Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projectors
Performance
5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
DIY Home Theater
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB Projector Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700 UB
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Street Price: n/a
Contrast:200,000:1
Lumens:1600
Weight: 16.1 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:2.1x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:4,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:2 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI 1.3 (x2), RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 576i, 576p

Epson Home Cinema 8700 UB Review

Bill Livolsi, November 18, 2010

Advantages

Lumen output. The Home Cinema 8700 UB has high brightness modes that produce a bright picture while remaining largely color-balanced. This sets it apart from other projectors whose dynamic modes have a more visible color cast or other imbalance. While a home theater projector with high maximum lumen output is not unusual, a Dynamic mode with reasonably balanced color is unusual indeed.

For the brightest possible picture, Dynamic mode measured 1830 lumens. Since Dynamic mode has relatively good color balance, you can experiment with much larger screen sizes or do your viewing in ambient light when the occasion arises.

Living Room mode is slightly less bright than Dynamic. At 1600 lumens, Living Room mode is useful for the same kind of tasks as Dynamic mode, though color temperature is intentionally set cooler. The blue push of Living Room compensates for the yellow ambient light in most living rooms, creating a (reasonably) balanced picture--though this canceling-out is not an exact science. If desired, a simple calibration can bring Living Room closer in line with standards, for a very bright theater mode with better black levels than Dynamic.

On our sample of the 8700 UB, THX mode measured 660 lumens with the lens at wide angle, which is similar to our reading on the 8500 UB (637). That's more than enough light for a standard 120" diagonal 16:9 image in a light-controlled room, and a screen of 150" diagonal would not be unreasonable, either. Keep in mind that you can use low lamp mode with any image preset to extend lamp life to 5,000 hours and reduce lumens by 22%.

Contrast. Like last year's 8500 UB, the 8700 UB is rated at 200,000:1 contrast. While contrast specifications can be misleading, the 8700 UB really does have knock-your-socks-off contrast. Black is some of the blackest we've ever seen, especially in the 8700 UB's price range. Black bars disappear from view, and night-time shots look like they are inked directly onto the screen. For those who despise black bars, the 8700 UB makes them practically unnoticeable.

Since the 8700 UB depends heavily on an auto iris system for its black levels, scenes with higher average illumination have a less impressive black level. That is not to say that the 8700 UB looks bad or low in contrast in these scenes; far from it, it still appears three-dimensional, ready to pop off the screen. Dynamic range is not lessened by the action of the iris, and these brighter scenes still appear quite lovely. But the deepest blacks are only visible in mostly dark scenes, like rolling credits or a nighttime sky.

Color. On the 8500UB, THX mode had the best color accuracy, but lower color saturation than we preferred. This would not have been a problem had THX mode been adjustable, but users were locked out of making changes to this preset. Those who wanted higher saturation had to go through a long calibration process of trying to bring Theater or Theater Black mode in line with THX mode's color balance, which required calibration equipment or an amazingly good eye. Needless to say, it was kind of a hassle. The good news this year is that, while THX mode looks just as good as it did on the 8500UB, those adjustments are no longer grayed out. Even better, saturation does not look as anemic as it did on last year's model, but if you should desire to raise it further, nothing is preventing you from doing so. For an out-of-the-box preset, THX mode is about the best we could hope to see.

Frame Interpolation. Epson has been refining their Frame Interpolation system over several years, beginning in the 6500 UB with a shaky implementation that was, quite frankly, distracting in most cases. The 8500UB's implementation was much better, with fewer artifacts and better smoothness without an overabundance of the dreaded "digital video effect." This effect creates a feeling of the picture being "too real," which ironically ruins some people's immersion in the content. Apparently, we are so used to 24 frames per second that our mind can actually rebel when presented with more.

This year's implementation is as good as it's ever been, with very few artifacts in Low or Medium and less obnoxious digital video effect in High. We would not be opposed to leaving Low engaged all the time, just on general principle, especially when watching standard-definition or television content. Engaging Frame Interpolation does delay the image in relation to the sound, so if you use this feature you will want to pick up an audio delay device, or use the one in your A/V receiver.

Super Resolution. Using a novel processing algorithm, Super Resolution presents the maximum possible amount of detail from a given source without adding undue artificial edge enhancement. It is in essence a "smart" sharpening system, and it is effective at what it does--we only saw the slightest trace of ringing at the highest setting, and none whatsoever at lower settings. It is not something we would likely use for high-def material, given the abundance of detail already present in a 1080p source. But pop in any standard-definition DVD and engage Super Resolution and you'll be amazed at the difference.

