Posted on September 16, 2015
The Home Cinema 2040 and 2045 are Epson’s impressive, new sub-$1000 home theater – or if you prefer, home entertainment projectors.
I’m a bit late getting this published. I received a Home Cinema 2040 – also referred to as HC2040 about five weeks ago. It was an engineering sample, delivered shortly before Epson’s official announcement. I went through the entire review process, but had to complete our annual Best Home Theater Projectors report and launch another site – SmarterHomeAutomation.com – before getting around to writing this up. My apologies for the delay. Here goes!
Epson it seems is dramatically expanding its line-up of low cost projectors for the home. In all, they’ve announced five new projectors in the last few weeks. Of those, four of the five are 1080p models, and of the five, four are under $1000!
The Home Cinema 2040, however, is the only one I’ve received so far. Two more coming in soon they say.
Let’s get the differences between these two out of the way, which will simplify. The HC2045, at an official price of $849 is $50 more than the HC2040, and has one extra feature, built in MiraCast. This will allow wireless connection with Miracast equipped laptops and other devices. That said, both projectors offer an HDMI port with MHL, which basically offers similar capability with most mobile devices. More on the Special features page. Certainly the HC2040 will be the big seller of the two, but for some, the HC2045 makes more sense
OK let’s concentrate now on the Home Cinema 2040.
This Epson is bright enough to use as a general Home Entertainment projector. That translates to having enough horsepower to be used in less than ideal rooms, with some ambient light present. Right off the bat, it’s really great for sports which is a typical use in such rooms, be it a living room, bonus room, or spare bedroom. And don’t forget, it’s small enough, light enough, and has a built in speaker, so that you can take it outside for those nighttime summer movie festivals – or whatever else you like.
At the same time, it’s not so bright that it can’t be used in a fully darkened room, aka, a home theater or cave. That is a problem for some very bright projectors. Versatile!
This is a projector that is just dripping in vibrant colors. It looks pretty great right out of the box. And the colors aren’t just vibrant, they are pretty accurate. So much so, that for a projector in its price range, it seemed a bit foolish to get into calibrating it. While the hard core among us might want to tweak the colors to achieve closer to perfection, this is a “take it out of the box, plug it in, and watch” projector. No muss, no fuss.
Add to that a great warranty.
Epson built this for the consumer that wants a really good solution, without having to devote a whole lot of energy to it. – a true consumer product.
The HC2040 and HC2045 are available online, from all the usual sources including the large, and I should note, really knowledgeable AV dealers such as our advertisers Projector People, Visual Apex and Projector Superstore, as well as Amazon, and big box houses like Best Buy. In other words, if these Epsons ring your bell, it sure won’t be hard to lay your hands on one, and to begin your truly big screen experience.
And as long as I’m plugging AV dealers – or rather the whole AV channel – keep this in mind when its time to decide: Just about anyone can sell you a projector, but if you want a source that can also answer your questions about projector screens and other accessories, speak intelligently about cables, etc., look to the AV dealers first, those guys are the experts -whether they advertise with us or not. Most of them are about you calling into them, rather than just ordering online. We’re talking real phone support too, not “we’ll answer your email in 24 hours.”
(BTW, I’m biased – my last company, which I sold in 2003 – Presenting Solutions, was the first seller of projectors online (Jan 1995) and was an “AV” dealer, selling 600+ projectors a month at peak before I sold it.) Obviously I’ve been doing this too long, considering I got involved in modern projectors at the very beginning.) -art
The page wasn’t quite long enough to fit without those last two paragraphs. Now we can get back to the HC2040. So, what else has it got going for it?
OK, let’s look at a few of the special features (and some noteworthy but not so special features). To quote Bob Seger, time to “Turn the Page.”
I recently purchased the Epson 2040 and was looking into screens. I’m planning to use it in my living room which during the day gets some ambient light (trying to cut it down as much as possible but doing so in a row home is a bit difficult). I was wondering if getting a screen like the ezFrame Elite Cinegrey 5D would be overkill. Looking to do 100″.
