Epson Home Cinema 2040 and 2045 Projectors: Summary

HOME CINEMA 2040 AND 2045 PROJECTORS – SUMMARY:  Summary – Picture Quality – Brightness – Features, Pros and Cons

Epson Home Cinema 2040_LEFT ANGLE
Epson’s HC2040 and HC2045 share a Hot Product Award

The short version is this:  These are two excellent, and very affordable projectors.  They are particularly good at keeping life simple – great color right out of the box, great warranty, very “plug and play.”

They also have long life, and low cost replacement lamps, a built in speaker and great warranty.

And they have MHL so you can plug in a streaming stick or interface directly with many phones and tablets.

 

Picture Quality

The HC2040 and HC2045 make great living room / family room projectors especially for viewing HDTV, and notably Sports.

The rather excellent out of the box color combines with plenty of brightness to make them a really good choice in this regard.

The colors are vibrant, the skin tones are surprisingly natural and accurate for a projector in this price range, especially using the default settings!

For movie viewing, these projectors aren’t quite as strong.  Decent black level performance for a sub-$1000 projector combines with excellent dark shadow detail.  That said, there are sub-$1000 projectors with better black levels.

The important point, though is one that’s more “big picture”  There are no projectors I’m aware of at $1000 or less with impressive black level performance, so that is to say there really aren’t any great projectors near the price for movie viewing.  $500 to $700 more will let you locate a couple of projectors with significantly better black levels, but even those are not a match for the better $2000+ projectors.

 

Epson's Home Cinema 2040 / 2045 win Value Award
The Epson Home Cinema 2040 and 2045 have an excellent value proposition

That folks, is why these projectors and their competition are “Entry Level”.  If you want to be in the sweet spot of picture quality for serious movie viewing, you really do need to be spending 2.5X as much or more.   That doesn’t mean that hundreds of thousands of folks won’t buy and fully enjoy projectors in this price range for movie viewing.

 

But for those of us, who get the bug, who become enthusiasts, hard core, or purists, true satisfaction just won’t be available anywhere near this price point, at least not until sometime in the future.

I did, however, manage to watch perhaps 20 hours of movies on the HC2040 and survived it quite well.   Let me use a car analogy.   If a Mazda Miata’s handling performance is your thing, you aren’t going to be happy with a Camry.  Enough said.

HC2040 and HC2045 Brightness.

Hot Product Award graphic
This is our top regular award for projectors

These Epsons max out at over 2200 lumens and produce some very enjoyable color and overall picture around 1700 – 1800 lumens.  Note we measured with the lens at full wide angle which gives us maximum brightness, but these projectors have only 1.2:1 zoom lenses, so even placing the projector at the furthest possible difference isn’t likely to cost more than 10% of brightness.  With projectors with 2:1 zooms you can lose over 30% of the brightness depending on zoom position.

Before I forget, if you really are looking for more of a pure “home entertainment” projector – even more brightness, but not as good black levels and some other differences, note that Epson, shortly after announcing these projectors also announced a Home Cinema 1040, which is also at $799.  It offers a big boost in brightness, but loses CFI and isn’t supposed to be as good on black levels.  We hope to review one soon.

10% isn’t very visible.   If you are viewing a projector and leave the room for 30 seconds and return, and the projector has dimmed by 10%, you really won’t be able to tell.  We’re talking slight.  Even the 30% drop into Eco mode is modest, enough to matter when you have some ambient light present, but even that is only 30%.  That’s having 10 lights on in a room and turning off 3.  The room if very bright before is still bright…

The HC2040 and HC2045 are bright enough for less than great rooms, but not too bright to view in a full darkened room, even a cave or dedicated home theater with all dark surfaces and no light.  That’s a good thing.

Features

There will be a list below in Pros and Cons, but I wanted to point out those that are key for projectors in this price range.

CFI – smooth motion.  Sports fans rejoice, While others use CFI for all kinds of viewing (but I hope not for movies), I favor it only for sports.   I watched the first of the year’s Monday Night Football games with this HC2040, and I intentionally watched some with CFI off, the rest of the time with it on the Normal setting.  I definitely preferred it on and Normal!

Warranty:  Two years parts an labor is good for the price, as most have a single year warranty.  But at lest one company, Viewsonic, offers 3 years at this price point.   Epson has one extra going for it that is rare in home theater space (but not uncommon when it comes to business projectors).  That would be a replacement program.  Anytime during the two year warranty if a warranty problem occurs you can call up Epson and they will replace your projector, with the replacement (usually a refurb) arriving within 2 business days.  Epson has also won a number of awards for its support programs.

Lens related:  A 1.2:1 zoom range isn’t a lot, but then in this price range most projectors offer between no zoom lens, and a 1.3:1.  What the Epson lacks, compared to a couple of its competitors is lens shift.  Those projectors that have some lens shift around this price range have very little, typically about 10% of what a $2000 3LCD projector would offer, but even a little is nice, instead of keystone correction, – if you have enough so you don’t still need keystone correction.

