Epson Home Cinema 5030 UB Home Theater Projector Review

Menus

Menus are virtually identical to previous year’s projectors.

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Epson HC5030UB Menus

Image menu

Advanced Image menu

Gamma menu

RGB menu

RGBCMY menu

Signal menu

Frame Interpolation menu

Super Resolution menu

Advanced Signal menu

3D Setup menu

Settings menu

Wireless HD menu

HDMI Link menu

Picture-in-Picture menu

Extended menu

Operation menu

Display menu

Panel Alignment menu

Panel Alignment

Memory menu

Save Memory menu

Info menu

Remote Control

Although not exactly identical to last year’s remote, it is extremely similar.  A couple of buttons have been added – near the top and a few functions moved around. We will start at the top.  First top left is the Power on button (press once). These new Epson’s have a Standby (Off) button, which is also one touch. To the right is the backlight button.  The backlight is orange yellow.  reasonably, but not too bright.

The next set of buttons consists of three rows, the first with two buttons, the others with three. The first of those is the Picture in Picture button, to engage that function.  across from it is the Blank feature, moving up from near the bottom on older remotes.

Those next two rows have the individual source buttons:  Two HDMIs, and the WirelessHD button which only relates to the 5030 UBe version with it’s wireless, lossless, HDMI inputs, are on the first row.  The next row has the regular component video input (from the color colored RCA jack), the Composite Video and the PC input.  (In the menus you select whether that input has a PC or a component video source to deal with.

The next four rows of buttons aren’t found on most home theater projectors.  They all relate to HDMI-Link, which lets the remote control of one HDMI-link device control other HDMI-link compatible devices.  For example, with the Epson’s remote, I can control my Panasonic 3D capable Blu-ray player which is HDMI-link.  I cannot, however, control my Sony Playstation 3s which are my primary Blu-ray players.  That’s because the Sonys are relatively unique, using bluetooth control instead of IR.

As a result that section of the remote looks very much like the buttons on a Blu-ray or DVD player, with pause, stop, fast forward, and rewind, a “Link” menu, and audio mute.  Then three more related buttons including the primary HDMI Link button, and volume up and down (of the Link device being controlled.

Next come buttons for 2D/3D, Color Mode selection, and Super-Resolution.

Next is the usual Navigation:  Four arrow keys in a round formation with a center Enter button.  Below that a Default mode, button, Menu, and Escape (takes you back up a level in the menus.

We’re almost done, just 12 more buttons:  Auto Iris (control). Color management system, Aspect ratio, User mode, the Memory button (takes you to loading or saving to the 10 user memories.  Other buttons control Frame Interpolation (CFI), the Timer system, the test pattern area, and the 3D format menu.  On the last row are access to the WirelessHD functions found on the Home Cinema 5030 UBe not the standard UB.  Those include Input and Output, and well as P-I-P, for selecting the sources from the remote Wireless HDMI transmitter.

That’s it. The remote is big, well laid out, and pretty logically at that. It’s a bit heavy, but I have only one real ergonomic complaint: The backlight button is in the top left, a long reach if you are using the remote balanced in one hand.  It tends to make me have to use my other hand to hit that button.  (Talk about a fairly picky complaint!)

Click Image to Enlarge

Lens Throw

Epson’s Fujinon 2.1:1 zoom ratio manual lens has been around for 7 generations of Epson Ultra Black (UB) projectors, with occasional optical improvements, but it’s throw specs remain unchanged.  2.1:1 is exceptional zoom range. Want more front to back placement flexibility?  You’ll need to buy a high four, or a five figure  priced projector that offers interchangeable lenses.  And expect those lenses to all cost at least as much as this entire Epson projector.

As usual we report on the placement range to fill a 100 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio screen:  The HC5030 UB projector (measured from the front of the lens to the screen), can be as close as 9.8 feet or as far back as 20.9 feet. In order to calculate distances for different screens (different sizes), start with those numbers. For example, if you are interested in a 120″ diagonal screen, then multiply the 9.8 feet x 1.2 = 11.76 feet, and the furthest would be 20.9 x 1.2 = 25.08 feet. It’s that simple.

Kapisch?

Lens Shift

Again, this year’s UB projectors have the same lens shift as the previous ones.

For that same 100 inch screen, these Epsons can be placed, (normal or inverted), anywhere from 22.7 inches above the top of that 100″ screen’s surface, all the way down to 22.7 inches below the bottom of the screen surface. Measurements are calculated by measuring from center of the lens.  There is also a good amount of horizontal lens shift. Using horizontal lens shift will partially limit the range of the vertical lens shift (and vice versa).

The combination of the wide range zoom lens, and excellent lens shift, makes ceiling mounting, or shelf mounting the Home Cinema 5030 UB, practical, in almost any room situation.

Anamorphic Lens: Wide Screen

The Home Cinema 5030 UB is not the Epson projector you want if you want to go with a wide screen (Cinemascope movies) with a 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 screen (HDTV is 1.78:1- aka 16/9).  If that’s your path, no worries, opt instead for the Pro Cinema 6030 UB that’s sold only by local authorized Epson dealers. True it costs $800 more, but for that you get a black case, an extra year warranty and replacement program, spare lamp and ceiling mount, plus the support of a local, trained dealer.  Note that the 6030 UB projector has two Anamorphic modes so that you can go with an anamorphic lens (the new low cost one from Panamorph ($1500) without needing a motorized lens sled.

 

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