Projector Reviews

Epson Pro Cinema 1985 W Projector Review

The Pro Cinema 1985 – A True Light Canon of a projector for enjoyable large screen viewing in “Bright Rooms.”  We’re talking living rooms, family rooms, etc, that don’t have good lighting control, or typically have too many windows!

About $2500 list price will get you, for your home, a 4800 lumen Epson Pro Cinema 1985.

Epson apparently loves having too many names for its projectors.  It goes by a number of additional monikers including: Powerlite 1985WU and PC1985, Powerlite Pro Cinema 1985 projector and so on. The  $2499 list price will include a spare lamp (so you should be set for many years), and a ceiling mount.  The value of those two extras makes the cost of this bright projector even more reasonable.

Pro Cinema 1985W Projector Overview

Home projectors has consisted of two classes of projectors. The most recognized would be the home theater class – projectors optimized for best possible picture.  Those are primarily geared to be used in fully darkened rooms for movie viewing, yet have enough brightness to tackle some sports and other HDTV with some – but not a lot – of ambient light present. The Pro Cinema 1985W is not one of those.

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

The Pro Cinema 1985 projector is mostly “home entertainment” but it is far brighter than the lower cost competition.  In fact, it has outstanding – no, make that dazzling brightness.  To be clear, it is so bright that most small auditorium projectors are no brighter! Nor are ones used in the corporate world in large training rooms, and most hotel ballroom presentations to hundreds.  In this case the PC1985 serves up 4800 lumens maximum both color and white lumens (with a pretty impressive picture) in its brightest mode, and around 4000 wall melting lumens when showing off its best picture quality.

Before I go any further:

The Pro Cinema 1985 picks up one of our Special Interest awards, which the lower cost Home Cinema 1440 also won.  

Home Theater, is still the mainstream, high brightness projectors for home are more of a new category, so they don’t yet have the broader appeal that would have earned our Hot Product award.  (And there are a couple of extra features I would have liked to see, but more of that in the review).  Bottom line, in the right type of room, with the right screen, this is one pretty impressive projector.

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

Epson has what I’ll call two series of Bright Room home projectors.  They have their commercial class, built on the same chassis, with many of the same features as their commercial projectors, these start well over $3000 and go up to over double that price.  When I say commercial, they have features that few of us need at home, such as optional interchangeable lenses.  All of those are called Pro Cinema series and are sold by Epson’s authorized local dealer network.  Then there’s the smaller, and far more affordable projectors that we’ve recently reviewed, starting with the sub $600 720p HC740, and two 1080p models, the Home Cinema 1040 and 1440.   The Pro Cinema 1985W is perhaps most similar overall, to that HC1440, but is a little brighter, has more features, and a longer warranty, but is still significantly smaller and less expensive than the “commercial” Pro Cinema G series models, and lacks the interchangeable lenses and some other features.

No this image wasn’t taken with the Pro Cinema 1985, but rather its less bright little brother, the 4400 lumen Home Cinema 1440.


As I have been pointing out for a while, the thing to understand about Epson’s projector strategy/line-up, is that for the most part, Epson seems to want to offer us at least a few of everything.  Epson already sells far more different projector models than anyone else, one reason why they have (most recently per industry analysts PMA), about 44% of the North American projector market despite competing with more than 25 major manufacturers including big names like BenQ, NEC, InFocus, Panasonic, Sony, Optoma, Viewsonic…

Lower cost projectors – typically from $400 to $1500 tend to be home entertainment projectors – brighter, but lower performance in a number of ways.


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 at selling projectors to people to use in brighter rooms where they would normally put in some too small LCDTV.  Finally there are now bright solutions using projectors, and the Pro Cinema 1985 is definitely one of them.

Katniss and Rue from The Hunger Games, picture taken of projection from Epson PC1985 with low levels of ambient light present

All’s fair, after all.  LCD TVs are getting bigger.  OK, they aren’t quite big enough, or affordable enough, to directly compete with projectors. Still, a smaller 75″ LCD TV in the $3000 and under range is priced ok but has only half the surface area of a 100″ screen, but getting closer. Epson and other projector manufacturers realize that in another 4-5 years, we may see affordable 85 and 90 inch sets.  Anything LCD TV around 100″ in size today costs more than a Tesla, so no threat there for a while yet.

Big is better, but most people have not had the option to put a projector in their favorite family or media room, due to lighting conditions.  As I love to say (over and over), why settle for a “tiny” 70 inch LCDTV in your favorite room when you can enjoy 100, 110, 120, 130 inch sizes, which will translate into enjoying the kind of immersion one gets at the local cineplex?

Pro Cinema 1985 Highlights

  • 4800 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)
  • 3 year warranty with 3 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
  • Split Screen
  • Big sound from small projector – a 16 watt speaker system