Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 1040 Projector: Hardware Tour

HOME CINEMA 1040 HARDWARE TOUR:  Overview, Lens and Lens Throw, Control Panel

Home Cinema 1040 Projector Hardware Overview

We will start our hardware tour at the front of the HC1040 projector.  The lens is offset to the right side (if facing the projector).  Just to the right of the recessed lens is the front IR sensor for the remote.  A drop down adjustable foot has a button release just above the bottom, in the center.

The exhaust vent is on the left front side.

The lens itself has a 1.2:1 zoom ratio which is pretty typical for this price range projector.

Moving to the top of the projector, the lens controls (zoom and focus) are recessed behind / above the lens.

Just forward of the recessed controls is a slider labeled AV Mute.

Slide it shut and a door closes to protect the lens.  Also it will mute the picture and the speaker’s sound.

Just behind the recessed area is another slider, this is for quick keystone correction, and works very well.  More sophisticated keystone correction is available in the menus (Quick Corner).

Further back is the control panel, which we’ll discuss below.  You can also see the lamp door on the top right.  (screw release is on the back).

All the inputs and other connectors are found on the back

That includes a 2 watt speaker.  This speaker has respectable volume, but less than some others, including other Epsons.  Of course no built in speaker system is seven remotely a match for any separate stereo or surround sound system.  I’ve never encountered any home entertainment projector with really serious sound, none have anything resembling deep bass, or for that matter even any significant mid-bass. With any projector, if you want really impressive sound you need something outboard.

The speaker will serve, however, in a pinch, for Youtube videos, perhaps for that backyard movie night, when moving from room to room or if you take it on vacation.  It may come in very handy, though, if you need to double the HC1040 as a portable business / education projector!

Home Cinema 1040 Lens, Lens Throw, and Offset

Throw Distances for the HC1040 Lens:  100″ 16:10 diagonal screen
Wide Angle (closest) 118 inches
Telephoto (furthest) 143 inches

The 1.2:1 zoom provides some placement flexibility, most projectors in this price range have minimal amounts of zoom, rarely more than 1.3:1 and some with out any zoom ability at all.

This is enough placement range to give you a couple of feet front to back working placement range for a 100″ projected image.  For most people that’s all that is needed to simplify setup or ceiling mounting.

There is no lens shift, which is again typical of lower cost projectors, and the handful that do have some have minimal lens shift.  Instead Epson offers a large amount of keystone correction.

HC1040_projection-chart
Epson HC1040 Lens to Screen distance (throw) chart. 1 is distance, 2 is vertical offset

 

There is a small amount of lens offset.  For that same 100″ diagonal screen the amount is 4.8 inches.  What that means is that if you put the HC1040 on a level table, the bottom of the projected image will be 4.8 inches below the center of the lens.  Since the center of the lens is a 2 inches or so above the table, the table can be about 2 inches and change above the bottom of the projected image.   If ceiling mounting the HC1040, then the projected image will, at the top, be 4.8 inches higher than the center of the lens.

That’s what you need to get a perfectly rectangular image.  Of course it’s not always possible to place a projector exactly where called for.   That’s were the extensive keystone correction comes in.  That allows you to place the projector over a wide range of space, both vertically and horizontally.  Keystone correction causes a very minor amount of digital compression, so purists spending more on a serious home theater projector shun it in favor of projectors with a lot of lens shift.  Almost all of those, however are over $2000, although there are a few under $1000 but those have only a tiny amount of shift, for minor fine tuning.

HC1040 Control Panel

HC1040 control panel
Top down look at the Epson Home Cinema 1040 Control Panel

This is a almost a typical Epson Control Panel, in fact fairly typical of most projectors.  From the left, is the Power button (press once to power up, twice to power down.  A power indicator light is to its left while the lamp and Temp lights are right below.  I’m going to save the Home button for last, so moving to the right is the Source search button, then comes the usual navigation with the Menu button, the four arrow keys in a diamond configuration, although they do not have arrows on the buttons.  Instead they have the alternate usage buttons:  When not navigating the menus, the top and bottom buttons allow adjustment of keystone correction while the left and right ones are volume down, and up.  In the center of those four is the usual Enter button with a pointing back to the left arrow.  The Escape button in the top right moves you back upward in the menus.

What is new for Epson on this and a few other models is the Home button, which brings up a very easy to access general screen.  There’s also the regular Menu button to its right and slightly higher.

HC1040_menu_home-screen
Epson’s Home Screen, a relatively new, user friendly feature added to some of their newest projectors

 

As you can see, the Home button lets you choose an input (source) or go directly to features including Keystone correction, split screen, Power mode, select from the color modes.

It lets you go to the full menus, and also serves up the interactive Help section.  Finally note the bottom right – If you use Epson’s iProjection software to control the projector you can pair to devices by having the HC1040 project its QR code.

I did not try that, but I’ve used QR codes many times configuring home automation gear.  It definitely can simplify!

Offering quick navigation – in this case, the Home screen, seems to be a trend these days, as a couple of other brands of projectors are also offering easy to navigate solutions, usually in the form of a “simple” menu with very few options, and advanced with all of them.  Similar.  I like this approach better because you can always tap Menu to reach everything, rather than have to figure out how to go from basic to advanced menus.

We’ll explore the full menus on the next page.