Winner: Best in Class – Bright Room: Epson Home Cinema 1040

Projectors like this Epson Home Cinema 1040 are moving out of dedicated home theaters, caves, and dark basements and into the light!  For this to be possible projectors have had to get a lot brighter.   10 years ago the typical home theater projector produced 700-1000 lumens.  Since then projectors got brighter to compensate for 3D dimming the projector by about 2/3.  Here we have 3000 lumens. (and no 3D).  Folks, that’s a world of difference.  This means that for many, a projector like the HC1040 lets you have a 100 inch or even 120″ diagonal screen for those incredible football games, olympics,  award shows, Blacklist, Game of Thrones, etc., whatever turns you on.  With special screens designed for bright rooms, combined with this projector you can still spend less than $2000, so why settle for some tiny 65″ or 71″ screen.

The Home Cinema 1040 serves up 3000 lumens, really good color, and more, for under $800
The Home Cinema 1040 serves up 3000 lumens, really good color, and more, for under $800

The HC1040 is definitely a cross-over projector – it will easily double as a business projector for your next presentation to 50 or 100 people, but that’s not why it won this award.

I would have liked to see a bit more on home theater/home entertainment features, so I consider this a basic 1080p projector in that regard (Epson has more expensive “bright room projectors” with additional features, at a variety of price points.)

There aren’t a whole lot of frills with the HC1040, this is a “light warrior” prepared to battle ambient light.  True, it does have a dynamic iris to help out with black levels, but like really all sub-$1000 projectors, black levels are still definitely “entry level.”

Most noticeably missing, as noted is 3D.  Now I’m a fan, but I realize most folks don’t have 3D on their list, so that probably won’t cost the Home Cinema 1040 many sales.  Still, if 3D is your thing, consider the not quite as bright Home Cinema 2040 which took the Best Value award in the under $1000 “class”, but is still pretty bright.  Because of the HC2040’s feature set it is the better selling of these two competing models (same price), but the HC1040 does have the extra lumens for those brighter rooms or just more intentional ambient light.

Warranty is great for the price.  2 years with 2 years of rapid replacement service. Most near the price have a 1 year parts/labor warranty, although Viewsonic has a 3 year warranty.

Hardware wise, there’s a manual zoom lens with a typical amount (1.2:1) of zoom for the price, lots of keystone correction, for respectable placement flexibility.  Did I mention that at 5.7 pounds it’s “backpack” portable, in a pinch.  There’s a pretty decent built-in speaker and an audio out.  Of course, a separate sound system is always better.

Is this Epson HC1040 for you?

I seem to recommend this projector to a lot of folks who aren’t mounting it, but taking it out when using, as well as more permanent setups.  Some of those folks are projecting onto walls, not screens.  This is a brute force projector designed to give you a “huge” image with great color.  Not a whole lot of frills (few in fact), but the first time you fire up 100+ inches you’ll immediately remember why you like this projector.  Bright, powerful imagery, with really good skin tones and color in general, “right out of the box.”

If you aren’t an aficionado, just want big and beautiful, and also easy, and no hassle, this is a great first projector!

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