Projectors

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB LCD Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Design of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB LCD Projector

The 8700 UB is a fairly simple box with an understated industrial style. The case is white with silver accents and a black vent up front next to the offset lens. Inputs are around back and include two HDMI, one each of component, S-video and composite and a 15-pin VGA port for computer signals. For control, there is an RS-232 connector and a 12-volt trigger which can drop a screen or slide an anamorphic lens into place. On top is the lamp cover which allows bulb changes without taking down the projector, very convenient. Also on top is a control panel with buttons for power and input selection. Menu navigation controls are on the side. The lens controls are all manual with dials for lens shift and rings to adjust zoom and focus. I always prefer these to be motorized but at this price, I’m not complaining. The adjustors are very precise with a positive mechanical feel. Finishing things off underneath are two adjustable feet and threaded inserts for a ceiling mount.

The feature set is quite extensive and offers pretty much everything found in more expensive projectors. The iris is a dual-layer design with one aperture near the light source and one in the lens itself. The built-in HQV video processing chip not only provides quality scaling and de-interlacing, it supports anamorphic lenses with the appropriate aspect ratios. Just like the competition, there is a frame interpolation feature called FineFrame which reduces judder by inserting extra frames up to a maximum rate of 96 fps. Also included are full calibration controls with grayscale, custom gamma curves and a color management system. The 8700 UB is also THX-certified and as far as I know, the only such-certified display to allow total adjustment in its THX picture mode.

The remote is excellent with one-button access to many settings and discrete input selectors. The backlight is soft and can be activated with a key that glows in the dark. At the bottom are buttons that access the CMS, picture memories, color presets, gamma selection, aspect ratio and test patterns. The IR transmitter is extremely powerful which allowed me to point pretty much anywhere and get instant response to commands. While I usually don’t pay much attention to projector remotes since they are more often integrated with a universal controller, Epson has earned kudos from me for one of the best clickers I’ve ever used.