Projector Reviews

Epson HC5040UB, PC6040UB Projector Review – Hardware Tour 1

HARDWARE TOUR of the Epson HC5040UB, PC6040UB:  Overview, Lens, Inputs and Connectors, Control Panel

5040UB, 6040UB Hardware Tour - Overview

I have here, at this time, an engineering sample of the Pro Cinema 6040UB.  That means, a black case.  The Home Cinema 5040UB has essentially the same feature set, but an off-white case (with black on the two front exhausts – so as to reflect less light back onto the screen).

I’ll only mentioned the older 5030UB/6030UB occasionally since these new projectors are so different.

We start at the front, where the new Epson 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens is recessed into the case.  When the projector is powered off, a mechanical lens cover closes to keep dust out, and to protect the lens.

As mentioned the heat exhausts are up front on the left and right, they are almost hard to spot on the black 6040UB, but as noted, stand out on the 5040UB.

There’s also an IR – infra-red sensor for the remote on the front.  Down low on the left and right front corners, are a pair of screw thread type, adjustable front feet.  A single centered bar near the back, acts as the rear feet. There are some additional non-adjustable feet, that normally don’t come into play.  I’m not sure why they are there.  They may supply extra support with a ceiling mount?  Naturally, the standard screw threads are on the bottom for accepting the usual universal ceiling mounts.

Indicator lights are on the top, over the right side of the projector – above the power switch and the hidden control panel.

All the connectors and inputs are on the back.

The 2.1:1 Motorized Zoom Lens - Throw distances, Lens Shift

The all new, sharper, 16 glass element, motorized zoom lens has already been discussed in the Features section. The amount of zoom is the same as on the earlier UB’s but the throw distances are just the slightest bit longer – but only by about 1 inch.  In other words, unless you are replacing an older UB with one of these, and you had mounted it exactly at the closest possible distance, you are fine. At worst, (if you were at the absolute closest), you would be dealing with a fraction of an inch of overshoot.

5040UB, 6040UB Throw Distances for 100″ screen.

For a typical 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen, the closest you can place the projector (measured from the front of the lens to the screen) is 9 feet 10 inches, the furthest is 20 feet 8 inches.  (If you want to figure out the distance for a larger screen, just multiple these distances, by the same proportion – ie. if a 120 inch screen, multiply the short and long numbers by 1.2 for the correct lens throw.)  The number for closest is fairly typical of most home theater projectors, but since the Epson has more zoom range than most, it can be placed further back than most.  Primarily that makes high (or low) rear shelf placement viable in most rooms, whereas projectors with the more common 1.3:1 to 1.6:1 zooms typically can’t be placed far enough back to be near the back wall.

Lens Shift Range

The 5040UB and 6040UB have extensive amounts of both vertical, and horizontal, motorized lens shift, more than pretty much any competitor at this time.  On the vertical we’re talking +/- 96.3%   For a 100″ diagonal 16:9 screen (almost 50 inches tall), that means you can mount the projector anywhere from about 23″ above the top of the screen surface, to 23″ below the bottom. Nice!

The amount of horizontal shift is also stellar:  +/- 47.1 %.  Of course, as with all projectors, the more vertical you use, the less horizontal shift is available, and vice versa!

Even so, you’ll be hard pressed to find any home projector that can beat, or even come close to these Epson’s when it comes to placement flexibility!

5040UB, 6040UB Inputs and Connectors

Let’s start looking at the back in the upper left corner of the input panel.

Epson Pro Cinema 6040UB_Back
Epson’s inputs are all located on the back of the projector, including a pair of HDMI’s one of which supports HDMI 2.0…

 

 

First up is a port marked Opt. HDMI (300ma).  This port provides power for an optical HDMI cable.  Next over are two standard HDMI connectors.  Now, this gets a bit interesting, as the first one supports HDMI 2.0 with HDCP copy protection 2.2 – which is required for Blu-ray UHD.  The other HDMI is the older, common HDMI 1.4 with HDCP 2.0 found on most non-4K projectors.

So far, I don’t believe that cable or satellite boxes that are supporting some sort of 4K, are demanding the newer HDMI 2.0 / HDCP 2.2, so life is good. Should that happen in the future though, you could be short one HDMI port – but then, there will be work arounds. (such as an external HDMI switch that has multiple HDMI 2.0 inputs).  Too soon to really worry about that.  I still think all home theater projectors should have three HDMI ports, but, alas, no one is listening to me.

Next over to the right are a pair of USB ports, one is the standard one, for consumer use, the other a small mini USB connector, which serves as a service port (for example to upload any updated firmware.)

A local area network (standard RJ45 jack) is next, and that’s followed by a standard (HD15) analog computer input, and an RS232 (DB9) for “old school” command and control.

Finally, there’s a 12 volt screen trigger, a feature Epson hasn’t offered on the UB’s before now.  Thank you, I say, since my screen is motorized, so I can now have it lowering automatically when powering up the Epson, and closing up automatically when I power the PJ down.

That’s a pretty good feature set, but note that neither HDMI port directly supports MHL for streaming mobile devices.

There is one solution though:  The “wireless” version of the HC5040UB – the HC5040UBe, has wireless HDMI including 4 HDMI inputs. The fourth of those does support MHL.  That makes sense, as the UBe is the “wireless” entry, and the one that can most easily work with “wireless” MHL devices.  Of course with normal MHL streaming from say my Roku stick brings in audio to a projector, but these Epson’s lack a speaker (true of almost all true “home theater” projectors, although lower cost home entertainment” projectors typically have speakers).

Two more items.  Below all the connectors are a Kensington lock slot for securing the projector with a cable, and, of course, the power cord receptacle.

Control Panel and Indicator Lights

While much of these new projectors are very different from their predecessors, the small, recessed, and hidden control panel, is still located on the right side (if facing the front of the projector).

You’ll find first, the Power button (once for on, twice for off) and a Source button below it, then to the right behind a small door is the rest of the control panel.

From the top left, is the Menu button,  Then comes the four navigation arrows in a diamond configuration, with the “OK” button (Enter) in the center of the four.

New this year is the Lens button which will toggle you through the lens features (Zoom, Focus, Lens Shift). That Lens button is in the lower left.  Across from it is the last button – Escape (takes you back up a level in menus, or Cancels.

The indicator lights number three, but a forth is on the power button, which flashes during power up, etc.

Of the three on the top, the first is a general Status light, that’s followed by the Lamp, and Temp indicators.

No surprises here.  The manual advises you of the meaning of any strange flashing patterns, should a problem occur.  That’s pretty typical!

Moving to the next page, it’s time to take a look at the Epson remote control, and something not really hardware – but closely tied to it:  The 5040UB / 6040UB menu system.