Epson EH-TW7400 projector review Page 2

But given the sleight-of-hand processing employed by Epson, just how convincing is its UHD presentation? Well, when fed native 4K resolution tests, the projector's pixel-shifting delivers a surprising simulacrum. I noted some twitching artefacts with high-frequency detail, but on non-test chart material this wasn't an issue.

The projector offers five levels of 4K Enhancement. 1 and 2 are quite subtle, but upwards of these it becomes incrementally more aggressive. The greyscale takes on a reddish tinge from preset 3 (although again this isn't immediately apparent with real-world footage). I came to the conclusion that 4K Enhancement on preset 2 was the sweet spot, but I did continue to tinker during the audition.

Bulletproof performance
The EH-TW7400 proves a great partner for Sky Q's standard dynamic range UHD content. Sky One cop show Bulletproof looks crisp and cinematic; colour handling is lush, and there's no shortage of detail and gloss.

4K Blu-rays look occasionally sharper, but what of the EH-TW7400's HDR handling? To compare 4K disc and SDR 4K broadcast content, I looped the opening sequence of The Dark Tower, one from UHD Blu-ray, the other UHD from Sky Q. There were differences, but not how you might imagine.

The Stephen King adaptation opens with kids playing in a sunlit field. The green expanse, with white roundabout, is surrounded by chalets; a blue sky with white clouds reveals two moons. There's no overt shortage of pop in either the Sky or 4K disc image, however the HDR picture reveals better black level detail and contrast. An aerial shot of the green confirms superior delineation of the sunlit grass. A tousled-haired kid in a striped tee-shirt looks up. His face, half in shadow, has almost photographic depth, cheek bones and hair clearly defined with subtle shadow detail. The Sky Q SDR presentation has a slightly higher, uniform average picture level, with the result that the same face doesn't have the same naturalistic look. In every scene, the Epson found and displayed more near-dark detail from the HDR disc, without sacrificing bright highlights, which, in truth, appeared uniform across both sources. The HDR skill here is to open up the contrast range, not to sear your eyeballs.

To help maximise detail in sports content, etc, the projector offers frame interpolation. However, image smoothing doesn't appear to work with 4K material. And if your source component is upscaling HD to 2160p, it won't work either.

Interpolation is available in Low, Normal or High flavours. In Low there are no motion artefacts, while pans are smooth but blurry. Both Normal and High introduce obvious motion artefacts, but do increase the levels of image detail retained. So of the options, Low is the better choice. That said, I would probably opt to leave my sources outputting 4K (native or upscaled) and sacrifice Epson's interpolation tool.

Despite this unit's size, running noise is pleasingly low. In Eco the EH-TW7400 purrs quietly, and wouldn't draw attention when surrounded by sound. However, opt for Dynamic mode, and you'll trigger a commensurate increase in fan noise.

A total treasure
For the cash, the EH-TW7400 is in many ways an absolute belter. It delivers bright, contrasty images with stable black levels and a pixel density that replicates the look of celluloid. Feel free to debate Epson's 4K Enhancement proposition (I'm not seeing the same level of clean detail here as observed on native 4K projectors from Sony and JVC), but the unequivocal truth is that this is gloriously cinematic, and that ultimately trumps resolution concerns.

More of a concern, however, is that HLG HDR playback isn't a feature here (again, it's offered on the EH-TW9400). Those after a PJ for the long term may consider this a reason not to buy – even with HLG currently in short supply. Even taking that into account, the EH-TW7400 is a total treasure, a proper home theatre projector at a sensible price.

HCC Verdict

Epson EH-TW7400

We say: Offering 2160p pixel density and better than HD resolution, this big Epson is fabulously filmic. A largescreen thriller… provided you've got the room.



3D: Yes. Active 3D (glasses optional)
4K: Yes. 2160p via 4K Enhancement)
HDR: Yes. HDR10)
Connections: 2 x HDMI inputs; VGA input; RS-232C; Ethernet; 12V trigger; USB)
Brightness (claimed): 2,400 Lumens 'colour light output')
Contrast (claimed): 200,000:1)
Zoom: 2.1x)
Dimensions: 520(w) x 193(h) x 450(d)mm)
Weight: 11.2kg

Features: 3LCD technology; lamp life rated at 5,000 hours (eco), 3,500 (dynamic); fan noise rated at 32dB (normal), 20dB (economy); Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural, Cinema and Digital Cinema picture presets; 1.35-2.84:1 throw ratio; frame interpolation; motorized zoom and focus; vertical lens shift +/-96.3%; horizontal lens shift +/-47.1%; ten-position lens memory; HDCP 2.2 on one HDMI