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The Epson EH-TW5500 Projector Home Cinema Experience

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The past few weeks Live for Films HQ has been converted to a home cinema. This is due to the good people of Epson loaning me an Epson TW5500 HD Projector to review and Event Hire providing a big screen. Thanks to Craig for arranging this with Rebecca at Epson.

Before I go any further let me just say that the Epson Projector is absolutely amazing. The picture quality is just so clear and sharp.

More of my thoughts in a bit, but here is the technical side of things for those of you who want to know.

The TW5500 uses three LCDs to create a 1080p image. Epson claims a contrast ratio of 200,000:1. It has 12bit HQV video processing, ISF calibration support, third-party anamorphic lens support, and new frame interpolation processing. More specifications can be seen below.

Taking it out of the box I noticed that it was a bit of a beast. It is a big projector, but has nice curved lines and looks lovely.

I hooked up my Blu-Ray player, a Panasonic DMP-BD35, plus the X-Box 360 to the two HDMI connections on the projector. After some rewiring of the surround sound to match up with the placement of the big screen it was all ready to go.

Setting up the projector was very easy. Plug in the cables, switch it on, a bit of adjustment on the vertical and horizontal, get it in focus and away you go.

You can alter all of the settings using the very responsive remote control if need be depending upon the light conditions and picture quality you are going for.

The first thing you notice about the projector once you switch it on has nothing to do with the picture quality. It was the fact the projector was so very quiet. These things produce a lot of heat and usually you can hear the fan cooling everything down. The fan noise from the TW5500 is very faint so does not get in the way of the audio.

Turning all the lights off myself, Mrs Live for Films, my 12 year old Son, and 4 year old Daughter sat down and watched in wonder as Disney’s The Princess and the Frog filled the screen.

The colours leaped off the screen and the detail in the animation was highlighted in the HD goodness.

My daughter said she loved the new cinema and that the picture was beautiful.

When the kids were in bed we then watched Stardust and Pan’s Labyrinth. Both of which looked stunning on the big screen. The bits of dust floating in the forest of Pan’s Labyrinth were incredible.

The black level response on the TW5500 is amazing, especially for an LCD projector. The blacks are rich, deep and superb. Just what you want to see in a movie.

Colours are incredibly crisp and clear and the full HD image is sharp, but with none of the grain that you can get on low quality televisions or projectors.

The next few days were a blur of Blu-Ray big screen yumminess – The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Aliens, Step Brothers, Beauty and the Beast, Se7en, The Proposal and more.

We also watched Mrs Live for Films favourite film, A Room With A View. Although only a DVD the image was still superb, although a bit grainy due to the format. However, my Wife loved seeing it on the big screen and thought the projector was wonderful making her want to watch more films that way.

My son and I played quite a few X-Box 360 games via the projector and again it handled the images superbly.

The semi-regular Live for Films Movie Night was turned into a proper cinematic experience due to the TW5500. I even had little tubs of ice cream to hand out while we watched John Carpenter’s The Thing and Angelina Jolie in Salt (both on Blu-Ray). Seeing The Thing on the big
screen is a dream come true and the quality of the picture meant that we were noticing things we had never seen before.

Here is what the LFF Movie Night regulars had to say about the projector.

Derek – Colour and image amazing, no fan noise considering I was sat (and asleep) under it.

Jinja – The contrast is incredibly good.

Will – I thought the projector provided a razor sharp image with excellent contrast -perfect for getting a better appreciation of directing techniques. I know it’s stating the obvious, but when I watch stuff on a bigger screen, I start appreciating the angles and composition more than I would on a wee TV.

Neil – Great pic with consistent brightness right across the screen. Sharpness, clarity and detail were of high quality. Better quality image than in some cinemas I’ve been to. Quiet enough unit which heated the room nicely.

Peter – The projector was truly amazing. Having spent the past few years watching films on my laptop I was bold over by the size and clarity of the picture. The Thing was an excellent viewing choice as it highlighted the crispness of the projection. The picture was clear across the whole screen and I was immersed in a viewing experience, in no way inferior to a visit to a multiplex. The detail was exquisite and, even though I have seen The Thing many times, I felt like I was watching the movie for the first time again – the projector unearthing the quality of John Carpenter’s direction and cinematography. Mere mortals dream of such technology; for two weeks you have been a demi-god in my eyes. For the past few days I have wandered through my life with a verisimilar image of white-washed tundras, blazing fires and darkened rooms.

Considering John Carpenter’s use of a wide range of lighting, the projector lost none of it’s contrast and brightness. If you are looking for the best in home cinema entertainment… look no further. I want one, I would sell my soul for one and I will weep every time I watch my favourite films on my laptop until I have one.

The fact that the actual unit emitted only minimal sound in limited space only adds to its desirability.

As you can tell, I loved watching movies on the Epson EH-TW5500, it was better than I ever expected. I want to watch everything on it.

It costs between £3500 and £4000 so is rather costly, but if you are setting up a home cinema it is perfect for the job.

The only downside about the projector is that I have to give it back.

Epson EH-TW5500 3LCD Projector Specifications

General Aspect Ratio 16:9 (Native) 4:3
Brightness (ANSI Lumens) 1600 ANSI Lumens
Contrast Ratio 200000:1
Display Type 3LCD
Resolution (Native / Max) HD (1920 x 1080)
Video Compatibility NTSC, NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, PAL 60, SECAM, HDTV (480i, 480p, 526i, 526p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p)
Projection Lens F = 2.0 ~ 3.2
f = 22.5 ~ 47.2mm
Size Dimensions (WxHxD) 17.7in. x 5.4in. x 15.5in.
(44.96cm x 13.72cm x 39.37cm)
Weight 16.5 lbs. (7.48 kg)
Connectivity Inputs 1 x Composite
1 x S-Video
1 x Component
2 x HDMI
1 x RGB D-Sub 15pin
Control 1 x RS-232C
1 x 12V Trigger
Operation Audible Noise 22 dB
Projection Lens Lamp Type 200W UHE
Lamp Life 4000 hrs
Lens Shift Horizontal: +/- 47%
Vertical: +/- 96%
Projection Distance 2.9ft. ~ 29.6ft. (0.88m ~ 9.02m)
Projection Mode Front
Projection Screen Size (Diagonal) 30in. ~ 300in. (76.2cm ~ 762cm)
Optical Zoom 2.1:1
Other Features DeepBlack Technology
Epson’s Cinema Filter
Frame Interpolation
4:4 Pull Down
Picture Noise Reduction
Advanced Sharpness Adjustment
Six Axis Color Adjustment
Customized Gamma Adjustment
Output Scaling
ISF Calibration
Color Isolation Mode
Test Pattern
Direct Power On
Anamorphic Lens Compatible