The IFA is a huge technology event where all of the well known brands both in your home and in the land of corporate events showcase their products but the main point of the event for me was to check out what Epson had to offer in their 2011 / 2012 product range and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised.
You’re not able to go anywhere in the world of technology at the moment without hitting the topic of 3D head on and this year’s IFA was the place to be for all things 3D. The industry is currently rather oversubscribed with 3D products but Epson had purposefully held back their new range of 3D systems as they didn’t believe that there was enough content to support their products. That has obviously changed in 2011 as the range of Epson projectors that were launched all feature 3D.
During their presentation, we were told that over the next three years, 45 3D movies are scheduled for theatrical release making the time for 3D projectors in the home even more relevant. Two of the projectors, the EH-TW9000 and EH-TW9000W feature a 2D to 3D conversion feature which could be a rather nice and interesting stopgap between 3D with glasses and glasses-less technology.
I was rather sceptical on how this 2D to 3D conversion would actually look and as yet, that scepticism remains as we weren’t able to see it demoed but hopefully I’ll get sent a review version of the projector and will be able to give the 2D to 3D a thorough test.
In the meantime, here’s the info on how the 2D – 3D conversion actually works according to the clever chaps at Epson:
Epson’s new high-end projectors EH-TW9000 and EH-TW9000W allow you to easily convert 2D high definition content into Full HD 3D at the touch of a button. An internal microchip (the Integrated Circuit or IC chip) analyses the image and splits it into various levels of depth, which at the end it will re-combine in order to create a sense of perspective in the scene. At the same time all the objects in the 2D picture are identified in order to develop an embossed model of each. It uses these two techniques to simulate the ‘parallax’ images (the paired set of left and right eye images). The resulting image is then put back together by the projector and shown on the screen, so creating 3D pictures which are as natural as if you were looking out of your window. For users, this means they can enlarge the bank of films, TV shows or games to watch in 3D significantly, with ease.
The 2011 model that was also a surprise to many was the Epson MG-850HD which is the new home consumer model. It’s extremely lightweight, relatively cheap, has a 5000-hour lamp life and features and iPod / iPad / iPhone / iWhatever dock allowing you to play video and watch photos with friends. The projector is also equipped with two 10 watt speakers which enables you to be able to take the projector with you on your travels without the need for extra peripherals like speakers.
By far the most impressive feature for me was the brand new wireless projectors that Epson have created with model numbers EH-TW6000w (contrast ratio 40,000: 1) and the flagship model EH-TW9000w which boasts a display contrast of 200,000: 1. These two projectors come with a transmitter device with the projector which talks to the display unit allowing you to broadcast your images from up to 10m away. I can see this as being a fantastic feature as let’s face it, anything which means fewer cables can only be a good thing. All the projectors in this new range feature the standard component inputs that you’d expect to see on a modern projector with multiple HDMI sockets, and VGA / DVI inputs.
From the demos that we saw, this new wireless functionality was able to transmit full HD visuals in real-time to the projector unit itself. The projector really was amazing and will hopefully revolutionise the way in which we use projectors. I asked the question about having multiple wireless devices in one place at one time and was told that each projector is on a different channel meaning that you run large events now without having to run VGA cables across large distances. The 10m range is the standard at the moment but I’m sure this will increase as the technology advances.
The full list of products demoed to us with their price points were as follows:
Overall, the product range from Epson is extensive and extremely impressive. Looking at the quality of their new range, I was blown away with the improvements on corporate projectors but also their range for home use. The main improvement has to be the price. People actually gasped in the audience when they heard the price of the EH-TW6000W being priced at just £1649 which is really just a little more money than you’d pay for a top of the range 42” television, especially as these projectors boast screen sizes of up to 300 inches.
Projectors are really starting to become affordable in the home and this new range of Epson projectors should definitely be considered when you come to buy your next visual system for your home or office. With new innovations like having ventilation fans on the front of the device rather than the back, it allows home users to place their projector on a shelf without the fear of it overheating and is just one of the simple yet much needed changes that Epson have implemented. Their 3LCD system has now been in their projectors for over 20 years and is still providing the clearest images on projectors that i’ve seen.
If we’re lucky, we’ll be getting a projector in the range listed about to review properly in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled.
Below is an image gallery of the new projectors released by Epson. Click the images to enlarge.