Epson Home Cinema 3010 Projector - Physical Tour
10/18/2011 - Art Feierman
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Projector - Appearance
Impressive! Rounded corners, center mounted lens, the Epson Home Cinema 3010 and the 3010e are finished in a shiny white, with gray trim on the two large front vents. I like the gray on the front, adds some style the way they did it, and won't reflect as much light back to the screen as a white front. (Good thinking, for a white projector.) 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.
Let's take a quick spin around the Home Cinema 3010. 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 3010, 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 3010 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.
Moving to the top of the Home Cinema 3010 just behind the lens, are the lens controls, recessed focus and zoom dials. Right behind them is a small slider, which controls keystone correction. (Thankfully, there's a center notch, so you can tell where the "no lens shift" point is located).
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. This means that if you have mounted the Epson projector you won't have to unmount to change the lamp. The long life, I should note, of at least 4000 hours, means you don't have to worry about it for a long while.
Home Cinema 3010 Control Panel
Home Cinema 3010 Projector - Input/Output
All the HC3010's inputs are centered on the back panel. To either side are the rear facing 10 watt speakers for hefty sound.
There are two HDMI 1.4a connectors, for full Blu-ray 3D compatibility. There's a single IR sensor (bottom left), for the remote. There's a 3D IR port, a USB connector (for running slideshows without computer), the usual composite video and stereo audio inputs, a component video input (3 color coded RCA connectors), and a standard HD15 analog computer input.
There's also a Kensington lock slot, and the power receptacle. Also of minor note, there is a cable clip setup to help secure the HDMI connectors, which is handy, since those of you who have worked with HDMI, realize how flaky the connector is, the weight of the cable can bend it. Epson's solution is a nice extra touch, that most projectors don't offer.
Home Cinema 3010 Menus
Other than the addition of the various 3D controls, the menus of the Home Cinema 3010 and the "e" are very typical for Epson. Below I've dropped in screen shots of most of the main and sub-menus. I won't attempt to mention more than a few things. If you want details about all the hundreds of menu choices, I recommend downloading the user manual.
First, the main Image menu. And below, the Display mode pull down, which can be reached from the menu above, or directly from a button on the Epson Home Cinema 3010 remote control.
Below, the Advanced setting on the Image menu. Calibration is done in the RGB area. Individual colors are calibrated (we don't do that) in the RGBCMY submenu.
Below, the RGB calibraton area:
Below, the Advanced sub-menu in the Signal menu. Here you can double 24 fps (standard frame interpolation), adjust overscan, image noise, and adjust the color space and hdmi range.
Below, the Settings menu. Since this menu was shot from a 3010e, note the WirelessHD feature. Note the User button on the remote - can be programmed, in this case, it is set to reverse mode for 3D glasses.
Also on this menu are the split screen controls where you can adjust which source goes where, size of each window.
Epson is loaded with User memories (which I do tend to use a lot).
It's nice, for example, to be able to have four calibrated "best" modes, with the only differences, being combinations of having CFI on or off, and brightness on full or eco. I might even have another couple with slightly lower saturation for that content that is just "over the top".
This menu below, belongs higher up, as it's off the Advanced Image sub-menu. You are looking at the gamma controls. They work well and offer wonderful flexibility. I love to fiddle with the gamma.
Epson's menus haven't changed much but for the addition of lots of new features, over most of the last decade. I would say Epson's layout is about as good as it gets. That's not to say there aren't four or five other brands with equally good, but different menu layouts. No complaints!
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Remote Control
The Home Cinema 3010 remote control is big, and black, and backlit. Overall, it's a really nice remote control, and it seems to have very good range, I have to worry far less about where I'm pointing this remote, than most others, and I attribute that to range and spread of the IR beam.
The top row as the big power On button on the left, a smaller Off button in the middle, and the backlight button far right.
Next comes two rows of buttons with your Source choices. On the "e" version of the projector one of them is for the WirelessHD HDMI setup. With support for HDMI-Link, the remote provides all the usual DVD type controls since it should run any HDMI-link player. In fact on the row of large buttons immediately below, are the HDMI-Link button, and Volume Up and Down.
Below those, white buttons from 2D/3D modes, Color Mode, and Memory
That takes us to the navigation controls - four arrow keys in a round formation with a center Enter button. Below all that are three buttons in a curve,
Below those buttons are Default, Menu, and Esc (takes you back a level on the menus).
Finally, near the bottom, 7 more buttons offering direct links to features/menu items: AutoIris, Color (RGBCYMK), Aspect Ratio, Split Screen, test Pattern, User (programmable from menus), and AV Mute.
I have two complaints: The backlight itself, could be a touch brighter, but it really is ok. (Better than one of those remotes with overly bright, blinding blue LED lights!)
The other complaint (and that's about it), it's that the backlight button is way at the top right, and the backlight doesn't come on, when you press any button. With a remote this long, the backlight button is far from the center of balance, so you really can't hit the button while holding it balanced in one hand.
Epson Home Cinema 3010 Lens Throw
As previously noted, the Home Cinema 3010 and 3010e have a manual 1.5:1 zoom lens. That makes the placement range pretty good, even if not as wide a range as the 8350.
For a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen the front of the HC3010 can be as close as 9.7 feet, or as far back as 15.7 feet. (2.96 - 4.78 meters).
The 9.7 feet is very typical. Most projectors except for the fixed lens ultra or very short throw projectors, have a closest distance for that size screen, of between 9 and 12 feet. This projector just can't sit as far back from the screen as some others designed to also be able to be rear shelf mounted (like the 8350). Projectors without lens shift aren't suitable for rear shelf mounting normally, although it can be done using keystone correction, if the measurements work.
Let's talk about that for a second. I received an email or blog comment recently, asking "how bad is using keystone correction". I have an easy way to describe that for existing projector owners: Any softness caused by using keystone correction, is going to take away less from picture quality, than the compression being used on satellite and cable transmissions. So, while we cringe at the thought of using keystone correction, it's not going to do something drastic, like make a 1080p image seem as soft as a 720p one in terms of sharpness.
On Blu-ray disc, you should be able to see a slight difference between keystone on, and off. It will be harder to see on lower quality sources.
By definition the keystone correction compresses each line of data differently, but there never should be highly visible artifacts from today's keystone adjustment formulas.
Anamorphic Lens - Wide Screen
The 3010 does not support an anamorphic lens.