The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Epson Home Cinema 5030UB / 5030UBe Projector

2013 CEDIA trade show is upon us and with it, Epson unveils the new Home Cinema 5030UB and 5030 UBe projectors to replace the 5020 models.  In that sense there’s no great surprise, the Home Cinema 5030UB and it’s almost identical twin will have improved performance over the current, soon to be discontinued projectors.

Epson's new Home Cinema 5030UB and 5030UBe offer up 2400 lumens and improved black levels

That said, these two 1080p native resolution, 3LCD chip based projectors come in the same cabinets and feature similar feature sets as last year’s projectors.  Like those, the Home Cinema 5030UB and the UBe (which adds WirelessHD)

This year’s entries come with the same 2400 lumens as last years’.  On paper, we get a jump to 600,000:1 contrast ratio.  That of course, is a spec based on use of the dynamic iris.  None the less, this increase in contrast should yield a visible improvement in black level performance from the already exceptional blacks that the older UBs offered for their price.  The projector has a 2.1:1 Fujinon lens, which Epson says has been further improved from previous versions.

Since I mentioned price, regarding the Home Cinema 5030UB, Epson tends to save final pricing until CEDIA, I think a number of manufacturers do, waiting to see what the competition does.  Still, they say sub $3000 for the two of them, so replacing the older ones at the same price points is likely.  Those would be:  Epson Home Cinema 5030UB at $2699 and Home Cineam 5030UBe at $2999.  We shall see.  Both will come with two pair of Epson’s RF, rechargeable 3D glasses.

These Home Cinema series projectors come with two years of Epson parts and labor warranty, and also two years over 2nd business day replacement program.

Both projectors will be available from online and local authorized dealers. There’s also the more expensive, finished in black, Pro Cinema 6030UB which is almost identical, but will sell for “under $4000″.  For that difference, there’s a longer warranty, ceiling mount and spare lamp.  Like all Pro Cinema series that one will only be available from local dealers.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much improvement there is.  In past years, I’m usually surprised as to the degree of improvement, which tends to seem greater than the specs improvements might indicate.

I figure it’s unlikely that these Epson projectors will  lose any ground to the competition in black level performance, so Sony and JVC, perhaps Epson’s two closest competitors, better have their game together with their new projectors.

The Home Cinema 5030UB has a great deal of vertical and horizontal lens shift, which combined with the 2.1:1 zoom means truly excellent placement flexibility.

Look for these projectors to ship in mid-October.  I’ve already mentioned the Pro Cinema 6030, be aware that Epson also is launching a Pro Cinema 4030.   Those needing super bright projectors for really tough rooms, will also find Epson has released a whole new series of Pro Cinema projectors, the G4855WU, G6550WU and G6900WU, those however start around $5000 but offer 4000, 5200 and 6000 lumens respectively, but are, I better mention, 2D only.

I did get to see the new UB at Epson America’s HQ in Long Beach, just about 40 minutes from my place.  They had a fully darkened room, draped with black cloth, and showed me a selection of content.  Asked if I could tell that these new ones had better blacks, I passed.  Hard to say in a different environment, but they did look really good.  Can’t wait to put a 5030UB side by side with a 5020UB and report back to you.   That should happen by the time the Home Cinema 5030UB and 5030UBe are shipping.

I suspect the 5030UB or 5030UBe will be the first of the new Epsons that I get to review, so hang in there, it won’t be that long.  I’ll be providing updates from CEDIA, so stay tuned!  -art

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