Best In Class – Bright Room Value $1000 – $2000: Epson Home Cinema 1440

The HC1440 took this same award last year. I don’t see any new serious competition for it at its price point, which has dropped to a street price of $1199. Now, if this was just a “typical” 4400 lumen projector, that would still be impressive for the price, but most projectors are DLP, which have far less color lumens than white ones. This Epson (like all 3LCD and LCoS projectors) has as many color as white lumens.

Well, it’s all those color lumens that really let a picture cut through significant ambient light and still have some reasonably rich colors. Most affordable 4000 lumen DLP’s are lucky if they get close to 3000 color lumens.

Epson Home Cinema 1440 Front
The Epson HC1440 is a true bright room projector, claiming a wall-melting 4400 lumens!

And that makes the HC1440 a bargain priced, wall-melting projector designed for almost anything reasonable in terms of bright rooms. Don’t believe me? Check out our video of the Epson G6550, a monster projector that I have in my ridiculously bright living room, paired with the right screen. Well, this HC1440, when we measured it, came within 300 lumens of the G6550 (a projector about 4X this Epson’s price).

Understand, bright room projectors – and this one is no exception – are often adapted business projectors, with little modification to cater to the home market. That’s OK for bright rooms, though. The holy grail of performance in a fully darkened home theater is great black levels. Even in a modestly lit room, there are no impressive black levels. Well, brightness and contrast are trade-offs, in those dedicated home theater projectors, they surrender a lot of lumens to improve the black levels.

Home-Cinema-1440_greatroom_football_daylight
The Home Cinema 1440 handling ambient light.

Epson Home Cinema 1440 Overview

This relatively small and roughly 10-pound projector has a nice manual zoom lens of 1.65:1. It also has a healthy amount of lens shift. Another big plus for placement flexibility in this price range. Of all the projectors we’ve reviewed in this price range, only Epson’s own HC4000 easily bests this projectors placement flexibility.

The Epson has some excellent color right out of the box. As usual, the brightest mode isn’t all that great, but as is usual, especially for Epson, the second brightest mode, has some really good color. Put on a football game, and the HC1440, with its great color and brightness, and your primary reaction has to be, “Wow!”

Warranty is Epson’s standard 2-years parts and labor with a rapid replacement program for both years. Just about impossible to beat at this price point. Viewsonics offer an extra year, but no replacement program. Many other competitors are a plain two years or just one, but without replacement programs.

No projector is perfect – not even for its price range. My primary complaint would be that a bright room projector is something that sports fans are likely to buy. I’m not a huge fan of CFI – frame interpolation – aka smooth motion, but I do like it on sports. Sorry, no CFI on this projector. Beyond placement flexibility and massive brightness, and plenty of inputs (and wired networking), there aren’t a lot of other extras.

The Bottom Line

Pair this Epson Home Cinema 1440 with a proper screen for a bright room environment, and it’s a real LCD TV killer. Why bother with 65” diagonal when you can light up 100+ inches diagonal, and really enjoy your favorite sports as they were meant to be viewed, or tackle the next season of Game of Thrones? Are you ready to be immersed in your favorite content, even in a well-lit room?

You should hear the reaction each year at our annual Superbowl party, about my own bright room setup, with a similarly bright, but older and far more expensive projector.

Light’em up!

 

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