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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope this post doesn't inspire any vitriolic backlash, but I wanted to share my experience tonight with what began as a long awaited and eagerly anticipated upgrade to my projector.


I've been using an Epson Home Cinema 720 for about two years now. I really have not had a single complaint about it (it does shift red on the right and blue/green on the left, but this is a VERY budget 720p 3LCD projector so beggars can't be choosers). It's plenty bright, it's very sharp, the lamp life is truly impressive. Great little unit, except that I've always felt a little inadequate not having the "full" 1080p HD experience.


Tonight a local retailer, that I would be happy to tell you about if you PM me, had a GREAT price AND 36 months of no interest financing on the 8700UB, and, with Epson's warranty and free bulb rebate, I figured there was no better way to step up to the next level in performance at a very reasonable cost.


When I got home, I warmed up the HC720 and watched a few Bluray scenes to give myself a baseline to work with. Everything from Dave Mathews at Radio City to The Hunt for Red October to Dark Knight to 3:10 to Yuma. I wanted a good range of material (shot in HD live vs. retouched film vs. cutting-edge cinematographic equipment and post-processing, etc.).


I then proceeded to pluck the old projector from its perch and mount my imposing new light cannon. I fired up the 8700UB, allowed ample warm-up time, switched to THX mode and did a calibration of the white and black levels then settled in for some viewing, and...


I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, the picture is CLEARLY better than the HC720. Blacks were blacker (though not "black"), skin tones seemed more natural, and you could appreciate the added resolution because I'm sitting essentially 12 feet from a 92" screen. For all that, though, I kept thinking, "this is it?" I'll admit that I may have simply set my expectations too high, but I truly believed that this projector (and this is no slight to the Epson because I imagine everything in its class is relatively similar in performance) would put a picture on my screen that would feel like watching a giant plasma. It didn't. It just created a slightly better, but still very "projected" image - very good for what it is, but with all of the drawbacks of this type of viewing still plainly apparent.


I should note that my room is 100% dark with few reflective surfaces save A/V gear, deep burgundy matte painted walls and a dark gray putty ceiling so I feel the venue was more than complementary.


I'm not writing this to tell anyone not to pick up the 8700UB. It's phenomenal, and if I didn't have a projector already I'd be sitting here with my jaw on the floor at what I was able to bring to my home, but what I do want to relate to everyone here is that sometimes we may let our "upgraditis" get the better of us. This time of year the temptation to loosen the purse strings is almost irresistible, but I thought I'd share my little cautionary tale and suggest that if you're bitten with the bug, give your gear a chance to wow you again before you go spend money that you don't absolutely have to. Or, if you have so much money you really don't know what to do with it - go get an Epson 8700UB!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1.0 gain matte-white Da-Lite. I can't remember the model or fabric type off the top of my head.


If you want to suggest that the reason I wasn't floored by the difference between these projectors is that I just don't have the right screen, well... I'm afraid that's a bit of a stretch considering how controlled my environment is. I want to reiterate, too, that before you head down this path, I do recognize that the 8700UB is much better, but the point of my post isn't to argue that - it's to argue that a lot of the hyperbole about how this projector or that screen will absolutely fundamentally change the game for you in terms of viewing is a bit much.


The current crop of projectors is great, but if you have a workable solution already, don't let lust get the better of you - consider all of your options (including keeping what you have) and decide what's most important. If the improvement in black levels is enough to get you to stop agonizing over the visibility of letterbox bars, then it's worthwhile as it will help you return to enjoying the content, but it may not already be as bad as you think, and may not necessarily improve as much as you'd like.
 

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I don't think you're alone there... Now I don't have a 1080p projector at the moment. but last year i upgraded from my Optoma 480p projector to me current Optoma HD65 720p projector and i felt underwelmed as well. I didn't notice any improvement in the picture quality at all, just the colours were more vivid
 

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65" Panasonic OLED TV, Monolith THX 365/265 5.1.4 Atmos speaker system,Denon X4500 AVR
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If the 92" is a diagonal you are probably too far from the screen at 12ft to see the higher resolution.


I would say 720p or 1080p on a 92" screen at this distance would look much the same resolution wise.The other factors such as colour/contrast skin tones etc will be noticeably better as you have seen for yourself.


You either need a larger screen at 12ft or move a bit closer (8ft-10ft viewing distance) then you will see the difference between a 720p and 1080p image.The 720p will be softer where the 1080p will be sharper.
 

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It is great to see someone stand up in the forums and say they were underwhelmed after spending their hard earned dollars. I am contemplating a move from my Panny 720P to the Epson 8350 1080P and wondering if I will see an improvement as well. The big reason for me is bulb cost. I have the AX100 which lasts 2K hours and runs quite a bit for bulbs. Looks like I would get longer life on the Epson. Have no idea if I would notice an improvement in the picture.


