Projector Reviews

Epson Home Cinema 4010/Pro Cinema 4050 4K Capable Home Theater Projector Review – Hardware 1

Epson Home Cinema 4010, Pro Cinema 4050 Projector Review – Hardware 1:  Overview, Inputs and Connectors, Lens

The Epson Home Cinema 4010 (HC4010) and Pro Cinema 4050 (PC4050) are, again, essentially the same projector.  The differences are: the PC4050 has a three year warranty with three years of rapid replacement (which Epson calls Epson Extra Care), while the HC4010 has two of each; The PC4050 comes in an all-black case while the HC4010 comes in an off white case; the PC4050 includes one extra lamp and a good quality ceiling mount while the HC4010 comes with neither; the PC4050 includes a cable cover while the HC4010 does not; and they are available in two different avenues of distribution in that the HC4010 is available online and in retail outlets while the PC4050 is primarily available through local dealers and installers.

In our hardware tour, we’ll start with the front of the projector.  The Epson HC4010/PC4050’s front is where we find the 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens recessed into the case.  A mechanical lens cover automatically opens when powered on, and closes when powered off, to protect the lens from dust and damage.

Facing the projector, the hot air exhaust vent is found on the left side of the lens and the cool room air intake is found on right side of the lens – while they stand out on the white case of the Home Cinema model, they are not as noticeable on the black Pro Cinema model. The front of the unit also houses the IR (infra-red) sensor for the remote control.  The front corners offer a pair of adjustable, screw type feet for better positioning if shelf mounted – but as most of you will likely be favoring a ceiling mount, there are the usual threaded holes for accepting universal ceiling mounting hardware.

The projector’s right side is featureless, while the right side houses a small, mostly concealed control panel.  The rear of the projector is where we find all the inputs and connectors this projector has to offer.  The top is where we find three indicator lights for Status, Lamp and Temperature, as well as an access door for lamp changes.

Inputs and Connectors

The HC4010 and PC4050 (shown here) have two HDMI inputs, USB inputs, command and control, and more.
The HC4010 and PC4050 (shown here) have two HDMI inputs, USB inputs, command and control, and more.

This Home Cinema/Pro Cinema projector is designed for just that – home theater.  As such, there are a fairly limited number of connections but that is to be expected, and not a hindrance in use.  The power connector is located dead-center at the bottom.

The source inputs and connectors are arranged in a single row.  Running left to right, we see an Opt.HDMI (300mA) port, HDMI1 (HDCP 2.2) and HDMI2 (supports the older HDMI 1.4 just in case you have an old “legacy” HDMI device that won’t work with the newer standard.  Next we have a USB-A type port for optional wireless LAN dongle and for firmware upgrades.  To the right is a service port, followed by an RJ-45 wired LAN connection.  Next is a PC port (VGA input), followed by the obligatory, “old school” serial RS-232C port for command and control.

The final port is the 12V Trigger, with a 12V DC max output of 200 mA.  It can be used for controlling a motorized screen (likely), an anamorphic lens sled (unlikely since these Epsons have Lens Memory.  Or it can be used for controlling any other device that will accept 12 volt control.  There’s also a Kensington security slot lock beneath the HDMI ports.

The Lens

Epson Announces New Epson Home Cinema 4010 4K PRO-UHD with HDR

The Epson HC4010/PC4050 features the same 16 glass element, 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens found on the Home Cinema 5040UB, Pro Cinema 6040UB models.  We discussed lens memory on the Special Features page, but we’ll touch on it again here.  Most home theaters run with a 16:9 screen, but some of us (as much as 10%, possibly) have chosen to go the Cinemascope route.

If the HC4010/PC4050 didn’t offer lens memory, the zoom and lens shift would need to be adjusted every time one switches from HDTV to widescreen content, or back. You could theoretically do the adjustments manually if the projector, like these Epsons, have remotes that control  motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift.  (Sony’s VW295ES works with wide screens that way – it has no Lens Memory.) Having Lens Memory simply makes that “one button” operation.

If a projector doesn’t have motorized lens features though, going with a wide screen simply isn’t practical if you have a ceiling mounted projector, or one mounted high on a rear shelf.  The HC4010, it should be noted, seems to be the least expensive current model projector on the market that does offer Lens Memory!

Lens Memory is therefore a huge plus for movie fanatics that want the largest possible size image when watching “Cinemascope” type movies.  The HC4010/PC4050 can save up to 10 different Lens Memory settings, with the first two saved settings being accessible from their own buttons (Lens1 and Lens2) on the remote control!

That gives me one button operation for my two primary aspect ratios.  If I was picky, say, and have different settings for 2.35:1, 2.37:1, and 2.40:1 wide screen aspect ratios, I could set up for all of them, but only two would have one button control, I’d have to go to the Lens Settings menu (a button on the remote) to access the others.

Without Lens Memory (or at least a fully motorized lens), wide screens just aren’t practical..  If you are considering the purchase of one of these projectors, and movies are your main thing, you should definitely consider a wide screen to use with your new Epson.  I’m a wide screen owner myself, and very happy for it.