema 21000 will be available online and through authorized Epson projector dealers in December. The Home Cinema 21000 includes a two-year limited warranty, while the Pro Cinema 31000 and 61000 include a three-year limited warranty. All three models come with Epson's industry leading service and support, including toll-free access to Epson's PrivateLine priority technical support, 90-day limited lamp warranty, and free two-business day exchange with Extra Care Home Service.

About Epson America Inc.

Epson America, Inc. is a leading provider of an extensive range of printers, 3LCD projectors, scanners and point-of-service printers that are renowned for their high quality, functionality, innovation and energy efficiency. Epson America is a U.S. affiliate of Seiko Epson Corporation, which employs more than 70,000 people in 106 countries around the world.  To learn more about Epson America, please visit www.Epson.com.

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About the author:

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

jostenmeat posts on September 24, 2010 21:16
Chopin_Guy, post: 754209
And just be sure I'm clear on this – the whole thing with the use of an external anamorphic lens or in this case an anamorphic mode on the projector itself – is that you eliminate the black bars when watching a movie or other material filmed in 2.35 or 2.4:1 ratios??

I would agree with the Industry above that these are features that are much more useful and exciting than this whole 3D crazy which is still beyond me it's usefulness…

Well, sort of, depends on how one words it. There are still black bars with a 2.35 screen because 1.78 has the bars on the sides now.

Anamorphic glass is a two-part distortion. Vertical stretch processing pulls your 2.35 vertically to fit the height that the 1.78 does. Then the lens pulls it apart to stretch if back out again to fill the whole screen. One of the main benefits here is that 100% of your lumens are always used for either AR. For everyone else, whether with 1.78 or a 2.35 by way of zoom, we are wasting 25% of both of our lumens, and of our pixels too.

The best way to do this is definitely with the lens. Not a few videophiles frown upon using the zoom method, although the cost savings can be compelling. But, is a 2.35 inherently better than 1.78? Hm? I find the best attribute of a 2.35 screen is better center speaker placement or accommodation. Otherwise, with an AT screen, then even that doesn't matter anymore.

If you do the zoom method, you will have to decide which AR to calibrate for, or perhaps do double the calibrations every 200 hours. I have presented the idea of doing an in between sized calibration as a compromise between the differing ARs. Also, some people (though admittedly nutty videophiles) will say that the electronic gradations of zoom/focus can make it impossible to get it just right when going between memory presets. However, I personally wouldn't worry much about this point.
Chopin_Guy posts on September 24, 2010 20:29
And just be sure I'm clear on this – the whole thing with the use of an external anamorphic lens or in this case an anamorphic mode on the projector itself – is that you eliminate the black bars when watching a movie or other material filmed in 2.35 or 2.4:1 ratios??

I would agree with the Industry above that these are features that are much more useful and exciting than this whole 3D crazy which is still beyond me it's usefulness…
InTheIndustry posts on September 24, 2010 12:51
Chopin_Guy, post: 754066
I have a question regarding one of the specs in the article – that's regarding these new Epsons including ‘two anamorphic lens’ (squeeze and wide)?? How does this work exactly?? I assume it has something to due with a motorized lens memory that will allow the projector to throw a 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 image without the use of an anamorphic lens. Will there be any loss of image quality with this??

Being in the planning stages of a new media room this is particularly interesting as I wouldn't have previously considered one of the wider aspect ratio screens – not wanting the large expense of an anamorphic lens but a projector with this capability might make this a possibility to many more people now…

In speaking with my Epson rep last week before the show, yes. I believe they are going to make the electronics fit the shape of screen you have instead of making outside hardware do the work. Similar to the Panasonic piece, only supposedly better. I will get the inside scoop from him immediately after the show.

This will make a HUGE impact on what I put in our new showroom this fall. This, to me, is more exciting and useful than 3D.
Chopin_Guy posts on September 24, 2010 10:56
I have a question regarding one of the specs in the article – that's regarding these new Epsons including ‘two anamorphic lens’ (squeeze and wide)?? How does this work exactly?? I assume it has something to due with a motorized lens memory that will allow the projector to throw a 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 image without the use of an anamorphic lens. Will there be any loss of image quality with this??

Being in the planning stages of a new media room this is particularly interesting as I wouldn't have previously considered one of the wider aspect ratio screens – not wanting the large expense of an anamorphic lens but a projector with this capability might make this a possibility to many more people now…
efzauner posts on September 24, 2010 07:53
reflective LCD?

How does this differ from LCOS and JVC HDILA or Sony SXRD? A technical article updating us on projector technology including DLP would be cool.
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