Epson’s EB-PU1008 offers a bright, pleasing image well suited for presentations and video in an unusually compact and lightweight cabinet, as well as extensive tools for setting up and managing multi-projector installations.
- Extreme brightness from a stable laser light engine
- Compact size and weight for its brightness class
- Excellent flexibility, versatility, and control whether used solo or as part of an array
- Clear and crisp up to its native resolution
- 4K Enhancement for 4K signals
- Less than intuitive menu groupings and operation
- Some small color and contrast deficiencies, especially with HDR video
The Epson EB-PU1008W is a laser based, high brightness, HDR-capable presentation projector that is well suited for standalone use in medium to large venues or as part of a stacked or blended array. It is among several new high-output, large venue Pro Series projectors that follow the recent industry trend of squeezing more brightness out of smaller boxes. Spec’d at 8,500 ANSI lumens, the EB-PU1008 is one of four mid-brightness, detachable lens models that also include the EB-PU1006 at 6,000 lumens, the EB-PU1007 at 7,000 lumens, and the EB-PU2010 at 10,000 lumens. More recently, Epson announced six new models ranging from 13,000 to 20,000 lumens, including the EB-PU2120W and EB-PU2220B (in black), said to be the smallest and lightest 20,000-lumen projectors currently available.
Measuring 21.5 x 6.5 x 17.2 inches (WHD) and weighing a modest 35.9 pounds, the EB-PU1008W and its black version, the EB-PU1008B, are also unusually compact for their 8,500-lumen, 3LCD brightness class. ProjectorCentral’s Find a Projector database does show some directly competitive models at a lower 8,000 lumen spec that are nearly as small and light. But Epson has put together a feature package that sets this model apart including extensive setup facilities, a wide range of lens options, 4K HDR support, and a good out-of-box image. The projector carries a street price of $9,900 without lens.
The EB-PU1008W’s native resolution is 1920×1200 (WUXGA) high definition with a 16:10 aspect ratio, delivered via a trio of LCD chips with the usual benefits of equal white and color brightness and immunity to rainbow artifacts. Epson includes 4K Enhancement, their name for pixel-shifting, to double the onscreen pixel count to 4.6 million, or about half of full 4K. The projector accepts up to 4K/24 or 4K/30 with HDCP 2.3 via its HDMI input. The rear panel also features DVI, a dedicated HDBaseT with HDCP 2.3 for long distance signal/control runs, and VGA inputs, as well as a USB 2.0 Type A port that supports media playback or can be used for a wireless LAN adapter, powering an accessory, connecting an optional multi-projector setup camera, or copying menu settings to a flash drive for transfer to another device. A 3.5mm stereo analog output tracks with the volume buttons on the remote, and dedicated control ports include RS232, RJ-45 LAN, and a 3.5mm remote input for cable attachment to the remote should it need to be used out of range. There’s also a control panel on the rear with enough buttons to fully operate the projector if the remote is misplaced.
Epson uses a blue laser module with a phosphor wheel to achieve white light that’s split into the red, green, and blue primaries for the imaging devices. The 20,000-hour light engine can be used in Normal, Medium, Quiet, Extended, or Custom power modes, the latter allowing any setting between 8 and 100% power. Using power settings less than 100% can extend the projector’s life considerably; the manual indicates as much as 71,000 hours at 30% brightness, and 30,000 hours at 70% brightness, for example. There’s also a Constant Brightness mode, helpful for long-term installations and multi-projector arrays, that will keep the output steady at some level less than 100% brightness at the expense of some hours of lifetime usage. Though the EB-PU1008 isn’t filterless, it is low maintenance. The recommended interval for cleaning the filter is just once every 20,000 hours, representing the projector’s full lifetime at 100% brightness.
There are 11 lens options available for the EB-PU1008W, starting with Epson’s periscope-style ultra-short throw model ELPX01S with a 0.35:1 throw ratio and zero offset, ranging up to the ELPLL08 long zoom with a 7.21-10.11 throw. The middle zoom ELPM08W, with a 1.42-2.28:1 throw ratio, was selected for evaluation and gave a comfortable throw range for tabletop placement behind the viewing area. Given its wide shift range, any mounting scenario from low shelf to ceiling mounting can be accommodated. Zoom and focus along with horizontal and vertical lens shift can be adjusted with the remote and stored in up to 10 memory slots, and there is a digital reading of each lens adjustment to let you know just where you’re at in each control’s range.
In most situations, the horizontal and vertical lens shift along with straight ahead physical aiming of the projector can get the image nice and straight on the screen, but if it can’t, whether due to unusually extreme mounting positions or an odd screen shape, the EB-PU1008W has an extensive array of electronic geometry adjustments to get the job done. Independent H and V keystone with balance adjustments, quick corner adjustments allowing each side of the screen corners to be individually pulled in or stretched out, curved surface correction, H and V linearity, corner wall, and even point by point geometry adjustments are available. Finally, if you have a screen with a different aspect ratio than your source, the Scale feature can stretch or compress the image to eliminate black bars and fill the entire screen if desired.
