Epson HC 5040UB and PC 6040UB Projectors w/4K Support, Announced At CE

Epson’s new Home Cinema 5040UB and it’s non-identical twin, the Pro Cinema 6040UB represent a dramatic upgrade from Epson’s previous UB (“Ultra Black”) series.  Make that massive upgrade.  These projectors, while reminiscent of the models that came before, are more revolutionary, than evolutionary.  Epson showed them for the first time, today, at the CE Show in NYC.

Check out our full review of the Home Cinema 5040UB and Pro Cinema 6040UB here.  Also here’s a short highlight reel from our videos of these projectors

Home Cinema 5040
Epson’s Home Cinema 5040UB accepts 4K content including DCI and HDR! It offers pixel shifting for a more detailed image.

Until now, Epson has been improving performance of the UB series for about eight years now since first launched, but the hardware basics hadn’t changed much – for example their Fujinon 2.1:1 manual zoom lens, and the maximum supported resolution has always been 1080p.  No more!

The most fun part in this story is I had a chance to preview the new projectors at Epson’s US headquarters in Long Beach, CA earlier this month.  Epson gave me a pre-product announcement type briefing, but then I got to see a demo. I’ll tell you this, for now (more below), it was well worth the almost two hour round trip to see it in action.

The fun part for some of you – these projectors – and two others will be shipping before the end of summer.  For the sports fans among us, that’s great news – they will be out before the football season starts, before the World Series, etc.  For us movie fans, it will be time to go out and get a 4K UHD Blu-ray player, or start streaming 4K from Netflix and Amazon.  Too often projectors are first shown at CEDIA in September with many not shipping until December or January.

It’s a whole new world with the 5040UB and 6040UB.  For those familiar with the older “UB”s,
the manual zoom has been replaced with a new motorized zoom lens, and now that it’s motorized, the new UB’s finally have Lens Memory.  This means these Epsons will work for those of you contemplating the benefits of a wide screen, such as a 2.35:1 ratio.

These projectors are still native 1080p projectors like their predecessors, but now they have pixel shifting, like Epson’s $7999 LS10000 flagship laser projector. But what really makes these new UBs a big step up, is that they are fully prepared for 4K content, with support for HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 copy protection.  On the image side of 4K, they support DCI, the same standard as used in your cineplex.  HDR is also supported (and auto sensed), for the maximum dynamic range.

Before I forget, there’s another Home Cinema model, the Home Cinema 5040UBe.  This is the version with wireless HDMI, complete with four 4K inputs.  The 5040UBe is $3299, so you are basically paying 300 for what should prove to be a capable wireless solution.

Epson-5040UBe-wireless-HDMI
Epson’s wireless HDMI transceiver for the Home Cinema 5040UBe projector

 

For these “next generation” capable projectors there is a price to pay.  The Home Cinema 5040UB will be sold online and through authorized dealers with a price point of $2999.  The Pro Cinema 6040UB will only be sold by Epson’s authorized installing local dealers.  The 6040UB will come with a ceiling mount and a spare lamp, cable cover, and an extra year of warranty and replacement program, for $3999.  In both cases that’s a noticeable increase over their award winning, yet dramatically less capable predecessors.

Highlights in a Nutshell:

  • 2500 color and white lumens (up 100 from previous models
  • Contrast of 1 Million to 1, (a 2/3 increase from last models)
    • Thanks to all new dynamic iris. Should deliver deeper blacks
  • 4K HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2
    • One HDMI supports MHL for streaming sticks and portable devices
  • New motorized zoom lens with lens memory
  • Support for DCI and HDR content
    • New Cinema filter to handle the expanded dynamic range
  • All the usual:  3D, CFI for smooth motion, Epson’s Super-Resolution
  • New Optical Engine for improved uniformity
  • Excellent amount of lens shift:  +/- 96% vertical and 47% horizontal
  • 10 User savable picture memories (two extra on the 6040UB for ISF calibrators)
  • 5040UB has white finish, 6040UB comes in black
  • Warranty – as usual, Epson’s 2 years parts and labor, with 2 years of their excellent rapid replacement program (3 years of both with the 6040UB)

The all new lens, Epson says, is designed to handle the more demanding images that a pixel shifting projector being fed 4K content can produce.

