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Epson Home Cinema 3500 Projector Review - Hardware Tour

Posted on October 30, 2014 by Art Feierman
EPSON HC3500 PROJECTOR REVIEW - HARDWARE TOUR:  Overview and Lens, Control Panel, Input Panel, Lens Throw and Lens Shift  

Overview and Lens

The Epson Home Cinema 3500 is finished in a white case with a little black trim.  This Epson is sculpted and curvy unlike the more box like 5030UB which at $800 more is the step up projector.  But I digress.  The 1.6:1 manual zoom lens is offset to the right (if you are facing the projector).  The zoom and focus are done on the lens barrel itself.  Just to the right of the lens is the front IR sensor for the Epson's remote control.

A 1.6:1 zoom provides more front to back placement flexibility than is offered by most under $2000 projectors.  In addition, this Epson projector has both vertical, and horizontal lens shift, features not found in the older HC3020.  That'a s big plus.

Moving to the top of the projector you'll find the two lens shift dials not far from the lens, and further to the back is the control panel and indicator lights, which are covered in the next section.

There are two screw thread adjustable front feet, and a centered rear foot for 3 point stability when placing the projector on a table.

All of the inputs and connectors are located on the back.  Also in the back are the two rear facing 10 watt speakers, one on each side of the input panel.

HC3500 Control Panel

The control panel is a typical Epson affair, no surprises.  On the left is the Power button (once for on, twice to power down).  Just above (closer to the front are two indicator lamps, one for Lamp, one for Temperature.  Also there's a smaller indicator showing power status, right next to the Power switch.

Moving to the right, next comes the Source button, and then the navigation - the four arrows in a round formation with the Enter button in the center.   Slightly above the round navigation area is the Menu button, and the Escape button (Esc takes you back up a level in the menus).  That covers it except for the sensor to the right of the navigation. That considers the amount of ambient light in the room and adjusts the picture accordingly, when using the Auto mode.  All considered, a typical control panel with the addition of the light sensor.

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HC3500 Inputs and Connectors

The Home Cinema 3500 is rather well equipped with inputs, etc.

Of course you can see the grills for the two 10 watt speakers on either side of the connectors.

Starting from the left top are a pair of HDMI inputs. HDMI 1 supports MHL.  Moving down, on the far left is a 12 volt screen trigger suitable for controlling a motorized screen or some other devices.  To the right of the trigger is an HD15 connector for an analog computer input (labeled PC), and right below it, an RS232 serial port for "old school" command and control.

Moving further to the right you'll find a yellow RCA jack for composite video and below it, a pair of RCA jacks (red and white) for the matching stereo audio.  Next up (to the right and above) are three more RCA jacks, this time color coded red, green, and blue.  Those are the component video.

Up next to the right is a small USB-mini jack which is the Service port.  I used a similar connection recently on the HC5030UB to upgrade the projector's firmware.  Next to it, is a USB Type A.

Just below is a stereo audio output (handy for "exporting" audio to an external stereo or surround sound system).   Note that if using MHL, (or HDMI), audio comes over as well as video.  If you are watching a movie, let's say, on Netflix, coming in on a Roku stick, and wanted bigger sound than the projector has, use the Audio out.

Every time I look at the functionality of an Audio out on home projectors I have the same old complaint.  Plugging in a cable to run to your audio system turns off the internal speakers.  Bummer, because if they could keep playing, then one could just plug in a small powered subwoofer to massively enhance the bass when watching movies, sports, etc.

That leaves only the Kensington security lock slot, the rear IR sensor for the remote control, and, of course, the main power receptacle.

Home Cinema 3500 Lens Throw and Lens Shift

Placement Distance for a 100" Diagonal 16:9 Screen
Closest 9 feet, 10 inches
Furthest 16 feet, 0 inches

Distance is measured from front of the lens to the screen.

From these numbers you can figure out the distances from whatever sized screen you choose.  If your screen is 20% larger, then these distances would be 20% greater, etc.

Lens Shift will give you vertical, and horizontal placement flexibility.   We focus on vertical which is far more important for most.

The Epson offers 60% vertical shift range and 24% horizontal.

For the vertical that translates this way.  For a 100" screen the approximate height of the screen is 50 inches (actually a fraction less).  The 60% shift therefore works out to 30 inches.  That's measured from the center of the screen, so the projector can be as high as 5 inches above the top of the screen 30 inches above the center point, and 25 inches of screen above the center point:  60% * 50 = 30"   30-25 = 5 inches above, or below.  Thus the projector can be placed with the center of its lens anywhere between 5 inches above the top of the screen surface to 5 inches below the bottom.

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