One minute review
If you are looking for one of the best 4K projectors beyond that, look no further than the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000. This machine delivers powerful technology that radiates an almost unbeatable image. It comes at a predictably high price point though, and Epson has gone all in on the photo side of the equation, leaving you to fend for yourself when it comes to video sources and audio.
The LS12000 is a beefy (we’re talking 50lb) laser projector with a 3LCD system inside. This combination provides a bright light source for both color and white output, strong contrast and no artifacts we could detect. It’s a flawless shot that doesn’t struggle to overcome bright lighting conditions in a room and then ramps up to just blow us away when we turn off all the ambient light.
The sharp and colorful images are also easy to get the way we want them. With zoom, lens shift, focus and keystone controls all we need to do is set the projector where we want it and then move and adjust the image to our ideal size and position. There’s a lot of flexibility for large rooms and even larger rooms, although we wouldn’t recommend going that way for a small space – this is a serious home theater projector.
The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 will not make sense to many people. But those who want the best and complement it with a capable AV receiver and robust sound system will likely be happy with the LS12000.
Price and availability
The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 is available for $4,999 (£4,399, approximately AU$7,090), while the company’s lower spec LS11000 (2,500 lumens brightness and 1,200,000:1 contrast ratio) is available for $3,999 (£4,099, approximately AU$5,670).
Design and Features
- 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports (1x eARC) with 4K/120Hz support
- No Smart TV platform or speakers
- Hardware zoom and lens shift
- Powered Lens Cap
- Extensive settings and adjustments
The LS12000 is a bit of a beast. This isn’t your little shelf projector that you put in the back of the room for casual home theater. This is a purpose built machine for next level home theater. It comes in a substantial case that feels well built, looks elegant and is actually not overwhelmingly heavy despite its size.
Ready for a variety of setups, the LS12000 bends to suit its positioning. We set our unit on a mantelpiece at the back of a living room about 14 feet from the opposite wall. Thanks to the projector’s optical zoom, we can easily pinch the image down to fit the available space on our wall without sacrificing detail (as with digital zoom). From there, the wide vertical and horizontal lens shift range allows us to further center the image without having to move the projector. Essentially, it’s easy to find a suitable place to set up the projector and then use the powerful adjustment tools to project the image where it fits best. The projector doesn’t do this automatically, nor does autofocus, but makes the process fairly accessible without having to dive too deeply into menus.
The package is pretty bare-bones for anyone expecting an all-in-one entertainment device. It’s definitely a centerpiece, but you’ll have to build around it. The kit includes only the projector itself, a rugged remote control, a snap-on back port cover, and a ceiling mount kit. There is no Smart TV operating system on board and there are not even any speakers. This is just your screen and you will probably take it to a AV receiver because it only has two HDMI ports. Thankfully, they’re both high-bandwidth, 48Gbps HDMI 2.1 ports capable of 4K/120Hz (which the projector actually supports) and eARC on one of them.
The projector, of course, has extensive support for the kind of high-end cinema features you would expect from a device like this. It handles HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG with 10-bit HDR color processing. It has preset color modes and options to dial them in however you want. It can transmit a variety of Dolby and DTS audio signals via eARC. You can even enable or disable motion interpolation as you wish.
The icing on the cake is the powered lens hood that slides open when the projector is turned on and closes again when it is turned off, leaving the optics clean and protected.
- 3LCD system with laser light source
- Huge, clear 4K images (2700 lumens white and colored light) with vibrant (10-bit) colours
- Rich detail across the spectrum
We are inclined to say that there is almost no reason to go to the cinema when you can have a picture like this at home. The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 offers a stunningly brilliant picture that we hardly care if we watch during the day, but it will reward us immensely for watching at night with the lights off. Epson does not play games with its clarity claims. The projector has a rated output of 2,700 lumens, whether it displays all white or color. You would think that brightness means a machine that gets hot and therefore has loud fans, but we don’t hear any beeping noise from the fan while the LS12000 is running.