Split screen capability allows images from two different sources to be displayed side by side (with some source limitations), and the image can be easily frozen with a button on the remote for closer examination. Multi-projector set-ups for stacks or edge-blending are well facilitated in the EB-PU1008W. In the Multi-Projection section of the “Extended” menu, projector ID and grouping by IP address are accommodated. You can perform manual edge blending and tiling with up to fifteen rows and fifteen columns; if all the projectors are networked via LAN, one can be designated master and the others will follow its adjustments automatically. The Screen Matching function displays a gray ramp and provides R, G, and B adjustments for easy visual color matching between stacked screens when “All” is selected for Adjustment Level. When a number is selected instead of “All”, the control becomes a multi-point gamma and grayscale adjustment, allowing level and white balance adjustment at eight brightness levels including black, though the menu display can be partially in the way of measurements in some instances.
For matching images, the Color Uniformity function allows white balance at the same eight brightness levels, but this time adjusted separately at eight different positions and corners across the screen. The Color Uniformity submenu can also be used as a multipoint grayscale adjustment by selecting “All” for the adjustment area, but calibration is more difficult due to having to back out and re-enter submenus to make adjustments.
Epson also offers an optional external camera to make quicker work out of multi-projector setups. It works in conjunction with the Epson Projector Professional Tool (EPPT) software designed for setting up multiple projectors in a single large space. It’s available for Windows and Mac, and includes Auto Color Calibration, Screen Matching, Tiling Assist Tool, and Stacking Assist Tool. EPPT can also be used to apply settings to multiple projectors at once, or to power cycle, operate, and monitor all projectors on the network simultaneously.
EPPT is just one of several external software and app options that provide wired and wireless network support for projection, monitoring, and control via a remote network computer or device. Epson’s “Projector Management Utility” Windows software, which is compatible with any networked projector that supports the PJLink protocol, is designed for fleet management and allows the status of multiple networked projectors to be checked and various projector operations to be performed from a remote computer; it facilitates firmware updates to multiple projectors at once on a wired network.
The Epson iProjection app for iPhone, PC, Mac, and Android/Chromebook app “iProjection” connects to one or multiple projectors on a wireless network and offers remote control and content casting of photos, documents, web pages, and the connected device’s camera. A user can connect as a moderator, allowing that user to control what is projected onto the screen and restricting operations for other participants, and communication with the app can be encrypted.
Projector Content Manager software for Windows and Mac allows users to build playlists comprised of still images and video that can be loaded to a USB drive and played back in the projector’s Content Playback mode. You can schedule the content, loop it, and add overlays and other effects.
Finally, the EB-PU1008W also supports NFC (Near Field Communication) wireless communication by simply holding an NFC compatible mobile device (iPhone 7 or later using iOS 13 or later, or Android 8.0 or later models with NFC function) over the NFC mark on the projector, which will read and control the projector’s information and settings even when the projector is off. Notably, Epson has placed the NFC tag on the top of the interface panel of the projector where it can be easily accessed without lifting the projector from its shipping crate. This allows the Epson Projector Config Tool app to efficiently transfer settings to a new projector before moving it to its installation location.
Color Modes. The EB-PU1008W offers a total of seven preset color modes, including Dynamic, Presentation, Natural, Cinema, BT.709, DICOM SIM, and Multi-Projection, which helps reduce the differences in color tone between projectors.
Dynamic mode is generally intended to give the brightest and boldest image possible, with less emphasis on accurate colors or natural brightness gradations. It did meet that goal, giving a bright and detailed image that measured 8,213 ANSI lumens, or 97% of the full spec. On the other hand, there could be an unnatural glare and graininess, and colors were not particularly lifelike. If an image contained brightly illuminated faces, there could be some glare on the forehead or cheeks, and skin tones looked a bit too colored overall. Computer screens generally looked very good, though whites had a somewhat greenish or off white cast as is often found in the brightest mode of many projectors. Dynamic lived up to its name, giving a bold, contrast-rich, and detailed image that lacked subtleties and naturalness.
Presentation mode strikes a balance, keeping plenty of brightness and pop but upping the accuracy for more pleasing computer presentations. It is the projector’s second-brightest mode, measuring 6,611 lumens. The main differences between it and Dynamic appeared to be that Presentation, while not quite as bright, eliminated the glare and gave a more pleasing white tone. The Dynamic Contrast (laser dimming) was turned off by default in this mode, which gives it excellent brightness stability while changing from one image to the next, though that did reduce the rich contrast of Dynamic. Skin tones were still overly ruddy, but Presentation looked pleasing and clear with most video and computer images.
