Epson is bringing you three new home entertainment projectors - or home theater projectors, if you have the right room. They are, as noted above, the Home Cinema 3000, Home Cinema 3500, and the Home Cinema 3600e projectors.
Epson's Home Cinema 3600e is the flagship of the 3000 series. Wireless HD (hdmi), simplifies installation. MSRP: $1999. Other 3000 PJs from $1299.
Where to start? These new Epson projectors are pretty bright, with the base model - the Home Cinema 3000 claiming 2300 lumens and the other two projectors both at 2500 lumens. All three have vertical and horizontal lens shift and 1.6:1 zoom lenses! Think of the line-up this way: The Home Cinema 3000 is the economy model, while
the Home Cinema 3500 and 3600e are the deluxe versions with only one real difference between them. All considered, the three projectors are very similar. Since I mentioned economy and deluxe, let's talk price next, which varies tremendously
Home Cinema 3000: $1299 (no 3D glasses included)
Home Cinema 3500: $1699 (2 pair of RF 3D glasses included)
Home Cinema 3600e: $1999 (2 pair of RF 3D glasses included)
I want to mention now that the difference between the HC3500 and the HC3600e seems to be just one feature: The Home Cinema 3600e has built in wireless networking. That means you only need to get power to the back of the projector, no cable to run to from your satellite/cable box, sound system, etc.
For a sub $2000 projector, the HC3600e is pretty feature laden, including MHL support. All three models can handle MHL, but only the HC3600e has the wireless hdmi!
External wireless hdmi solutions from most companies run from $199 to $399 at this time, so the $300 jump seems reasonable. Also, the WirelessHD device has 5, yes 5 HDMI inputs, and an HDMI out. And an important feature for many is that it also has a digital audio output. That's especially important should you make use of MHL (i.e.. plugging in a Roku stick or other streaming service, etc.), so that you can get the audio coming in through the MHL source, out to external speakers. But wait, you don't really have to!
The HC3500 and HC3600e projectors have a built in speakers - a pair of 10 watt speakers to be more specific. Still, a nice home surround sound system or fancy stereo system will be better, of course. With the Wireless HD, the Home Cinema 3600e has a great that there's a way to get the audio portion of the source coming in from your wifi, out to those external audio options.
Another cool thing is that Epson can do Picture in picture, with two different HDMI sources - and they both work - doing video, at the same time.
Contrast. These projectors have dynamic irises. The Home Cinema 3000 claims 60,000:1 while the two more expensive models do a little better with at 70,000:1. As contrast is a key factor in black level performance, we'll take a close look at how those numbers translate, when we review these projectors.
Home Cinema 3500, note the two dials on top, behind the lens, for lens shift.
These Home Cinema 3xxx series projector are typical "home entertainment" in one regard, which is that they are a little noisier than most home theater projectors - those headed for darker, quieter rooms. In eco mode, which most people should be able to use as their standard unless daylight viewing in far less than ideal rooms, the projectors claim 24 db, which is very good - aka "pretty quiet" at full power, the 35 db spec should be fine for most, certainly while watching sports and TV.
I expect I'll have at least one of these three new Epson projectors in here for review and have it published before the end of October, well in time for your holiday shopping. We'll take a very close look, including how they perform for movies, HDTV and sports, and we'll measure input lag times for gaming enthusiasts. Some other basic info: White and gray finish (obviously, from the photos), 14.9 pounds (try figuring that out from the photos).
And, of course, Epson always touts as a major advantage that their 3LCD designs have over DLP projectors: The same number of color lumens as white lumens, for rich bright colors. There's even a 12 volt screen trigger - after all, projectors more designed for the family room, living room, occasional outdoor use, are more likely to be used with a motorized screen that pulls up out of the way when your not watching the projector.
Finally (for now): Epson provides their usual, (and excellent) 2 year warranty with 2 years of their rapid replacement program. Shipments are next month - October. These three new home entertainment projectors from Epson may not be as sexy as their new top of the line models sporting laser light sources, and other cool features, but they are truly, a fraction of the price. -art