Epson Cinema 400 Projector Review – General Performance

Most of the content here, for Menus, User Memory Settings, and the Remote control, have been pilferred from the Epson Cinema 550 review, as Epson is using the same remote, and the menus, seem to be identical (there are so many items on sub-menus, I might have missed a change, but certainly no changes on anything shown here. For the menus and remote, I am using new images shot on the Cinema 400 projector.

Epson Cinema 400 Projector Menus

The first, nice thing about the Epson menus, is that all the main menus are visible, while you are looking at any of the first level of sub-menus. On the right, you can see the Picture menu, and to the left of the Picture Menu choices you can see all the other key menus: Image, Settings, Memory, Info and Reset. The menu is partially translucent, which is always nice. Even when I put these translucent menus in front of a very “busy” scene, they remained easily readable (some menus that are even more translucent can get tough to read at times.

Epson Cinema 400 Projector Menus

Epson Cinema 400 Projector Menus

The Picture menu first gives you a choice of color presets, including Theatre Black 1 and 2 (quietest modes, best contrast, darker picture, designed for movie watching in a darkened room), as well as other settings designed to handle more ambient light (Theatre, Natural, Living Room, and Dynamic).

I’ll mention again later, under Audible Noise, that only Theatre Dark 1 and 2 (and sRGB – I think) let the projector run in its quietest mode. The Cinema 400 gets noiser if you swtich to Theater or the higher modes.

Input Adjust offers a sub menu with access to another menu for adjusting white and black levels and one for contrast and brightness.

The Color Adjust menu, offers all the control any “tweaker” would want, including a Color Temperature control with presets every 500 degrees kelvin, a few presets for adjust skin tones, as well as a full set of RGB and RGBCMY(red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow)

Most users will never go into these two (on right and below) menus (RGB, and RGBCMY), unless they plan to calibrate their projectors, or want to tweak them “by eye”.

One of my favorite menus for adjusting the image, is Epson’s Gamma menu, shown just below. Not only does Epson give you a choice of gammas (generally gamma affects the “brightness” of the image, but with no/insignificant) effect on the blackest blacks or brightest areas, but can substantially brighten or darken middle ranges. Think of it like an audio equalizer, with the deep bass and highest highs unaffected. Few projectors give you any control at all (except that the gamma will normally vary in different presets. Better still Epson will even let you customize it. For example if you have just a little ambient light and are watching movies, you might want to only lighten up the near black areas a bit (relative to the rest, so you can still pick up the shadow detail. A really great menu, and tool for you. Just for your reference; 2.2 is the normal default for movies, lower numbers will seem to brighten (and ultimately wash out) up the middle ranges, while higher numbers will darken them.

Other Epson Cinema 400 menus include the Settings Menu, where you can adjust Keystone Correction (avoid if at all possible), putting in your own logo (when there is no source signal) – how about “The Schmendrick Family Theatre”? Projector orientation is also on the menu (front projection, front ceiling (inverted projector) projection, rear, etc.

I should point out that most of the key menu functions, such as color presets, memory recall, and aspect ratios are accessable from the remote. For example selecting the presets let’s you navigate through them with the remote’s arrow keys. This is a lot faster than on some projectors, where each time you hit the button it advances to another setting, which can be very time consuming when each change takes several seconds.

User Memory Settings

The Epson Cinema 400 home theater projector offers nine separate memory settings (that’s about as many as you will ever find), so go crazy, you can have some settings for a completely dark room, (separate ones for Movie, TV, sports), others when there is more ambient light, and still others for your brightest usable room settings.

If you like to play with settings, your dream of enough savable settings has likely come true!

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