Posted on November 16, 2017 By Nikki Zelinger
Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150 Projector Review – Special Features: Lens Shift, Frame Interpolation, Streaming with MHL, Miracast, 3D Capable, Portable
This is one of my favorite features on the Epson Home Cinema 2100 and 2150. It’s rare that you see a feature like lens shift on sub-$1000 projectors. If you do happen to be blessed with lens shift on a projector priced under a grand, it’s usually a measly 5% or so, such as is the case with some BenQ projectors. This is Epson’s first time offering lens shift in under $1000 projectors, as these projectors’ predecessors, the HC2040 and HC2045, lacked this feature.
Epson went all out with the lens shift on the HC2100 and HC2150, giving us a whopping 60%. That’s truly impressive! This generous amount of lens shift allows for excellent placement flexibility. My testing station at the time of this review was an awkward bookshelf that barely cleared the top of my couch, and projectors that did not have lens shift were a pain to line up with my screen, which was mounted in anticipation of where I would need it when I got my Epson Home Cinema 5040UB. That the HC2150 had such fantastic lens shift made testing it an easy deal, and it was a joy to have it.
The significant amount of lens shift allows you to place these projectors on a rear shelf, high up, without having to invert the projector and use a ceiling mount!
The lens shift control is a ridged, manual dial located in a recessed area, just behind the lens. It moves easily so that you can get the perfect placement of your image. It should be noted that this is vertical lens shift only, so you will need to position your Home Cinema 2150 (or 2100) to fit inside your screen horizontally. The flexibility here comes with whether you want to mount the projector on a high rear shelf, on your ceiling.
The Home Cinema 2100 and Home Cinema 2150 both have Creative Frame Interpolation, sometimes referred to as CFI or FI. This is a video processing technique that adds extra frames to the projected image. What that does is create the illusion of more fluid motion by minimizing the effect of motion blur, which is especially great for sports. Whether you’re watching football, baseball, soccer, basketball, or rugby (or any other sport, really), the action of the players running will seem more lifelike, realistic, and almost as if you are actually there.
Great for sports – terrible for films. I was testing the feature in a previous session, and in my next, I decided to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I got through the first scenes before I thought, “Alright, why does this look weird?” It was the sliding shot along the table when Lord Voldemort is addressing his Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor that gave it away for me. The extra frames were evident, as the film suddenly had a soap opera look to it. I checked for Frame Interpolation, and of course – it was on. It’s for this reason that the vast majority of people will choose to only turn this feature on for sports viewing, as for regular content, it messes with the director’s intent, and frankly, often just looks weird – not what you saw in the theaters!
Got a streaming stick? The HC2100 and HC2150 have the port for it. An HDMI/MHL port allows you to plug in your Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast devices and stream content instantly. Depending on the device, you can even stream content from your phone or tablet, as is the case with an iPhone or iPad paired with an Apple TV, or Android device paired with a Chromecast streaming stick. Overall – a pretty awesome feature.
This is a feature only available on the Epson Home Cinema 2150 – it’s one of the few things you are paying the extra $50 for over the slightly-lower-priced HC2100. Miracast is a feature that allows for wireless screen mirroring of a smartphone, tablet, or computer. This is built in to the HC2150 – simply go into the Network Settings, change the Wireless LAN option to Screen Mirroring, and it’ll begin the process of connecting your device to the projector. Simple, easy, and awesome for streaming those movies or videos from your tiny screen to a much more enjoyable size. Who wants to watch a film on a postcard-sized screen anyway?
Fan of 3D? Have no fear – both these new Epson projectors have it! Lack of 3D capabilities can be a real deal breaker for some projector lovers, as some content really does just look better in 3D. This is a particularly fun feature if you’ve got kids, who seem to have a deep appreciation for 3D movies. Make sure to buy the right 3D glasses!
These have active shutter technology, not polarized (true of almost all projectors outside of your local cineplex), and can be found for $99 on the Epson website, which is pricy. Sure, you can probably find the same type of glasses for less, but I always like to stay on brand for my extras, price allowing. Art, on the other hand, uses compatible, under $20 Samsung 3D glasses he loves when watching his Epson.
The HC2150 has a built-in media player for PC-free presenting. This means that you can connect a USB device to share photos and video. You can connect a USB flash drive or hard drive formatted in FAT16 or FAT32, a USB mounted digital camera or smartphone, or a multimedia storage viewer.
I plugged in a USB drive, chose the USB Source, and my folders were neatly displayed for me to choose from. Using the directional arrow keys and enter button, I was able to easily choose the folder I wanted to view and cycle through the photos. If you want to present a PowerPoint, just export the slides in PowerPoint as ordered JPEGs and you can easily move through those as well.
The Epson Home Cinema 2100 and Home Cinema 2150 are portable at just 7.7 pounds! These aren’t tiny projectors, but they are certainly small enough to be easily moved from room to room. Make a trip to Grandma’s that much more exciting, or be the coolest parent around for creating a backyard theater experience for the whole family – the portability of the HC2150 makes these things possible.
And that makes them very viable to double as a business projector if you need dual capability. There are smaller portables, and brighter ones, but these two projectors can easily handle an audience of 50+ people in a multi-purpose room, large training room, or conference room.
They’ve got that 10-watt speaker to make things even more simple, as there’s no need to bring along cumbersome external speakers on one of these adventures. If you’re into this kind of portable projecting, there are a number of well-priced portable screens to complete your viewing experience.
That does it for the Epson Home Cinema 2100 and Home Cinema 2150’s special features! For a sub-$1000 projector, it provides a great value proposition based on these features alone. In the next section of this review, we’ll take a tour of the hardware, giving you a detailed look into the inputs and connectors, the lens, control panel, remote control, and menus. Onward!
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