Natural mode emphasizes accuracy, and colors including skin tones are indeed more true to life than in Presentation or Dynamic—though it comes at the expense of brightness with just 5,649 lumens. Detail is less etched, and computer screens look clear. Natural is the best starting point for accurate video, though contrast and vividness in computer images were just a bit dulled in comparison to Presentation.
Cinema, which measured 6,095 lumens, appeared to combine the white balance of Natural with the color vividness of Presentation, rendering an image that looked rich in contrast with slightly overdone colors. Meanwhile, the BT.709 mode, which is intended to conform to that color standard and is recommended for watching digital TV or Blu-ray, was a disappointment with its flatter, more washed out rendering. It appeared to share Natural’s color accuracy and natural detail, but did it with less dimension and vibrancy than any other mode. Darker areas of the image were just too boosted and bright, which did give it a little more tolerance of ambient light than the otherwise superior Natural mode.
DICOM SIM, measuring 5,634 lumens, is designed to meet the DICOM standard for presenting x-rays for educational purposes and displayed the expected, high contrast image.
Best Presentation Mode. The Presentation color mode did an excellent job of rendering graphic presentations with mildly enhanced sharpness and colors that made images pop. That enhancement works very well with general graphics and animation, though it is a bit overdone for video and film. The white balance in this mode is visually pleasing and gives white screens a pure and clean look. With a 1080p input, text was very clear and sharp across most of the screen. There was a very slight vertical focus nonlinearity with our selected lens, amounting to the top and bottom each needing the focus setting to be a few clicks in the opposite direction from what the center needed. Fortunately, this was not enough to draw attention to itself with computer presentation images or pictures once the focus was carefully set for the center; the only time it was noticeable in normal viewing was with small font computer text at the very top of the screen, which didn’t appear particularly soft at first but did sharpen up perceptibly when the focus was moved in the direction the top favored.
Testing showed that HDMI resolution was full and strong at 1080p or 1920×1200 with RGB or YCbCr 4:4:4 colorspace, while red and blue resolution softened slightly with YCbCr 4:2:2. With a 4K signal, the 4K Enhancement pixel-shifting feature must be turned on or resolution and clarity suffer greatly, appearing to be far lower than 1080p. With it on, 4K resolution was excellent for a display with WUXGA native resolution, though the projector’s noise level audibly increased. 4K Enhancement is not turned on out of the box, however, and doing so deactivates many picture functions including geometry correction and edge blending. If these functions are needed, signal resolution should be kept to the 1920×1200 native resolution or less for best performance.
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Best Video Mode. The Natural color mode gave a very pleasing image with both SDR and HDR material, though it lacked contrast and depth in dark scenes until Dynamic Contrast was turned on. While having it on with its Black Level setting at 20% looked good and minimized any side effects, switching the Black Level to 0% allowed even more depth and contrast in dark scenes at the expense of some brightness, stability, and color accuracy. In the end, 0% was preferred overall for video content. Colors, depth, and detail were very good, especially in bright content. Motion was authentically film-like with a 24p input and with motion interpolation turned off.
Natural mode looked great after just a simple white balance calibration, changing the gamma to 2.3, and switching Dynamic Contrast on. Full field on/off contrast ratio was 1801:1 with Dynamic Contrast off, 8389:1 with it at 20%, and infinite with it at 0%.
The HDR10 Setting in the Signal/Dynamic Range section of the menu allows for fine tuning of the HDR static tone mapping based on the projected brightness and viewer’s preferences. HDR tone mapping was indeed well handled and made HDR viewing pleasant overall. The only detractions from an excellent HDR image were rendition of dark skin tones and overall color saturation. In very dark and dimly lit faces, there was a tendency for some facial areas to get very slightly greenish and pale in comparison, though normally lit complexions looked great. Also, not surprisingly given this projector’s high brightness and the blue laser plus phosphor light engine, none of the color modes approach full DCI-P3 saturation. Lack of P3 coverage does not mean that the image will be pale; it is something that may not even be noticed except in comparison with another display that is closer to full coverage, where it becomes apparent that deep, pure colors really aren’t as pure as they could be, and some of HDR’s magic is diminished.
In any of the normal laser brightness settings, the EB-PU1008W was not plagued by lens streaking, bright corners, or similar problems that can crop up on even the finest home theater projectors, and black uniformity appeared to be very good.
