Epson Brightlink Pro 1410Wi Parts and Labor Warranty

The Epson Brightlink Pro 1410Wi comes with both a two-year projector limited warranty, and two years of EPSON® Road Service Program, with PrivateLine® dedicated toll-free support (U.S. and Canada only), and 90-day limited lamp warranty.

Epson Road Service Program

Replacement programs associated with warranties are the fastest and usually the easiest and fastest way to get back up and running if a projector has a warranty issue. The Road Service replacement program ships out a replacement next business day, if you don’t call in too late in the afternoon.  That’s fast!  Epson pays freight for your replacement and to return your original projector with the issue.

Bottom Line on this Epson projector’s warranty:  Overall, the warranty and support program has to be considered well above average.  There are a couple of companies with three year warranty programs with first year replacement, one competitor even offers 3 year warranty with 3 years of replacement program.

That said, there are plenty of standard one, two, and three year warranties without any sort of replacement or loaner program, where turn-around can take a number of days, even weeks. Let’s just say that the Epson Brightlink Pro 1410Wi comes with one of the best warranties available. Epson’s phone lines put users directly in touch with projector support people without going through intermediaries.  The wait is rarely more than a minute or two.

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Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector – Image Quality 3

Overall, the Home Cinema 2030 did a respectable or better job on dark shadow detail.  It actually does very well, revealing more than most projectors. But keep in mind, because the darkest shadow detail on more expensive projectors with better blacks means that those details themselves are much darker, it’s hard to sometimes to notice that they are just as good or better than lower cost projectors like this Epson, or competition from Viewsonic, Optoma, BenQ…


Below is a favorite image for looking at dark shadow detail. It’s also a good test of black level performance. While as already noted, the black levels of the 2030 are only average, that definitely is the case for dark shadow detail. Look at the shrubs on the right and behind the tracks, and also in the darkest portion of the woods, where there’s plenty of dark shadow detail. Most of the projectors’ images below crush the darkest detail more.

Note, images below.  We’ve already converted a lot of these Bond “night train scene” images done with more expensive projectors to grayscale, but as you can see, most of the older, less expensive projectors’ images are still in color.  Eventually, they’ll all be grayscale.

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hc2030 bond train large
hc-3020e bond train large
hd25-lv bond train large
h9500bd bond train large
Pro8200 bond train large
hc4000 bond train large
home-cinema-5020 bond train large
vpl-hw50es bond train large

Black Level and Shadow Detail Performance: Home Cinema 2030 Projector - Bottom Line

Black level performance is about average for around the $1000 price point.  You’ve got to spend hundreds more to get something significantly better, although the BenQ W1070 and W1080ST have a slight advantage.  The Optoma HD25-LV cost $300 more and is better than either, but still a far cry for serious black level work.

Almost all the darkest shadow detail is there, call the Home Cinema 2030 pretty good.  Better still call it about average for the lower cost projectors in its range.

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Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector Specifications

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Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Pros and Cons

WATCH THE VIDEOS HERE: Epson HC2030 “Projector Reviews TV” Video Summary and shorter Video Overview

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Pros and Cons

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Pros

  • Exceptionally bright – in both 2D and 3D.
  • Overall very good color, right out of the box without adjustment
  • Bright and medium images have lots of “pop”.
  • A “smart” projector – works with a Roku stick for internet downloading of TV programs, sports, etc.
  • Four color modes, two more for 3D
  • Handles really large screens for 2D viewing (150″ no problem).
  • Handles projector screens up to 125″ in 3D with looking dim
  • Very good overall color
  • Skin tones are really good post calibration
  • All feet are adjustable (thank you!)
  • Calibrates easily
  • USB slideshow features
  • Very good shadow detail
  • Superb lamp life (5000 hours at full/6000 hours in eco-mode) (confirming - some conflicting info)
  • HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) support for Blu-ray 3D content
  • 3D glasses are Radio frequency, and instant (3 minutes) rechargeable
  • Basic sound is provided, Audio output allows add on surround sound, or powered subwoofer
  • Very good in terms of image noise
  • Excellent 2 year warranty with replacement program
  • Excellent value proposition overall, 2D or 3D

