- ✓Good image quality
- ✓easy to set up and use
- ✓plenty of inputs
- ✓relatively quiet in operation.
- ✕Doesn't handle wide-screen formats at native resolution
- ✕relatively bulky and heavy.
Epson’s EMP-TS10 has most of the features required of a home cinema projector: a good range of digital and analogue video inputs, a good contrast ratio, high picture quality from its LCD imaging unit, and plenty of image control settings to cope with different types of input signal. It’s by no means the most lightweight or compact projector we’ve tested, but it looks good and is reasonably quiet in operation.
The EMP-TS10’s imaging engine is built around a trio of polysilicon TFT panels, a 1:1.35 manual zoom lens and a 150W UHE lamp. This combination delivers a native resolution of 800 by 600 pixels (SVGA), 700-Lumen brightness and a contrast ratio of 500:1. Compared to devices designed primarily for data projection, the EMP-TS10 has relatively low resolution and brightness, but a good contrast ratio -– although the latter is by no means the highest in this review. It can project images from 30in. up to 300in. in size, which should be plenty big enough for most living rooms. Digital keystone correction is available in both vertical and horizontal planes, allowing some positional flexibility –- an important consideration if you want to avoid rearranging your whole living room to accommodate the projector. Lens shift, which allows even more positional flexibility, is not featured on the EMP-TS10, however.
A home cinema projector needs to offer plenty of video inputs, and that’s certainly the case with the EMP-TS10. Computer input is handled by a digital DVI port and an analogue 15-pin VGA connector, and there are composite (RCA), component (Mini D-Sub) and S-Video (Mini DIN) ports to accommodate video signals from various sources. Audio input is handled by a stereo mini-jack and a pair of RCA connectors. Like almost all projectors, the EMP-TS10 has a built-in speaker, but home theatre users will need to use something more substantial for acceptable results -- hence the projector's audio-out facility.
The EMP-TS10 is relatively bulky and weighty at 34.9 by 11.4 by 27.4cm and 4.2kg, but it looks handsome in its cream-coloured livery, and certainly won’t disgrace your living room. All of the inputs are at the back, so you’ll need a good-sized shelf on which to mount this projector if you want to get it out of the way. There’s a control panel on top of the unit, and an infrared remote control, both giving access to a reasonably straightforward menu system. Epson’s claimed noise level of 31dB for the EMP-TS10 makes it among the quietest in this review. Unlike some smaller projectors, it doesn’t get too hot in use either.
Setup is made easier by Automatic Source Recognition feature, which identifies and switches to an incoming video signal without user intervention. Perhaps the only disappointment for serious cinephiles is the EMP-TS10’s inability to handle wide-screen formats at native resolution. Epson does offer the EMP-TW100, which has a native resolution of 1,280 by 720 (a true 16:9 aspect ratio), but this product costs substantially more at £3,599 (ex. VAT). That apart, the EMP-TS10 delivers good image quality, with usability enhanced by one-button access to picture settings optimised for DVD movies (Theatre), natural colour reproduction (Natural), fast-moving video and PC games (Dynamic), bright images (PC) and sRGB-standard output (sRGB).
If you can live with the Epson EMP-TS10’s above-average bulk and weight, and lack of native-resolution wide-screen capability, you’ll find it a flexible, usable and reasonably priced projector that’s well suited to home cinema use.