HC8100 Features & Specifications
The industry simply can't deliver brand new mind-blowing technological advances in projectors every year. This year, Epson is focusing on making strides in terms of value and bang-for-the-buck. Its Home Cinema 8100 projector has most of the features of the former Home Cinema 6500UB, but with a sticker price that is over $1000 less. It's also $2500 less than its THX certified big brother, the Pro Cinema 9500UB, yet it shares about 90% or more of the same technology. Indeed, 2010 may mark the year where consumers are spoiled on what to expect for their money. With excellent high lumen color reproduction and fantastic low level blacks, the 8100 is a steal at just under $1500.
For $1500 you should have reasonable expectation on what you'll get in a home theater projector. After all, there are plenty of models dropping in just below $1000 these days. The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100, however, delivers dual HDMI 1.3a inputs, flexible placement options through the use of lens shift, and a bright 200W lamp that outputs over 1800 lumens in our testing. Add to that HQV Realta-VX processing, a flexible 2.1x zoom lens, and its low noise output and you've got a product that makes a lot of the competition start to look average by comparison.
The new chassis is the same that is being used by all latest-generation Epson projectors in its Home and Pro Cinema line, including the 6100, 7100, 8100, 9100, 6500UB, 7500UB, 8500UB, and 9500UB. The only difference is that the Pro Cinema line is black and the Home Cinema line is white. For the most part, the Pro and Home models are directly correlated and near-identical save for CEDIA/Custom-channel features like ISF calibration features and spare bulbs (the 9500UB is also THX certified). The corresponding projectors are as follows:
- PowerLite Home Cinema 6100 is similar to the PowerLite Pro Cinema 7100
- PowerLite Home Cinema 8100 is similar to the PowerLite Pro Cinema 9100
- PowerLite Home Cinema 6500UB is similar to the PowerLite Pro Cinema 7500UB
- PowerLite Home Cinema 8500UB is similar to the PowerLite Pro Cinema 9500UB
In our opinion, there is little reason for the home user, who is looking for the best deal possible, to grab the Pro Cinema 9100, since the Home Cinema 8100 does 98% of the job for close to half the price (the Pro Cinema 9100 is around $2600). Custom installers, however, may want to push the 9100 since it has ISF calibration settings, which can be stored and locked away, as well as some other custom controls.
How Does it Compare to the Excellent Home Cinema 6500UB?
The Epson Home Cinema 6500UB was an excellent performer and received a solid 4/5 star rating when we reviewed it. What's happened since then isn't much, except for a hefty price drop. With the new 8100 model offering nearly the same features for over $1000 less money, you'll see that our value rating went up accordingly. The biggest differences were the lack of inorganic C2Fine panels and the change in the video processing. The 6500UB uses the HQV Reon-VX while the 8100 scores somewhat lower with a more mainstream processor. We set up a quick grid to outline the differences:
|Epson Home Cinema 6500UB||Epson Home Cinema 8100|
|HQV Score: 130/130||HQV Score: 130/130|
|3 x 0.74-inch Epson C2Fine (D7)||3 x 0.74-inch Epson (D7)|
|Inputs: 2xHDMI (1.3), composite,
S-video, component, PC/RGB (HD15)
|Inputs: 2xHDMI (1.3a), composite,
S-video, component, PC/RGB (HD15)
|Noise: 22dB (eco)||Noise: 22dB (eco)|
|Contrast Ratio: 75,000:1||Contrast Ratio: 36,000:1|
|Lamp: 200W UHE E-TORL (4000 hrs)||Lamp: 200W UHE E-TORL (4000 hrs)|
|1600 ANSI lumens (Dynamic mode)||1800 ANSI lumens (Dynamic mode)|
|Lens shift: 96% vertical, 47% horizontal||Lens shift: 96% vertical, 47% horizontal|
|Video: Silicon Optix HQV Reon-VX||Video: undisclosed|
|x.v. (Deep) Color support||x.v. (Deep) Color support|
|12VDC Trigger||12VDC Trigger|
|RS-232C: Yes||RS-232C: Yes|
|1080p/24/30/60 support||1080p/24/30/60 support|
|Warranty: 2 years, 90 day lamp||Warranty: 2 years, 90 day lamp|
|MSRP: $2,499||MSRP: $1,499|
If you're expecting huge differences here, you won't see them. The UB (Ultra Black) designation, of course, typically signifies Epson's C2Fine inorganic panels and an advanced iris system. For the savings, the 8100 isn't a bad deal in that it offers much of the same performance.
