Eco Mode, Lens Position
Considering this projector does over 3500 lumens in even it's least brightest mode, you may actually find too much brightness for viewing if the room is very dark, and your screen size around 110" or smaller.
The good news is that you can take advantage of Eco mode. Not only will it save you a bit on your electric bill, but it will significantly reduce audible fan noise, but by lowering brightness significantly, you should find the HC1440 bright, but not too bright for movie viewing in that fully darkened room.
Eco mode drops brightness from 4722 to 3424 - about 28%. (Most projectors drop brightness 25-35% in their respective Eco modes.)
Expect that same percentage drop will apply no matter which mode you are considering.
That would put Cinema mode a bit under 2700 lumens, very bright for a fully darkened room on a typical screen. That will still generate more ft-lamberts (a measure of brightness) than recommended by the SMPTE (the movie theater engineers), but fine with just a minimal amount of ambient light. Just the fact that your non-theater room likely has near white walls and other surfaces, provides a certain level of reflected "ambient" light.
I think you'll find Eco + Cinema mode to be workable in your living room or family room with lights off, for best movie viewing.
Auto Mode: is the alternative to full power or Eco. It makes use of the light sensor on the top of the HC1440. In a dark room, Auto will measure the same as Eco mode. In a bright room it should measure about the same as full power.
Bottom Line: This is a great projector if you need brightness. It is, by its nature, stronger for HDTV and sports the movie viewing, but thanks to excellent color, it's pretty darn good no matter what you feed it. You can find, buy, better dedicated home theater projectors around its price or a little more, for general purpose viewing in less than ideal rooms, it's going to be hard to beat for its price.
Lens Position - It's affect on brightness
Interestingly, the 1.6:1 zoom drops brightness very slightly - less than 2% going from full wide angle (closest placement to the screen) compared to mid-point on the zoom.
Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode):
Zoom out: 4757
Zoom in: 4385
There's a bigger drop but still a modest one, going to full telephoto - placing the projector at the furthest distance to your screen. In that case the drop is more pronounced - a drop of almost from wide angle to telephoto, still only an 8% drop.
Home Cinema 1440 Sharpness
Check out the images above for an indication of the overall sharpness of the Home Cinema 1440 projector. Remember, though, that even the expanded image is only 1000 pixels wide, barely half as wide as the actual frame, so we're not capturing the full sharpness here. (Note, HDTV images won't look as sharp as menus or 1080p movie images from Blu-ray, because HDTV is captured as 1080i.)
Sharpness is at the default setting. Unlike some other Epson projectors in the $1000 - $2500 price range, this one doesn't have Epson's Super-Resolution "detail enhancement" functionality. Still, it comes across as very nicely sharp.
Those images that are from HDTV are 1080i content. When paused to shoot the image, DirecTV shows only one interlaced frame, so you are really seeing 1920x540, not true 1920x1080. (This has always been the case in all reviews.)
Bottom line on the HC1440 sharpness. While there's no fancy "detail enhancement" or panel alignment features, the projector does a very good job for a 3 panel design. Pixel alignment of the projector, right out of the box was very good, with only a slight misconvergence of red horizontally visible at about 3 feet from the screen, and definitely not visible from anything resembling normal viewing distances.
Image processing on the Home Cinema 1440 is primarily provided by Faroudja, one of the best known 3rd party image processing companies.
Overall, the image processing is very good, mosquito noise is minimal (noticeably less than the average DLP competitor). The Epson easily passed my motion artifact test (one that stumps even far more expensive Sony projectors) which is the slow panning near the beginning of the movie Red. The projector also passed the tests on my Silicon Optix test disc. In this day and age, the technology for image processing is pretty mature, as a result we rarely have issues to report.