It’s extraordinary to think that this level of AV projector would have cost tens of thousands of dollars only a decade ago, yet here is the projector leader Epson offering the EH-TW5600 today at $1149. We can think of no other sector of audio or AV where prices have become so affordable so fast.

So this a full high definition - 1920 by 1080 pixel - home theatre projector. Now that we’re in a 4K world, it’s important to note that there is no support here for Ultra HD as delivered from the new generation of Ultra-HD Blu-ray players, either the higher resolution or the HDCP 2.2 copy protection they require. But for Blu-ray (or lower) you are getting an absolute bargain, and the ability to deliver real home-cinema quality largescreen pictures.

The projector uses Epson’s LCD technology with three polysilicon TFT panels. A dynamic iris can control the amount of light on a scene by scene basis, stretching the dynamic contrast level to 35,000:1. It supports 3D, should you still be interested, though you’ll need to get the glasses separately. And it manages to pull off the twin trick of providing a high output - 2500 lumens rating - with a long lamp life of 4000 hours in ‘Normal’ mode, and an excellent 7500 hours in ‘Eco’ mode.

The projector uses a 200 watt lamp, so it’s not bad in terms of power consumption as well.

It has two HDMI inputs plus a D-SUB15. The projector can decode audio and deliver it via a small rear speaker. But there’s also a 3.5mm stereo analogue output, and Bluetooth out, so you’ve got audio options for ad hoc use (in a home theatre setting you would be running a parallel audio path to a proper audio system).

Its image performance really was remarkable at the price. It has a dynamic iris, but we found it wasn’t needed, the native contrast ratio being good enough to deliver very satisfying results with better blacks than you’ll see in most modern cinemas. There was no colour shift on any of our test patterns, nor any visible fringes around white on black objects. Which says excellent alignment.

We did note an issue with deinterlacing of 50Hz material; 1080i/50 or 576i/50 signals should be converted to progressive scan by the source or the receiver to bypass the projector’s own results there.

Otherwise this is a marvellous entry-level ticket to real home cinema performance short of the move to Ultra High Definition, which remains a higher cost proposition in projection. This is a good little projector at a great price, useful for both lower-cost home theatre installations and ad hoc use.

Product page: Epson Australia