Product review: Epson EH-TW5600 Projector

Projector experts Epson have introduced a new entry level projector with a host of great features for those dipping their toes into the world of home cinema projectors.

Affordable HD projectors for those who want the big screen experience at a budget price have been around for a while now. If you’re happy to plonk your projector on a coffee table, move it forwards or backwards and point it at a wall, you needn’t spend much money at all to get up and running. A proper home installation however, involves a bit more preparation and consideration of the projector’s capabilities. Zoom, throw ratio, keystone, and lens shift all play a factor when you have a specific area that you want to place your projector in. This is when it pays to look at what you can get for a bit more money and Epson’s EH-TW5600 is one such product.

As with other Epson projectors that Richer Sounds carries, the 5600 uses 3LCD projection; a system where 3 chips are used to create 3 separate images that are then combined to create bright, vibrant colours. This means that unlike some projectors that use a single chip and rotating wheel system, there is no “rainbow effect” (where flashes of red, green and blue can ruin the viewing experience). The end result is a 35000:1 contrast ratio and 2500 lumens of brightness. This is especially useful if you’re not in a position to completely block out any ambient light when you’re using the projector.

The sleek white body of the 5600 is only 309mm wide, 285mm deep and 122mm high which makes it ideal for those wanting something a little more discreet mounted to the ceiling. 2 HDMI inputs (one of which is compatible with MHL for smartphones and tablets) and a VGA for older computers means you’re covered for most sources that you’re likely to hook up, whilst a 3.5mm aux output means you’ve got a simple audio connection if you’re not opting to use an AV receiver.

The top of the casing has all the buttons needed to operate the unit and adjust settings, but a handy remote control is provided too. A slide cover protects the lens from dust and damage whilst you’re not using it and dials for zoom, focus and lens shift are all accessible too.The throw ratio for the 5600 is a generous 1.33 – 2.16:1, which combined with a zoom factor of 1.6, gives a lot of flexibility when placing the projector to create your chosen image size. Vertical and horizontal keystone means that you can also mount the 5600 off-centre, should any pesky light fixtures get in the way and a vertical lens shift dial means that you might not even need to keystone at all if centre placement is possible.

After drooling over the spec sheet, we finally got around to connecting up a Blu-ray of Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows Part 2. There are four picture presets of “Dynamic”, “Bright Cinema”, “Natural” and “Cinema”, but you’ll find you would likely never need to use “Dynamic”, unless you’re particularly fond of oversaturated colour and a blue tinge to everything. “Cinema” is the best bet, providing you’re in a dark room as the fan noise is quieter. The 5600’s performance in giving the ghostly Platform 9 & ¾ a white, supernatural sheen immediately shows what LCD projection is all about. Skip to the climactic battle between Voldemort and Harry and you’ll see the luminous, colourful energy coming from both their wands vividly and intensely.

It’s not all about the colours though as the dark, grim background of the castle and the black-clad Death Eaters still maintain plenty of detail rather than being ill-defined, matte images. Changing tack with a broadcast of the Rugby League World Cup highlights does nothing to undo the good work the 5600 has already done and, although there’s a slight drop in quality down to a 1080i resolution, there’s still a healthy amount of detail showing the flecks of mud and sweat on the player’s faces. As with most projectors, once you go down to a standard definition image, the benefits of a larger image become more of a hindrance, as the fuzzy picture quality can be seen in all its non-HD glory. The 5600 features Motion Interpolation to combat the judder that results from this, and it’s not a bad presentation considering. Naturally, anything that’s worth watching, you’ll want to be in HD whenever possible.

Looking for a HD projector that’s a cut above the rest without going into the dreaded 4 figures? The EH-TW5600 ticks a lot of boxes for ease of set up, picture quality and with a claimed lamp life of up to eleven years (if you were to watch one film a day) you can’t afford not to have this on your shopping list if you’re in the market for a projector. Why not contact your local Richer Sounds to see what your favourite movies could look like on your own big screen?

Click to find out more about the Epson EH-TW5600.

Author: Steve, Bristol store

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