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Epson's Contrast Ratio Testing method used is..

Epson showing us how they test their home cinema projectors, yes in a mode you'll never use!

Epson Projector Test 40-70 inch screen

We note that Epson did not make the above testing methodology but are simply following one. 

  • Why test in Dynamic mode, a mode you won't use for serious home theatre?
    - Using the wrong test. That test is for Office Equipment / Data Projectors!
  • Why test on a 40-70 inch screen and not say 100-120 inch like most people will buy?
    - The test is about 5 years old and designed for, yes you guessed it, the office.
  • Why test black then white rather than black and white at the same time as per the ANSI CR test recommended by Choice?
  • - Come back to using the wrong test (see previous page).
  • Can we see the test results? 
  • - Now that would be interesting (see previous page).
  • Who did the tests and how did they magically end up at exactly millions to 1.
    - Epson are not saying at this stage.
  • What is the difference between projector batches in test results?
    - No reply.

  • Thanks to Epson Australia's General Manager – Sales & Marketing  for pointing out that we may have misled the reader by stating the screen size (40-70 inch) was sourced to us from Epson. This is not our intention. We were simply saying that Epson acknowledged that's the size they are using and Epson Australia was the source of this information to us, not the source of the test 2012 office equipment test method. There is however one small problem with the latest information sent to us from Epson Australia. Let's look at this in more detail, the first thing to note is Epson do know the difference between a data and home cinema projector: 

    From Epson's Australian site, note the term "data projector" which you could well purchase as office equipment :-
    "Portable and powerful - The EMP-745 ushers in a new era of incredibly lightweight, high performance data projectors with the flexibility to deliver outstanding results in any presentation environment." and/or  "Epson has an extensive range of Multifunction printers, data and home theatre projectors, as well as POS printers and large format printing solutions.."

    Epson Australia say Epson are using a test method on various Home Theater Projectors that's titled "Data Projectors" / "Office Equipment", thus they seem to be using the wrong test. "Information technology -- Office equipment -- Information to be included in specification sheets -- Data projectors" -- iso.org/standard/57467 Link supplied by Epson Australia.

NA 043-01-28 AA - Office equipment is the committee referenced. 

ISO Data Projector test
A reasonable definition is: data projector

 This is an easy mistake to make, not understanding the difference between a Data & Home Cinema Projector. What does that say about the companies marketing divisions (many of them the world over) that have let this happen? We honestly don't know it baffles us.  

4K True or not?

True vs Fake 4K

Enhanced 4K vs. True 4K background

Epson does not offer a true 4k projector.

"..I was just about to pay for the home cinema bundle when my son asked what does the word enhanced under the 4K logo mean? The salesman then explained that it was not actual 4K.. Lucky via my son I found out before I paid for what I thought was a real 4K projector!" 

- This actually happened (name on file).

Pixel shifting AKA "enhanced" 1080P isn't capable of producing adjacent vertical lines of RGBRGB also you can't address each pixel independently. 

So keep a look out for the word "enhanced" it may be in fine print under a much larger "4K" on logos. 
Native 4K is best but so long as you can address each pixel and have it appear where it should, when it should with 4K resolution then you have True 4K. 
Answering a question asked by Epson's Australian Business Development Manager - Visual Solutions, that was basically why don't you go after other manufacturers who are quoting figures higher than the native measurements?

"oh so sad! still no correction of the headline and content that is just strongly misleading marketing blurp and not the real deal: "whether they’re displaying native 4K content or digitally upscaling Full HD 1080p content" - no, they cannot display 4K content at the true, native 4K resolution. They pixel shift their full-hd lcd panels to something in between full HD and 4K. They do not carry 4K pixels on the 3 lcd panels. They do not compare to a true 4K tv that has 4 times the pixels of a full HD tv. It somehow reminds me of the 16 megapixel Foveon sensors that were marketed as "equivalent" Bayer 48 megapixel sensors." - DPreview

In regard to other brands, to say you can't have 4K unless the chip/panel(s) are 4K is like saying you can't have a higher contrast ratio than the native CR of the panel. CRT tubes had just 3 guns but nobody called them 3 pixels. 

