Hello dear readers,
today we present you a special article: a SHOOTOUT between the new home-theater projectors Epson EH-TW9300 and Epson EH-TW7300 and last but not least with the current Epson Flagship: the Epson EH-LS10000 (already reviewed HERE on our blog).
They were all at our place on last Sunday ( 18 September 2016) and they are all UHD Blu-ray compliant!
And they did not come alone! Ekki Schmitt from the excellent online Blog Cine4home.de was also here for one of the best shootout ever. Ekki has already posted a great article in German about this shootout that we encourage you to read HERE.
Today’s article will be written from a chronological point of view and we hope you can imagine yourself with us on that day. I hope you enjoy the many pictures! 😉
Epson EH-TW9300: unpacking
Christmas has come early this year. The brand new Epson EH-TW9300 and EH-TW7300 are waiting to be unpacked.
Let’s start with the Epson EH-TW9300. From the unpacking the TW9300 and TW7300 are identical. Only a subtle difference can differentiate them when unpacked. Will you find it? 🙂
The packaging of the new Epson EH-TW9300 and TW7300 is quite a bit smaller than the one of the previous Epson EH-TW9200 we reviewed previously here. This was surprising since the new Epson EH-TW9300 is bigger than than the previous generation Epson EH-TW9200.
The “Handle” system to get the projector out of the packaging has also be changed, from 2 handles on the side to one big handle in the middle.
As we wrote previously, the new Epson EH-TW9300 is larger than the Epson EH-TW9200 but is surprisingly light for its size. The larger size is hiding bigger fans for a more silent operation and a motorized lens, which is very new in this price class. Especially if you consider that the Epson EH-TW9300 and TW7300 are also compatible with the latest UHD Blu-ray. They are in fact compatible with HDR REC2020 4K signals. In order to proceed the 4K signal, they use a “4K Enhancement technology” which shifts the display by 1/2 pixel in the diagonal to effectively display twice as much pixels as the standard 1080p. This is very similar to what the bigger brother the Epson EH-LS10000 (reviewed HERE) or the JVC DLA-X5000 (also reviewed HERE) with it’s E-shift, are proposing.
The Epson EH-TW9300 has all the inputs you may need as can been seen on the picture below. What is noticable is the presence of an HDMI port 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 that makes it compatible with the UHD Blu-ray players.
On the picture below Anna is connecting the HDMI cable to the beast. However, the Epson EH-TW9300W also proposes a Wireless HDMI module capable of streaming over the air 4K signal up to 30hz.
You can notice in black just below the bigger brother: the Epson EH-LS10000, a high-end laser projector also using the 4K E-shift technology, but using new LCD reflective panels instead of the standard “Transmissive” reflective panels we find in the Epson EH-TW9300, TW7300 or even the older Epson EH-TW9200.
Epson EH-TW9300: first start
It was time to start the engines! Zero hours on this Epson EH-TW9300. First impressions were:
- “What a bright picture!!!”.
- “The picture seems really sharp!”
Epson EH-TW9300: 4K Enhancement
So we looked directly at one of the innovative features of the new Epson models. The E-shift or what Epson calls “4K Enhancement technology” enables to shift VERY quickly in the diagonal the 1080p LCD panels by 1/2 pixel to effectively render twice as much pixel.
The result is twice as much information on the screen. And also, a quite reduced “Screen door” effect. This is great news since the Epson EH-TW9200 had the tendency to show its “grid” when sitting a bit to close to the screen.
First “4K Enhancement” OFF. We can see a kind of obvious pixel grid .
After activating “the 4K Enhancement” most of the pixel structure disappears.
And… the picture stays sharp! That was new to us since the E-shift mechanism on the bigger brother Epson EH-LS10000 or on the JVC DLA-X5000 had a tendency to make the picture look a bit more soft. In addition, it does not generate noise in the picture like the JVCs.
Again from up close: see the grid.
And with E-shift activated, see how the grid is reduced!
Also the convergence was quite good on our sample. It did not need any correction.
Epson EH-TW9300: quick calibration
SInce the focus of the shootout was mostly on contrast conparisons, we only did a quick calibration with Ted’s calibration Disc.
Out of the box
First we measured the preset “natural” at the lens. As you can see, there was not much to be done! It was pretty good out of the box.
Grayscale and gamma (mode natural):
The calibraton was done on our screen Elunevision 4K Reference 100. We only had to choose the color temperature 6000K and reduce the offset of red from 50 to 48.