Great SD Performance. Speaking of standard definition DVDs, the 8700 UB is one of the best projectors available for their display. Turn on Frame Interpolation to Low or Medium, engage Super Resolution at a similar level, and you might not even recognize the picture you get. Detail is cleaned up, which makes DVDs look better than they ever have. Judder is eliminated thanks to the FI system. The 8700 UB's perfect color balance and excellent contrast are of course great benefits, as well. If you made a significant investment in standard-definition DVDs the 8700 UB will breathe new life into your movie collection.

Limitations

Manual Zoom/Focus. The 8700 UB has manual zoom/focus, which is not a big deal unless you want to use the zoom adjustments for a 2.4 Cinemascope set up. You can do that with a long zoom lens like the 2.1:1 found on the 8700 UB. Paired with a 2.4:1 screen, you can simply "zoom up" cinemascope movies while leaving 16:9 films in the center of the frame, essentially trading letterboxing for pillarboxing. However, this is much easier with a powered zoom lens--or, even better, a projector with an automatic lens repositioning capability, such as that found on Epson's new reflective LCD offerings, the Home Cinema 21000, Pro Cinema 31000, and Pro Cinema 61000. If you are going to do this with the 8700 UB, you will need to place the projector within easy reach, so the manual resetting of the lens and lens shift is not too much of a nuisance.

Review Contents: Applications Advantages and Limitations Shootout

Reader Comments(33 comments)

Posted Mar 9, 2015 6:34 AM

By David Brenneman

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Yes I have the pink on the bottom and blue at the top. I really don't notice it because I am looking at the fantastic picture in the middle. You have to look for the blue at the top and the pink on the bottom is very washed out. Someone said I should pull the lamp out and push it back in. I haven't tried it yet, but it supposed to be from the lamp cooling and heating.

Posted Jan 13, 2015 10:06 AM

By Ryan

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Has anyone else had issues with a pink band of discoloration along the bottom of the screen, and a blue green discoloration along the top? It showed up about a year after the warranty expired on my 8700 UB. I took it to a place that fixes projectors but they said it was a $2000 fix so no point in doing it. Not impressed to only get 3 years out of the thing and now I need to buy a new projector at some point. I'll probably go Panasonic next time because apparently they are easier to fix.

Posted Oct 31, 2013 1:17 PM

By lsume

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For totally dark room I use Eco mode and THX. Note sure if one negates other but I think not. I do suggest that you have decent convective heat transfer for your lamp. As I stated somewhere, we have 15' ceilings and so the ceiling fan stays out of the way.. Also, the room was built from the beginning as a media room. With all of the 8700UB bulb failures I have read about my guess is that either there is poor cooling to the lamp or thermal shock from rapid changes is lamp temp. or a combination of both. For a do it yourself set up perhaps a small quiet focused fan to move the heat.

Hope this helps.

Posted Jul 17, 2013 12:02 PM

By lsume

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as an engineer, I constantly read available info on most of my online purchases. Our home was still under construction at the beginning of 2009. I hired a professional media tech too pre wire the home for complete sound and he wired the media room for Dolby 7.1 before there was media for Dolby 7.1. We waited until May of 2013 to install the the speakers and tuners for the different floors. He installed Denon tuner and Tannoy speakers. The tuner was not available on Amazon until March 13, 2013. We are very thankful that we waited for the equipment availability before install. I researched the projector extensively. I contacted visual Apex and the salesperson I spoke with was also an engineer. the media tech installed a Sonos playbar for the living room. We purchased a solid projector screen (120") with a 1.1 gain from Visual Apex. I run the projector in Eco mode and am more than impressed with the picture. My personal visual acuity, I believe, is such that the Epson 8700ub is as good as I can see. I think that next generation projectors from Epson should logically be better than their predecessor's.

Posted Dec 5, 2012 5:52 PM

By Ryan

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I bought the 8700 used for $1,150 with 250 hour on the lamp, I made my own frame and bought a screen from Ebay that is for a 140 screen. Instead of wraping around the frame, I stretched it out so that I now have a 142 screen. I can not believe the pictures quality and colors that I see, I plan to add a velvet border and hanging the projector from the ceiling.

For the price of a 60 inch TV, the projector with 140 inch screen is the way to go!

Posted Jan 21, 2012 10:19 PM

By Philip

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Can you please post your 8700UB calibration for total dark room? Thanks!

Posted Jan 8, 2012 3:01 AM

By Brad

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I have a 6500ub right now I've been using with a DIY 200 inch diag curved theatrical wide screen (2.35-2.40 aspect ratio). The 6500ub has the same lumen spec as the 8700 (which I'm now upgrading to). It's plenty bright in cinema modes with controlled light and can still do well with some ambient light when a brighter setting is selected.

