Projector Reviews

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1440 Projector Review

The Home Cinema 1440 – An Impressive Brute Force Solution for Living Room Projection

Typically the under $2000 range for home projectors has consisted of two classes of projectors, the entry level of the home theater class – projectors optimized for best possible picture, but primarily geared to be used in fully darkened rooms for movie viewing, but with enough brightness to tackle some sports and other HDTV with some ambient light present. That’s not the Home Cinema 1440!

Then there are traditional HE – home entertainment projectors.  They are a somewhat brighter, typically even lower cost, but able to tackle more ambient light, but image processing remains very basic, no match in picture for the Home Theater projectors.

The Home Cinema 1440 projector is mostly “home entertainment” but what it has going for it is some rather dazzling brightness, I mean the kind typically found in a small auditorium, or large training room, not, until now – in the home.  In this case 4400 lumens maximum both color and white lumens (with a pretty impressive picture).  That is a rather incredible amount of brightness for the price.

I’m going to invest a few paragraphs here, to position this projector because Epson makes so many models.

In Epson’s Home Cinema line-up, the HC1440 is the top of the line of these exceptionally bright new projector models.  We’ll be reviewing in January/February time frame, the step down HC1040, which is a $900 projector by comparison, but still very bright, if not quite as bright.

The thing readers need to understand about Epson’s projector strategy/line-up, is that for the most part, Epson seems to want to offer us one of everything.  Epson already sells far more different projector models than anyone else, one reason why they have over 40% of the North American market share despite more than 20 major competing manufacturers such as NEC, InFocus, Panasonic, Sony, Optoma, Viewsonic…   Not satisfied with entry level projectors on the home entertainment side, and serious ones on the home theater side, Epson is making a big push into the concept of selling projectors to people to use in rooms they would otherwise put in LCDTVs, because there haven’t previously been projector suitable solutions.

Can’t blame Epson.  Big is better, but most people have not had the option – until now, to put a projector in their favorite family or media room, due to lighting conditions.  And we’re still talking one of the major advantages of projectors – huge image sizes.  Why settle for a “tiny” 70 inch LCDTV in your favorite room when you can enjoy 100, 110, 120… inch diagonal projection?

Home Cinema 1440 Projector Overview

In fairness the Home Cinema 1440 is only part of the solution. Today there’s a new breed of screens to make these projectors better performers around ambient light.  Those are often referred to as light absorbing screens.

But back to how the Home Cinema 1440 fits into the overall Epson projector lineup for the home.  Consider Projectors between Epson $800 and just over $2000:

  • Home Cinema 2040 and 2045 – two variations – under $1000, classic home entertainment projectors with good brightness
  • Home Cinema 3000 series (three models) – not near as bright as the 1440, but two of those have a couple of “home theater” features
  • Pro Cinema 4030, Home Cinema 5030UB.  These are two of Epson’s “ultra-black” class of projectors – with excellent black levels, making them designed primarily for a dedicated home theater or cave but with a couple of fairly bright modes for tackling more than minimal ambient light
  • Home Cinema 1040 and 1440:  These are “brute force” projectors, lots of color and white lumens, when matched to the right screen, capable of competing against LCDTVs in brighter rooms.  Just remember – while a turned off 70″ LCDTV is a big grey-black, unattractive “hole” in your wall, these projectors paired with a motorized (or pull down) screen are far less intrusive when not in use, and provide a far larger image when in use!  These Epsons are more likely to pass the “spouse test,” when it comes to room esthetics.

I was thinking of how to describe this projector when “brute force” popped into my head.  I think it’s a good description.  Just don’t assume that because of the Epson’s “brute force” abilities, that the 1440 isn’t capable of some serious picture quality.

The point of “positioning” the projector in the line-up is that its up to you to decide what features/benefits, you need in a projector for your environment and tastes.  The HC1440 may well be perfect for you, but there’s a good chance that one of the other dozen plus Epson home models that sell +/- $1000 of this projector, might be a better alternative.  It’s great having choices.

OK, let’s start with an overview of the Home Cinema 1440 – touching on the hardware, features, etc., then we’ll get into the details.

Epson’s Home Cinema 1440 is a hybrid.  Where better to look in creating a super bright projector for home, then to business projectors designed for handling bright rooms and large screens.  There’s no question when you familiarize yourself with the capabilities of the HC1440, that you won’t see the resemblance and some features found in commercial projectors.  In this day and age, it’s really only projectors designed for dedicated home theaters and viewing in full darkness, that you find projectors created from the ground up for home use.

What the 1440 has of interest for home use, (besides lots of lumens) include a dynamic iris for improving black levels (to be discussed on the Picture Quality pages), a full set of controls allowing for a full calibration, gamma adjustment, etc., (calibration not really needed, thanks to very good color “right out of the box.”)

One key feature is that one of the two HDMI inputs supports MHL – the “mobile” HDMI, which allows for working with today’s streaming sticks like Roku, ChromeCast, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, etc.

As an extra bonus, there’s a split screen feature allowing for two same size or two different sized images side by side (more in Special Features).

There’s also a host of “ECO” features, some of which we’ll describe later.

You’ll also find some commercial features though – hard wired networking, and scheduling to be specific.

That’s fine, but we’re going to concentrate on how this projector performs in the home, although, know, that if needed, you could pick up this 10 pound projector, haul it to your local hotel, and use it to present to a few hundred people in a hotel ballroom.  It’s that capable!

Let’s look at the highlights:

Home Cinema 1440 Highlights

  • 4400 maximum lumens almost 4000 with great color
  • Extensive placement flexibility thanks to 1.6:1 zoom lens and lots of keystone correction (or corner correction)
  • Extremely easy setup thanks to Quick Corner, Focus Help, more
  • Handles 1080p natively (actual resolution slightly higher – 1920×1200)
  • 2 year warranty with 2 years of rapid replacement program!
  • Up to 4000 hours lamp life (a lot for a high brightness projector) and 3000 hours at full power
  • ECO modes and very good energy efficiency
  • 2 HDMI – one with MHL
  • USB (2) and two computer inputs
  • Big sound from small projector – a 16 watt speaker system