Epson’s New York Product Showcase

On July 27th, I attended the Epson “Prism of Possibilities” product showcase in New York. Unfortunately, many of the interesting things at the Showcase were under NDA and I can’t write about them until they are formally announced by Epson later this summer or fall. However, there are two things I saw of interest to Display Daily readers that were not covered by the NDA.

First, Epson was showing its AR headset, the Moverio BT-300 Drone Edition. It has designed this system in association with DJI, the largest drone manufacturer. The Epson rep at the showcase said this was the first application of the Moverio to consumer, rather than professional, products. This was actually announced at InterDrone 2016 last September, but this is the first opportunity for a Display Daily writer to see the system.

Epson Moverio DJI VR resizeUse of a VR HMD to view drone images requires two people to operate the drone. (Image: DJI)

DJI already sells a VR HMD to work with its drones. This HMD uses two 1920 x 1080, 5″ panels with an 85º field of view. The problem with this is it requires two people because in the US, FAA regulations require the drone operator to keep his eye on the drone, as shown in the image. With the Moverio BT-300 Drone Edition see-through AR system, the pilot can also see the image produced by the drone’s camera, allowing single person operation.

Epson Moverio DJI AR resizeMeko’s Matt Brennesholtz wears an Epson BT-300 Drone Edition HMD while holding a DJI drone and drone controller. Note the BT-300 Drone Edition controller unit nested in the dedicated DJI drone control. (Image: M. Brennesholtz)

Last September, Epson and DJI said the BT-300 Drone edition would be available in Q4 2016, but currently there is no sign of it on the DJI website. The only mention of an Epson HMD is a video of the Phantom 2 Vision+ system, based on a Moverio BT-200. This video emphasizes the single-person operation when an AR HMD is used. There is also an Epson video showing a variety of consumer applications for the BT-300, including the control of drones, but there is no mention of DJI. According to the Epson rep at the product showcase, the Drone Edition will only be available for DJI drones. It will have an MSRP of $799, including the BT-300 controller but not including the drone or the drone controller.

Epson Moverio BT 350 Gang resizeEpson gang charging and software updating station for Moverio BT-350 HMD controllers. Up to four of these units can be linked together. (Image: M. Brennesholtz)

On a separate Moverio topic, the Epson rep mentioned that one concern of corporate IT people was the difficulty in managing multiple Moverio AR HMDs. Epson has introduced a gang Moverio charging station that will recharge and update the software for five Moverio BT-350 controllers simultaneously. Four of these stations can be linked together, allowing a total of 20 Moverio controllers to be charged and updated simultaneously.

Epson Home Cinema 4000 resizeEpson Home Cinema 4000 Projector at the product showcase and it’s matte white screen in the background. The white walls of the event space reduced contrast and was one factor preventing the HDR projector from really showing HDR. (Image: Matthew Brennesholtz)

Epson was also showing its new Home Cinema 4000 projector at the Product Showcase. This was announced in June (Epson 4000 Projector Supports HDR) and this was also the first time a Display Daily contributor has seen it. As could be expected, a 3LCD 4K HDR projector with 2200 lumens of both white and color light output looked very, very good. It has DCI-P3 colorimetry and 10 Bit drive. Epson was running it using a 4K Blu-ray disc of Lucy, which was nominally encoded in HDR. While the Blu-ray master may have been color graded for HDR 4K before release on 4K Blu-ray, it was obvious that the original cinema master of Lucy was not done in HDR. Thus, while the projector could show good blacks and bright whites, since there was no detail in the original cinema master in these highlights and shadows, there were no details in the HDR 4K Blu-ray version of the movie. This, of course, is not Epson’s fault – it just points out that much “HDR” content available to the consumer isn’t really HDR at all.

The Home Cinema 4000 projector is currently available on the Epson website at $2000, down from its $2200 MSRP. –Matthew Brennesholtz