Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector Review
Home Cinema 2030 and Home Cinema 2000 Competitors
How does the Home Cinema 2030 projector compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market, including the Optoma HD25-LV, BenQ W1070, Panasonic PT-AR100U, as well as other Epson projectors? Depends in part on the type of room, and how much of a hard core enthusiast you are.
Just remember, 1080p – Full HD projectors for home start at $699, not far below the price of these Epsons at $899 and $999. In other words, perfection is hard to find so close to “entry level”. That assures you that when comparing projectors, there are lots of trade-offs. Perhaps we can help sort things out…
Home Cinema 2030 vs. Optoma HD25-LV
The Optoma HD25-LV should be selling for $300 more than the Home Cinema 2030, and $400 more than the Home Cinema 2000. Is it worth it?
Whereas the Epson seems to exceptional friendly – Good color right out of the box, great warranty, the Optoma is, at least based on black levels, more performance oriented. While both are bright, one would consider the Optoma HD25-LV, the better choice for the dedicated home theater, especially if you plan to get the color right (try our settings to start). For you who like to play, the Optoma doesn’t allow you to save user settings. Make a change in another mode and you lose previous settings, and that drove me a bit crazy, as I suspect it will other enthusiasts.
But the HD25-LV has one image quality flaw and that is the high noise levels we noted. Even turning off Brilliant Color didn’t really help. While I’m a fan of better blacks, I have to still favor the Epson, due primarily to the image noise issue, which is more than I can really handle.
That’s not to say that the average consumer (non-enthusiast) would have a problem with the image noise, but the average consumer is the one that the Epson Home Cinema 2030 serves best, with overall feature set, warranty, no rainbows to deal with etc.
I think Optoma got close to having a great projector, but didn’t quite get there. Too bad.
Were it not for the image noise issue (and my rainbow sensitivity), however, the HD25-LV would be my choice of the two for a dedicated home theater. But as I am, and since the HD25-LV doesn’t have the fastest color wheel, I’d still have to take a pass. The image noise and the rainbows are too much for me. But the Optoma still has those noticeably better blacks. You make the call.
Home Cinema 2030 vs. Epson Home Cinema 8350
The Home Cinema 8350 just won’t go away. Priced the same as the Optoma HD25-LV, it certainly costs more than the HC2030 projector, but it is definitely targeting a different consumer.
The Home Cinema 8350 is 2D only, almost as bright in its brighter modes, but it is definitely intended these days, for more of a home theater environment. For your extra $300, or $400 vs. the Home Cinema 2000, you get a projector with significantly better black levels, and drastically more placement flexibility – sporting a 2.1:1 zoom lens instead of a 1.2:1.
If you can live without 3D, definitely the enthusiast should be selecting the Home Cinema 8350. For the general family viewing types, in a “family room” living room, type setting, though the Home Cinema 2030 offers far more options, including cool stuff like MHL which supports Roku and other streaming, and also easy showing of your photos over USB… Both share the same 2 year warranty with 2 year replacement program.
Home Cinema 2030 vs. Epson Home Cinema 3020
Of course everyone is expecting a replacement for the Home Cinema 3020 at CEDIA since it will be 1 year old, so keep that in mind. The 2030 really is a poor man’s Home Cinema 3020. If Epson does replace the 3020, then its replacement would likely pick up some or all of the 2030′s smart features. The current Home Cinema 3020 is just slightly brighter – not enough to matter.
From a performance standpoint, there’s no question, the Home Cinema 3020 offers better black levels. Consider the Home Cinema 3020 a step up projector. Is it worth the $599 difference – it will be to those who want to get away from “just above entry level” black level performance, or who want wireless HDMI. Budget allowing though, the person who wants the 3020 over the 2030, is also the person who really would want the Home Cinema 5020UB but that’s over 2.5 times the Home Cinema 2030′s price.
One place where the Home Cinema 3020 has the advantage – is with the Home Cinema 3020e version which adds wireless HDMI capabilities. That can be a flat out money saver for those installing.
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