There’s also MHL on HDMI, and other things previously mentioned that I won’t get into again here.

All considered the Home Cinema 2040 and 2045 are well endowed for their price point.  The CFI capability in particular let’s them stand out.  The remote control would be better if backlit, but then I can’t really think of any $799 projectors with backlit remotes…

Home Cinema 2040 and 2045 - Pros and Cons

  • 2200 Lumens both white and color ones
    – enough for brighter rooms, not too much for home theaters
  • Really impressive color – right out of the box!
  • CFI – smooth motion – a real plus for sports fans
  • Detail enhancement control – improves perceived sharpness/detail
  • Dynamic Iris – helps out when it comes to black levels
  • Great dark shadow detail. This projector reveals it all
  • Zoom lens – if only a modest amount of zoom
  • Light enough (under 6.5 pounds) to travel
  • Can easily double as a business projector (supports WUXGA!)
  • Built in speaker capable of good sound levels)
  • Audio out
  • Protective cover over lens when not in use
  • Low cost replacement lamps (compared to most)
  • Lamps last 4000/7500 hours (full / eco) – longer than most
  • Two HDMI inputs – one with MHL for streaming devices
  • Pretty reat color right out of the box – a rare thing
  • Miracast WiDi for working with equipped devices (HC2045 only)
  • Draws less electricity than a similarly powered DLP projector
  • Very good value proposition at $799 ($849 for HC2045)
  • One of the best warranty / support programs around

Cons

  • Black levels could be better (some competitors’ are) although you have to spend several times as much to get into serious “ultra high contrast” projectors
  • Definitely could be a bit quieter in full power mode.
  • Remote would be better if backlit
  • No lens shift (not even a little – which is the only amount a few low cost projectors offer)
  • No serious bass coming from internal speaker (that’s true of every projector with a built in speaker or two)

Current dealer prices for Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2040

SellerState taxPriceDescription
Adorama 
Adorama
NY 699.99Free Shipping on thousands of items / Same Day shipping if ordered by 8pm! Adorama has been the electronics enthusiast's choice for over 35 years!
Projector SuperStore 
Projector SuperStore
AZ 799.99Up to 3x Higher Colors Brightness with 2200 lumens color brightness and 2200 lumens white brightness. Full HD 1080p, widescreen, 3D entertainment up to 300".
Visual Apex 
Visual Apex
WA 799.00Free Projector Mount & 2day Shipping! Save Today and experience exceptional customer service, expert advice, timely delivery, free tech support and your best price from an Authorized Dealer!
Projector People 
Projector People
FL 599.00Free Shipping! In Stock Now! 30 day no-hassle guarantee and FREE lifetime tech support from projector experts. We are an authorized dealer.

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News and Comments

  • DaveSt

    How does this projector compare to something like the Epson 3500? Primary usage is for watching sports and family movie nights in a less than perfect light controlled room. The price of a refurbished 3500 and the 2040 are pretty close to the same which makes for a tough decision.

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      I don’t see a huge difference between these two, although the 3500 would still have to be considered the better of the two. As you saw from the review, there are some secondary feature differences. The 2040 is, however a little faster as far as serious gaming goes (advantage of being the newer series). -art

      • Huntsman1230

        I just have to piggy back on this and say I purchased BOTH (at the same time) the 2045 new/3500 Open Box from Best Buy and ended up returning the used 3500 as I could not discern a big differenceespecially for the $300 increase in price. Very happy with the 2045! Miracast works flawlessly and the picture is gorgeous.

        • ProjectorReviews.com

          Hi Huntsman, Thanks for the feedback. I’m sure others will appreciate that. The 2040/2045 was definitely an improvement over the 2030, but I certainly wasn’t sure how well it rivaled the 3500. -art

  • Meni Dahuk

    hi,
    i bought this projector
    i will be glade if you can publish the calibration setting.

    thanks a lot,

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Meni, Sorry, but we typically do not calibrate – and therefore have no calibration information to report on under $1000 projectors. We’ve done a few calibrations of these lower cost projectors over the years, but we’re reviewing more and more lower cost ones, and the cost of calibrating them all became prohibitive, so we primarily stick to the more expensive, and more “home theater” (rather than home entertainment) projectors. There’s another reason too. Today’s projectors including the HC2040 tend to have very good color right out of the box in their best modes, making adjustment less critical. Good luck! -art

  • Ryan DeGraw

    Hello, I’m considering this and the optima hd28dse. This is for a media room that is light controlled with a 110″ gray screen. Would the blacks be better with the gray screen? Also we’ll be playing some games, watching 3D but mostly movies. I have a complete 7.1 already so I’m not worried about the sound from the projector or the inputs since I’m doing switching at the marantz. So my question is just picture quality. Thanks