Grayscale and gamma:
Epson EH-TW9300: contrast measurements
Now comes the exciting part! Our contrast measurements of the Epson EH-TW9300! First we need our disc with the contrast patterns:
We measured each of the following contrast patterns, which have different levels of brightness (% of white or ADL). As always, we measured under 3 different conditions:
- with opened curtains (comparable to a living room with white walls, reality of home theater in many homes) –> Living Room with white walls
- with closed curtains (optimized room with black floor, ceiling and walls) –> Batcave
- measurement at the projector lens (highest contrast possible, but not reachable in any room) –> Ideal perfect Room
This is our setup when measuring the contrast at the screen in our all-black room (ANSI contrast of the Epson EH-TW9300 at the screen measured at 330:1, which is an impressive value):
On the picutre below you can see what we get when we open the curtains and transform our room into a living room. The contrast is destroyed by the light that reflects to the walls and back to the screen. The ANSI contrast is now only 66:1.
Putting the measurements together results in 3 contrast curves.
The scale on the contrast axis is logarithmic to represent the perception of the human eye. For example your eyes will see the same difference between a contrast increase from 1000:1 to 2000:1 and a contrast increase from 10000:1 to 20000:1.
Look at the red curve how the white walls and ceiling kill the contrast of this great projector as the brightness of the pictures increases!
We also played with the iris of the Epson EH-TW9300 to see what gain in contrast we could get. As you can see below, when closing the iris you get more contrast than with the iris open for all pictures with a brightness (ADL) under 10%. At the same time the loss in ANSI contrast is minimal, so we advise you to use the iris on this projector.
In addition, we measured the dynamic mode and were surprised to see an even better contrast performance for all our patterns. The only drawback of the dynamic mode is that it does not have color accuracy. But this could be corrected with the Cine4Home filter that Ekki Schmitt is currently creating.
All in all, the Epson EH-TW9300 has an excellent contrast performance, that exceeds the predecessor, Epson EH-TW9200. But how does it perform against the flagship Epson EH-LS10000 that is known for being very good with dark content?
Epson EH-TW9300 VS Epson EH-LS10000: the battle!
From the outside the two projectors are very different despite being from the same manufacturer. The inside is even more different: the Epson EH-TW9300 is using the transmissive LCD technology and a UHP lamp, the LS10000 is using reflective LCD panels and lasers.
Menu “Info” comparison
The menu “Info” has been updated: On the LS10000 (right half of the picture) you only see 4K x 2K with no information on the color depth. On the Epson EH-TW9300 you get all the detailed information:
- the exact resolution 3840 x 2160
- the color depth: 8 bit 4:4:4
- the color format: BT.709 SDR
Sharpness and pixel structure comparison
We compared the two different pixel structures of the Epson EH-TW9300 with the transmissive LCD panels and the Epson EH-LS10000 with the reflective LCD panels. As you can see, there is a big difference between the two: the LS10000 on the left has less space between the pixels. The grid is visible only from a close distance. The pixel grid of Epson EH-TW9300 on the other hand is visible from a bigger distance, but only when the 4K Enhancement is deactivated.
The pixel grid gives a feeling of increased sharpness, which is why the Epson EH-TW9300 seems to be a bit sharper than the Epson EH-LS10000. The more interesting part was when we activated the 4K Enhancement on both projectors. We don’t use it very much on our own LS10000 because it softens the picture visibly. But on the Epson EH-TW9300 this is not the case thanks to the bigger distances between pixels. The shifted pixels fit into the unused space, while on the LS10000 there is an overlap which causes a slight blurryness.
Split screen comparison
To make a fair comparison between the Epson EH-TW9300 and the Epson EH-LS10000 both projectors were calibrated and the brightness was adjusted perfectly to the same level at the screen.
Unfortunately, it was impossible to take pictures with realistic colors, because all our cameras and smartphones perceived the laser light of the LS10000 differently. On the screen there was no difference in the colors.
Left: Epson EH-TW9300, right: Epson EH-LS10000
Even with a picture with a lot of light in it, the Epson EH-LS10000 still wins in this comparison with the sky quite a lot blacker on the right side of this split screen.
The less white is in the picture, the more obvious is the higher ON-OFF contrast of the Epson EH-LS10000 over the Epson EH-TW9300.