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Cons

  • Black level performance is definitely “near entry level” nothing to write home about.  It’s typical for a $1000 projector, which means there are some that are better
    • Black level performance means that really dark scenes don’t pop – even in a fully darkened room but then you probably aren’t putting it in a room that good
  • No gamma control, and default could be closer to ideal
  • Sharpness, while very good, isn’t up to the best single chip DLP projectors at the price point
  • Minor 3D crosstalk (varies depending on the 3D brightness setting)
  • Lacks lens shift (also true about every competing projector but one)
  • A bit noisy, which is common with projectors in this price range.  Better in eco-mode
  • Lacks CFI – creative frame interpolation which is a nice touch for sports but hardly a “life and death” feature
  • Could have a more powerful speaker system (home theater projectors don’t even have speakers)

Well, finally there’s a 1080p home projector using 3LCD technology to break the $1000 price barrier – $999 for the HC2030, or $899 for the HC2000. Having that technology choice definitely widens your options in terms of performance.

The only projectors that are brighter for home are really business projectors in disguise – “crossover” projectors.   While these Epson’s do share some things with their business  projectors, this projector has definitely been optimized for the home. Unlike, for example, the Acer H6510 or Viewsonic PJD7820HD, neither of which comes close to matching the color handling and natural color that the HC2030 is capable of.

If you are looking for a family projector – or a projector for the sports fanatic, and your budget is around $1000, this Epson Home Cinema 2030 is very likely your best choice, especially when you consider the great warranty, ease of use, etc.  However, if you really want a projector for a dark surfaced, home theater type room with complete lighting control, you could look to one or two DLP projectors that well may be a better fit.  (That assumes you aren’t rainbow sensitive.)

I had one of my fantasy football buddies over for the pre-season games this weekend.  He just couldn’t believe that the Epson HC2030 is only a grand.  Fooled him.  I even after a while switched to the HC5020UB.  As far as he was concerned, unless I turned on CFI (on the 5020UB) he was equally happy with either.  They are almost identical in brightness, and both just blasted light onto the screen.

And for all my usual grumbling about black levels, I did manage to watch half a dozen movies and didn’t suffer any mental anguish, even if I was reminded from time to time that the Epson Home Cinema 2030 is no match for that Epson 5020UB, or my old $8000 JVC RS20, who’s blacks are still pretty state of the art.

A fun projector, an excellent value, and likely the most hassle free solution you can consider near the price!   Are you ready?

And with that thought, this review concludes.

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Epson Home Cinema 2030 – Review Summary

A Hot Product Award for theEpson Home Cinema 2030. The award will be shared with the slightly less expensive, and near identical Epson HC2000 projector.

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector - The Bottom Line

The Epson Home Cinema 2030 is a brand new projector from Epson.  There’s no “last year’s” version of the HC2030 (or the HC2000).  That sure makes it more fun to review than many projectors that are modest updates.

Since we were lucky enough to obtain an engineering sample well ahead of first shipment, we do expect that the full production HC2030′s will perform slightly better, perhaps some additional brightness or some final adjustments to the firmware, or slightly improved blacks.  For now we have to deal the cards as dealt.   The version of the firmware is V101, so it may be final, we shall see.

Despite its sample status, this projector doesn’t feel pre-production.  It works like any well thought out projector – very well.  Build quality feels very good.  I only noticed one unusual thing about this unit, and that relates to the calibration area, a place that most owners won’t even visit.

Let’s go over the basics again:  This Epson is a three chip LCD projector (3LCD), that I classify as home entertainment rather than home theater.  Why?  That’s the job it’s most suited for.  It’s one of the brightest projectors around – it measured just over 2000 lumens, with pretty good picture quality in Dynamic mode.  Note:  The brightest mode on most projectors run the gamut from “pretty good” to terrible, so that’s a good thing.

Operation of the Home Cinema 2030 is straightforward.  One of my few complaints is that the remote control isn’t backlit, but I complain about that on every sub-$1000 projector and many costing up to $2000 that lack backlights. On the other hand this is more of a “turn on and watch type projector”, unless you are using the remote for HDMI-Link, to control other devices, mostly you’ll use it for Powering on and off, and adjusting the volume if you don’t have a separate sound system.

