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Review Epson EH-LS100, EH TW8300, TW9300

Submitted by hotviewau on Thu, 06/14/2018 - 13:00

Projector Contrast Ratio Review


Not just Epson

When it comes to unrealistic specifications (CR, 4K etc.) many manufacturers are guilty. 
Epson's AU marketing department let us know if there are any errors in our reviews they care to point out.
They have done just that, so we want to make it clear it's not just Epson we're criticising for what we consider questionable advertising we trust they are all big enough to take it on the chin and prove us wrong or up their game.
When Epson Australia lead with way out specifications most of the others may feel they forced to match them. 
This review is also a way of comparing Epson's stated corporate values with their actions in terms of marketing / promoting some of their projectors. Epson projectors are first rate, so using figures that we believe can't be obtained at home seems to go against Epson's core values of honesty and integrity to this end we've given Epson Australia numerous opportunities to supply the test results they use to come up with the figures at time of writing they have not. 
They did supply more information about the test they claim to have used, as we've pointed out that's the wrong test.
  • What are the chances of having test results that's precisely 1,000,000:1 or 2,500,000:1? 
  • So our question is was it more or less? It can't be precisely that the odds are millions to one! 
Epson also claim 2,500,000:1 CR (Contrast Ratio) on their new EH-LS100 short throw projector.  Epson make the same claim on other projectors such as EB-L25000UNL EB-L1300UNL  EB-L1505UNL  EB-L1100UNL EB-L1405UNL which are all massively capable models, it seemed like marketing puffery, now we know different. 
We now know from Epson why such measurements are taken in "Dynamic" mode and we thank Epson for providing the office equipment test format to us.
Other brands (and their range of AV products like TVs) often do the same, they quote "jump the shark" numbers (not sure if they all use the exact same test) but it seems to us that Epson jumped the shark first and highest. 
So it's up to the reader to decide is this is all just puffery, stupidity or some other motive on the part of all the manufacturers that use tests that don't mirror the intended use.

Anything in the 1m+ CR range in our opinion has nothing to do with real user situations, we weren't impressed with 1,000,000:1 in terms of accurately representing what a projector can do in real life contrast situations. Upping the CR ante to 2.5m:1 makes it that much more unbelievable to us.

Q. Is it honest to use figures unobtainable in real life situations? 

  • Would that not be the same as quoting 0-100 acceleration times but only down hill? 
  • What about fuel economy but only in reverse? 
  • What if you quoted emission figures that can't be obtained on the road? (WV)

We spoke to Epson Australia Business Manager - Projectors (DS) who put us in touch with Epson's Business Development Manager - Visual Solutions (KM) and that's now in the hands of Epson Australia's General Manager – Sales & Marketing Business Division who has been most helpful because now we understand how Epson came about the massive CR readings.

As many staff as projectors? :) 

General Manager – Sales & Marketing Business Division provided us with detailed information about Epson's chosen CR testing method. (Test was not made by Epson, just used by Epson as noted in above sections) and thus the reason for testing on a 40-70 inch screen. There are a lot of people working at Epson and you can see how easy it would be for the left hand to not know what the right hand is doing if someone technical had a say in marketing we doubt this review would be written.

We were not amused with the small screen size tested when selling projectors at the high Australian price asked for models such as the EH-TW8300 and EH-TW9300, sold into the 100 inch plus market, but now we know, it's all in the word "office" so simple.

BenQ Australia have provided us with their ANSI test results. No fuss just sent it. Epson have not (so much for transparency) but we think it would be a similar result.

Till Epson do the same we don't think it would be fair to publish one and not the other. What we can say is, as expected the ANSI result is a fraction of on/off or dynamic CR. This makes sense because you're not watching a white screen then a black screen, what you see is a mixture of light levels.

We approached Choice to Independently test for us.  Choice stated:

"Unless you test contrast ratio with ANSI the results are not sufficiently repeatable or defensible to be useful.." 

We totally agree, that's the way we test also. Epson & BenQ (like most in this space) don't often publish their ANSI CR figures, if they did millions:1 would not come into it, more likely hundreds or a thousand to one, that does not look so good on brochures.

Epson and other brands are not consistent..

Let's look at another Epson projector, model the MG-850HD 
"..2,800 lumens and a high contrast ratio of 3,000:1, meaning high quality images are projected, even in daylight." 
Q. If 3,000:1 is high contrast (in our mind a more accurate reading) then what do you call millions to one, unbelievable?

Let's keep it real! 

Buyers of home theatre projectors don't sit there watching a black screen followed by a white screen in 40-70 inch size. 
Epson and the rest have forgotten?
Puffery is commonly defined as. “publicity or acclaim that is full of undue or exaggerated praise.”1 Commercial entities use puffery as a key marketing strategy allowing them to advertise their product as “the best,” “the better choice” or even “the world's most effective.”

Berlin Demo Review - Epson EH LS-100

*"..There are a couple of important riders I need to add to this hands-on..  ..being used in Epson’s demonstrations with what appeared to be a pretty serious ‘ambient light’ screen from Elite Screens. Getting a screen similarly effective combatting ambient light could set you back another £2,500. So obviously when we review the LS100 fully, we’ll need to see how well its TV-challenging images hold up on a more affordable, ‘normal’ screen. Or even a wall."

New York Demo Review - Epson EH LS-100

"..The picture was sharp (I didn't miss 4K resolution) and bright, although as expected it got washed out when I asked the representatives to brighten the lights. It was installed with a specialized 120-inch screen from Screen Innovations, which cost as much as the projector itself."

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