BenQ's 4K can display 8,294,400 discrete pixels (3840 x 2160) this is considered true 4K / television and Ultra HD Blu-ray standard it's the resolution of all the 4K TVs. The argument about slicing images goes out the window too because that's what pixel shifting is, displaying one section of the image then the other section in succession.

Interesting point on actual pixels vs. resolution

CRT 3 pixels

Do you remember the old CRT TVs? 
They had just 3 electron guns yet nobody said they were really just 3 pixels.

Here is a good summary on "True" 4K vs. Pixel Shifting from projectorreviews.com

"FauxK vs 4K – what’s the verdict? I consider any projector that can put at least 3840 x 2160 discreet pixels on the screen – without any overlap, to be “true 4K” (not an official term). Let’s start with the simple truth that FauxK isn’t any official term that some standard committee has blessed. Consider it slang.The term has been showing up projector industry since at least 2011.Here’s the thing: Traditionally we measured resolution (still do), by the number of discreet pixels horizontally and vertically, such as 1080p being 1920 x 1080 pixels, that’s roughly 2 megapixels. But, when pixel shifting showed up first in projectors by JVC, and shortly after by Epson, we ended up with a 1080p projector capable of hitting the screen with 4 million pixels, but it required overlapping those pixels. They didn’t create smaller pixels so they could get more on the screen, they just fired them twice, shifting by a half pixel. There are real advantages to that, but there is one truth that holds for all pixel shifting projectors. They cannot produce as sharp an image as a projector with the same number of pixels hitting the screen, when the other projector has discreet pixels – each one is separate, no overlap. Technically, it’s no contest! 

It’s this simple: The area of each 4K (3840 x 2160) pixel on, say a 100″ screen, is exactly one-fourth the area of a 1080p projector’s pixel, whether that 1080p projector is a pixel shifter or not. Those projectors simply cannot be a sharp (unless there are serious problems with the 4K projector. The true 4K projector can do a perfect vertical or horizontal line, that’s 1/3840 of the screen width. For a pixel shifter that’s 1080p, that line has to be at minimum twice as thick as a true 4K line. "

4K Confusion with mixed messages

"While it's not 4K on the screen it's decent resolution."

Not true 4K example

It's Black & White

Epson "Contrast: Wide grayscales also mean higher contrast ratios. Early LCD projectors were hard‐pressed to
achieve average contrast ratios of 100:1! Today, it’s not unusual to see average contrast ratios
exceeding 400:1" - Whitepaper 3LCD: PROJECTION TECHNOLOGY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Getting back to Contrast we think claims of millions to one are a joke, a more reasonable full on/off range would be way less than 10,000:1.
The native CR of a 3-LCD may be in the 8,000:1 how can a projector go from 2,000:1 to almost 2,000,000:1 especially when some Epson Pro-AV models only claim 2,000:1?

Things are looking up with some of Epson's business data projectors and Pro-AV models many are claiming a very respectable and realistic 2,000:1 CR, see EB-1725 / EB-825 / EB-X10 / EB-1771W / EB-1776W / EB-W6 / EB-1770W /  EB-1735W /  EB-1776W / EB-1776W. 

Pro-AV Epson projector models quoting 2,000:1 Contrast are EB-L1100U, EB-L1105U, EB-L1200U,EB-L1300U, EB-L1405U, EB-L1500U,EB-L1505 UEB-L25000U.  We say well done Epson, the others should follow you, in this case less is more, believably.

So how do you get from low native to massive Dynamic Contrast?

A dynamic iris can do a lot to ramp up contrast by cutting down on excessive brightness passing through the image panel(s) (Same for LCD and DLP) in dark scenes. There is however a contrast via iris problem unless you use B/W sequentially in the test. It seems that most brands don't mind using a test that checks just Black and White one after the other because, presto high numbers! The iris works on the whole image, this is problematic for measurements of millions to one when real content has black, white and colours all at the same time. The lower CR on "real life images" problem does not take away from the current crop of very impressive projectors, the weak link is our vision system. 

New!  Pick a number CR?

