Posted on December 6, 2018 By Art Feierman
The new Epson 4K Home Cinema 4010 and Pro Cinema 4050 projectors represent another small step in the evolution of 4K capable, pixel shifting projectors. More bang, less bucks! They offer an improvement over the previous generation of Epson’s projectors that could also handle 4K content including HDR and expanded color!
The HC4010 and PC4050 have a sharpness advantage compared to the older, higher end HC 5040UB/PC 6040UB and HC4000/PC4040 home theater projectors thanks to improved pixel shifting. There are other improvements, but the more expensive, and physically identical looking “UB” series still has some advantages, and we expect (it’s just logical) that in the upcoming months, replacements for the Epson 5040UB and 6040UB will appear as Epson wishes to have their higher end models incorporate the same improvements found in the HC4010 and PC4050, while maintaining the other advantages.
Editor’s note: This projector review has just published: We will be adding to it (performance page, more images, some additional commentary) over the first week the review is published.
Epson calls these new projectors PRO-UHD (just what we need, another trademarked – resolution oriented name to help keep us confused, but folks, that’s marketing), and they offer a wider color gamut that can reach very close to the full 100% of the P3/BT.2020 color range (sometimes called DCI-P3 – the term for the movie theater standards). Now that’s a claim that’s been echoed by several others since CEDIA 2018, but as yet has not been delivered upon – we’ll see if the HC4010/PC4050 can actually pull it off! Most under $3000 projectors don’t even come remotely close to P3 color, many can barely do great on the older REC709 standard (Hint: These Epsons come very, very close to P3!!! – art)
Epson’s new Home Cinema 4010/Pro Cinema 4050 are bright, 4K Capable – 2,500 lumen – and fully featured projectors. The two projectors are identical, but for the color of the case. The Pro 4050 – aka the PC4050, is all black. The Home Cinema 4010 – aka HC4010, comes in a white case. These two projectors are sold through different dealer channels, with the HC4010 easily found online, as well as big box houses. The PC4050 by comparison might make it into some big box houses (Best Buy’s in-store Magnolia showrooms, for example) but are primarily available through a large network of trained, local installing dealers.
The Pro Cinema 4050’s list price is $2,399 (including extras), while the Home Cinema 4010’s is only $1,999. Why the difference? It’s a marketing thing. The Pro Cinema series of projectors come with a high quality ceiling mount, one spare lamp, and a cable cover. The HC4010’s warranty is Epson’s standard two year warranty with two years of rapid replacement program. The PC4050 takes the HC4010’s warranty and upgrades it, making it three years of warranty with three years of their rapid replacement program. The Pro Cinema 4050’s warranty package is by far the best of any warranty for a projector below $2,500 available today!
For those of you familiar with Epson’s popular UB, or Ultra Black, Series, these are one step down. Essentially, they have all the same features but utilize the new 4K PRO-UHD processing chip, which offers improved pixel shifting, but less native contrast, and therefor isn’t quite as good as the HC5040UB and PC6040UB when it comes to the darkest scenes. These two projectors, the HC4010 and PC4050, are the replacements for Epson’s previous HC4000 and PC4040 models. The differences are evolutionary, providing so definite improvements, but nothing drastic.
I took the time to play with the projector (they sent me a Home Cinema 4010, not the Pro Cinema version) for a few days – completely uncalibrated, before shipping it to Eric to calibrate. It should come as no surprise there were several modes that provided some really fine looking color, and overall picture quality, without any adjustments at all. Okay, I did lower brightness from 50 to 49 on a 1-100 scale to get the black levels optimized, but that adjustment was just something that was easy to eyeball.
Interestingly, with the shipping of new models, these two are now a bit more advanced than the existing, now two year old, HC5040UB and PC6040UB projectors. I mention that because logic would indicate the Epson would need to upgrade their higher end models with improvements. If you are reading this in 2019, my guess is that Epson will have already replaced their older UB models.
Let’s take a quick look at these new Epson’s most important highlights, features and benefits. Then, we’ll get into all the details: Special Features, Hardware, Picture Quality and Performance, before wrapping it up with a Summary page, where we will discuss these projector’s competitors. Let’s get started!
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