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Epson Pro Cinema LS9600e
1080p Laser Projector

Best Home Theater Projector
Performance
5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Epson Pro LS9600e Projector Epson Pro LS9600e
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Street Price: n/a
Lumens:1300
Weight: 39.7 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:2.1x powered
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:30,000 Hrs
30,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI, HDMI (MHL), Network, Wireless Networking, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1080p/30, 1080p/50, 576i, 576p

Performance

Light output. The LS9600e's brightest mode is Dynamic, at 1,393 lumens on our test unit - slightly above the 1,300 lumens claimed on the spec sheet. Dynamic mode is quite well-balanced compared to the low-contrast greenish bright modes found on some other home theater projectors. If you have cause to raise the lights in your home theater and want to give the image some more punch, Dynamic is a good option.

The next image mode, Living Room, measured 911 lumens at full power. Living Room is bluish, like Dynamic, but only about two-thirds as bright. Living Room has less intense black levels and more openness in mid-tones, making it more appropriate for use in ambient light.

The remaining image modes are: Natural (1,038 lumens), THX (842), Cinema (933), and BW Cinema (918). All of these image modes are intended for home theater use, but they differ in their details. THX is the projector's reference mode, and out-of-the-box performance is close to ideal. Cinema is a slightly "pumped up" version of THX, with more intense (though not inaccurate) color. BW Cinema, as the name implies, is for black and white movies; it has a white balance around 5500K so that films like Casablanca can be displayed with warmer tones that more closely match the viewing experience of theaters back in the day. Natural, with more open mid-tones, is a good choice for television and other video content.

The LS9600e's 2.1:1 lens is more efficient than most. Whereas most 2:1 zoom lenses lose at least 40% of light output at maximum telephoto, the lens on the LS9600e only cuts output by 27%. This gives you a little more freedom to place the projector where you need it.

Contrast. Epson doesn't publish a numerical contrast rating for the LS series projectors, instead opting for the term "absolute black." This isn't an exaggeration. When you feed the LS9600e a pure black test image, the projector emits zero lumens. Since you can't divide by zero, assigning a numerical value to the projector's on/off contrast becomes impossible.

On/off contrast represents an ideal test case that isn't representative of real-world use. But when watching movies on the LS9600e, the projector's black level in dark scenes is noticeably deeper than Epson's Ultra Black projectors, which already do quite a nice job in this regard.

Shadow detail is clear and crisp, though the factory gamma settings are a touch too bright. Moving the Gamma control to -2 is an easy way to bring gamma closer to 2.2, though the projector's Custom Gamma control is still preferable if you have the required tools and time to use it.

Color. Accurate color is critical to good home theater, and the LS9600e delivers. Cinema mode's factory calibration puts the grayscale at roughly 7500K, though it is consistent and smooth despite being too blue.

Epson LS9600e grayscale tracking in Cinema mode, factory settings

Cinema mode's Color Temperature control uses arbitrary numbers, and the default setting is 2. Reducing this control to 1 took some of the blue out of the image, but the grayscale was not as smooth. Instead, we left Color Temperature at 2 and made some quick adjustments to bring white balance in line with the desired 6500K.

Epson LS9600e grayscale tracking in Cinema mode after calibration

Using the factory settings, THX mode measures roughly 6300K -- slightly too red. The LS9600e's white balance adjustments carry across image modes, so we saved our Cinema settings and made some slight tweaks to THX mode. The end result gave us a perfectly smooth, even grayscale that is ideal for the cinema purist who wants dead-on color accuracy.

Epson LS9600e grayscale tracking in THX mode, factory settings

Some solid-state projectors in the past have had issues properly reproducing the Rec. 709 color gamut. The LS9600e is not one of them. Color gamut in both Cinema and THX modes is accurate enough that no adjustments are necessary, strictly speaking - the gamut errors are small enough that they would be hard to detect without a meter. However, the projector does include a full color management system, with three-axis adjustments for all colors, so such adjustments are possible if you want dead-on perfection.

