Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Remote Control

There’s one more thing to look at before we conclude our hardware tour of the Epson Home Cinema 2030 and 2000.  That would be the remote control.

Epson’s remote is a compact, white affair.  It is dripping in buttons, but first I must point out that like every other $1000 and under home projector, (and many under $2000), there’s no backlight on the remote.  That’s sad, and an inconvenience.

At the top of the remote is a blue Power button. Press once for On, twice to power down.  Next comes the inputs.  Across from power is an LAN button.

The projector supports HDMI link so you’ll next find a full set of controls that looks like those you’d find on a Blu-ray player.  You know – rewind, play, fast forward, pause, beginning, end, and stop.  The LINK menu button is just below on the left, while on the right is a Mute button that works with the built in speaker, and I assume, the audio out if you are using it (we did not test, but that would be the logical way to work it.)

Just below Stop and Mute are volume controls, and then as we move to the next section it’s the navigation area with menu on the left, Esc (back) on the right, and then four arrows in a round configuration with Enter in the center.

Below that is a User button (left) you can choose it’s purpose from several options, but default seems to be a toggle between full power and eco mode.  The other options are all 3D related except for the option for displaying the  Info menu.

Further down are three rows of three buttons.  From the top of those rows (left), are a 2D/3D toggle, Color Mode presets, and fast or fine image processing.  From past experience you’ll want Fast if you are gaming as that seems to significantly improve display lag times.

The next mode allows selection of 3D format manually (or Auto), direct access to the color management system (CMS – RGBCMY), and a toggle for the Auto dynamic iris.
Back to the left, on the next row is the Slideshow button for the USB port which will let you do just that – set up slide show for your photos, etc.  Next is a simple blue test pattern, a good one for focusing.  And on the right, Aspect ratio, which normally you will leave on Auto, or Normal, but the other two choices are Full, and Zoom.
That leaves only one more button, the AV/Mute, which mutes the video and audio.  Note, that unlike the slider AV mute on the projector, the door doesn’t close, so you get a blue screen or a black screen, or you can put in your own logo to display.

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Epson Home Cinema 2030 Lens Throw

As previously noted, the Home Cinema 2030 and 2000 have a manual 1.2:1 zoom lens. That makes the placement typically limited – exactly what we expect on projectors under $1500, and many costing more.

For a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the front of the HC2030 can be as close as 8 feet 10 inches, or as far back as 10 feet 8 inches.   These are numbers calculated from a prelimary data sheet.  I should have access to a User manual before the projector ships.  Part of the fun of reviewing engineering samples of projectors (as in this case) is that typically they come without any documentation!

The placement distances we’re talking about are pretty typical for projectors with limited range zoom lenses (which seem to be all but two home projectors that I can think of under $1300.)

Lens Shift

The Epson Home Cinema 2030 lacks adjustable lens shift.  You’ll want to get the vertical placement right, so that you don’t have to use keystone correction to keep the image rectangular.  Keystone correction adds a small amount of distortion/softness to the image.  For a home entertainment projector I’d say: ”Don’t sweat it!”  If it’s that important to you to have lens shift, then you are locked into perhaps a grand total of  three projectors on the market under $1500, two of which are 2D only (as it just happens to turn out) and the third has very limited lens shift.

“How bad is using keystone correction,” you ask? I have an easy way to describe that for existing projector owners: Any softness caused by using keystone correction, is going to take away less from picture quality, than the inherent high compression being used on satellite and cable transmissions. So, while we cringe at the thought of using keystone correction, it’s not going to do something drastic, like make a 1080p image seem as soft as a 720p one in terms of sharpness.   A movie scene from a Blu-ray disc, with keystone correction in use, is still going to be visibly better picture quality than the same scene coming off my DirecTV, with no keystone correction engaged, and all else being equal.

On Blu-ray disc, you should be able to see a slight difference between keystone on, and off. It will be harder to see on lower quality sources. If you are that much of a perfectionist, you probably won’t find peace and tranquility in your life without spending twice the price of this Epson!  Enough said.

Anamorphic Lens - Wide Screen?

The Home Cinema 2030 and 2000 do not support an anamorphic lens.  The only projector in the Epson line up that does, is the Pro Cinema 6020, a projector that’s about $3500!  That’s just fine, were you really thinking of a $1500+ anamorphic lens, and perhaps $5,000 with a motorized sled for a $999 projector?  If you were, don’t bother.  It makes no sense.

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