With 4K Enhancement turned off, the projector was acceptably quiet in Quiet brightness mode while seated 1-2 feet in front of and slightly below the projector. Fan noise was a little on the loud side by home theater expectations in Medium, but wouldn’t likely be an issue with the environments and viewing distances this projector will likely see. Normal brightness mode took it up a bit more, but even in a close environment like my home testing space the sound of most movies would still make it unobtrusive except in quiet passages. Even in Normal mode, the EB-PU1008W was not unusually loud. 4K Enhancement added a bit of whine to the normal fan whir. Informal noise testing with an SPL app at 4 feet in front of the projector resulted in 28 dB(A) or 31 dB unweighted in Quiet, 29 dB(A) or 32 dB unweighted in Medium, and 31 dB (A) or 33 dB unweighted in normal. 4K Enhancement added 1 dB unweighted. All in all, this is a very quiet projector for its brightness class.
The Epson EB-PU1008W is an excellent presentation projector, offering a bright and clear image along with fantastic versatility and 4K HDR compatibility. It offers a wide range of lenses and extensive installation options, including automated blending and stacking capabilities with the optional camera. The laser light engine is commendably stable and has a very wide brightness range. The preferred color modes for presentations and video are well thought out for their respective purposes and need very little tweaking to bring out the best in the image. Furthermore, either type of content looked quite good in either mode, so leaving it in one mode or the other isn’t going to destroy performance for any other use.
On the down side, the EB-PU1008W’s limitations with 4K resolution and geometry correction may come into play in rare instances, and the HDR color is not as jaw dropping as that on a good dedicated home cinema projector. But neither of these are ever likely to be issues in the majority of commercial spaces where the EB-PU1008W will be installed. Whether it’s used for business presentations, higher learning, concerts, or media in a large church, or as a single light source or as part of a stacked array, the EB-PU1008W will give tremendous bang for the buck.
Brightness. The EB-PU1008W’s brightest picture mode is Dynamic, which measured 8,213 ANSI lumens in Normal power mode in our test, or 97% of its rated 8,500 lumen specification. Engaging the Medium power mode reduced output by a measured 18% while the Quiet mode reduced it by 30.3%.
Epson EB-PU1008W ANSI Lumens
Zoom Lens Light Loss. The ELPM08 medium zoom lens used in our evaluation, with a 1.42-2.28:1 throw ratio, exhibited a 24.6% loss of light when moved from its widest to its longest telephoto zoom position.
Brightness Uniformity. As measured with the ELPM08 lens used in our evaluation, brightness uniformity measured a fairly high 89% at the wide zoom setting, with the top right sector of the screen measuring the least bright. At the longest telephoto zoom setting, the brightness uniformity was 91.2%.
Input Lag. With a 1080p/60 signal, input lag measured 29.8 ms with 4K Enhancement turned on, and 42.8 ms with it turned off.
Fan Noise. Using the industry standard measurement technique averaging noise from multiple points in a sound-proof chamber, Epson rates the EB-PU1008W’s fan noise at 35 dB in Normal power mode, 34 dB in Medium, and 30 dB in Quiet mode. In practice it was not unusually loud, especially for such a bright projector. From a spot 4 feet in front of the projector, we measured 31 dB (A) or 33 dB unweighted in Normal mode, 29 dB(A) or 32 dB unweighted in Medium, and 28 dB(A) or 31 dB unweighted in Quiet. Turning on 4K Enhancement added an extra dB to all measurements and a bit of whine to the normal fan noise.
- HDMI (with HDCP 2.3)
- HDBaseT (with HDCP 2.3)
- USB 2.0
- 3.5 mm stereo analog output
- 3.5 mm remote input
- RJ-45 LAN
Calibration Notes. The projector needs about 10 minutes stabilization time before taking measurements after switching Dynamic Contrast on or off or changing the laser brightness. White balance holds fairly steady between Quiet, Eco, and Normal laser brightness, just slightly more green and less red at Quiet than Normal. Since using Dynamic Contrast lowers the laser brightness dynamically with the signal, to levels much lower than Quiet alone, the slight green emphasis and red deficiency as laser power is lowered may be a contributing factor to the slight dark skin tone variations noted.
Both the Color Matching and Color Uniformity controls worked well along with the multipoint white balance adjustment, though it should be noted that proper adjustment will require test equipment such as a color analyzer and software, along with a lot of practice and patience. Though this functionality was tested, it was not performed as part of the calibration, which could be another dynamic in the EB-PU1008W’s rendition of dark skin tones. One thing to note is that even though there is an adjustment for black in these controls, any adjustment to that level should normally be avoided as it will only raise the black floor and lower contrast. Menu design and operation were not always intuitive, with certain functions being duplicated in different submenus and menu groupings not always containing the expected functions. In addition, going into the menu takes you back to where the menu was last exited, not a more consistent entry point as expected.
The Color Modes are independent of the Brightness (laser power) control, so going from Dynamic to Natural, for example, will not change the laser power. Because of this, there was less difference between the color modes than is usually the case with most projectors. However, Brightness is saved along with Color Mode and any calibration adjustments in memory, and up to ten picture memories can be set to allow for various uses and situations.
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