Epson EH-TW550 3D Projector Review

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The average consumer behaviour, when it comes to putting gadgets to good use, is far from ideal. Having observed average buyer in electronics industry over the years, I have noticed that there's the optimum way of consuming technology, and then there's the popular way of doing the same. Take the example of the majority's purchase decisions when it comes to home cinema solutions. The ideal way to watch movies is on a large screen with the lights out, or at least considerably dimmed. Under these home cinema conditions, projectors provide the cheapest and the best means to have the largest screen possible.

It's funny then that even those who seek a big screen expressly for darkened cinema rooms consider buying standard flat panels, when their main USP is better performance under bright lighting conditions. This is where projector detractors tend to pull out the cost card, but that's exactly where the Epson EH-TW550 comes in. With a price tag of Rs 62,699, this projector is less expensive than plain-vanilla 42" LED-backlit LCD TVs from brands such as Sony, LG and Samsung. However, unlike these TVs, it can not only project a massive 10-foot image from roughly 12 feet away, but it can do that in 3D. So now that I have got your attention, let's see how this affordable 3D projector really performs.


The sliding lens cover assembly is quite nifty


Design and build quality
Being an Epson product, the EH-TW550 projector uses the company's proprietary 3LCD technology, which is supposed to provide brighter colours than single-chip DLP-based projectors. However, one of the major possible dampeners for most user could possibly be the fact that this projector isn't Full HD. With a resolution (or pixel dimensions, to be precise) of 1280 x 800, this has been advertised as an HD Ready (720p) solution. While this may put off some people, the fact remains that this doesn't really matter much over larger viewing distances. In fact, lower pixel dimensions of 1280 x 800 also translates into much better performance for gamers, who can then obtain better frame rates even with lower spec'd gaming rigs.

The TW550is quite light at just 2.7 kg and features a utilitarian but relatively compact black matte chassis that comes with a carrying case. The projector has been pretty well designed—something that's apparent with the inclusion of a convenient slider lens cover that automatically turns off the lamp as well as audio circuitry. It features two IR sensors on the fore and aft sides, which should allow you to use the handy remote control from any orientation. The compact remote, however, could have benefitted from better placement and design of buttons, which can get confusing to operate due to their identical shape and size.

The on-device controls are well thought out. Just behind the smooth focus and zoom rings, you have a slider for horizontal keystone adjustment. This is a quick and convenient way to adjust for off centre placement. The navigation controls at the top of the device allow you to surf through the menu, as well as quickly access important features such as source selection, volume and horizontal keystone adjustment. There are plenty of vents at the front, sides and back that prevent the projector from getting too hot. The inbuilt fan is a tad too loud, though. The TW550 lacks lens shift, which isn't a surprise at this price.


Connectivity options are decent with the inclusion of HDMI and analogue inputs along with direct USB connections to laptops



Connectivity and features

Another feature to note is that the projector seems to use accelerometers and/or a gyroscope to sense the orientation and adjust the keystone settings by default. However, since this adjustment is digital, this causes the image to distort and lose clarity. It's better to just turn off the auto keystone adjust feature from the menu and align the projector manually to preserve image quality. Thankfully, this can be achieved with ease thanks to three available points of adjustment.


On the connectivity front, the TW550 is pretty well sorted with one HDMI input, in addition to VGA, S-Video and Composite analogue ports. Additionally, you also get two USB inputs—a USB B input for fetching video directly from laptops and another standard USB port to stream content from mass storage devices. This feature is pretty nifty indeed for those on the move. The Epson even sports a 2 watt speaker, which, like all projector speakers, is of no real use. The lamp life is rated at 4,000 hours in the normal mode and 5,000 hours in Eco mode, which is pretty good even when you consider the fact that the real-world durability will not match these numbers.


With a brightness of 3000 ANSI lumens, this projector can handle a decent amount of ambient light. This also means that the 10-foot odd image I projected from about 12" was quite bright despite the sheer size of it. Unfortunately, the TW550 exhibits the screen door effect that plagues most LCD projectors. This makes the resolution and clarity appear inferior, especially when working with text on the PC. The LCD underpinnings of the projector also meant that the black performance wasn't up to the mark. On the black-level test images, I had difficulty differentiating between the first 10 shades. That's a lot of black crush if you ask me. The greyscale gradient was surprisingly clean, though. On the flip side, the colour performance was characteristically better, this being an LCD projector after all. Uncannily, the colours still didn't appear as bright as I would have expected from a 3LCD-based projector.


