Epson Home Cinema 710 HD Home Theater Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 710HD: Bottom Line Sharpness

Sharpness and clarity are very good for a 720p resolution projector, whether watching Blu-ray movies, 1080i or 720p HDTV. If choosing between this projector and other low cost 720p projectors, I’d say the Epson is just fine. There is some minor misconvergence, something you’ll find on every 3 panel projector whether 3LCD or 3 LCoS panels.

At normal seating distances the Epson 710HD looks just fine.  Want a real improvement – you won’t get anything dramatic, from choosing a single chip DLP with the same 720p resolution.  No  convergence issues with those DLPs, but the real difference is the move up to 1080p.  With 1080p projectors starting to sell for less than $200 more, that’s your move for more sharpness, not a different 720p projector.

I will note that being both 720p, and being 3LCD in design, the pixel structure may be very visible at times.  (Still nothing compared to watching an old pre-HD TV.)  You’ll easily spot the pixel structure, for example, when movie credits (white on black) are scrolling by.  You can even see the pixel structure in most of the HDTV images in this review, however that’s due to a large part, in my pausing to shoot.  Since most HDTV is 1080i – interlaced, coming from DirecTV, when I pause, it pauses on only 1 of the two interlaced frames, essentially giving up half of the resolution.  That’s why those HDTV images look a bit jaggy here.  Just compare one of the HDTV images to any of the movie images, and you’ll realize this isnt’ the projectors issue, but the way DirecTV handles a paused image.

Light Leakage

The Epson Home Cinema 710HD is pretty clean when it comes to like leakage (very unlike the last sub-$1000 projector we reviewed, the Acer H6500).  This is a projector best in a family room type environment, where it’s sheer brightness is designed to handle a decent amount of ambient light and still let you enjoy it.

The small amount of ambient light that leaks out the front vent is very minor.  A real non-issue.  Perhaps in a classic theater with dark surfaces everywhere you might notice a tiny amount of light fromt the vents reaching the screen, but even then, minor.  In any other type of room, no problem at all.

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Image Noise

No overt issues with image noise.  That’s not surprising 720p resolution home projectors have been around for about a decade now. Manufacturers have consistantly brought out projectors that are pretty clean, from an image noise standpoint.  Also to note, LCD type projectors seem to have less mosquito (general background) noise than the DLP competition.  (That holds true, in general, for the more expensive 1080p projectors as well.)

We rarely play with noise filters – the Epson has some Noise reduction controls- options should you find a some source that seems a bit too noisy.

Audible Noise

At full power the Epson Home Cinema 710 is a bit of a screamer.  They claim 37db, which is more in the range of small business projectors than home models.  Most lower cost home projectors have noise levels at full power between 30 and 35 db.  Most more expensive projectors – at full power tend to be at 32 db or less, with many under 27 db and a couple down around 20-22.  The recent low cost Acer we reviewed was at 35, also a bit noisy.  Remember again, this is a fun projector – not a critically aclaimed home theater projector.  In the living room, family room, bonus room, backyard at night…I don’t think most anyone is going to be overly noise concerned.  If it is too loud though, drop the projector into eco-mode, which in this case is a big decrease in noise level – to a claimed and very 29 db, which is probably lower than about half of all home theater projectors running at full power, and very reasonably quiet.  Remember, this Epson in eco-mode is brightner than all but a handful of projectors running at full power, and far brighter than many designed for dedicated home theaters.  Regarding 29 db.  We’ve tested several $5K+ projectors that noisy, or noisier, at full power.

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