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Ryan, Wish I could help, but I haven’t seen that Optoma yet. As to your general black level question, your gray screen will lower the overall brightness, thus reducing blacks as well. That will make letterbox areas darker and less noticeable, which is a plus, and lower blacks (and everything else so that blacks in the content are also blacker). If your screen is an HC – high contrast, it may be designed to also slightly increase the dynamic range (and also better at light rejection). In the lower price ranges I tend to favor DLP for slightly better blacks than 3LCD. I consider the HC2040 more home entertainment, than theater. Sill there’s nothing with really impressive black level performance under $1000. I’m about to uncork the BenQ 3050 similar to the 4050. The 4050 I reviewed, does have “better than entry level” blacks. I’m hoping the $999 3050 does the same. We’ll see. Optoma has some projectors at low prices with impressive black levels but typically at the expense of being too contrasty. That never worked for me. For more serious home theater these days, I’m pleased to say that there are some deals on projectors – if you were to spend around $1500, that really are a step up, but we all have to live within our budget. I like both the Epson 5025UB when you can find it, and the Optoma HD161X / HD50, but both seem to be close to $1500, so I don’t know if that helps you or not. Meantime, almost any first projector tends to surpass most folks expectations. Good luck! -art

  • Andrew Hovey

    Great Review! First time on your site. Im coming from a Panasonic Plasma (ST60) which has input lag of 54ms of input lag. Can you steer me in the right direction to anything 30ms and lower? This will be my first Projector as well 🙂

  • jay

    who would want it it hangs down about 4 feet from an 8′ 6″ celling

    • Billy Bob

      Jay, I have to agree. As a consumer I thought this projector would fit, but if most customers are like me, we want the projector as close to the ceiling as possible. According to the calculator I would have to hang mine down 2.5 feet and can only go back 11 feet. My wiring is for an older projector and it is inches off the ceiling and back 14 feet. Being an amature I turned the projector on and walked it back along the ceiling until the field of view became obstructed by my center channel. This way it is not over my head so I don’t have to hear it or see it. Great price but no fit. Same with BenQ.

  • jay

    know one ever tells you the vertical offset of these projectors not even the company

  • Ted Nunn

    I certainly do not want to intimate that you are biased. However, I am amazed that you can do a review of these projectors without mentioning the unique throw angle that they possess. They will make the average room look ridiculous, if ceiling mounted. I have had numerous customers try to purchase one without understanding how it would look. Many potential customers put considerable faith in your reviews, as they may have no chance of demonstrating them in their home. I realize that Epson is the King of projectors. But they should be critiqued when necessary. The throw angle of these projectors, (2040 and 2045) was not ideal. I have not and will not sell one without explaining the issues that the customer will face when trying to ceiling mount in an average room. It is also cumbersome to table mount. You need to explain this thoroughly in your review. It is a HUGE factor in many homes in which it will be placed.

    • Johnny O

      Hmmm.. when using calculator on Epson it says the projector will be mounted 1.5 ft from ceiling and 11.5 feet from projector… seems normal to me?

  • Mario Mariosuper

    Hi can you tell me more about position?Can I put projector if my opposite wall is same as front (projector screen) in corner.For example wall is 222cm,can I put projector in the corner,or projector MUST be,in the middle at 111cm right?Because in the middle of my back wall is huge picture on the wall.Will I lose a lot on quality? HELP 🙂

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      The 2040/2045 have a very healthy amount of keystone correction. At the minimum, you should be able to place the projector outside of “straight back” from the screen. That is, to the left, right, above or below the screen is all doable. How far into a corner (away from the center of the screen) can be determined from the amount of shift to the keystone, which is in the specs. But, without further investigating, I would think you could easily avoid even a pretty large picture. -art

  • Kaykison

    Hi, I hope you help me on a cruel question between Optoma HD 37 ($ 700 dollars) and Epson 2040 ($ 800 dollars) those are the prices available to me, I’m from Brazil, which would be better for movies and games on ps4.
    Thank you very much in advance

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Kaykison, Tough call. both have very similar input lag times for gaming (in the 30ms range), so call that a tie. The Optoma will have better blacks, the Epson will have more accurate color, better skin tones out of the box. In the US I would favor the Epson for its longer warranty (2 years, with 2 year replacement program), over the Optoma’s basic 1 year warranty, but I have no idea how the warranties differ in Brazil. On a historical basis, I find Epson’s to be more reliable, than Optoma’s but these days, today’s projectors are considered pretty reliable. Epson replacement lamps here, are less than Optomas, another thing you can compared down there. If you are going to work on tweaking the Optoma’s color accuracy, I’d definitely lean toward them for movie viewing. But, let’s face it, you are comparing direct competitors, and two of the most popular out there, because they are both really good choices for the money spent. -art

  • Joao Cesar

    At this time is better a epson 2040 new or pana ae4000 used. Both at same price?

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      The pt-ae4000 is ancient of course, but it has much better black levels, is definitely the more videophile projector. The Epson is brighter, but by comparison it is home entertainment, rather than home theater. -art