I could go on with the details from the press kit we all get sent, but I’d rather tell you about my impressions watching it at Epson.

 

After the briefing, we went next store, to a room fully covered in black surfaces, very much like the theaters within booths at trade shows.  Now I’ve got a very dark theater, but this is more total black out.  I mention this because for the most accurate analysis, I need to work in my environment, using content I’m well familiar with.

I expected everything to look great there.  It looked at least that good.

I must admit I wasn’t paying attention, at first I thought the UB was their Laser, being shown for comparison. From that I expect to conclude that the new UB’s lens is definitely sharper than before. It didn’t take long before I realized the black levels weren’t as good as the laser, but, the iris seemed smoother than older ones, on the content Epson put on, I really couldn’t spot the iris action.

Looking at the 4K content, it looked great, for, as I already learned from Epson’s LS10000, that while true 4K is true 4K, and this isn’t true 4K, pixel shifting combined with 4K content, and some great image processing can still deliver a picture this is immediately perceived as easily sharper and more detailed than anything pure 1080p.  I’ve come to appreciate HDR from watching the Sony 4K VW665ES ($14,999), and the $3999 JVC, and it looked even better in Epson’s facility, because their “theater” is just superior to mine.  BTW, we really liked that JVC RS400, but the HC5040UB is going to give it some competition for a $1000 less.

An Epson Pro Cinema 6040UB home theater projector
A provided brochure image of the Pro Cinema 6040UB in action

 

Or more simply stated, The Home Cinema 5040UB or the Pro Cinema 6040UB, watching a movie like The Martian, from a Blu-ray UHD disc, with HDR, is going to be a dramatically superior experience to the older UBs doing a standard 1080p Blu-ray disc.

The bottom line, the Home Cinema 5040UB (being the less expensive of the two), is simply the lowest priced projector on the market that can handle commercial 4K source material, and more specifically including DCI color and HDR processing.

Sure, true 4K will be better, but now we get to start collecting 4K content, and enjoy watching it sharper and more detailed than we could before at this price.  There are few pixel shifting projectors out there that can handle commercial 4K content, but they all cost more!

This represents a major step up in performance for a sub $3000 projector (or a sub-$4000 one that comes with lots of extras).  So, what are we waiting for?

I am so looking forward to getting in a review unit.  With luck my full review will post before the first shipments.

Look for a second blog in the next few days, where I’ll go over the capabilities of the briefly mentioned wireless HDMI HC5040UBe, and also the new $2699 Pro Cinema 4040.

News and Comments

  • Kanerator

    Sounds great, Art. I just wish these companies would go all out and produce a projector that has what most people need and want. If this projector cranked out 4000-5000 lumens with a laser light it would be great. Or even with a standard bulb. I would pay an extra $1000 or so for that.
    Also, can you tell me, does it have motorised focus as well as zoom?

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Kanerator, The easy part is yes, zoom, focus and lens shift are all motorized. As to your wish list, yep, would be nice to have a “bright room” projector in terms of brightness, but all these nice features like 4K inputs… 2500 lumens isn’t bad, and based on previous UB’s most likely the 5040UB will be able to put out about 1800-2000 lumens in Living Room mode, which can still serve up some really good color, (but not as good as one of the Epson “best” modes where they kick in a “Cinema” filter. Geez, let me think; the least expensive projector on the market that is geared for home, that can put out over 4000 lumens, accept commercial 4K content, is the top of the line true 4K Sony. That will just set you back an extra $57,000. Piece of cake! -art

