Epson Pro Cinema LS9600e
1080p Laser Projector
December 4, 2014
This year, Epson released a couple of laser-driven home theater projectors that are generating a lot of attention. The flagship Pro Cinema LS10000, which we've already reviewed, has 4K enhancement technology and will retail for "less than $8,000." The Pro Cinema LS9600e shares a lot in common with the higher-end model, but lacks 4K enhancement and will sell for "less than $6,000." The LS9600e is the best 1080p projector Epson has ever built, without a doubt, but its big-budget price tag and the stiff competition already in the market combine to squeeze it into a very small niche.
The Viewing Experience
The LS9600e is one of the first laser-driven home theater projectors, so it's causing a lot of buzz amongst home theater enthusiasts. Many people want their next projector to be lamp-free, and they think the LS9600e might be that projector. So let's talk about how to get the best possible performance out of this unique projector.
The Epson LS9600e is a "classic" home theater projector. It creates a super high contrast image that will look best in a very dark room that's dedicated to home theater. If you are considering the LS9600e, it wouldn't hurt to improve the viewing environment as much as you can, either by painting your walls and ceiling or by hanging curtains around the screen to cut reflections.
In such a space, the LS9600e is a gem. The projector's laser light source starts up instantly and comes to full brightness in seconds, not minutes. First startup can be disconcerting, because the projector's deep black level can make you think it hasn't turned itself on - until the EPSON logo jumps onto the screen.
This super-deep black is one of the projector's most striking features, and it's the reason why you need a properly treated room to fully appreciate the LS9600e. Any ambient or reflected light will lessen the impact of the projector's stunning black level.
The projected image is compelling. Colors pop, shadow details are well-defined, and there is very little digital noise. Detail is amazingly sharp thanks to the Super Resolution and Detail Enhancement features, both of which draw out fine detail in the source material without any noticeable edge enhancement artifacts. On the contrary, the enhanced image never loses its natural character. The 3D image is bright, colorful, and has minimal crosstalk, which we've come to expect from Epson projectors over the years. Using the LS9600e, you constantly come across little details that demonstrate Epson's many years' experience building great home theater projectors. It feels, front to back, like a refined, polished projector.