Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector Review
Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector - Appearance
The HC2030 projector itself has a white case (with some light gray), which is nicely sculpted, with a sloping look from back to front. It sort of reminds me of some sporty sub-compact cars… Mind you I’m not really a judge of projector aesthetics, but it’s cooler looking than most. Of course. most of us really only care about what ends up on the screen, not the projector styling. Control panel is on top, and the inputs and other connectors are on the back.
Let’s start from the front of the Epson Home Cinema 2030. There’s a recessed 1.2:1 zoom lens offset to the right, should you be facing the projector. The front also offers an exhaust vent, a drop down adjustable front center foot, and an IR sensor for the remote control.
On the top, just behind the lens, are two recessed dials for adjusting the zoom lens and focusing it. Toward the back and center is the control panel, a pretty standard affair.
Also by the recessed lens controls is a slider that’s labeled AV Mute. Closing that, slides a lens cover over the lens for protection, but also reduces power consumption without fully powering down the lamp. Nice energy efficiency touch.
Back center is a typical control panel. All the inputs and connectors are located on the back panel and will be described below.
The cover curves from the left side (facing the projector) and is mostly on the top. Of course, this tells you that if you have mounted the Epson projector, you won’t have to unmount to change the lamp. The long life, I should note, is 4000 hours at full power according to Epson. Relax, enjoy it for a few years. Even very heavy users should get at least two years from the lamp.
Changing the lamp requires removing a screw from the left side (again, if looking from the front) near the rear. That removes the lamp cover from the top of the projector, providing access to the lamp. On the opposite side of the projector is a door that hides the pretty long life filter, and also a Kensington lock slot.
Kudos to Epson. Both rear feet are screw thread adjustable. I think companies that make only one rear foot adjustable, tend to drive owners a bit crazy. I’m talking about users who place their projectors on a table top. With three adjustable feet, setup and leveling is a snap. With two, it can cause insanity. I’m tired of stuffing CD jewel cases, business cards or anything else I can find, to level the unadjustable side.. No problem with this Epson HC2030 though.
Home Cinema 2030 Control Panel
The control panel (located on the top) offers up Power, Menu and Source buttons, as well as the four obligatory navigation arrows, with a centered Enter button in the middle. When not in the menu navigation, the left and right arrows double for volume up and down. There are 3 indicator lights (no surprise – power lamp, and temp), and Epson’s interactive Help function which is always a nice touch, but would be nicer if it walked you through more adjustments than it does. Still beats having no onboard help, which is what most projectors offer.
Power-up is pretty quick although figure about one minute before color is mostly stabilized and is looking really good. Power down (press Power twice) only takes a second or two.
Home Cinema 2030 Projector - Input/Output
OK, let’s look at the inputs and connectors on the back.
From the left – two HDMI inputs. (I’ve got a Roku stick on one). Moving to the right, next is a PC input (an HD15 connector) which can accept a component video input. Then comes a standard composite video (RCA jack), and below it left and right audio inputs (RCA jacks). Next over is the audio out, a stereo mini connector.
That’s followed by a micro USB connector for the service port. Finally, on the far right, a USB connector. The two watt speaker is to the right of the connection panel. I have currently installed the optional Wireless module in the USB port.
elow the first row, are the power cord receptacle, something I have yet to identify (it glows a soft gray from the inside perhaps it is a rear IR sensor?) Lastly, there’s an RS232 for command and control.
The two HDMI’s are 1.4 compliant, which is necessary for running Blu-ray 3D. Don’t laugh, but many $1000 and under projectors (mostly ones in their 2nd - or 3rd year on the market), don’t support Blu-ray 3D.
Home Cinema 2030 Menus
No real suprises here, Epson menus don’t change much. Just a new feature or two added.
Above, the Advanced setting on the Image menu. Calibration is done in the RGB area. Individual colors are calibrated (we rarely do that) in the RGBCMY submenu. This Epson is more the exception, than the rule, offering up a full set of RGB, and CMS controls for calibration.
One thing missing from the 2030, is the multiple gamma settings offered on more expensive Epson projectors. We discuss the gamma in the Image quality section.
Finally, of course, the Info menu:
Epson’s menus haven’t really changed in a decade, except to add lots of new features. I would say Epson’s layout is about as good as it gets. That’s not to say there aren’t four or five other brands with equally good, but different menu layouts. Bottom line: No complaints!
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