      • Kanerator

        Yeah, that’s the problem with “wish lists”, they have the word wish in them. This 6040 projector sounds fantastic though. I’m still using the Epson 2000 all these years later and for a 10-12 year old projector the picture is pretty darn good. Given the Epson 10000 also only cranks out 2500 lumens at twice the price, I think if none of the other companies can improve on the 6040’s value for money with their upcoming releases, I think there’s another Epson in my future. I look forward to your full review of the 5040/6040 particularly in regards to 3D. Speaking of which: What’s your bottom line thinking regarding 3D? Do you think with the uptake of 4k that people will feel the immersive-ness of the improved colour game and resolution will make most people think 3d is superfluous or do you think technology will develop glasses-less 3d and that active- glasses 3d capable projectors will go the way of VHS and HD players? I keep wondering if the library of 3d movies I have been building (even though I don’t have a 3d capable projector and can’t bring myself to watch these movies on our 50 inch tv), will be obsolete by the time I upgrade my projector to 3d capable, 4k player, and Atmos /Neo:x, receiver. I just want to say how much we all appreciate what you do with your website to help us mere mortals navigate to confusing, ever-changing landscape of the home entertainment industry. Kane

        • ProjectorReviews.com

          Hi again! I don’t see 3D disappearing from projectors anytime soon. The only “trend” in that direction is specifically with Epson, and specifically within their “first generation” of “Bright Room” projectors – I’m talking about low cost models like the 740, 1040, 1440, and the high priced G models that also are marketed as Pro Cinema as well as under their business/education Powerlite Pro designation. (ie. my “Powerlite Pro / Pro Cinema” G6550).

          Since all those projectors come from a biz/ed background, Epson’s first generation are close to (the less expensive ones) or identical to (the G series), biz/ed models, I’ve certainly pointed out to Epson people, that they need to do more than rebranding for home with the most minor changes. I told them, (hope they listen) that the next gen of those should be differentiated – ie. adding in 3D (those are the only “home” Epsons – old or new, without 3D). Also I complained about the iris action on my G6550, and am pleased to report that the newer, smaller Epsons now have a smoother iris…

          3D is just too easy to provide for projector manufacturers. It’s minor firmware, and probably some minor licensing fees.

          And, as you pointed out, 3D is somewhat “silly” on a 50” LCDTV unless you are sitting about 4 feet away. 3D is about immersion, projectors and big screens are about immersion. 50” TVs are about “tiny” – a lack of immersion, they don’t even come remotely close to filling the main portion of one’s view.

          And Hollywood keeps cranking out 3D movies because they are highly profitable, and they sell tickets by the ton. As long as hollywood cranks out those action (ie Marvel, Avatar…) and animation (much of Disney)… 3D should survive nicely for disc. It flopped on DirecTV and cable, because of the relatively few of us with big enough screens to enjoy 3D. -art

          • Kanerator

            Well said, sir, and thanks! -Kane

    • Strat

      Need…

  • Mark Taylor

    Highly Disappointing!!!…They are still feeding 1080p while world moves to 4K.

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Mark! It’s a numbers game. We would have all loved to see sub-$5000 true 4K projectors by now. But it is partially an economy of scale thing. home projectors make up less than 1% of the home “TV” market. Thus, only Sony has launched true 4K projectors and they start at $9999.

      In projectors there is an intermediate step between 2K (1080p) and 4K – that will be found in several new “4K UHD” projectors coming late this year or early next – DLP models using the TI 4 megapixel chip with pixel shifting. (True 4K is 8 megapixel These devices are really “half way in between. They qualify as 4K UHD because they hit the screen with a total of 8 megapixels, but those pixels are still bigger, and they overlap.

      The bottom line though, is that having worked with the JVC and Epson pixel shifters (Epson LS10000 laser projector), both are capable of producing an image that definitely is perceived as both sharper and more detailed than non-pixel shifting 1080p, so it’s still an improvement. (So far, I find Epson’s pixel shifting and firmware to definitely appear sharper, etc. than the JVC’s equivalent eShift4), but both are superior to non. The Epson laser, and I expect, the 5040UB, really will make a difference. Just not as big as hoped. As to feeding1080p to any of these even true 4K projectors, The difference between standard 1080p and pixel shifted 1080p is typically great than between true 4K and pixel shifted 1080p. In other words, on 1080p content, these guys do great.

      The question becomes timing. The DLP’s may make JVC and Epson feel forced to either go from 2 megapixel with pixel shifting to new 4 megapixel chips, or maybe decide to pull out the stops and go true 4K. Sadly it may be two more years before Sony has any real true 4K competition to drive the prices down. -art

  • Keith Jordan

    Any mention of input lag? This is always the deal breaker for me with Epson projectors. Hoping they remember people like playing video games !