Overall this projector’s right out of the box color has to set it apart from most of the competition.  There are a couple of other pretty impressive projectors without adjusting color, but more that need some real help with color, even in best modes.  With the Home Cinema 2030, as mentioned, even Dynamic is pretty good, geared for a lot of pop, in a dark room it likely would be considered a little over the top, but no one’s going to use Dynamic in a really dark room unless your screen size is somewhere around 150″ or more!

Living Room mode is great for sports, but cool in color (thin on reds, relative to blues) but just changing the Color Temp setting from 1 to 0, warms it up nicely. I loved Living Room for sports viewing!

Choose Natural or Cinema for your movie viewing. Our slightly adjusted Natural mode after Mike’s calibration still put out a whopping 1400+ lumens and produces even better color accuracy.  That’s rock and roll power for your movie viewing!

The Home Cinema 2030 has some very interesting features, it’s not a bare bones projector at all.  Consider that this Epson projector is “Smart”.  You can plug in a Roku stick into HDMI 1 for all those internet channels of content, from news to Netflix to well, the choices grow every day.  All you need is some Wifi.

And the Home Cinema 2030 is not limited to just Roku, the port is MHL:  Mobile High-definition Link. There are plenty of other MHL compatible devices and accesories out there, and more coming all the time.  Some Android’s have MHL capability.  iOS devices can be interfaced but I don’t think wirelessly at this time. With the new iOS coming out next month (9/2013), perhaps they will sport some MHL compatibility.

3D was impressively bright as well, I enjoyed watching 3D movies at a 124″ diagonal image size(1.3 gain projector screen), without it feeling dim.  (Really impressive!)

Color in 3D was very watchable but not particularly accurate (3D Cinema better than 3D Dynamic).  We don’t fool with color in 3D, but there are full controls for improving it.  None the less, the 3D experience was sweet, thanks to the brightness.

The 3D glasses (optional) can be charged up enough in 3 minutes to watch a full length movie.  They are RF which is great (not IR, which is what most DLP projectors use, since they use DLP link a standard that’s several years old.

Connectivity wise, the HC2030 is well connected. In addition to the pair of HDMI ports (one at least is MHL compatible), there’s a PC input that can handle a analog computer signal or component video.  There’s stereo audio in (in addition to the HDMI ports which carry audio) and that very nice audio out for hooking up to a bigger sound system or a powered subwoofer.

The Very Bottom Line on the Home Cinema 2030 projector

This is a fun projector.  It should provide years of enjoyable viewing, and it’s backed with what must be the best overall warranty anywhere near its price range, two years, with next business day replacement!  Sweet.

While color handling is a plus, the lack of gamma adjustment and not quite as good black levels as some of the immediate competition offers, just prove that this is an affordable projector. If the Home Cinema 2030 did everything a lot better than the competition, it would be more expensive, and competing with more expensive projectors.

But it’s the picture that will sell this projector, bright and pleasing to view.  That it looks a little cooler than most of the competition or that it has some slick capabilities such as MHL are just pluses. The Epson Home Cinema 2030 should be considered an excellent choice for a rather affordable home entertainment projector, one that can tackle most decent rooms, and impress you with its picture.

Click Image to Enlarge

Like life simple? Want a fun, bright 2D and 3D projector, Great warranty? Internet access via MHL and Roku? The answer is the Epson Home Cinema 2030, an excellent value proposition for most projetor shoppers looking to spend around $1000!

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Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector – Warranty

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector - Warranty

Epson’s warranty on the Home Cinema 2030 (and 2000) is drastically superior to most of the competition, but not all.  The Home Cinema 2030 (and the 2000), come with a two year parts and labor warranty. Both have Epson’s replacement program for the full two year warranty. If you have a warranty repair, Epson will expedite you a replacement projector out of their fleet. They will pay the freight to you, and pay the shipping for you to ship your broken one back. They will put a hold on a credit card, to make sure they get a projector back. That’s SOP (standard operating procedure) in the industry for Replacement (or loaner) type programs.  Replacement programs are popular for portable business projectors, but other than Epson, home theater projector replacement programs are rare, and not found around this price range.