Posted Nov 6, 2011 7:50 AM

By vick

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hey guys if some one know pls tell me what's differnt with epson 9700 or 8700ub..it's got same looms but prise wise differnt..........n when epson 5010 comeing out.......if any one know if that be any batter then the others

Posted Oct 23, 2011 7:33 AM

By Billy

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I have the same issue, 18 ft throw distance, 18 ft seating distance. I ordered the Epson 8700ub with a 120 inch screen but really want to go bigger, with the 135 inch screen. Will I lose resolution? What did you go with and do you regret it? Any help is much appreciated.

Posted Sep 19, 2011 7:29 PM

By Bryan

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JOSH- 9700 gets a three year advanced exchange Warranty (including issues with the bulb, a second bulb, A very nice sturdy ceiling mount (really is better than any sub $200 mount I can find)a few adjustment modes, a support for Anamorphic lens. Most people shy away because of the price, but let me tell you after using 3 different projectors over the past 6 years. I want a 3 year advanced exchange warranty and a spare lamp.

Posted Aug 15, 2011 9:39 PM

By Josh

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8700 vs. 9700 Other than warranty and a black case, what does the extra $ buy me? I've compared every specification I can find online and I haven't seen anything different... Am I missing something?

-josh

Posted Jul 24, 2011 11:30 PM

By Matt

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Does anyone know the answer to Sams question? I also am trying to decide between the two. I will be using it for sports/tv in a room with a fair amount of ambient light.

Posted May 2, 2011 2:50 AM

By Charliw

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I was between the 8350 and 8700ub. End up with the 8700ub with the Visual Apex 100" fixed screen. Couldn't be happier with the prices and buying process from Visual Apex. Shipping was fast too.

Posted Apr 27, 2011 5:24 PM

By julio eloy mesa

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pardon my english please. I have a 12 x 9 feet room and I want a proyected image of 90 inches wide more or less. Is the 9700UB the apropiate projector that fit my throw distance. NOTE the 90 inches is not diagonal. If so, I want to buy this projector. THANKS

Posted Apr 22, 2011 8:17 PM

By Kam

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Conditions: 110" Stewart screen, approximately 18' away from the projector, with the top of the screen about 20" lower than a ceiling-mounted lens. Would an expert tell me what top-rated, best-value projector is best suited for the mentioned conditions? Is Epson 8700 UB? I appreciate your inputs.

Posted Apr 10, 2011 4:27 AM

By Kiwi

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Amazingly, neither the review or the comment section makes mention of the 8700's noisy auto iris which is driving me nuts. If mounted close to your seated position and if you are sensitive to it, this thing, to quote a review i just read, sounds like a "gurgling coffee pot". This is destroying my opinion of an otherwise perfect $2K projector. If Epson replies to my complaint, I'll post it.

Posted Apr 2, 2011 12:02 AM

By Charlie

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I was looking for a projector for my home theater room after watching the Epson 8350 at my friend home theater setup. I was in between the 8350 and 8700UB, I can't justify the price difference but after doing a lot of researches and comparison online. I pull the trigger and bought the 8700UB. I couldn't be happier. The picture is very sharp, Very impressive black level. The epson 8700UB along with my Visual Apex 100" fixed screen work perfectly. My friend was so impress he's going to buy the same setup as my and put his Epson 8350 on ebay lol. Comparing 8700ub to 8350 is like Apple and oranges

Posted Apr 1, 2011 6:51 PM

By Mark Ziggy

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Go big my friend, im 14-15 feet from the screen and my Epson MM 72 Is throwing a 152" image, it is massive, it is mega, it is magic everyone loves it its like a movie theater so if you are gonna do it then do it up and make it as close to the movie theater as possible

Posted Mar 9, 2011 6:21 AM

By WALAS VIVIAN

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Hi, I own a Epson 8700ub and its already on the ceiling of my home theater room, 10' high, throw 18' to the wall, my big concert is the with screen side is better a 120" or 135"....I need help to make a final decision.

options: ezframe elitescreen R120WH1 (120') ezframe elitescreen R135WH1 (135')

Posted Feb 27, 2011 7:21 AM

By Dave

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I would love to get this projector as once again I am sending my Optoma HD80 in for service. My concern, this is an LCD projector, my last LCD projector a Panasonic, and it seems that LCD are very susceptible to Dust getting into the optics. We live in the middle of the desert and thing get dust out here. thats why I like the DLP idea, Sealed Optics. What do you guys think? Thanks

Posted Feb 14, 2011 12:46 PM

By Ravi Nayak

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I replaced my Panasonic projector with Epson 8700UB and can confirm that the internal scaler does Vertical Stretch and for those using CIH anamorphic lens for 2.4:1, this is the best projector hands down, in the price range.