Still, we were really impressed with the contrast performance of the Epson EH-TW9300 selling for a few thousand euros less than the Epson EH-LS10000. The advantage of the Epson EH-LS10000 was only visible on pictures having a wide area of black. On all other pictures no difference could be seen.
The contrast graph below proves it! The Epson EH-TW9300 with the iris closed has an even a better contrast than the Epson EH-LS10000 for all the pictures brighter than 5% ADL. That’s an impressive performance for the price!
For the 3D evaluation, we only looked at the the Epson EH-TW9300 since we personally own the Epson EH-LS10000 and know its 3D performance by heart. Both Sammy and Life of Pi 3D Blu-ray were used to get an idea of the 3D that the Epson EH-TW9300 can provide.
Well, let’s keep it short: this is simply the best 3D we have ever seen! Why? Because it was bright on our 2m50 gain 1 screen, very bright even. Also because it did not suffer from any flickering leaving you with a headache after 5min of the 3D movie. In addition there was virtually no ghosting! 🙂 The depth of the picture and the pop-outs were amazing.
To achieve these results, we used the Epson EH-TW9300 on bright lamp mode, combined with the “Cinema” color mode. Also, we reduced the glasses 3D brightness to the lowest level to eliminate any residual ghosting.
The only drawback was the motion fluidity that required to activate the frame interpolation on high to keep the motion fluid.
Why do we find the Epson EH-TW9300 better than the Epson EH-LS10000? Simple. It is way brighter and shows less ghosting thanks to the option of reducing the 3D glasses brightness.
Why do we find the Epson EH-TW9300 better than any other projectors in 3D? Against DLPs the advantage is the contrast and the brightness. Against Sonys and JVCs the advantage is the 120Hz refreshing rate of the glasses and the virtual lack of ghosting.
Motion fluidity comparison
This is currently the only point where the Epson EH-TW9300 really suffers in comparison with the bigger brother Epson EH-LS10000. By nature, the transmissive LCD panels of the Epson EH-TW9300 are thicker and react slower than the reflective ones of the Epson EH-LS10000. But since the current Frame Interpolation of the Epson EH-TW9300 is kind of buggy, the Epson EH-LS10000 takes the lead very easily. A firmware update from Epson would be very welcome for the Epson EH-TW9300 (and TW7300) to solve the FI issue. Right now, the older Epson EH-TW9200 was performing much better in comparison.
UHD Blu-ray playback comparison
Both the Epson EH-TW9300 and the Epson EH-LS10000 have an HDMI 2.0 with HDCP2.2 and can accept signal from UHD Blu-rays. But that’s only one part of the story. In fact, the older Epson EH-LS10000 is only “recognized” by the UHD Blu-ray player as 4K compatible WITHOUT HDR REC2020 signal compatibiliy. The newer Epson EH-TW9300 is completely compatible with the UHD Blu-ray Standard displaying on the screen the 4K HDR REC2020 signal.
So we have on one side, the Epson EH-LS10000 displaying a UHD REC709 SDR picture and on the other side, we have the Epson EH-TW9300 displaying a UHD REC2020 HDR picture.
We compared both on the UHD Blu-ray “Life of Pi”.
The picture looks great on the Epson EH-LS10000. But that’s nothing in comparison the HDR performance of the Epson EH-TW9300! Really that good.
Let’s hope for many more UHD Blu-ray release with the same HDR level or even better (let’s dream a bit) than the UHD Blu-ray “Life of Pi”.
Below a HDR screenshot with the Epson EH-TW9300 (very pretty 😉 ). Still, it does not do justice to the real deal. 🙂
Epson EH-TW9300 VS Epson EH-TW7300: the battle!
The monster is gone! Where did it go! Let’s forget it for a moment…
and let the smaller brother Epson EH-TW7300 join the party! 🙂
Question: can you see the difference between the Epson EH-TW9300 and the TW7300? If you do, please leave us a comment and tell us what you found!
Except for this one difference on the outside, everything is also the same in the inside. Or almost. There is no manual iris on the Epson EH-TW7300 and the contrast is lower than the Epson EH-TW9300. For the rest, it’s all the same: UHD Blu-ray compatibility, motorized Lens-shift, high quality Lens, high brightness, etc!
Below a macro picture of the sharpness of the Epson EH-TW7300. It’s very sharp! The convergence of this unit is less good than the one of the Epson EH-TW9300 but still acceptable.