How Epson’s replacement program works:  Depending on the time of day you call, your replacement projector might actually arrive the next business day, or the following. You can’t beat that.

Epson provides owners with a hotline number and ID in the box with their projectors.  Calls go directly to the projector tech support folks, typically in under 2 minutes. As with almost all support operations, there’s a first line of defense, fielding the calls. As is typical, if they can’t solve it, you’ll no doubt end up with “level 2″ support. Epson’s level 2 support has traditionally been very good. I haven’t spoken to their level one support in years.

In this price range, most projectors have just a one year warranty, while the a couple have two year warranties. Viewsonic does offer a 3 year warranty, but that’s the only longer one I can think of without spending a lot more.

I can’t think of even one other home theater projector with a two year replacement program except for other Epson projectors. That says something right there about Epson supporting their customers.  With a replacement program, it’s great to be back up and running in a day or two, rather than dealing with RMA’s and repair times that can run weeks.  By the nature of replacement programs, it pretty much means Epson has to take your word for it that there’s a problem, as your replacement arrives before you even ship your original projector back to them (on their dime).

Epson’s full program for the HC2030 is hard, no, impossible to beat, at this price point.  Sleep easy with this projector.

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Home Cinema 2030 and Home Cinema 2000 Competitors – 2

Home Cinema 2030 vs. BenQ W1070 and W1080ST

This is probably the most interesting comparison, and the one most are looking for.

Theoretically it’s the W1070 vs. the Home Cinema 2030 both at $999.  The Home Cinema 2000 with slightly less lumens (but still more than the BenQ projectors) is officially $100 less than the HC2030.

The BenQ has a couple of performance advantages.  It definitely has a slight advantage in terms of black level performance, which favors it in the cave or dedicated home theater.  The BenQ also offers (on the W1070 only) a small amount of vertical lens shift which could be a real help depending on your room, in terms of mounting the projector.

Remember, when it comes to placement there’s also the BenQ W1080ST, which is a short throw configuration.  That may also appeal to some folks.  Otherwise the same as the W1070 (except no lens shift), the W1080ST has the advantage of sitting in the front of the audience, which is nice if on table top.  But most will prefer the W1070.

When it comes to picture quality, right out of the box, the two BenQs were a bit different from each other.  Still both BenQs like the Epson offer particularly good color right out of the box for relatively low cost projectors.  The Epson though has the better color when comparing the absolute brightest modes.  The BenQ’s skin tones in Dynamic mode are defitely not up to the Epsons, but both sets of projectors don’t lose much brightness even when calibrated.

Warranty and support which I value highly – and so does anyone who encounters a warranty issue, strongly favors Epson.  Not only two years parts and labor, but two years of next business day replacement program.  Should you have a warranty problem, you won’t be down more than a couple or three days.  Anytime you have to ship in a projector for repair, you’re down for at least a week, maybe several. It’s something to factor.  Both brand’s projectors have long life lamps, so I don’t think there’s enough difference there to matter.

As a family projector rather than a enthusiasts projector, the Epsons have the advantage of being 3LCD – no rainbow effect.  If you are rainbow sensitive or don’t know yet, that’s a real difference.  If you aren’t, perhaps a family member is, certainly a friend or two probably are.   How big a deal?  Tough call.  I do get emails from people buying their first low cost projectors, who turn out to be rainbow sensitive. They tend to email they are returning it- what should I buy that’s not going to let me see rainbows. Image noise favors the Epson as it is cleaner on typical mosquito noise, but the BenQ is typical DLP, it’s not enough to be a real issue, unlike the image noise issue of the Optoma HD25-LV. Remember, far more expensive DLP projectors have faster color wheels which means far less people are affected, and those that are, see far less rainbows.

When it comes to 3D, the BenQ picks up an advantage.  A single chip DLP is cleaner in terms of crosstalk, but that’s not a big issue on my radar as the Epson’s pretty good (and has multiple settings to trade off vs. brightness)  I favor Epson for 3D simply because their 3D is brighter.   Also I like Epson’s glasses alternatives better, although there are 3rd party solutions for both brands.  Epson’s glasses are much lighter, and quickly rechargeable.  BenQ uses DLP-Link, which I think is getting dated.  Note that the Optoma HD25-LV offers DLP-Link as their normal, but offer optional RF glasses (Epsons are also RF), with better picture performance – that don’t use DLP-Link.

