Projector Reviews

Best in Class – Under $1000 Performance Home Entertainment: Epson Home Cinema 1060

Epson Home Cinema 1060

When the Home Cinema 1060 was launched this past year, it was just a minor upgrade to the HC1040 it replaced. It claims 100 more lumens (3,100 – color and white lumens), and some other minor improvements, but is mostly the same projector, which is fine.

The HC1060 is a very affordable “light cannon.” While many under $1000 projectors for the home are claiming around 3,000 lumens these days, most are DLPs with low color lumens, and that normally translates to their best modes being about 50% less bright than claimed, in terms of color. This Epson, though, produces some rather impressively good color at 2,300 lumens, not 1,500 or less.

And that translates into being able to cut through a good deal more ambient light and still have an image with vibrant colors.

Epson Home Cinema 1060 Overview

The HC1060 is a “crossover” projector. It has a business/education equivalent in Epson’s line-up that differs only slightly. No surprise, therefore, that the HC1060 lacks the CFI – Creative Frame Interpolation – for smooth motion, which I like for sports viewing, but not movies. It also lacks lens shift. Both of those capabilities are on the slightly less powerful, but more “home theater” Epson HC2100 and HC2150. The HC1060 has a 1.2:1 zoom (vs the HC2100/2150’s wider 1.6:1), on the other hand, it has stellar lamp life, rated 5,000 hours at full power!

Let’s not forget, because this is a “crossover” projector, that also means this really is a suitable projector for business and education. That translates into an excellent projector choice for someone looking for a good home entertainment projector, that can double for occasional presentations!

Under $1000 Best in Class Best Performance Home Entertainment Epson Home Cinema 1060

Another “proof” that the HC1060 comes from a commercial upbringing is its native resolution, which is 1920×1200 – the business/education aspect ratio of 16:10, rather than using Epson’s 1920×1080 chips (16:9) the standard for HDTV. The difference means a very small amount of letter boxing at the top and bottom.

When it comes to color, like the HC2100/HC2150, the out of the box color in all but the brightest mode (Dynamic) is better than most of the competition. While the HC2100/2150 took the Home Theater Best Value, the HC1060 picks up the Home Entertainment Best Performance Award. It lacks those extra features, although it still sports a dynamic iris. It comes with the same 2 year parts and labor warranty with rapid replacement program for both years!

I should note that while most projectors have a very greenish brightest mode, this HC1060 has the same tendency, but much less so than most.  Their Dynamic mode may not be ideal, but it is far more watchable, better color than most others.

The Epson HC1060 picked up our Best In Class Performance Home Entertainment Award!

On the downside, the HC1060 has a relatively small speaker – 2 watts, for audio, some home entertainment models may sport up to 10 watt systems, even a bit more, so if you are dragging this outside for movie night, it’s got a bit less volume and bass than a lot of others, not that any have really impressive bass, or are even close to having it.

It would have been better, therefore to have an audio output to feed sound to a powered “boombox” etc. for bigger sound. Some of today’s models will even wirelessly talk to Bluetooth speaker systems.

Gamers – definitely “good enough.” This is another Epson with input lag around 50ms.  But the HC2100 and HC2150 are faster, down at 29ms. For other comparisons, the BenQ HT3050 lag is 33ms.

If you have a respectable stereo or sound system in the room you are primarily using, then don’t sweat it. You’ll be listening to sound primarily through those bigger, better speakers. The only exception is when using MHL from say a streaming stick. Then you have no easy way to output the sound to that sound system. There are workarounds, of course, but I thought that worth knowing.

The Epson HC1060: What Makes It a Low-Cost Performance Projector

Bottom line: Extremely bright with very good color – the 3,000 lumen and under DLPs are no match at all in that regard. The projector is solid, Epson’s have almost certainly the best reputation for reliability, and a great warranty.

The Home Cinema 1060 and its siblings (the other two are lower resolution so not considered in this report), are available to solve a problem. That problem is having a lot of ambient light. Pair this Epson with a proper light rejecting (a side light absorbing) – ALR screen – and you can tackle some rooms that are impressively unsuitable for a real home theater projector.

Nothing we’ve reviewed under $1K can match the HC1060 when it comes to having a respectable picture while suffering too much ambient light.  All hail Bright Room Home Entertainment projectors – no need to settle for a small 71” LCD TV with well less than half of the area of a 110 inch screen.