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Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Pros and Cons

Posted on August 30, 2013 by Art Feierman

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Pros and Cons

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Pros

  • Exceptionally bright - in both 2D and 3D.
  • Overall very good color, right out of the box without adjustment
  • Bright and medium images have lots of "pop".
  • A "smart" projector - works with a Roku stick for internet downloading of TV programs, sports, etc.
  • Four color modes, two more for 3D
  • Handles really large screens for 2D viewing (150" no problem).
  • Handles projector screens up to 125" in 3D with looking dim
  • Very good overall color
  • Skin tones are really good post calibration
  • All feet are adjustable (thank you!)
  • Calibrates easily
  • USB slideshow features
  • Very good shadow detail
  • Superb lamp life (5000 hours at full/6000 hours in eco-mode) (confirming - some conflicting info)
  • HDMI 1.4a inputs (2) support for Blu-ray 3D content
  • 3D glasses are Radio frequency, and instant (3 minutes) rechargeable
  • Basic sound is provided, Audio output allows add on surround sound, or powered subwoofer
  • Very good in terms of image noise
  • Excellent 2 year warranty with replacement program
  • Excellent value proposition overall, 2D or 3D

Epson Home Cinema 2030 Projector: Cons

  • Black level performance is definitely "near entry level" nothing to write home about.  It's typical for a $1000 projector, which means there are some that are better
    • Black level performance means that really dark scenes don't pop - even in a fully darkened room but then you probably aren't putting it in a room that good
  • No gamma control, and default could be closer to ideal
  • Sharpness, while very good, isn't up to the best single chip DLP projectors at the price point
  • Minor 3D crosstalk (varies depending on the 3D brightness setting)
  • Lacks lens shift (also true about every competing projector but one)
  • A bit noisy, which is common with projectors in this price range.  Better in eco-mode
  • Lacks CFI - creative frame interpolation which is a nice touch for sports but hardly a "life and death" feature
  • Could have a more powerful speaker system (home theater projectors don't even have speakers)

Well, finally there's a 1080p home projector using 3LCD technology to break the $1000 price barrier - $999 for the HC2030, or $899 for the HC2000. Having that technology choice definitely widens your options in terms of performance.

The only projectors that are brighter for home are really business projectors in disguise - "crossover" projectors.   While these Epson's do share some things with their business  projectors, this projector has definitely been optimized for the home. Unlike, for example, the Acer H6510 or Viewsonic PJD7820HD, neither of which comes close to matching the color handling and natural color that the HC2030 is capable of.

If you are looking for a family projector - or a projector for the sports fanatic, and your budget is around $1000, this Epson Home Cinema 2030 is very likely your best choice, especially when you consider the great warranty, ease of use, etc.  However, if you really want a projector for a dark surfaced, home theater type room with complete lighting control, you could look to one or two DLP projectors that well may be a better fit.  (That assumes you aren't rainbow sensitive.)

I had one of my fantasy football buddies over for the pre-season games this weekend.  He just couldn't believe that the Epson HC2030 is only a grand.  Fooled him.  I even after a while switched to the HC5020UB.  As far as he was concerned, unless I turned on CFI (on the 5020UB) he was equally happy with either.  They are almost identical in brightness, and both just blasted light onto the screen.

And for all my usual grumbling about black levels, I did manage to watch half a dozen movies and didn't suffer any mental anguish, even if I was reminded from time to time that the Epson Home Cinema 2030 is no match for that Epson 5020UB, or my old $8000 JVC RS20, who's blacks are still pretty state of the art.

A fun projector, an excellent value, and likely the most hassle free solution you can consider near the price!   Are you ready?

And with that thought, this review concludes.

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