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Epson Unveils 1,080p 3LCD Rear-Projection Displays

Epson America unveiled at CEDIA Expo, here, its new generation of 3LCD rear-projection HDTV monitors, consisting of the company’s first two 1,080p models, and introduced two new high-end 720p front projectors for home theater applications.

All of the new models are targeted at the A/V specialty and custom installation markets, said Jodi Maugham, Epson’s home entertainment division product marketing manager.

The HDTV rear-projection monitors are part of the company’s new CrystalPRO series, which is replacing the Living Station rear-projection line originally introduced three years ago. Unlike the Living Station models, the CrystalPRO displays will not incorporate a built-in photo printer.

The CrystalPRO models, which will ship in January at prices to be announced later, will be offered in the 55W-inch and 65W-inch screen sizes. Neither model includes built-in ATSC tuning or CableCARD slots.

The displays are the first to employ Epson’s 3LCD OptiFocus engine capable of displaying full 1,920 by 1,080p images, and can also accept full 1,080p source signals via an HDMI-HDCP input.

The rear-projection sets also use an Auto Iris technology that is said to deliver images with up to a 5,000:1 contrast ratio. The system automatically adjusts the image signal range in each scene and controls lighting in real time to deliver deeper blacks with improved shadow detail, Epson said.

Because the sets are targeted at the custom installation market, Epson has included a broad assortment of input and setup options, including two HDMI-HDCP inputs, a PC input and RS-232 control. Each input offers memory settings so installers and end-users can fine-tune image preferences for various signal sources.

Onboard audio is addressed with a 30-watt (15×2) amplifier powering two built-in speakers or optional add-on side-mounted speakers.

The company’s new home theater 3LCD front projectors include the PowerLite Cinema 550 and Pro Cinema 800, both of which will ship to dealers starting in October.

Both models employ Epson’s fifth-generation, 16:9 3LCD chips. Each model was engineered to deliver some of the industry’s highest aperture ratios to produce smoother images with virtually no noticeable screen-door effect, the company said.

Other features in both models include a Dynamic Eye Iris, which raises contrast ratio performance by automatically controlling light intensity from the lamp; full IR/RS-232 control and Crestron-compatible codes for custom installers; a Noise Shaped Video system that uses 4x oversampling to provide a cleaner picture with less noise; and Epson’s Super White system, which reproduces white levels of 100 IRE.

The PowerLite Cinema 550, carrying a $2,499 minimum retail price, delivers up to a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, 1,400 ANSI lumens of brightness and HDMI interfaces.

The Pro Cinema 800, which becomes Epson’s new flagship home theater projector at a $4,499 minimum retail price, delivers a 5,000:1 contrast ratio, 1,600 ANSI lumens of brightness and 10-bit color producing up to 1 billion colors. The unit also includes Imaging Science Foundation-certified calibration and advanced IR-RS-232 controls.