Brightness is an important metric for a projector, but often they can manage acceptable brightness while struggling to reproduce compelling shadow detail, making for a contrast-free image. The LS120000 does not. This thing is virtuoso for challenging images. In The Batman, the details of Batman and Catwoman’s black outfits can be seen even in a dark scene. The fact that the projector can provide such rich detail in shadows while also projecting vibrant colors is simply astonishing. Considering how bright the projector can be, it impresses even during the day without doing much to dim the ambient light. When the sun shines through our windows, we pull the blinds, but otherwise the photo is still stunningly acceptable, even without ideal conditions. Mind you, all this without a projection screen, which makes the visuals stand out even more.
We recently tested the Hisense L9G, a high-performance ultra-short-throw projector that performs amazingly. It’s a remarkable product that we can wholeheartedly recommend, but even it looks flimsy next to the sheer power of the photo coming out of the LS12000. Where the L9G had to balance its $5,500 budget on the projection, audio, smart TV platform and included projection screen, the LS12000 has put all its costs into the picture.
Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Specifications
Supported screen sizes: 50 to 130 inches | 8K: No | HDR: Yes | Optical technology: Laser 3LCD | Smart TV: No| Dimensions: 20.5(w) x 7.6(h) x 17.6(d)in | Weight: 28 pounds | 3D: No | entrances: 2x HDMI 2.1 (1 with eARC), 1 x powered USB, optical digital audio output, Ethernet, RS232-C, 12 volt trigger output
Given the brightness of the projector and the fact that it can support a wide range of image formats, it must of course be sharp. While the projector uses three LCDs with native 1080p resolution, Epson’s two-axis pixel shift creates a true 4K UHD image with no artifacts for us to pick up, like the dithering we’ve seen on some cheaper DMD-based projectors.
Now the LS12000 offers a lot, but it comes at a high price. Assuming a $15 ticket, you could go to the cinema about 333 times before the LS12000 made more financial sense. But the LS12000 can still be more practical than meets the eye. If you went every weekend for six years, you’d be right, and the light source life of 20,000 hours should last much longer. If you have kids or a partner going to the theater, you’ll achieve that return on investment even faster. If you have to pay for parking at the theater, don’t forget to take that into account. And the fact is, you get more than just movies from your home theater. You can’t go to the theater to watch Law & Order SVU. You can’t go to the theater to stream every season of The Office. You cannot go to the theater to play Elden Ring’s New Game+ for 500 hours.
The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 is definitely an investment, and one you should build with a decent sound system and possibly a setup that makes it easier to switch sources given the meager two HDMI ports. But for those looking for the ultimate home theater, this machine will handily deliver the picture.
Should I Buy the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 4K Laser Projector?
Buy it if…
You want the ultimate home cinema images
The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 may not stream or output audio, but the picture is undeniably brilliant. Rich shadows, vibrant colors and dazzling highlights all come out beautifully.
You don’t want any hassle with placement
If you already have the perfect place to set up a large projector, the LS12000 can probably adapt to that space. It has a wide zoom and lens shift range, so you can frame the image exactly where you want it.
you want it all
The Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 brings the 4K image, blows up the HDR images, explodes with brightness, sinks into the darkness, goes smooth to 120Hz, tightens to 50 inches or scales to 300 inches. It will probably take you some time to feel that this projector is missing something you must have.
Don’t buy it if…
You only have $5,000 to spend on a home theater
The LS12000 is great, but it’s just a display. You don’t get any sound and you don’t get any streaming or broadcasting platform from it. If you’re just starting out with an entertainment setup, you’ll need that too.
You want more flexibility
The LS12000 can be adapted to a variety of setups, but it’s really the kind of projector you want to keep in one place. It’s big and bulky, so probably not one you’ll want to move around or take with you on a trip.
You are not a die-hard cinephile
The LS12000 is a splurge compared to the many projectors out there that can get you a large 4K image. Many do a great job of providing an evening of entertainment and casual viewing if you remember to close the blinds and dim the lights. Epson even has a cheaper $1,000 option in the LS11000 that only sacrifices a bit.