Projector Reviews

Epson Pro Cinema 6050UB 4K Capable Home Theater Projector Review- Picture Quality 2

Epson Pro Cinema 6050UB 4K Capable Home Theater Projector Review– Picture Quality 2: 1080p Movies and 4K without HDR, HDTV and Sports, Overall Picture Quality, The Bottom Line on Picture Quality

1080p movies & 4K without HDR

I shot all the 1080p movie scenes with the HC5050UB, (I only shot 4K with the Pro Cinema 6050UB.)  The content from these 1080p movies and 4K TV show do not hve HDR, nor P3 color.  We used Eric’s calibrated Natural mode for all of these photos.  From a color standpoint, Eric’s work only improved the picture colors slightly. The biggest difference between Eric’s calibration and the original unadjusted mode, is that after his calibration, the images werer a little cooler – lower color temp. The changes in color, between “before and after” are, at most, slight. Whether looking at skin tones (Blacklist, Bond), or outdoor images (more Bond), or other general content, the Home Cinema 5050UB, and therefore (would be true of the Pro Cinema 6050UB too), is really excellent, post calibration.  If not for a couple of Sony projectors, I’d have to say that the Epson’s color is as good as we see.  Certainly – “close enough” to please almost everyone but some of us hard core fanatics, even without calibration. BTW BenQ is another company that does a very good job, “right out of the box.”

As a result, our calibration settings will be less useful here (for non-HDR content) than with most projectors.  Lamp variations (quality control) and aging of a lamp, are likely to cause as much shifting as the difference between default, and Eric’s calibrated settings. Still, try ours out.  If you like them better, go for it. Overall, this Epson’s tendencies are well balanced, but a little cool, with Natural being the closest to D65 before calibration.  Even Digital Cinema with its filter is on the cool side.  On the other hand, Digital Cinema calibrated almost perfectly, with only a 200 degree difference from 10 IRE to 100!  Wow!

BTW the differences between pre-calibration and post-calibration for our Best 4K with HDR/P3 mode, are greater since Natural starts out about 500 degrees warmer than Digital Cinema. Also, for those not calibrating, for best color temp, the easiest thing to do is to go into Digital Cinema – Color Temp and adjust downward one setting (down one might be too much for Natural mode).  But the right way to do it, is to adjust the Color Temp Gain and Bias.  See Eric’s calibration pages for our settings! Overall skin tones in this mode, aren’t as perfect as what we would expect if calibrating Digital Cinema mode instead of Natural, because of the addition of the Cinema filter in Digital Cinema mode (and P3 color).  Let’s just say that the Cinema filter smooths out imperfections of color consistency, but at the cost of brightness, aka lumens.  We had to make a calculated decision which mode to calibrate and thought that running Natural mode at high power lamp gave us maximum brightness, but some will prefer the noticeably quieter Medium lamp setting.

The bottom line on color and picture handling on non-4K HDR content – Just a touch below excellent!  The great black level performance definitely helps the excellent color accuracy.

HDTV and Sports

For general HDTV (where production qualities are typical “TV” not up there with say, sci-fi movies, or high production TV shows like Game of Thrones), we offer you two recommendations. First, for the better of two modes in terms of color accuracy, use the calibrated Natural mode that we also recommend for 1080p movies and 4K content without HDR/P3.

But, for even more pop, and a slightly cooler (more blue in whites, etc, less red) overall color temp, I recommend using Bright Cinema mode.  It starts out a bit cooler – probably averaging a bit over 7000K instead of 6500K.  That looks better on my sports in almost all cases, because, like many, I find 6500K a bit too reddish/yellow, on sports. For example, in the case of the 5050UB, I was using Bright Cinema on High lamp for maximum brightness when I had the four windows’ shutters mostly open in my home theater on any bright day.  While an unadjusted Brilliant color isn’t extremely accurate, it is really well balanced, and always tends to look pretty great!

HC5050UB - Overall Picture Quality

The Pro Cinema 6050UB is markedly different from all the “competition” out there, except, of course when compared to the Home Cinema 5050UB or the two less expensive projectors which share most of the features of the UBs:  I’m talking about the HC4010 and PC4050.  The primary difference compared to the less expensive Epsons is the major improvement in black levels.  Otherwise, the overall picture quality is about equal.  Of course, I’ve already mentioned that the UBs are better 4K game players, than those less expensive models, but that’s not really “overall picture quality” unless you consider 4K HDR 60fps games to fit “overall.”

As to the rest of the competition, at or below its price, the PC6050UB has no real competiton in terms of features.  Only the new BenQ HT5550 (which we reviewed, offers a fair amount of zoom lens range (but no match for the Epsons), and a decent amount of lens shift (again, no match).  But that projector lacks motorized lens features so can’t practically work with the wide “Cinemascope” screens that are very popular among movie fanatics (like me). Still it is a serious competitor with better than most blacks.

Sharpness is part of picture quality, although we usually place our sharpness section into the Performance page, where we have a couple of interesting comparison photos vs a 4K UHD BenQ projector (close-ups).  Check that out – Performance is coming up next.

The Bottom Line on Picture Quality

There are plenty of 4K UHD projectors in the $1500 – $6000 selling price range, which includes some laser projectors like the Viewsonic PX727-4K on the low end, the BenQ HT5550, in the middle range, or the new ultra short throw LG HU85LA laser TV (see review) on the high end.  The LG though has black levels that are not that impressive, compared to this Epson.

Translation:  If you want really good color combined with great black levels, the PC6050UB (and HC5050UB, and the more expensive JVC) so far, are the “only game in town”, with only the BenQ HT5550 a possible challenger in the overall picture,

What impresses me the most, with the new 6050UB (and 5050UB), isn’t the faster gaming (great), nor the overall color – since the 5050UB really isn’t better than earlier UBs at color accuracy, they all calibrate beautifully. The most dramatic improvement is with HDR content.  While the 3rd (and most recent) firmware upgrade to the 5040UB was major, the 6050UB’s HDR looks brighter – and better.

Very bottom line:  No projector is perfect, but when it comes to performance and value, under $3500 (once you subtract the value of the bundled ceiling mount, spare lamp, and cable cover), I can find other projectors with excellent value, but none that can match its overall picture performance of the Pro Cinema 6050UB or the Home Cinema 5050UB.  Again though, thanks to the Pro Cinema 6050UB getting the best of the lenses, etc., it should have a slight clarity advantage over the Home Cinema version.