Epson Ensemble HD
Complete Home Theater System
Advanced Audio Codecs. The system does not currently support the use of high definition audio codecs. These codecs, such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD, were introduced with Blu-Ray and HD-DVD and can handle up to 7.1 surround sound. While the Ensemble does use HDMI 1.3, which is normally all that is required to transmit these formats, the receiver is not currently capable of decoding them. As such, you will attain the best quality audio by sending these formats out of your high definition player over an optical connection. Epson says that they would like to include this feature in future revisions, but it is currently unknown whether that would consist of a hardware or firmware revision. For now, assume that the capability will not arrive any time soon.
Awkward lamp changes. When it comes time to change the lamp, you will need to dismount the projector from the ceiling. The easiest way to do this is to disconnect all cables and rotate the entire cradle one hundred and eighty degrees in order to unlock it from its mount. Once you have it on the ground, you can remove the projector from the cradle and change the lamp. What makes this particularly bothersome is that the Cinema 6100 and 6500 UB both have top-changing lamps, but the lamp doors are blocked by the cradle. The good news is that the air filter can be cleaned without taking the projector out of its mount, so you'll only need to undertake this ritual once every 4,000 hours or so. Let's put that in real-world terms: If you use the Ensemble system for 2 1/2 hours a day, every single day, you will need to change the lamp once every four years.
Hard to upgrade. As with most HTIB systems, the Ensemble is meant to work together as a unit, and as such the components rely on one another for many functions. The subwoofer serves as the amplifier for the entire speaker system. The A/V controller outputs sound from all of your components to the speakers. All of the speaker cables use proprietary plugs, so they cannot be swapped out. Put simply, if you want to upgrade any portion of the Ensemble's sound system, you need to replace the entire system. If you are a person who loves to upgrade and find the perfect setup for your home theater, the Ensemble isn't for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy the simplicity of setting things up once and then leaving them alone, the system is perfect. On a side note, it is likely that the projector cradle will be compatible with future generations of Epson home theater projectors, so there is a potential upgrade path for video, if not audio.
|Review Contents:||System Components||Installation||Capabilities||Limitations|