Epson Home Cinema 3020 Home Theater Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 3020 Projector - Appearance

A nice looking shiny white home projector. Rounded corners, center mounted lens, the Epson Home Cinema 3020 and the 3020e look identical.  The vents in the front are gray. I do like the gray on the front.  While it adds a bit of style the way they did it, it also means less light reflected back towards the screen (however minor).  That’s a good plan.  In other words, it blends in, in a typical family room, bonus room type environment, but has that one thing (darker front) going for it if you are dropping it into a home theater room.

Here’s what you’ll find: Continuing with the front, the recessed manual zoom lens, as noted, is center mounted (easier math when mounting). There is also a front infra-red sensor for the remote control (and a second one in the back).

For those not mounting the projector, but, say, placing it on a table top, note that the venting in the front works this way: If you are facing the front of the projector, the intake vent is on your right. That makes the left side the exhaust vent. It blows air out to the right front. You don’t want to be sitting within 2-3 feet of the path of the hot air. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of other places to sit.

Underneath the 3020, are two screw thread adjustable front feet for your tabletop use convenience. There’s a single, wide, rubber rear foot in the back center, without adjustment. Since the Home Cinema 3020 has no lens shift, and 0 lens offset, if you put it on, say, a table the same height as the bottom of the screen, you’ll need to raise the rear slightly (or use lens shift). This can be a minor nuisance at times for folks setting up in different rooms.

On the top of the Home Cinema 3020, behind the lens, are its lens controls; recessed focus and zoom dials. Right behind them is a small slider, which adjusts the image for off angle setups.  (Thankfully, there’s a center notch, so you can tell where the “no correction” point is).

Back center is a typical control panel. All the inputs and connectors are located on the back panel and will be described below.

The lamp 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.

Home Cinema 3020 Control Panel

I really prefer the control panel on the 3020 to the one on the far more expensive Home Cinema 5020.  That affair is small, and tucked into the side behind a door.  The HC3020 control panel, however, is located on the top, toward the back.

On the far left is the power button (press once for on, twice for off).  Above it, is a light sensor, allowing the projector to adjust to room conditions.  I always avoid that feature.  Next is the usual Menu button and across from it, the Escape button which moves you back up one level in the menus.

The obligatory Enter button is in the middle of the four navigation arrow keys, in a round configuration.  Note that the up and down arrows adjust keystone correction when not in the menu system, and left / right controls the speakers’ volume. Two indicator lights advise on Lamp and Temperature, with different patterns, providing more information (see the manual for more details).

Home Cinema 3020e Projector - Input/Output

All the HC3020′s inputs are centered on the back panel. To either side are the rear facing 10 watt speakers for hefty sound. A removable door is provided that covers the input panel when you are disconnected.   That’s handy for folks moving from room to room, or out back for a movie night…

There are two HDMI 1.4a connectors, for full Blu-ray 3D compatibility. There’s a single IR sensor (bottom left), for the remote. A USB connector for Slideshows from thumb drive or other USB devices.  There is also a service port, the usual composite video and stereo audio inputs, a component video input (3 color coded RCA connectors), and a standard HD15 analog computer input.  Naturally, there’s an RS-232 port for command and control by a room control system.

Of course, there’s also a Kensington lock slot, and the power receptacle. Note the cable cover below the panel.  Remember that we’ve been working with the 3020e version which supports wireless HDMI.  If you are only using the HDMI, no need to remove this cover, leaving a nice neat back of the projector.  There’s a cut out for the rear IR remote control sensor.  Of course, with the standard Home Cinema 3020, there is no WirelessHD, so this cover wouldn’t be left on when in use, only for storage.

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