Any thoughts?
 

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Maybe you needed to make a bigger jump. I just went from a WVGA InFocus IN72 to a Benq W1000+ and it was an impressive difference, to the point that my wife immediately noticed -- and she can't tell the difference between SD and HD on our 56" Samsung DLP!


Now... if Benq would only fix the handshake issues it's having instead of saying "it works fine in the lab"
 

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And I really hope my experience is better. I am upgrading from a 6 year old hitachi 720p to the epson 9700 (arriving today). I am thoroughly expecting to be blown away by the difference. I have a 1.1 gain 96" white motorized screen and sit about 15feet away. Sports and Movies are what is going to be played on this sucker and I am more interested in the performance for sports to tell the truth.


The doorbell just rang as i was writing this.. Its here woohooo!
 

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Interesting topic. I have a 720p Panasonic PT AX 100u and have wondered the same thing. About 1400 hours and beginging to think about bulb replacement vs new projector and the Epson line caught my eye. Currently using a 106" screen 1.0 gain.


I have a plasma screen 50" behind it and can get close to a similar image using one of the "normal living room" projector settings. Clearly the plasma has a vivid picture that my projector can't completely duplicate.


Your post makes me think I should run the bulb I have until it blows and then see if led projectors have moved near my price point.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by skablaw /forum/post/19543389


I hope this post doesn't inspire any vitriolic backlash, but I wanted to share my experience tonight with what began as a long awaited and eagerly anticipated upgrade to my projector.


I've been using an Epson Home Cinema 720 for about two years now. I really have not had a single complaint about it (it does shift red on the right and blue/green on the left, but this is a VERY budget 720p 3LCD projector so beggars can't be choosers). It's plenty bright, it's very sharp, the lamp life is truly impressive. Great little unit, except that I've always felt a little inadequate not having the "full" 1080p HD experience.


Tonight a local retailer, that I would be happy to tell you about if you PM me, had a GREAT price AND 36 months of no interest financing on the 8700UB, and, with Epson's warranty and free bulb rebate, I figured there was no better way to step up to the next level in performance at a very reasonable cost.


When I got home, I warmed up the HC720 and watched a few Bluray scenes to give myself a baseline to work with. Everything from Dave Mathews at Radio City to The Hunt for Red October to Dark Knight to 3:10 to Yuma. I wanted a good range of material (shot in HD live vs. retouched film vs. cutting-edge cinematographic equipment and post-processing, etc.).


I then proceeded to pluck the old projector from its perch and mount my imposing new light cannon. I fired up the 8700UB, allowed ample warm-up time, switched to THX mode and did a calibration of the white and black levels then settled in for some viewing, and...


I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, the picture is CLEARLY better than the HC720. Blacks were blacker (though not "black"), skin tones seemed more natural, and you could appreciate the added resolution because I'm sitting essentially 12 feet from a 92" screen. For all that, though, I kept thinking, "this is it?" I'll admit that I may have simply set my expectations too high, but I truly believed that this projector (and this is no slight to the Epson because I imagine everything in its class is relatively similar in performance) would put a picture on my screen that would feel like watching a giant plasma. It didn't. It just created a slightly better, but still very "projected" image - very good for what it is, but with all of the drawbacks of this type of viewing still plainly apparent.


I should note that my room is 100% dark with few reflective surfaces save A/V gear, deep burgundy matte painted walls and a dark gray putty ceiling so I feel the venue was more than complementary.


I'm not writing this to tell anyone not to pick up the 8700UB. It's phenomenal, and if I didn't have a projector already I'd be sitting here with my jaw on the floor at what I was able to bring to my home, but what I do want to relate to everyone here is that sometimes we may let our "upgraditis" get the better of us. This time of year the temptation to loosen the purse strings is almost irresistible, but I thought I'd share my little cautionary tale and suggest that if you're bitten with the bug, give your gear a chance to wow you again before you go spend money that you don't absolutely have to. Or, if you have so much money you really don't know what to do with it - go get an Epson 8700UB!

Do you have AVIA II Calibration Disc

If you dont really recommend it or the Disney WOW Cali Disc

would help pull your Colours to the wow effect your looking for...

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tremor13 /forum/post/19543782


Maybe you needed to make a bigger jump. I just went from a WVGA InFocus IN72 to a Benq W1000+ and it was an impressive difference, to the point that my wife immediately noticed -- and she can't tell the difference between SD and HD on our 56" Samsung DLP!


