Epson Home Cinema 5020 UB Home Theater Projector Review

Epson Home Cinema 5020: Bottom Line Sharpness

Very nice.  True, not as purely sharp as a well designed single chip DLP projector, but for most, more than fine enough/close enough.  Detail enhancement can put make for a noticeable difference.

I’m a big sports fan, and it’s with pure digital content (rather than analog/digital – such as film-based movies), that you are best able to appreciate slight sharpness differences. Keep in mind though, that cable and satellite compress their signals quite a bit, which has a far greater impact on picture quality/sharpness than the differences between most projectors.

Light Leakage

Once again, Epson is excellent, identical to the previous model. I don’t think this Epson leaks any visible light out its front vents. Any stray light from the optical path, through the lens seems to be well below visibility (I’m not talking about blooming which all lenses do.)

Image Noise

The Epson has no particular image noise issues.  I viewed the same disastrous panning scene from the beginning of the movie RED, that I have with others.  That scene is a real torture test (a slow 360 pan of a suburban neighborhood).  Nothing looks great, but the Epson was good enough to be definitely visibly better than the more expensive Sony VPL-HW50ES projector. Basic image noise with default settings is typical of non-DLP projectors DLP’s always seem to have more background noise.

Audible Noise

Once again, like the 5010 before it, the Home Cinema 5020 projectors are a bit on the noisy side when it comes to full power. Epson claims 32 db, not a number to be particularly proud about, but, it doesn’t seem to be that much of an issue, as the pitch is farily low, no whining. In the past some people have reported a low rumbly sound from the dynamic iris. In communicating with a few people who had previously reported that soft low rumbling, I had suggested that in some cases the noise is magnified if there’s a sympathetic vibration from the ceiling mount, or if on a table, the table.  We all know if you take a boom box that’s playing in your hands, and you put it on a table, the bass will be magnified.  Same idea.  A few reported that putting in some spacers with a touch of foam or a piece of cardboard between projector and mount, or projector and table top, reduced the rumbling sound.  (Works at my place too.)

The HC5020 projector’s overall audible noise level is pretty much just below most of the DLP projectors, and noisier than most other LCD based projectors and LCoS projectors. I sit in my captain’s chair about 3 feet from ear to projector, not a problem for me, but I know a few folks really don’t like any audible noise. (The Epson HC5020 is definitely quieter than my Sony PS3′s fan.)

If you are one of the few who is especially audible noise adverse, note that the Epson claims 22db, which in reality, is very quiet.  I don’t think anyone will have an issue with Eco-mode.

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