The Home Cinema 2030 and Home Cinema 2000 are the better mass market projectors, I have no doubt in my mind about that.  Still, the BenQ projectors, especially the W1070 should find a pretty respectable following among enthusiasts – at least those not rainbow sensitive.    I also like that they are smart with their MHL support.  I actually found myself using Roku with the HC2030. Cool! MHL will also allow you to work directly with any MHL equipped Android device (and maybe iOS in the future). For example with an MHL Android tablet

In a room that does have more than minimal ambient light, I do favor the Epson – for brighter 3D as well as better color at brightest.  In my upcoming projector addition to my rather bright livingroom, I would pick the Epson.  Personally I am planning on watching sports and TV, but movies will  stay in the home theater. I would pick the Epsons for that room, except that I’ll go with a higher end, but also bright projector, so I don’t have to choose one of these. Still, around $999, these are probably the best alternatives out there.  For most families – the Epsons win.  For the hard core enthusiast, looking for the best theater performance though, the BenQ has the edge. Do you share?  BTW, since projector repairs can be expensive, figure the cost of an extended warranty if you go BenQ.

I expect that the Epsons will prove to be the more popular of the two pairs of projectors, but it’s about which one’s best for you?  No muss, no fuss favors the Epsons – they build a super friendly, and very smart, bright, family solution with a great warranty.  Lens shift (modest) and a touch more zoom, plus slightly better blacks favor the BenQ W1070.  Just remember these are all around entry level for black level performance.  The “serious” home theater projectors with “ultra-high contrast black level performance do cost a good deal more.

Two first class choices!

Epson Home Cinema 2000 vs. Acer H6510 and Viewsonic PJD7820HD

Let’s focus on the Home Cinema 2000 (available online) rather than the 2030 for this comparison. Why?  Because these other two projectors are both true entry level “crossover” 1080p projectors.  Although the H6510BD and the Viewsonic obviously come off similar production lines (the boxes have much in common), we found the Viewsonic to be both brighter and less expensive.   The Viewsonic also has the ability to save a user memory, a complaint I have about the Acer. The Acer though can be tweaked to have the better color of the two.

We’re talking $699 and $799 for the Viewsonic and Acer respectively, based on MAP online pricing.  The Epson Home Cinema 2000 weighs in at $899, but offers more features.

Remember both Acer and Viewsonic really are crossover business projectors so there are obvious sacrifices made to satisfy the business user.  Mind you the Epson has enough brights to also play in the business world, but note that the “extras” are all home entertainment focused.

I favor the color and overall image quality of the Epson Home Cinema 2000 over both of them.  The Epson is also at least the equal of the others in terms of blacks, although none of these projectors is screaming “me, me” for those seeking superior black levels.  You’ll just have to spend more money.  I don’t think we ever got the Viewsonic to look as accurate color wise as the Epson’s best modes right out of the box.   That’s big difference.  The Acer based on Mike’s calibration, can do some very good color, but I’d still say the Epson is more forgiving, and if you aren’t interested in fooling around with your projector at all, it’s definitely the way to go.  It’s cleaner on image noise which also helps although the difference isn’t a major thing.   All’s fair, the Epson is $100 or $200 more than the Acer and Viewsonic respectively.

All do 3D.  No issues with any in that regard.  They are all pretty bright for doing 3D.  The 3LCD design does seem to get you more net brightness than DLP, but these DLPs are brighter overall, so in 3D they all do very well, brightness wise.

Feature sets vary.  All have limited range zoom lenses, and none have lens shift.  The Epson though, piles on consumer features – from MHL for things like Roku, to plugging in a USB device to view your photos and other PC free functionality, to optional RF 3D glasses that recharge quickly.

Warranty is interesting.  Acer offers a basic 1 year parts and labor.  Epson offers two years with two years of replacement, while Viewsonic offers a comparable alternative to Epson with 3 years parts and labor, but one year of replacement. Which of Epson or Viewsonic you favor for warranty is a tough one.