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      It didn’t come in the briefing, and I didn’t think to ask. I have no reason to believe, therefore that they will be any faster – best would be to figure that in “fast” mode, that the input lag will measure about 50-51 using the old software method, and 57-58 using the Leo Bodnar device.

      However, don’t despair one of the newest less expensive Epson’s the HC2040 measured in the 26-29ms range with the Bodnar device. I expect I’ll have a review unit to work with at least a couple weeks before first shipment. I will be sure to measure input lag, and report on it.

      If I have less than 2 weeks before shipments, I’ll likely do a “first look” review (initial impressions), in which case, again, I’ll be sure to let the world know. -art

      • Keith Jordan

        Thanks! That would be awesome. Basically input Lag and noise level would be my deciding factors to push me to the Sony 45es.

  • mark

    What is the lamp life of these new projectors??
    Are there any new Epson lazer projectors??

  • Nuages

    Has anyone done a side by side comparison with a Sony 4K projector?
    My close friend has a LS10000 in his theater. A giant 2.35 screen.
    Probably 11 feet wide. The picture was the best I have seen. He claims to have auditioned the Sony in his theater and decided to use the Epson.
    I can’t wait to see the 5040.
    A shoot out between the two, using the same exact screen, content, and source would be very interesting.

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      If you are asking about a shootout between the 5040UB and the LS10000 that is something I will try to arrange when the 5040UB comes in for review in a few weeks. If you are asking about LS10000 vs a Sony 4K, I didn’t have that combination here at the same time, but I have in the LS10000 review, I believe several comparisons of the same image on the Epson laser and a Sony 4K, in the Epson review. -art

      • Nuages

        I was hoping for a shootout between a Native 4K projector with HDR, and the Epson 5040.
        From everything I have read, the Sony is the only projector using a 4K chip.
        I believe the LS10000 does not have HDR. I would assume that would make a very significant difference.
        Comparing the Epson 4K solution with HDR to a Native 4K chip with HDR would be a very interesting comparison.

        • ProjectorReviews.com

          I just received a 6040UB for review (an engineering sample, some features are still grayed out). Not sure when the next Sony 4K will arrive, but am expecting the VW365ES in August, probably the 2nd half.

          I’ll be doing side by sides when that happens. -art

          • Nuages

            That’s great news. This really is exciting. It’s a very good time to be a home theater enthusiast. 4K, HDR, 2.35, Dolby Atmos, Streaming options galore, all at prices I can actually afford.

  • Kanerator

    Hey, Art. Any idea what the 5040UB and 6040UB will be called in Australia and when they will be released? I called Epson Australia, but the person I spoke to had no idea of release date or model numbers. Thanks, Kane.

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Kane! No idea yet. I’ll ask the Epson folks, but it will be obvious when they start shipping I’m sure. Aren’t the models you get, usually the same as the model numbers in the EU? -art

      • Kanerator

        Maybe, the 5030UB is the EH-TW9200 here. It’s just that with epson releasing so many models I like to shop with full knowledge of what they are calling that same model here in Australia.

        • ProjectorReviews.com

          Understood, thing is, Epson uses a two tier distribution system in the US, keeping local installing dealers separate from online, the local guys get the black Pro Cinema models, while the web folks and some big box houses have the white Home Cinema version.
          In most of the rest of the world there’s only one version of each, and normally has the TW designation. Someone on the AVSforum.com can probably tell you right away, just hit the appropriate Epson thread, or search -art

          • Kanerator

            Thanks. Will keep my peepers out as I’m regularly on AVS. It’s a hard time for us all as we are in that transition time waiting for the new releases so we can switch over to 4k. We have to wait for cheaper projectors, second generation 4k players, and even upgrade our amps to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Expensive times at the moment for us home cinema nerds.

          • ProjectorReviews.com

            Ah, but the tech is good for a good 5 years… Now think of what you invested in that car of yours… -art

  • Murray Thompson

    Whats the largest screen gain 1.0 could these light up well? 150″ dia. AT Screen?