Epson now offer "Absolute Black contrast ratio" — "..together, the 3LCD Reflective system and laser light source deliver unprecedented black levels, displaying zero lumens during full-black scenes". This can actually be a bit distracting if you've ever watched film closely there is no absolute black, so for the odd frames with nothing in them (normally near titles) you notice the screen going from nothing to the normal background state.

We find it interesting that very similar projectors have very big differences in their quoted contrast. If they were all using the same ANSI method you would not find differences in the order of 10 fold. This we feel is more a marketing trick.

What this means to Contrast Ratio measurements

If you project nothing but black i.e nothing, the light source is shut off and you get no Lumens to measure at all. 

Therefor if you're dividing any white reading by ZERO you can call it any number you like! (..they all do this trick)

  • You can also get the same black reading by turning off the power, you'll be watching the same image.
  • Your car can also get unlimited l/100km by not driving it :)
  • VW had vehicles that got great emission readings, but not on the road.
    Porsche and Audi vehicles in the US that activated pollution controls during Government tests and switched them off in real-world driving.  More

Epson's D9 TFT liquid crystal panels 1080P specifications (no native CR noted)

Name L3C07U-95G00
Also used on
EH TW8300 TW9300

Also used on
EH TW5600

Panel type Transmissive HTPS Transmissive HTPS
Liquid crystal type C2 Fine
(VA inorganic alignment layer)
C2 Fine
(VA inorganic alignment layer)
Process technology D9 D9
Effective pixels 1920 x 1080 (1080p) 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
Panel size (diagonal) 0.74 inch (1.87 cm) 0.61 inch (1.54 cm)
Pixel pitch(diagonal) 8.5 microns 7.0 microns(1.54 cm)
Aperture ratio 65 % 61%

It's not easy to find but Epson does tell you more about CR

Epson pro Cinema Projectors

Epson's 2017 Laser professional 2,000:1 CR venue projectors

Can Epson explain why they quote 2,000:1 contrast for their most expensive projectors and between 1,000,000:1 and 2,500,000:1 for some of their less expensive home theatre EH TW projector models?

EB-L1000U, EB-L1100U, EB-L1200U, EB-L1300U, EB-L1405U, EB-L1505U/UH, EBL1755U

Epson add a spinning Phosphor Wheel to  high performance Laser based projectors

There has been a lot of advertising based on "no spinning wheels" however the latest high output Laser projectors all seem to use spinning wheels.
The wheel is so that Laser light can be converted into to different colors, it's spinning so it's not burnt into it and to help cooling it as it's very hot and glowing very brightly. One (via spinning wheel) method is when the LEDs create the blue colour another blue laser is also used to illuminate a yellow phosphor wheel, which emits the yellow light that's split by a filter into green and red light components. 

The above projectors would be almost as good as you can get, in our opinion now even better for not insulting us with misleading specifications. 
Do they assume that professionals know tall tails when they see them and home users don't?

We'll add our opinion (in red) on where some manufacturers rate with the below headings.

Exclusive dealing

Broadly speaking, exclusive dealing occurs when one person trading with another imposes some restrictions on the other’s freedom to choose with whom, in what, or where they deal. Most types of exclusive dealing are against the law only when they substantially lessen competition, although some types are prohibited outright.

Imposing minimum resale prices (In progress..)

A supplier may recommend that resellers charge an appropriate price for particular goods or services but may not stop resellers charging or advertising below that price.

Misuse of market power

A supplier with a substantial degree of power in a market is not allowed to use this power for the purpose of eliminating or substantially damaging a competitor or to prevent a business from entering into a market. This behaviour is referred to as ‘misuse of market power’.

Refusal to supply products or services

In most cases, businesses have the right to decide who they do business with. There are a few circumstances, where a suppliers' refusal to supply is breaking the law.

Source: accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour

Errors & Omissions Excluded (E.&O.E.) Trade marks / logos are the property of their respective owners. Please contact the editor if you find any factual errors in any of our comments. This information is an opinion only and you should cross check before making any purchase decisions. Fair use. Criticism and review. Items in this review / web site may contain trademarks, logos, terms or images that are the property of their respective owners.

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