Posted Jan 22, 2011 1:54 AM

By Westland

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Hello xp800, I am intending to do the same. Can you confirm that the internal scaler works and all works well with an anamorphic lens? Thanks

Posted Jan 5, 2011 1:51 PM

By cduong

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I purchased the epson 8700 2 weeks ago and was very glad that I chose the 8700 instead of the 8350. I figured that difference was about $800, but with the free lamp offer with purchase of the 8700 valued at $300, the actual difference was about $400-$500. Let's me say this: the 8700 is fantastic! my setup includes a basic 120" 16:9 white (1.3 gain), fixed Elite screen; yamaha 3050 soundbar, sony s570 bd dvd player, mediabridge hdmi cable (6 feet x1; connecting sony bd player to yamaha); and CL2-rated, 22-gauge (very thick diameter) hdmi cable purchased from amazon.com (35 feet x1; connecting yamaha's hdmi output to epson's hdmi input). without calibrating or making any changes to default settings on the epson 8700, the picture was unbelievable. it rivals that of my 58" 1080p panasonic plasma tv. on closeup, I saw every wrinkle and detailed textures of the actors' faces. Dark scenes were indeed black. Placement cannot get any more flexible (no dedicated projector stand needed!). I placed it about 16 feet on a coffee table in front of my sitting area and the lens shift threw a beautiful picture on the screen with slight adjustments. The only con that I can think of is that although its noise is rated at 26 (or 28 dB), you can still hear it, but only if you pay attention to it. Once the movie starts, the noise does not focus your attention. Again, if you can afford $500 more, do not buy the 8350. Go with the 8700!

Posted Dec 29, 2010 6:02 PM

By mike

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James.....I cant give you a comparison on these two projectors but I have the 8700UB just got it for xmas, and I am very pleased by the brightness of the projector for say football etc. with some lights on in the room.

I have a media room with dark walls and a white ceiling. The image is being thown up on a home made screen using dalite cinema vision high contrast material (gain 1.1 i think). The picture is bright and dynamic with some moderate lighting in the room.

this projector replaces my 720P mitsubishi HD1000, and the thing that really stands out to me is the color saturation and black levels.....I love it so far........

Posted Dec 16, 2010 11:15 PM

By James Voos

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I would love to chime in on the most anticipated question, and perhaps the hardest. I kept waiting for it reading the review - 8700UB vs 8350? I am wondering primarily about the drop in lumens with the 8700UB. Tough decisions, but good choices to have!

Posted Nov 27, 2010 11:45 AM

By RJHD3

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That is a great question, and I hope you consider it Bill. It would be great to see a step-through up a product line to see what the extra investment buys for the user.

If you still have them in-house it would be great to see a comparison between the HC8350, the 8700UB, and the Professional series.

Obviously the extra $900 buys a second bulb and better warranty, as well as better performance...but what is the nature of that upgrade to the eye, and utility of the projector?

Thanks for considering it.

Posted Nov 27, 2010 9:21 AM

By Bill Croxton

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I have 14 feet distance and 80 in diagonal screen. Will this projector work for me?

Posted Nov 24, 2010 12:40 PM

By Markus

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Considering this projector I'm wondering if there are any wide angle converters or attachments for these projectors?

Posted Nov 21, 2010 7:56 PM

By Birka

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In regards to lumen output which is said to be 660 at wideangle (12 feet?)and 550 at the "optical sweet spot" of 16 feet ... The recommendation appears to be to lose 110 lumen to get into the optical sweetspot. How is 16 feet better than 12 feet - How does it show?

Posted Nov 20, 2010 4:23 PM

By Mido

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I am ready to buy this now, but I dont want to but it and find out a week later that Panasonic releases a new model in this range. I have a AE900U and love it. 4 years and 2900 hours on one lamp with no issues at all. For that reason I would love to stay with Panasonic, but why would I drop 2k on a old model 4000 when all the other companies are dropping new models. Has Panny made any statement about expected new models? Any leaks?

Posted Nov 19, 2010 12:56 PM

By B Keister

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I too would like to see comment between the 8700UB and 8350. That is a lot of difference in price and they both seem to compare favorably to the Panasonic AE 4000

Posted Nov 18, 2010 2:02 PM

By xp800

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As this (or the 9700UB) is what I will be buying shortly, thank you for the great review.

I do believe you have made an error on the Anamorphic Stretch feature. Page 27 of the owners manual clearly states that the internal scaler will do the vertical stretch and you can even configure the trigger output to work with this function.

In fact I bought an CIH lens in anticipation of getting this projector... So the manual better be correct!

Thanks.

Posted Nov 18, 2010 1:17 PM

By sam chan

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hi,

can you compare the 8700 UB to the PowerLite Home Cinema 8350? is the former worth the extra price?

thanks, sam

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