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Epson Home Cinema 1440 Projector Review - Picture Quality 2

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Art Feierman
HOME CINEMA 1440 PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY - Page 2:   HDTV and Sports Viewing, Movie Viewing, Overall Picture Quality

HDTV and Sports on the HC1440

Let's start with sports viewing.  The HC1440 is bright and that means that when you have friends over, no need to watch football or your other favorite sports in the dark, or even the near dark. In my theater, with it's dark surfaces, I never needed to even use the brightest mode - Dynamic. Even with the shutters open, door to the adjacent room with large skylight open, at most the picture took only a mild hit due to the ambient light.

More significantly when I briefly moved the Home Cinema 1440 to my living room, setting it up below my Epson G6550 and firing at a light absorbing SI Slate screen, it had no problems there either, except under the "worst 1 minute of the day" as featured in our Bright room video featuring the G6550 and screen.

That shouldn't be surprising, for the G6550, which claimed 5200 max lumens measured in at just under 5000 in Dynamic, while the 4400 lumen claiming HC1440 managed over 4700 lumens in Dynamic, making it only insignificantly less bright.  No surprise, therefore that the HC1440 at barely 1/4 the price, could do a comparable job.  (True, in features, the G6550 has interchangeable lenses, more modes, lens shift, wireless (optional) as well as wired networking, and a number of other advantages.

Still, the point is, that few home installations require a projector with interchangeable lenses, which is responsible for the largest chunk of price difference.

Color in Bright Cinema or Cinema modes is excellent.  That both modes are a touch cool, that's a plus for most sports viewing, at least as far as I'm concerned.  Most folks like the slightly "bluer" light for such viewing.


Dynamic with about an extra 1000 lumens, is only needed in extreme circumstances, which my room can deliver, but only once a day, for a a few minutes, only part of the year.  That's when sunlight pours in, directly into the room, but also comes in from the sun reflecting off the water and the patio's light colored flooring, not to mention lighting up an entire wall with sunlight.  (Check out that video).

Sports, of course we can forgive some color deficiencies (such as Dynamic mode's just slightly heavy yellow-green caste), but what about most HDTV.  That can be sitcoms, Game of Thrones, Blacklist or Modern Family.  While mostly we aren't critical observers of color accuracy for such programming, saving that for movies, it's important to note that those two good color modes, Bright Cinema and Cinema handle HDTV easily do a fine job, thanks to good color balance without adjustments required.  One can only argue against this projector for viewing dark scenes off of HDTV, due to black levels.  Well, the assumption here is that your room is less than ideal, and with any ambient light, big differences in black levels become very small ones.  Enough said.

Movie Viewing with the HC1440

The Home Cinema 1440 is not going to provide you with great black levels.  If that's what you demand, and you have a pretty good room, there's no doubt another projector might be more suitable (consider Epson's 5025UB or 5030UB, for example about half as bright at max, but killer black level performance - home theater projectors that are bright enough to handle some ambient light.

The HC1440 does have a dynamic iris.  Unlike my G6550 who's iris is a bit clunky, the newer HC1440's is a lot better.  It's rarely visible, doing its things more subtly.  I will say that Epson isn't demanding as much range as say on Epson's UB projectors, but does manage to lower black levels a modest amount for a better experience on movies than most projectors without a dynamic iris.  Still the black levels aren't a match for the best DLPs at the price range, such as the Optoma HD50 / HD161X, but then that projector isn't even as remotely as bright, so can't even begin to tackle the same levels of ambient light.

Other than that, the HC1440's color will please.  The picture will be bright and bold (bolder in Bright Cinema than Cinema mode).  Try to keep ambient light to a minimum, but there's plenty of lumens - up to 10 times what is needed for a 100" screen in a dark room, available for your viewing pleasure.  Mid-range colors are brighter on the Bright Cinema mode, likely due mostly to gamma differences.

Overall Picture Quality

You should have the idea by now.  The Epson will deliver a nicely sharp image with good color, right out of the box.  It's strengths include tons of good looking color and white lumens, with very good color balance.

Closely observing color accuracy, both visually and by the numbers, you can see that color accuracy can be improved slightly, but for all but hard core enthusiasts, that won't be necessary.  I've watched enough content on the 1440 to say that even if I can appreciate the slight differences a calibration would bring to the party, my friends and family won't even notice the difference.

At the HC1440's price point a few hundred dollars below two grand, you can find better black level performance notably in a couple of DLP projectors, but not in a projector with brightness approaching the 1440.  That makes the HC1440 a top choice, picture wise, for those with less than ideal rooms, and for those moving the projector around from room to room. Don't forget - in "brighter" rooms, screen choice can be extremely important.

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