Note: see how the picture remains sharp even with the 4K Enhancement (or E-shift) activated. Every pixel is well separated from its neighbor. Impressive!
Split screen comparison
The Epson EH-TW9300 is on the LEFT side and the Epson EH-TW7300 is on the right side.
Let’s do the hardest part from the begining. Dark sky with a few stars. The room is our Batcave.
Clearly, black is not where the Epson EHTW7300 seems to excel at. The contrast difference to the Epson EH-TW9300 is huge.
Let’s look at a brighter picture: the famous tiger from “Life of Pi”.
Look how “foggy” and washed-out the picture is on the right side. Again the Epson EH-TW9300 displays its better contrast without contest.
Now let’s open the curtains in the room. The room is still blacked-out but now the light can reflect itself on the while walls and ceiling and come back to the screen to destroy the contrast.
Do you still see the difference between the left and the right part of the picture? We do. But the advantage of the Epson EH-TW9300 is here greatly reduced by the room in this mixed-scene with shadow and light.
Again, we measure the contrast with our test patterns for different percentages of white in the picture.
And this again for 3 kinds of rooms:
- living room Style
- batcave Style
- Absolute perfect room (measured at the lens) –> it does not really exist anywhere
Below an example of the contrast measurement with the curtains open. See how the light is reflected on the white walls and the ceiling and in the end come back to the screen. The black is no more… and replaced by grey…
If we put together our measurements, here are the resulting curves:
The contrast results of the Epson EH-TW7300 are far from spectacular for this price point, and some “cheap” DLP projector for under 700€ may challenge it with success.
To finish this contrast comparison between the Epson EH-TW9300 and the Epson EH-TW7300, we prepared the graphs below.
We put in there the contrast curve of both the Epson EH-TW9300 and TW7300 in both a living room and a BatCave.
See how in a living room, the contrast curves of the Epson EH-TW7300 and TW9300 are the same above 10% white in the picture. This means that while watching TV or enjoying a football game in your living room, you will see almost no difference between the picture quality of the Epson EH-TW9300 and TW7300. For Blu-ray movies which are darker, even in a living room, the stronger contrast of the Epson EH-TW9300 over the TW7300 will make the TW9300 a better choice.
In a BatCave, the contrast advantage of the Epson EH-TW9300 over the TW7300 stays for every possible image (blue and yellow curve). Therefore the Epson EH-TW9300 is the projector of choice in a Batcave.
Another interesting fact is that an Epson EH-TW7300 in a Batcave (yellow curve) will give you a better contrast than the Epson EH-TW9300 in a living room (green curve) for all pictures above 2% ADL. And that’s the vast majority of the pictures found in the movies! See our ADL analysis here to know more about the “average” movie brightness.
Living Room Style VS Batcave!
Now since a video is better than 1000 words, let’s have a look at the checkerboard contrast pattern as we close down the curtain.
See the difference? This is what you can gain if you optimize your room with any projector!
And for us this reversible room is very practical for housing guests…or having the perfect Batcave…or demonstrating the impact of white walls and ceiling on contrast to you! 🙂
- On the the 2 pictures below, you can see again the difference between the BatCave configuration on the Left and the “Living Room” Style on the right with white walls and ceiling.
- Also each image is a split-screen with the Epson EH-TW9300 on the left and the Epson TW-LS10000 on the right.
- The difference in black level between the 2 projectors is quite obvious in the sky in the Batcave…but is less obvious in the “Living Room style” room.
To finish, let’s look at what happens if you don’t have perfect control over the light coming into your room. The black gets illuminated. If you measure the contrast with this setup (which we did for the purpose of the exercise), you only measure a contrast of about 2000:1 . The contrast of the Epson EH-TW9300 should be (as measured before) above 4000:1 for the On-OFF contrast zoom max, iris open. This may explain why some persons on the internet measure contrast a lot lower that 4000:1… 😉
To conclude the Epson EH-TW9300W is an excellent allrounder and its HDR and 3D performance are stellar! The Epson EH-TW7300 contrast suffers too much from the comparison with its bigger brother and if possible, we advice you to take the Epson EH-TW9300 instead. We still like our Epson EH-LS10000 but we will miss the HDR and very very bright 3D in the near future. 😉
This was a great day of testing and a very nice shootout. Also we really appreciated the time with Ekki Schmitt from Cine4home. It was fun!
Thank you Ekki for bringing the 2 projectors over to us. Until next time!
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