Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 1080 UB LCD Projector User Interface
Most video displays offer a variety of picture modes, with factory presets that can usually be modified by the user. Epson calls these Color Modes and offers seven of them: Vivid, Cinema Day, Natural, Cinema Night, HD, Silver Screen (said to be for black and white movies), and x.v.Color (which appears only if the source is x.v.Color).
Most of the controls in these Color Modes can be customized and saved independently for each input. In fact, for the component input, you can have different settings in each mode for SD (480i and 480p) and HD (720p, 1080i, and 10890p) sources. Oddly, this is not the case for HDMI—the settings for each HDMI input apply globally to all resolutions.
There's a dizzying range of adjustments beyond the old standbys (Brightness, Contrast, Color Saturation, and Tint). The Sharpness control offers a Standard mode of operation with a single control or an Advanced mode that provides four separate sharpness controls (Thin Line Enhancement, Thick Line Enhancement, Vertical Line Enhancement, and Horizontal Line Enhancement).
The aspect-ratio choices include Auto (which may or may not correctly size the image depending on how the source was mastered), plus the other common selections: Full, Normal (4:3), Zoom, and Wide (uneven stretch), though most of these are not available with an HD input. Additional controls let you adjust the position of the image and change the Zoom setup slightly (for example, to improve the visibility of captions). There is no "squeeze" mode for use with a 2.35:1 screen and an anamorphic lens—that type of setup requires an external processor, but anyone buying this projector is unlikely to go to this extreme.
The Output Scaling control is actually a multi-position overscan control, with five positions ranging from 92% to 100% (zero overscan). There are five selectable gamma settings in the Advanced menu, ranging from 2.0 to 2.4, plus a Custom option that lets you adjust the gamma at nine points across the brightness range.
But it's the projector's color adjustments that really set it apart. An Absolute Color Temperature control provides settings between 5000K and 10,000K, including 6500K. But that's just the start.
The Advanced menu's RGB control provides red, green, and blue adjustments for both the top and bottom of the brightness range, allowing full grayscale calibration. There's also an RGBCMY submenu that offers Hue, Saturation, and Brightness controls for each primary and secondary color: red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Once you've established one or more desired setups, you can save each of them in one of 10 user memories.
You can lock the projector's power-on control, and a separate selection locks the other on-chassis controls. But neither of these features locks out the corresponding controls on the remote. Also available are onscreen displays that indicate the current operating conditions for the projector, including the horizontal and vertical refresh rates for the current source, the resolution (1080i, 1080p, etc.) and the hours on the lamp.
The fully backlit remote is one of the best I've used. Since it can control only the projector, its limited number of well-spaced buttons makes operation a breeze. You can select inputs and a number of video controls directly, though the video-control choices are a bit odd (a Skin Tone control, for example, but not Brightness). A Pattern button calls up a single test pattern, useful for aligning the projector with the screen and perhaps focus, but I rarely used it.