While I tend to paint the Epson HC2000 as a projector for the living room, family room, etc., that’s certainly true for these two crossovers.

The Viewsonic I favor over the Acer, especially since it’s also $100 less, but, understand you would be getting a lot more projector in terms of picture, and features for the Epson’s extra $200 compared to the Viewsonic PJD7820. In this case I would definitely recommend to most stepping up to the Epson if it can fit into your budget.

Home Cinema 2030 vs. Panasonic PT-AR100U

The Panasonic PT-AR100U is really the direct competitor of the Epson HC8350 covered above.  Like that Epson, it’s been around a while.

Unlike the Home Cinema 2030, the Panasonic PT-AR100U is 2D only.  It’s brighter than the 8350 and measures about the same brightness as the Home Cinema 2030.  The Panasonic has great placement flexibility, and better blacks, and costs $300 more – $400 more than the HC2000.  Both are fine in the family room/living room.

Like with the HC8350, the Panasonic is the better dedicated home theater projector, with much better blacks, better placement flexibility, etc. The Home Cinema 2030 and the Panasonic PT-AR100U projectors have very good color right out of the box.  I was particularly impressed with both of them when reviewing them.

The lower cost, 3D, the smart features and better warranty are the reasons for going with the Epson.  More serious performance from an enthusiast standpoint is the compelling reason to spend more for the PT-AR100U.  The far better placement flexibility may also be important to you.  Very different projectors.  You should easily figure out which one fits your requirements.

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Home Cinema 2030 and Home Cinema 2000 Competitors

Home Cinema 2030 and Home Cinema 2000 Competitors

How does the Home Cinema 2030 projector compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market, including the Optoma HD25-LV, BenQ W1070, Panasonic PT-AR100U, as well as other Epson projectors? Depends in part on the type of room, and how much of a hard core enthusiast you are.

Just remember, 1080p – Full HD projectors for home start at $699, not far below the price of these Epsons at $899 and $999.  In other words, perfection is hard to find so close to “entry level”.  That assures you that when comparing projectors, there are lots of trade-offs. Perhaps we can help sort things out…

Home Cinema 2030 vs. Optoma HD25-LV

The Optoma HD25-LV should be selling for $300 more than the Home Cinema 2030, and $400 more than the Home Cinema 2000.  Is it worth it?

Whereas the Epson seems to exceptional friendly – Good color right out of the box, great warranty, the Optoma is, at least based on black levels, more performance oriented.   While both are bright, one would consider the Optoma HD25-LV, the better choice for the dedicated home theater, especially if you plan to get the color right (try our settings to start).  For you who like to play, the Optoma doesn’t allow you to save user settings.  Make a change in another mode and you lose previous settings, and that drove me a bit crazy, as I suspect it will other enthusiasts.

But the HD25-LV has one image quality flaw and that is the high noise levels we noted.  Even turning off Brilliant Color didn’t really help.  While I’m a fan of better blacks, I have to still favor the Epson, due primarily to the image noise issue, which is more than I can really handle.

That’s not to say that the average consumer (non-enthusiast) would have a problem with the image noise, but the average consumer is the one that the Epson Home Cinema 2030 serves best, with overall feature set, warranty, no rainbows to deal with etc.

I think Optoma got close to having a great projector, but didn’t quite get there.  Too bad.

Were it not for the image noise issue (and my rainbow sensitivity), however, the HD25-LV would be my choice of the two for a dedicated home theater.  But as I am, and since the HD25-LV doesn’t have the fastest color wheel, I’d still have to take a pass.  The image noise and the rainbows are too much for me.  But the Optoma still has those noticeably better blacks.  You make the call.


Home Cinema 2030 vs. Epson Home Cinema 8350

The Home Cinema 8350 just won’t go away. Priced the same as the Optoma HD25-LV, it certainly costs more than the HC2030 projector, but it is definitely targeting a different consumer.

