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Home Theater
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 720 Projector Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 720
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10000:1 Contrast Ratio
1600 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 720
Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, January 11, 2008


The Epson Home Cinema 720 shares the same sleek white case as its two predecessors, the Cinema 400 and the earlier Cinema 550. Once you fire it up, however, the similarities end.

Once you start up the Cinema 720, it is immediately obvious that it is a very bright projector. Our test sample, when used in "Dynamic" mode, produced a maximum of 1453 ANSI lumens. "Living Room" mode measured 727 ANSI lumens, "Natural" weighed in at 482 ANSI, and the three Theater modes (Theater, Theater Black 1, and Theater Black 2) measured 413, 394, and 331 ANSI lumens respectively.

Most people with a light controlled viewing space will want to default to one of the Theater settings while viewing film content, as they give the best contrast and color balance. However, for a room with some ambient light or a very large screen, Living Room provides an extra lumen boost without sacrificing much image quality. And for Sunday-afternoon sports watching, "Dynamic" mode will overpower all but the worst ambient lighting conditions, though color balance takes a hit, taking on a green bias. This bias is noticeable, but not bad enough to make "Dynamic" mode useless -- it is still a fine choice for use in rooms with a lot of ambient light, especially when watching HD sports or similar content.

In terms of contrast, the Cinema 720 is one of the best performing projectors we've yet seen in its price bracket. Black level shows serious improvement over prior Epson 720p projectors, and as you'll see in the comparison section it compares very favorably to other similarly priced models. Shadow detail is likewise rock-solid. When used with good source material, such as an HD DVD or Blu-Ray disc, the Cinema 720 can really do the material justice.

Out of the box, color balance was slightly off, with a push towards red. After some fine tuning, the Cinema 720 produced a well balanced image with excellent saturation - if anything, color saturation needed to be taken down a notch or two.

A 2.1:1 zoom lens puts the Cinema 720 at the top of its class as far as placement flexibility is concerned. Using a 100" diagonal 16:9 image, the Cinema 720 can be placed anywhere from 10'4" to 22'3" away from the screen. This will allow it to be installed in a variety of room sizes fairly easily.

To add to the flexibility, the Cinema 720 also has excellent good lens shift range in both the vertical and horizontal planes. Vertically, the Cinema 720 has a total range of three screen heights, meaning that the entire image can be placed 50% above or below the lens centerline. Horizontally, the image can be moved almost 50% in either direction. This makes the Cinema 720 ideal for rear shelf installation. Ceiling mounting is also fairly simple, thanks to the Cinema 720's vertical shift. In either case, this should mean the complexity of installation should be fairly low.

Epson uses a 170-watt UHE lamp in the Cinema 720, with a replacement cost of about $350. As a result, the Cinema 720 has nice, quiet operation and very little heat exhaust. The heat that is produced is propelled out the front of the case at an angle away from the lens, which should keep the image free of distortion and make rear shelf mounting simple.

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