The Epson is also equipped with 4:4 pulldown, which works with 1080p 24 frames per second movie content, and there’s a frame interpolation feature that improves detail somewhat with fast moving objects and scrolling text with both video and film originated sources, with three levels of processing. There’s a hidden split screen demo mode to evaluate the effectiveness of the frame interpolation feature, which Epson calls FineFrame.
To activate the demo mode, press and hold the Memory key on the remote for five seconds. Then, you’ll see an unprocessed half frame next to a processed half frame, and you can activate and adjust the feature and see what differences exist between the two. Note that if the 4:4 pulldown feature is active, it will be automatically defeated when the FineFrame demo mode kicks in. Some movie buffs might not care for the feature, as when it’s set to the highest of the three available settings, it does a bang-up job of smoothing out 24 fps film-originated judder, giving movies a video-like quality, which they may find objectionable.
Two HDMI inputs is double the usual for a projector, so extra points go to the Epson for that, which along with the component video input allows for up to three HD video sources. One S-video input and one composite input are provided, and there’s an RGB PC video input (but that input can only accept up to WXGA resolution - 1360 x 768). A 12V trigger is there for motorized screen control.
On Screen Display
Simple and elegant at the same time, the Epson’s on screen display is clear white text against a jet-black background. Unlike most menu systems, the Epson doesn’t disappear after a few seconds of inactivity, which is a boon during setup as well as during calibration. The adjustments feature slider bars and numerical indicators, and the gamma adjustment even features a graphic that let’s the user see the changes effected. The remote has a screen blank feature that disables the on screen display, letting the user see the entire screen during adjustments.
Overall, the remote is very well designed. There are dedicated input buttons, which are especially helpful for users who want to program all of their remotes into a single system remote. Backlighting is provided, and it’s a soft orange color that’s easy on the eyes. The remote includes dedicated buttons for picture mode, aspect ratio and the ability to toggle through up to ten user-defined picture memories, among other functions.
Prior to viewing with actual program material, the Epson was put through the usual battery of tests, and as expected, the THX picture mode gave by far the best results. In fact, in the critical “3G” areas of color Gamut, Gray scale color temperature/linearity and Gamma, the Epson delivered a virtual perfect score, matching exactly the post-calibration results obtained with Samsung’s SP-A900B, a reference quality projector that Samsung co-developed with industry guru Joe Kane, and which carries a suggested retail price that’s over five times that of the Epson. Here the Epson acquits itself admirably with a truly remarkable achievement in test bench performance.
3D Blu-ray Evaluation: Baraka
Once I saw how good the Epson looked with test patterns, I knew I had to check it out with this outstanding ultra-high resolution film. The crispness of the film is so far above your typical Hollywood release that this disc should be in every HD fan’s collection (as it was shot in large format film, the resolution is many times that of your typical 35mm release). Here, the Epson looked superb, with vividness and detail worthy of a first class 1080p presentation.