The Home Cinema 8350 is 2D only, almost as bright in its brighter modes, but it is definitely intended these days, for more of a home theater environment.  For your extra $300, or $400 vs. the Home Cinema 2000, you get a projector with significantly better black levels, and drastically more placement flexibility – sporting a 2.1:1 zoom lens instead of a 1.2:1.

If you can live without 3D, definitely the enthusiast should be selecting the Home Cinema 8350.  For the general family viewing types, in a “family room” living room, type setting, though the Home Cinema 2030 offers far more options, including cool stuff like MHL which supports Roku and other streaming, and also easy showing of your photos over USB…  Both share the same 2 year warranty with 2 year replacement program.

Home Cinema 2030 vs. Epson Home Cinema 3020

Of course everyone is expecting a replacement for the Home Cinema 3020 at CEDIA since it will be 1 year old, so keep that in mind.   The 2030 really is a poor man’s Home Cinema 3020.  If Epson does replace the 3020, then its replacement would likely pick up some or all of the 2030′s smart features.  The current Home Cinema 3020 is just slightly brighter – not enough to matter.

From a performance standpoint, there’s no question, the Home Cinema 3020 offers better black levels. Consider the Home Cinema 3020 a step up projector.  Is it worth the $599 difference – it will be to those who want to get away from “just above entry level” black level performance, or who want wireless HDMI.  Budget allowing though, the person who wants the 3020 over the 2030, is also the person who really would want the Home Cinema 5020UB but that’s over 2.5 times the Home Cinema 2030′s price.

One place where the Home Cinema 3020 has the advantage – is with the Home Cinema 3020e version which adds wireless HDMI capabilities.  That can be a flat out money saver for those installing.

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Home Cinema 2030 – Projector Screen Recommendations

Epson’s new Home Cinema 2030 is still another bright Epson projector with about 2000 lumens.  This projector, like the 3020 is geared primarily for home entertainment.  As a result the commentary below below is based on the 3020 screen page.

HC2030 Projector Screen Recommendations

This Epson is a light canon. (That translates to “really bright”.) Even for 3D viewing, I can’t see the need for a really high gain screen. This simplifies and lets you pick the screen that best suits the room you are in, the varying levels of ambient light you might deal with, and also how big a screen you choose.  This commentary also applies to the slightly less expensive HC2000 which is rated 10% less bright, not enough to make a difference.

The Epson Home Cinema 2030 has no problem filling my s my 124″ Studiotek 130 screen (1.3 gain, 2.35:1), even with lamp on ECO when handling 2D.  In fact it’s downright dazzling. But, if you want some significant side lighting, look for a screen that’s high contrast and gray, for rejecting a lot of side ambient light. Most manufacturers have them.

If your room has ambient light but not from the sides, rather straight back, those HC gray’s aren’t going to help that much, so you might be better off with a nice “plus gain” screen – say 1.3 to 1.6, to brighten the image. That won’t help though if your ambient light is back where the projector is. Some HC gray screens are better at rejecting light coming from above, than others.

My new theater, with its black ceiling and dark blue walls and floor, just about any projector now seems bright. The Home Cinema 2030 is downright brilliant, and it is one of the few home theater or home entertainment projectors that doesn’t look dim filling my full 124″ screen.  Kudos!

Even the testing room with about half of its wall surfaces set to off-white, the projector easily handles my 110″ screen (2.35) when filling the full width with a widescreen movie in 3D.  (I use spare screens that I place in front of the darker walls, to make the room more living room like.

Most likely you should chose a white surface with gain up to 1.5 for this Epson, or a high contrast gray surface, if your layout benefits from it.

First Image below taken using 128″ screen, an old (2007) Sony VW60. A projector that we measured at a max of under 700 lumens. This room at that time, was “watch football during the day, everything else, at night only.” (My other theater room in that house was far darker.)

The second image – same setup, the old Epson 1080UB – several generation forerunner to the Epson 5020, and twice as bright as the Sony. The 1080UB at its brightest was very bright for its day (2008).  This HC3020 however, is still a few hundred lumens brighter

My presumption is, you care about good movie performance, and having good blacks, since you are considering, or own this projector. Rooms with a fair amount of light are often just fine for almost all HDTV and definitely sports. They won’t be significantly impacted by reflected light from the original image.