Now... if Benq would only fix the handshake issues it's having instead of saying "it works fine in the lab"

Never had a problem with handshake and BenQ, your issue must lie else where or it is a defective unit.
 

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I hear 'ya. We just had a similar experience in the other direction. We have a JVC RS15 set up in our primary residence, and just bought an Epson 8350 for another home. Yeah, the blacks are blacker on the RS15, and there is some other, hard to pin down, "slightly nicer" aspect to the picture it throws, but the 8350 does very well, especially when you consider what it cost. In the middle of a movie in either residence, we are totally absorbed with what we are watching, and aren't sitting there teasing apart minor differences in picture quality. It's like a lot of things these days; the technological arms race to remain competitive, in nearly any consumer item, has led to a situation where mainstream is already excellent, and going high-end buys you subtle and diminishing returns for what can be, if you are sufficiently obsessed, dramatically higher outlays. We're all winners in this game.


Kevin
 

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I have to admit, I agree based on recnt experience.


I bought an Epson 8350 on Tuesday and put it up yesterday. It replaced a 5-year old Dwin TV4 720p DLP that broke and my initial impression is "that's it". Granted the Dwin was 4 times the cost new, but that was also 5 years ago.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset with the purchase. My old projector broke so I needed a new one, and there were a bunch of good things with the projector I got. I'll probably put 20 hours on it over the weekend and I will probably post a more detailed personal review on Monday or so.


Happy Tanksgiving all.
 

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I've been watching 1080p 2D on both an Epson 9500 and a Sony G90 CRT and just went to a 720p Acer projector for 3D. The Acer in 3D blows away my 1080p 2D projectors and it cost new 1/50 what the G90 cost new. Praise be for 720p.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I sure don't want to discourage anyone from improving their home theater as we are all here on this forum because of our collective passion for some aspect of this industry, whether we be gear-heads, film buffs, audiophiles, or what have you. I think my experience is more along the lines of Kevin's - when he says that he's satisfied with the 8350 in his other theater in spite of owning a DLA-RS15. I've seen the JVC projectors demoed at a local custom installer and they DID "wow" me. The key is whether that impression moves you to the point where you find it difficult to step back from it or enjoy content without that level of performance, I suppose.


My advice to chesterdad would be that you are really at a point where you're making a purely economic decision, and I would say that if I were in your place, contemplating a bulb replacement, I'd go ahead and get the 8350. Since the 8350 isn't offered with the bulb rebate that the 8700UB is, and thus a true $1000 purchase, I might even consider a refurbished 8500UB (~$1500). For $500 it might make enough of a leap from your current projector to really impress. I can honestly say that in this game, I would need to own a projector in the $2500+ range to consider buying a bulb before replacing a unit outright. Bulbs (factory bulbs) are just too expensive.


fraisa, I do have the Avia disc and I did do what calibrations I could in THX mode. I didn't really play around with the other settings because of the positive impressions I'd heard on this setting's handling of flesh tones and other aspects of image quality. I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to accuracy and I tweak my own projector endlessly trying to compensate for this slight overtone or that. I actually often bring up a scene on a movie I'm going to watch and tweak the color to my preference before going back to watch it - on EACH movie. At any rate, I know what you mean, and this really wasn't a case of the image not being excellent - it was of it not being $2,000 more excellent than what I have in my personal opinion.


doshx, I think you're going to be PLEASANTLY surprised. A 6 year old projector is going to be very down on features and technology so I'd expect this will be a night and day revelation for you. Congratulations, and PLEASE come back and let us know how you are enjoying it once you get set up today!
 

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The big benefit for me when I finally upgraded to 1080 was that I could increase the screen size without killing the image. I went from 100" 720p(hc1100) to a 160" 1080p(hc3800) and the image is still better despite being more than double the size.
 

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I would agree that the screen would make the difference. I went through a similar upgrade process. I went from a 720p Mits to Sanyo 1080p and the "upgrade" was very disappointing. I was hoping for the 106" plasma experience as well. I returned the Sanyo and went with the Epson 6100 and it was exactly what I was looking for. I'm using a DaLite High Power screen (2.8 gain I believe, one of the older screens they were making with the higher gain), and over the course of owning 4 projectors in 4 years it was the singe biggest improvement I had made. Definitely recommended if you are looking for that plasma pop. It should look incredible with the 8700UB.
 

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I'm sure we all have different version of the war stories. I know that I've an obsession - with about 10 upgrades.


Overall, I'm very happy with the JVC RS2 over the Sony HW10, and all others. However, the Sony only costs 1/2 of the JVC. The Sony never vows me. In my opinion, I got what I paid for.


Happy Thanksgiving!
 
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