Epson LS9600e CIE color gamut in Cinema mode, factory settings

Sharpness and detail. The LS9600e is sharp from edge to edge, with no trace of softness in the corners or edges of the image. In terms of detail, the projector benefits immensely from the Super Resolution and Detail Enhancement systems, giving it a detailed life-like appearance that puts it a cut above the competition.

Input lag. Like other Epson projectors, the LS9600e has an Image Processing control with two settings, "Fast" and "Fine." Setting this control to "Fast" gives the LS9600e a significant speed boost, lowering input lag to 56 milliseconds (just over 3 frames at 60Hz). The "Fine" setting measured almost twice that, at 108 ms (roughly 6 frames).

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Review Contents: Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
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Comments (11) Post a Comment
gil arroyo Posted Dec 5, 2014 10:47 AM PST
please review the production release of the LS10000.
Darin Posted Dec 5, 2014 11:48 AM PST
It would be interesting to hear how the images from the LS9600e and LS10000 compare to the JVC RS49 (or RS4910). It looks to me like the best street prices on the JVCs are a fair amount lower than either of these Epsons even though the RS49 and RS4910 are more expensive than the Sony HW55.

Thanks, Darin
gary cubeta Posted Dec 7, 2014 8:19 PM PST
How does the Epson LS10000 look if you use ECO mode and try and save the laser? Is it just a dark mess on a 135 inch screen?
Joe Smith Posted Dec 8, 2014 1:48 PM PST
the 9600 seems way overpriced as the review says. It is excellent but not much different looking than the Sony 55 and even the JVC500, both are much cheaper than the 9600 and the JVC will have 4k eshift on it the LS10000 is the one in the Epson line; I am baffled why they released the 9600; I don't think it will sell very well
JonnyBlaze Posted Jan 2, 2015 12:10 PM PST
The Epson is a reflective laser projector capable of true black like an OLED TV plus it does not require bulbs. It out classes a Sony 55 by a mile.
Alex Posted Jan 5, 2015 12:13 PM PST
IMHO anyone that is interested in one of these babies for their home theater would also want to know the 'price' of the replacement lamp as compared to Sony or other competitors... hopefully the price will auto-adjust (be dynamic) as it drops that way the review content remains as relevant as the 'real-life' cost of ownership.

Just a suggestion of what I am looking for in a review.
Jacob Posted Feb 28, 2015 12:07 AM PST
^^Alex

The cost of the bulb is not present because it is a bulb-less projector. The second section of this review in addition to comments from others have clarified this most explicitly.
John Posted Mar 3, 2015 8:14 PM PST
Okay, there is no bulb... so, is the laser itself replaceable? If you run it in high mode and get only 10k hours out of it... well, bulb-less isn't much of a selling point in that case, if it means you have to replace the whole projector.
Jack Posted Mar 4, 2015 5:33 PM PST
I am impressed with the video the price is a setback. Being the first of its kind,I'm sure the next generations will be cheaper, more featured, brighter and true 4K.

I think I will wait until the price comes down drastically. I think that would be about a year now.
Wayne Posted Jan 1, 2016 6:20 AM PST
Warning - this projector is noisy and noticeably louder than the previous 1080UB that I own and this is in Mid or ECO power mode. Don't even consider running this projector in High mode unless you don't care about projector noise. Reviewers must be listening to this projector with relative high ambient noise conditions. Currently I have hand built a hush box, as I had for the 1080UB to contain the noise. In a 1/2 inch thick wooden frame containing the projector I can still hear it 15 to 20 feet away. Note that I am awaiting arrival of 1 inch thick damping material that has not been installed yet. Not sure why reviewers state that no one should complain about the noise. I am primarily an audiophile and require minimal background noise in a dedicated home theater room located in the basement.
Ryan Posted Apr 8, 2016 12:44 PM PST
Wrong. We the LS9600 hanging in our store...dead silent. You have something wrong with yours.

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