Gadget of the week: Projectors are the big World Cup game
What is it?
Think of the biggest white wall you have in your home or that of friends or family members. Now imagine that the entire wall turns into a movie screen. This is exactly the role played by a high-resolution data projector at home or in the office.
With FIFA World Cup 2022 in full swing, football fans are looking for options to watch with friends or fellow fans. Big screen TVs that were good enough for regular gaming don’t always perform when there are a lot of people. Typically between 50 and 65 inches, the average home display in a home entertainment system is dazzling when viewed straight on, but less so when viewed from an angle.
The Epson TW7100 projector, on the other hand, is a real crowd pleaser. It promises clear projection of a film, video or live stream on a display up to 500 inches in diameter. That’s more than 12 meters diagonally, or the size of the front of a small two-story house, so the limit is unlikely to be tested very often. However, there is an indication of the quality that can be obtained over large areas in any typical home or office.
The TW7100 is an LCD projector with an image resolution of 3840 x 2160, effectively 4K, but achieves this using what Epson calls 4K Enhancement Technology. This means it doesn’t have true 4K built in, instead using pixel shifting technology that expands the high-resolution 1080p display to produce a 4K image on screen. The meaning of this is that you get a 4K experience without the 4K cost.
More importantly, picture quality is sharp and bright even in a well-lit room, and that includes a room with large windows in daylight. In normal indoor light, images are clear and well-defined, and text is sharp and easy to read. Brightness is rated at 3,000 lumens, meaning clear images can be displayed even in brightly lit rooms. Don’t expect it to work in direct sunlight, although Epson says 3,000 lumens is ideal for a wall-sized display outdoors.
Like any decent projector, it has automatic keystone correction that detects and corrects a distorted image when the device is projecting at an angle. This means that the top and bottom of the image are parallel, as are the left and right sides, as opposed to angles that distort the image’s content.
Epson says the lamp will need to be replaced every few years with heavy use, but it promises a lamp life of 5,000 hours in Eco mode. That’s apparently a movie a day for seven years.
Connections include two HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, an Ethernet port and a 3.5mm audio output. It immediately and automatically connected to an FDMI port on a port hub attached to a Dell laptop running Windows 10. However, a MacBook Air had little interest in connecting to the projector without a dedicated VGA port from Apple.
It offers Bluetooth audio connectivity to Bluetooth speakers and soundbars to deliver the full home entertainment experience, but also has its own built-in 10W stereo audio, useful in settings like boardrooms and offices.
The machine is relatively quiet at a claimed 32dB in Normal mode and 24dB in Eco mode. We can’t confirm this, but the fan ran unnoticed while watching streamed content. It weighs almost 7kg so while an optional ceiling mount is available this option would not be recommended without a very stable ceiling. The device is described as portable, but is heavy enough to require a relatively permanent location.
Overall, it’s one of the best 4K experiences from a projector in its price range, with several standout features such as: B. Decent on-board audio and clear images in most lighting conditions.
How much does it cost?
Selling price: R37,999 at outlets such as Takealot.com and E-piphany.co.za
Why does it matter?
Projectors for streaming content tend to be quite expensive, and the higher the resolution, the more expensive. Especially when you reach 4K resolution or double high resolution, the cost of projectors is prohibitive – up to R100,000. The TW7100 uses 4K Enhancement technology that simulates 4K but at half the price.
What are the biggest minuses?
· It’s not for someone on a tight budget.
· There is no app for tweaking the controls, which require tedious manual navigation through menus via controls on top of the projector.
· It’s heavy at almost 7 kg, so don’t think of it as a portable device.
What are the biggest pluses?
· Both on-board sound and Bluetooth audio to connect to soundbars.
· Clear picture in well-lit rooms.
· Less expensive than an 80 inch TV but suitable for a much larger screen size.
Arthur Goldstuck is the founder of World Wide Worx and Editor-in-Chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter at @art2gee