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Recent Forum Posts:
I bought this projector based on the fact that the bulb was rated for 4000 hours. After only ~500 hours the bulb failed. I called Epson who assured me that the problem was fixed as they've switched manufacturers and they shipped me a replacement under warranty.
After ~500 hours on the replacement bulb, it failed as well. I called Epson and even escalated the call to a supervisor and they offered me no solution but to purchase a replacement bulb for $300. I asked them why I would give them $300 for a replacement when two out of two bulbs that I had used thus far only lasted ~500 hours. Further, I asked how I could trust their word that the issue was fixed since this is what they told me the first time the bulb failed. Epson switching bulb manufacturers obviously did not fix the issue. Do not believe them when they tell you this.
It appears that what happened here is they were sending me these defective bulbs and were stringing me along until my warranty was up. I told the supervisor that his unwillingness to do anything resulted in Epson losing a customer forever. I also assured him that I would review the product and share my unfortunate story. Lastly, I am pondering suing them in small claims court for false advertising just out of principle.
If you want to buy new bulbs every 5oo hours at $300 a pop then this is the projector for you! Buyer Beware.
I am in love with this device, thanks for the advice
I have contacted Epson and they tell me the 8100 has a Pixelworks processor, not the Reon. Please see below:
Response (Jesus A) 08/18/2010 03:25 PM
Thank you for contacting Epson regarding your incident.
The Home Cinema 8100 does not use the HQV processor. It uses a PixelWorks processor. The projectors that use the HQV processor are the units that had the UB designation, like the 8500UB.
Should you require further assistance, please reply and reference incident ID: 100816-002813. If you have a different support issue, submit a request via our U.S. or Canada Support Site and we will respond in a timely manner.
Thank you again for contacting Epson.
Question Reference #100816-002813
Escalation Level: Manila Unassign Incident
Product Level 1: Projector - Home Theater
Product Level 2: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8100
Category Level 1: None
Date Created: 08/16/2010 12:14 PM
Last Updated: 08/18/2010 03:25 PM
ie: What does the offset mean when it comes to a 100" diagonal screen? (I know this, but others may not)
What is the actual brightness of the projector and what environments is that amount of brightness, and at what screen size, is it usable?
How well will the remote work within a universal remote system? Sometimes the on/off is really tough to deliver with a single power button.
What models are comparible? The 6500UB is discontinued, so what is the real competition for this model and at what price point? Viewsonic 8100? Optoma HD20? BenQ W1000? Other?
Is there frame interpolation on this model? How does it perform if so?
Really, just a few questions that I think would be good to answer and help people with their buying decisions. This is one of the best reviews overall that I've read and I have no issues with the scoring/rating which I typically like to complain about. I've not installed one yet, but will be doing so hopefully in the next month or so. The 8100, in my opinion, is one of the best super flexible install projectors available. The lamp life is better than average, and it has good brightness. Image processing could be better, but is not inappropriately poor either. Feed it a good source (Blu-ray, high quality upconversion) and you will get a good image.
A blurb on organic vs. inorganic panels is also necessary since most people are unaware that the inorganic LCD panels, as used on the big brother 8500UB and the old 6500UB are designed to last longer compared to the organic LCD panels which the 8100 uses.
I am a bit suprised that the 8100 is being compared so much to the 6500UB, when it is designed as the replacement for the 6100. In almost all regards it's an upgrade on the 6100, which was no slouch either, and comes in for less money there as well.
Good stuff on this review and people really should be putting this projector way up there if they can hit the price point for it. Epson has really been putting out some nice product in the past few years for the home theater market.