I haven’t directly worked with the CineGray5D, but it should be a good choice. That said, you don’t need the passive 3D abilities. Elite makes probably several Cinegray surfaces going back to one I reviewed 7-8 years ago. The key point is high contrast grays help with side ambient light.
But if you have a ton of ambient light to deal with then you move to light absorbing screens. Elite makes a fixed screen like that. So do dnp and Screen Innovations. Elite’s is the least expensive – far less than the SI (I use the SI slate which was roughly $4000 list price for a motorized, but even their fixed wall ones I think are close to $2000, while the Elite’s are around $1000 (I think). -art
Great review, thank you.
Optoma HD161X or HC2045 ,can anyone give a hand
I just used Epson projector calculator and I cant believe that if you hang it inverted from the celling it would be down almost 4 feet.I was going to buy an Epson 3000 but I guess I cant unless some one knows something I don’t. just a little frustrated
Yeah, that’s an issue I had with the 2045, though I mounted it about 2 feet down (25″) with a cheap extending ceiling mount from Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0052YQE7C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ) and it sits high enough that we aren’t bumping our heads on the projector (as long as we don’t stand on the couch). So far, that’s been working pretty well, and I like the increased resolution (and perceived brightness despite the advertised lumens being lower) over the GT760a I traded for it.
jay • 3 minutes ago
I have an optoma gt750 that hangs down about 4 inches way up out the way, I don’t get it.
The GT750 is a short throw and it has a different vertical offset than this projector (Epson 2045). This one has to be mounted further from the ceiling to avoid using keystone. I returned my GT760a in order to get this one, and while I prefer this one overall, I wish the vertical offset was like the GT760a.
We have the 2045, and use it on the white warehouse wall in our backyard. 70 foot Diagonal picture. Amazing picture. Great value. Good response for gaming on the Ps4.
Your website has been a huge help to me!
I have a little Optoma 750st for work that we’ve been using in our living room since our tv died. It’s just 720p, but having the big picture spoiled us and now we want to buy a projector for our living room instead of a new TV. Can you answer a couple questions to help us decide?
We mainly watch sports and movies. Light will come from sliding glass doors in the back corner of the room. The glass doors have blinds and curtains. We’ll probably just use the wall with no screen for now. My budget is about $1000.
My only other projector experience is with an Epson PowerLite HC 8350.
I’m considering the HC 2045, but I saw I can get a refurbished 8350 for the same price (around $700).
I understand the convenience of lens shift, zoom, etc, but I’ll put up with more install hassle for a better picture. (We have the Optoma for portability.) I like the idea of saving $ on the 2045 replacement lenses, but not if I have to sacrifice much in image quality.
I’m also learning from reviews that I can’t just compare the manufacturers info on contrast ratio and lumens.
1. Is there a noticeable difference in picture quality between the HC 8350 (6 years old, no CFI, etc.) or PowerLite HC 2045. If so, which is better?
2. Would the picture quality jump dramatically (double) to justify spending twice as much on either a refurbished 3600e ($1250) or 5010 ($1500)
Despite it’s age I see the 8350 as more of a home theater projector, than the HC2045 which is more home entertainment. For anyone who really wants great though, the cheapest entry point is the Epson UB series, whether the 5010UB (very old), the 5020UB, or the 5030UB. all are discontinued. I’m surprised at the high price you quoted on a 5010. I thought there were 5030UB refurbs around for that price, but haven’t seen them in a while. -art
Art, Hi, I’ve been using an Epson HC6100 for a few years now with no complaints, but I’ve been thinking of switching up to a 2040 or would that really be a step down or given the age of the 6100, would the two be about the same in picture quality? I use the 6100 for movies and gaming (really don’t notice any lag issues with it online), but I’ve always been a sucker for 3D. Thanks! Todd
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