The projector can create a 10-foot image from some 12-foot away


Still images are one thing, but moving pictures are more complicated altogether. I did notice a fair bit of judder in fast moving scenes from Sucker Punch and Star Trek Blu-rays that I auditioned for this review. The colours, however, were pleasing in Scott Pilgrim, Resident Evil: Extinction and Shaun of the Dead Blu-rays. The poor black levels, unfortunately, disappointed in movies such as Pandorum, The Descent and Aliens—all of which have plenty of dark scenes. All these tests were done in the Living Room mode, which happened to have the best colour balance to my liking. Other modes such as Dynamic (too oversaturated), Game (heavy brightness that overpowers colours) and Cinema (too warm) didn't work for me. Thankfully, the projector allows you to tweak picture settings to get the image quality down to your liking.

The lack of black detail and motion issues also manifested themselves in the games that I had tested, but the problem wasn't bad enough to break the experience for me. After all, there's nothing quite like playing NFS: Shift or Mirror's Edge on a 10' screen in a darkened room. Again, the 1280 x 800 dimensions don't really take much away from the image fidelity. In fact, that instead allows you to run games with the eye candy turned up higher. Can't complain about that.

However, the real icing on the Epson EH-TW550 cake is its ability to pull off 3D. It employs RF-synchronised active LCD shutter-based 3D glasses, which unfortunately are an optional extra. An expensive optional extra, I must add, at Rs 6,699. The official Epson ELPGS03 glasses that I tried out had a noticeable degree of flicker, but the 3D performance was quite decent considering the projector's price. The IMAX Space Station 3D Blu-ray I auditioned looked quite impressive on the large screen. However, the flicker may cause discomfort to those sensitive to such things.


The on-device controls are comprehensive



Verdict and price in India

I'll admit that the EH-TW550 may not have the brilliant colour and black-level performance of expensive DLP projectors. However, it's important to note that it's just as good, if not better, than that of 42" flat-panel TVs costing that sort of money. More importantly, for a price of Rs 62,699, you get a very large screen and 3D capability to boot once you spend about Rs 6,699 extra for the 3D glasses. The projector may not be full HD, but it's still a great means to have a large screen gaming and cinema experience without breaking the bank.




Projection Technology

RGB liquid crystal shutter projection system (3LCD)

Specifications of Main Parts





0.59" with MLA (D8)

Native Resolution

720p (1,280 x 800)

Projection Lens:



Optical Zoom (Manual) / Focus (Manual)


1.58 - 1.72

Focal Length

16.9mm - 20.28mm

Zoom Ratio

1 - 1.2

Throw Ratio

1.30 - 1.56 (Wide - Tele)





Life (Normal/Eco)*¹

4,000 hours / 5,000 hours

Screen Size (Projected Distance)


Zoom: Wide

33" to 318" [0.9 to 9.0 m]

Zoom: Tele

33" to 317" [1.08 to 10.8m]

Standard Size

60" screen 1.68 - 2.02 m



White Light Output


Colour Light Output


Contrast Ratio


Video Quality

3D Y/C separation, Noise Reduction, Motion compensated Interlace-Progressive conversion (2-2,3-2 film detection)

Supported Video Signal

480i / 576i / 480p / 576p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p NTSC / NTSC4.43 / PAL / M-PAL / N-PAL / PAL60 / SECAM

Colour Mode

Dynamic, Living room, Cinema, Game, 3D Dynamic, 3D Cinema

Internal Speaker(s)

2W (Monaural)

Keystone Correction


Vertical / Horizontal

± 30° / ± 30°

Auto Keystone Correction




Analogue Input


D-sub 15pin

1 (Blue)


RCA x 1 (Yellow)


Mini DIN x 1

Digital Input



1 (HDCP supported)

Audio Input


RCA (White / Red)




USB Type A

1 (USB memory)

USB Type B

1 (3-in-1 USB Display)

Adjustment Functions


Projector / Remote Control

Brightness / Contrast / Tint / Saturation / Sharpness / Input Signal / Sync / Tracking / Position / Colour Temperature / Volume / etc.

Quick Corner


3D Features


3D Display

On / Off

3D Format

Auto / Side by Side / Top & Bottom / 2D / Frame Packing

Operating Temperature

5°C to 35°C <41°F to 95°F>

Operating Altitude

0m to 2,286m <0ft to 7,500ft> (over 1,500m / 4,921ft: with high altitude mode)

Direct Power On / Off

Yes / Yes

Start-Up Period

7 seconds, Warm-up period: 30 seconds

Cool Down Period

Instant off

Power Supply Voltage

100V - 240V AC ±10%, 50Hz / 60Hz

Power Consumption (220 - 240V)


Lamp On (Normal / Eco)

277W / 230W

Stand By (Network On / Off)

3.3W / 0.4W

Dimension Excluding Feet (W x H x D)

325mm x 77mm x 243mm



Fan Noise (Normal / Eco)

36 dB / 29 dB

Published Date: May 30,2013 05:45 pm | Updated Date: May 30, 2013 05:45 pm