With high-definition (HD) TV due to hit our screens (Sky plans to start broadcasting HD content in early 2006), several companies have realised that a good projector can offer a real alternative to large-screen plasma and LCD displays. The EMP-TW600 is the new high-end Home Cinema projector from Epson aimed at home users who want the best.
Some of the main features include W-XGA resolution (1,280 x 720 pixels), and HDMI input which makes it HD-ready and gives an accurate display of high-definition content. Superior image quality is ensured with 5,000:1 contrast ratio and brightness of 1,600 ANSI lumens (a measurement of light used to rate brightness: a large room typically needs 400 to 600 ANSI lumens), making it one of the best in its class. Numerous connection options are available, with HDMI, video, YUV S video, RGB and Scart all covered. Connecting your TV, DVD player, digital camera, set-top box, games console or a PC/Mac is a piece of cake.
First impressions out of the box were good. The EMP-TW600 is very sleek in its glossy plastic casing - maybe a bit bulky, but in a curvy way. It’s definitely one for the style-conscious buyer. Also it’s light and easy to move about should you want to take it into another room.
The unit has a wide-angle lens shift function allowing the projector to be positioned almost anywhere in the room. Whether you mount the projector on a shelf or the ceiling, or sit it on the coffee table, the manual dial makes it possible to alter the vertical and horizontal angle of the lens without having to slip a couple of books underneath the projector. If you have limited space, the EMP-TW600 can project an image of 60in from a distance of 8ft, so your “cinema” can take place in a relatively small room.
The EMP-TW600 has seven preset colour modes for different environments. The Dynamic Mode (the default setting out of the box) is recommended for bright rooms and the image produced was excellent in my well-lit living room (making it perfect for football or a movie on a Sunday afternoon). However, the fan runs at full speed in this mode and can be annoying during quiet moments in a movie. The Theatre Black mode is for when you have a perfectly dark room; the fan runs at low speed so it’s barely audible but the image is duller. I was very impressed with the picture quality in both modes and just had to make some small adjustments to get it perfect.
The high price of a decent projector meant having a home cinema was out of reach for most of us, until now. The EMP-TW600 offers the high-end cinema experience at an affordable price. Ease of use and numerous features made it a pleasure to use and the image projected was impressive in all lighting conditions. Watching The Lord of the Rings on a 9ft screen in your living room is something everyone should experience and the EMP-TW600 makes it easy to do so.