When it comes to home entertainment, the idea of a projection-based system is aspirational. A TV is all fine and well – a massive clear screen is awesome after all – but the idea of a projector displaying a really massive image is one that virtually every home entertainment aficionado finds extremely appealing. Hence this is why the Epson EH-TW5500 home projector may be the right product of choice for your entertainment setup needs.

But there are certain things that might result in this set-up not being ideal. First off is space… in fact, the room in which the system is put into needs to be pretty much perfect; enough space for the image to be a suitable size (both in projected size and viewing distance) without much interfering light (because other light sources can mess with even the best of projected images.) And then there’s the projector itself. A really good model can take care of some of the issues, purely by providing a better picture. But good models tend to cost a lot more than others.

The Epson EH-TW5500 Home Projector is an excellent model, when all is said and done. And it has the price tag to prove it. At around R29 900, it is a heavy knock to the pocket (although not quite as much as some of the 3D TVs we’ve seen). It is a big unit, built for high-end users… they might call it a home projector – and it would certainly do very well in virtually any home environment – but this powerful unit would do well in numerous settings.

It’s all about the picture quality, see, and the way that the image is projected by the unit. With a very good lens, capable of vertical and horizontal projection, and 3LCD technology, this Epson delivers great images. But these alone do not define its performance… Epson have put a lot into this model.

This includes full HD projection at a 16:9 aspect ratio, supported by a 1 600lm colour light output and a contrast ratio of 200 000:1 (thanks to Epson’s DeepBlack technology). Seven colour modes support the HQV image processor to deliver the best image possible. With numerous inputs (including HMDI, component and the expected PC ports) and a full function remote control, this monster is a really good projector – one of the better ones we have seen, in fact. But it does carry quite the price tag, putting it out of the reach of the average home entertainment enthusiast.

That said, it’s performance is worth every cent, and if you’re the type to build a room around a projector set-up, you won’t be sorry for spending the thirty grand it will take to acquire one.
The unit performs well under various conditions, and delivers a very clear image, even when projecting on a fairly large surface area. It requires a hefty investment, but is well worth the price – if that’s where your priorities lead you, of course.

The only real downside to this projector is that it is much larger than other systems labelled as home projection units. It is really quite huge, and would probably need some kind of ceiling mount or similar to avoid it taking up too much valuable popcorn and drinks space on the table.

But, then again, if you have the cash to buy one of these Epson EH-TW5500 home projectors, a ceiling mount is chump-change. This is a treat for super-enthusiasts.

Verdict: A really big picture, a really big projector, a really big price…