Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 4000 Home Theater Projector Review

With an official list price of only $2199, and a $1999 street price, the Epson Home Cinema 4000 projector accepts 4K content, including HDR and support for BT.2020.  That makes it tie for the lowest cost 4K capable projector currently shipping.  The Epson HC4000 is a native 1080p pixel shifting projector that’s 4K capable. The least expensive true 4K projector is “merely” $7995, or about 4X the price!  There will be more specific talk regarding the competition later in the review.

A couple of things to note, as I start writing up the HC4000 review.  This projector has siblings, three of them.  One of them, is, to the best of my knowledge, the best selling over $2000 home theater projector, and likely by a huge margin.  That would be Epson’s 5040UB (I have one of those hanging from my theater ceiling).

The HC4000 is Epson’s way of reaching folks with lesser budgets, who will settle for just a little less performance. The 5040UB sells for $500 more.

Epson Home Cinema 4000 Overview

For some folks, in their particular rooms if there’s some ambient light present, there will be little noticeable difference between this new HC4000 and the HC5040UB, but in a dedicated, fully darkened theater, there will be.  That’s because there are fundamentally only four differences between the Home Cinema 4000 and the Home Cinema 5040UB:

  • The model number
  • The price
  • The three 3LCD panels (the HC4000’s are lower native contrast)
  • The black level performance – which isn’t has good as the UB, due to the lower native contrast panels.

Which means, other than taking my usual tons of photos of how the projector performs on screen, this is a pretty easy review to write.

Because of the lower contrast, and good, but less impressive black levels, despite not being brighter than the UB, the HC4000, Epson treats it more like a “bright room” projector (to use my term), or rather, a projector fine for media rooms and other rooms with at least good control of lighting. But don’t get me wrong, it still performs well in my dedicated theater on dark scenes in movies, just not quite as well as the 5040UB.

But I said there were two other siblings:  One is the Epson Pro Cinema 6040UB (comes in black, not white, and comes bundled with spare lamp, capable cover, and ceiling mount), and the Pro Cinema 4040 which we did a short review of some months ago.  The PC4040 and the HC4000 are also virtually identical – the Pro Cinema though, has a black, not white, case, and it comes bundled with the usual Pro Cinema extras, but costs more.

This review will be short like the PC4040 – and will also focus more on handling of 4K content with HDR and expanded color space, since we, like most, have been on a steep learning curve, trying to get the most out of HDR and BT.2020.  For a more comprehensive review, check out our review of the Home Cinema 4000’s sibling, the Home Cinema 5040UB here.

Home Cinema 4000 Projector Overview

I mentioned at the start – this is one feature laden projector.  It starts off with great placement flexibility thanks to a 2.1:1 zoom lens, and lots of lens shift.

That lens is fully motorized, including lens shift, allowing the Epson to have Lens Memory, letting those of us who prefer, to go with a much wide (Cinemascope shaped) screen, than the usual 16:9 screen that is the same shape as HDTV images.

Great placement and screen shape flexibility is a start, but the highlight feature, as noted, is the support for 4K content with HDR and BT.2020!  With that content, and in part thanks to pixel shifting, the HC4000  delivers a sharper image, with more intense colors, and with more pop, more “wow” factor, than we’ve been used to this past decade or so, with 1080 content, and less advanced color handling.

Let’s not forget 3D and Picture in Picture.  Also, the HC4000 is end user upgradeable should the need – new firmware updates – become available.  Upgrading is rather straightforward.

The warranty is pretty excellent – 2 years parts and labor, but with a rapid replacement program for both years!  (Extended warranties area available, and include the rapid replacement program as well – nice.)

There’s tons of advanced processing besides the 4K content handling.  That includes a lot of detail and sharpness processing, processing to support the dynamic iris, and high dynamic range.

Highlights of the HC4000

Here’s a more complete list of features, many already mentioned above:

  • 4K Content handling including HDR and BT.2020 support
  • 2.1:1 motorized zoom with Lens Memory
  • Multiple picture modes
  • Pixel shifting for enhanced detail
  • Five Image Enhancement modes
  • Detail enhancement settings
  • CFI (smooth motion)
  • Wired networking
  • Full set of color controls allowing accurate calibration
  • 3500 hour lamp life at full power (up to 5000 hrs. in Eco mode
  • 3 power modes:  Normal, Medium, and Eco
  • 2 year warranty with rapid replacement program both years
  • Extended warranties available from Epson