Family room image.This image shows the difference after darkening ceiling several shades below the original off-white, and taking the walls to a dark rust color: Even with the door shades partially open, the JVC used in this picture had almost identical brightness as the Sony in the first image. The moral to the story – darker walls can easily offset having fewer lumens.

That’s pretty impressive, is it not?  with the Medium rust walls, a bit darker ceiling (everyone still thought it was white – as it was the lightest surface in the room), the shades opened a bit, yet thanks to the darker surfaces, the image is far better looking than the first image above.

I loved having that Stewart Firehawk G3 (in the images above) in my last home for handling a light surfaced room. As I said, it was 128″ diagonal in a room with a cathedral celing. When I started out there, all the walls were off white, as was ceiling, and carpet was gold. Lots of windows, which I covered with pleated shades – but with no channels. The Firehawk allowed me to have a good picture even with a moderate amount of light (when the room is “you can read a newspaper easily” bright)

That HC gray screen rejects most of the side lighting. This allowed me to even have my slide window shades open a few inches on sunny days, and still have a large, great football image. If your ambient is coming from straight back near the projector, like rear windows, the HC gray won’t help you.

Ultimately, an HC gray is going to be the best choice for most folks with lighter rooms, and especially if the lights are on the sides. Consider the especially the Firehawk G3, and the various Screen Innovations Black Diamond screens (different gains, etc.) which are especially good, but also relatively pricey. More affordable: Elite’s HC Gray, Da-lite’s HC-Da-Mat, possibly Stewart’s new Cima series I haven’t worked with any of them yet.. Typically we’re talking screens with gains of 0.8 to 1.1 gain. The Epson’s inherently pretty bright on all but the very largest screens or if doing 3D, so trading a little brightness for some ambient light rejection is a plus. (Note HC screens are a touch darker in the corners/sides.)

Don’t get me wrong, you can go with a standard white surface, but in a light surfaced room, you’ll also appreciate the gray surface’s ability to lower the overall black levels, in addition to helping “reject” much of the ambient light that isn’t coming from where the projector is (straight back).

One alternative to the HC gray, might be a “high power” screen, one with lots of gain – such as 2.0 or higher.  Like the HC gray screen there are tradeoffs.  I find the roll off from the very high gain screens to be much worse than the less than perfect edge to edge brightness of an HC gray screen.  I avoid hi-power screens, but I know some very serious projector owners who swear by them, for the right situation

OK, what about 3D? In a room like my old one above, the HC gray type screens although a little less bright, are still your ticket if you have side ambient light to deal with.  Otherwise, go with the higher gain whites.

Bottom line:  The projector has the brightness.  Now find the right surface screen to deal with the room.  All that brightness gives you a good deal of leeway, and it means you can tackle a room a bit worse, lighting wise, than the competition is able to handle.

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Epson Home Cinema 2030 Post Calibration Grayscale: User Mode

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Post Calibration Grayscale: User Mode

Color temp over IRE range (post calibration) Natural Mode:
20 IRE 6608
30 IRE 6429
40 IRE 6589
50 IRE 6636
60 IRE 6564
70 IRE 6601
80 IRE 6508
90 IRE 6404
100 IRE 6481

Calibrated color temps, 20 – 100 IRE:

Average gamma = 1.62

Gamma proved to be low, which means mid brightness areas are a bit brighter than with a higher gamma.  Definitely too low by movie in the dark standards, but a good gamma for cutting through ambient light.

Home Cinema 2030 RGB Settings

Home Cinema 2030 Post Calibration settings:
Natural Quick Cal of Dynamic
Offset R = 0 R = 0
G = -6 G = 0
B = 8 B = 0
Gain R = 0 R = 0
G = 9 G= -10
B = -7 B= -15
Lumens at 100 IRE 1408 1860

To try these, open the menus, and from the Image menu, select Cinema mode.  Then go down to Advanced. Open it, then select RGB.  Place these number in, replacing the defaults.  The improvements should be pretty obvious.  We recommend you then save your settings under User 1.                                        Mike will provide his calibration notes shortly.

Look for the calibration information for the individual primary and secondary colors in our subscriber area.

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