Posted on November 8, 2015
This is a quick write-up of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 730HD as part of our “Millennials and Projectors” series.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Lisa, Art’s 23-year-old daughter living in New York City. In this short review, I’m actually writing about a projector that a friend, Will, owns, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 730HD. I noticed it when he hosted a housewarming party, and though it fit perfectly into the “Millennails and Projectors” series I started to write about my experience with my own Optoma ML750.
(Please note, some of the text below also appears in the original installment of “Millennials and Projectors” about the Optoma ML750, found here).
I know, it’s not the most intuitive combination, given that “millennial” is almost synonymous with “streaming content on screens the size of credit cards.” I’ll admit, I was definitely skeptical at first–how could a projector, those things my dad reviews, actually fit into my mobile, busy, on-a-budget life? Well, it turns out that having a projector has been one of the best things to happen to my living situation.
When I moved into my new apartment in New York City, I realized I didn’t have the proper setup for a TV—my front door swings all the way open, so it could easily hit the wall that the TV would go on. I was stumped… Was I stuck without a TV? Then I remembered that, luckily, Art Feierman is my father and surely we could come up with a creative alternative… So I ended up with the Optoma ML750.
My roommate and I were pretty certain we were the only people our age who had projectors, but guess what? We were wrong. I showed up at a friend’s housewarming recently, and although he had only lived in Manhattan for 5 days at the time, he already had his full projector setup. All you need is a shelf, some speakers, and an empty white or off-white wall. Easy.
As millennials, we’re generally used to viewing content in one of two extreme ways: 1) Watching in darkened sorority/fraternity TV rooms or in pricey movie theaters, which each mean surround sound, larger screens, and near-total darkness, or 2) streaming movies and TV shows on our MacBook Air in bed in college, with less than perfect audio, an unreliable WiFi connection, and a constant slew of distractions. In our first real adult apartments, it’s no surprise millennials want something that can conveniently fit our mobile lifestyles, but have the quality of something more grownup. Enter: the projector.
My experience with my friend Will’s projector was at his housewarming party. It was a Friday night, rainy, and people were looking for a laidback evening inside, safe from the elements. Probably about 20-30 people. The Mets game was on (my friends are all fans), so we decided to turn on the game during the party. They hooked up the 730HD to MacBook Pro laptop via HDMI, logged into someone’s MLB.com account, and started streaming the game.
Here’s what I liked:
My friend Will has an Epson HC730HD, which he said he found on Amazon after searching within his budget and reading some reviews. The 730HD is a 720p projector (“It’s only 720p,” he explained when I commented that I too have a projector in my apartment, “which was fine for us because we don’t watch a ton of HD content, and we didn’t want to break the bank”).
For those of you who really want to be full 1080p for the higher resolution, my dad is hot on the identical looking, brand new, Home Cinema 2040, which is still a pretty affordable $799 here in the US. It’s still really bright, even is not quite as bright as Will’s 730HD, but has a sharper image and a lot more features. And like the 730HD, it supports MHL so it works with all those streaming sticks we millennials just can’t live without.
Back to the 730HD – it is also WXGA widescreen, and it’s MSRP is affordable at around $650 (though on Amazon, you can get it for $523.90). At 3.1″H x 11.7″W x 9.2″D and 5.3 lbs., it’s also lightweight and portable.
Designed for casual home entertainment rather than intense home theater, the projector has a white exterior. As young, mobile people without dedicated, darkened caves, I almost prefer this: my friend’s sits on top of a bookshelf backed up against a white wall, so it almost blends in more as white than traditional home theater black.
Another thing I loved? Horizontal keystone correction. He turned it on and pointed it at the wall, and the image was warped. Awwwww, exclaimed the picky millennials with craft beers in their hands (remember, we’re at a housewarming party on a night when the Mets are on). Never fear, I exclaimed, using a chair to make myself tall enough to see the projector atop the bookshelf, this projector has keystone correction! A quick adjustment of the slide-bar near the lens and the image was perfectly rectangular. (I should note, my Optoma ML750 only has vertical keystone correction, so I can’t alleviate this problem in my own home–I have to move/center the projector itself to try and create a perfectly rectangular image).
I was also really impressed with the good out-of-the-box color. And at 3000 lumens, it was plenty bright to withstand 1) two standing lamps, 2) full overhead lighting–remember, we’re at a party where people are socializing–, and 3) fluorescent light streaming in from the kitchen. And it was even that bright with the projector sitting approximately pretty far from the wall it was projecting onto, creating a ~120″ diameter picture from ~12 feet back!
I took it upon myself to survey the guests at this housewarming, both those watching the Mets game closely and those just socializing in the room, about what they thought of the projector. A few pieces of feedback:
“Wow, the image is actually really sharp.”
“This is crisp!”
“Not bad for the lights still on.”
“Much better than a TV for watching the game.”
“That’s a big picture.”
And my favorite: “Let me guess, you’re going to tell me that this is even cheaper than a TV, huh?”
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