The just announced Home Cinema 2040 and Home Cinema 2045 offer major feature and performance upgrades compared to the older 2000 series projectors. That combined with aggressive pricing makes for a really improved value proposition.
Home Cinema 2040 3LCD Home Entertainment Projector with 2200 color and white lumens.
The base Home Cinema 2040 has an official "street price" of $799 while the HC2045 comes in $50 higher at $849. They will be sold by
a a small group of key e-tailers, as well as through retailers. In addition to these two full HD 1080p projectors, Epson simultaneously announced a new 720 HD projector, the Home Cinema 740 which will be covered in a different blog.
Let's see what these two new low cost 1080p projectors bring to the party:
With 2200 color and white lumens, these are very bright projectors designed to be able to work where there's some ambient light.
Consider: it only takes about 400 lumens to fill a 100" screen, in a fully darkened room. These Epson projectors have over five times that brightness.
This is Epson's announcement info. The projectors will ship later in August. Epson does not yet have review units. Soon! They tell me.
Contrast numbers are significantly improved to 35,000:1 which should indicate visible superior black levels compared to the older HC2000 and HC2030. That's good news especially for movie viewing.
These Epsons have a modest amount of zoom range - 1.22:1, and flexible keystone correction.
One of the major areas of improvement has been the addition of MHL - on one of the HDMI inputs. Simply stated that means you can just plug in a Roku or other streaming stick, or an Apple TV. That's your alternative to cable or satellite - bringing in your content from the internet. There's a five watt speaker built in to handle the sound, or output to your home stereo or boombox.
MHL is now found on many, perhaps most of the lower cost projectors (under $2000).
Shown is a Home Cinema 2045. There are no visible differences between the two, except the model number. The addition of Miracast on the HC2045 is all internal.
A key difference between the Home Cinema 2045 and the 2040 is the 2045's built in Miracast and Intel WIDI, which means it can wirelessly show what's on the display of Miracast equipped laptops, desktops and android devices.
Wireless can be very handy. Especially if you plan to be mobile with your new projector! Between streaming sticks and Miracast the Home Cinema 2045 gives you tremendous mobility, all you need is an internet connection, or some content on your device, and you are in business!
Let's take a look at the back of the HC2045.
There's a USB for easily bringing in photos and using the built in player. The PC input can double as a component video. There's a composite video and a pair of RCA audio inputs.
There are two HDMI, which are likely what you'll be using. HDMI 1 is the one with MHL support. There's a stereo audio out if you have bigger sound than the internal speaker.
3D and New Features Including Detail Enhancement
These Home Cinema projectors, like virtually all projectors these days, are 3D capable. With these two Epson projectors, all you need to do is get some 3D glasses, which these days under $20 a pair. I'm a big fan of 3D at home. It's a blast. Epson's own 3D glasses are reasonably light and can charge up enough (from empty) in 3 minutes to make it through an entire movie.
Epson's Detail Enhancement is an advanced feature that does a very nice job. Until now Epson has offered it only on more expensive projectors such as their $2300 Home Cinema 5030UB, one of our all time favorites.
This top down view of the Home Cinema 2045 shows indicators for Wifi and display Mirroring
Although not exciting, here's the warranty info. There's a two year parts and labor warranty. In addition there's a 2 business day replacement program, where Epson will simply replace your projector for a warranty issue during those first two years.
Economically speaking, these Epsons have long life bulbs. Epson claims 4000 hours at full power and 7000 in Eco mode. That's better than most and drastically better than some.
Consider these Epsons as starter home theater projectors. More typically these are for those of us using a family or living room (or spare bedroom...) preferably projecting onto a screen but a wall, in a pinch. It's small and light enough, so grab a proper extension cord for backyard family viewing.
Pair these projectors with a 90 or 100 or even a 120 inch diagonal screen and enjoy being fully immersed, instead of watching on some "tiny" $1500 70 inch LCDTV.
I'm looking forward to reviewing one of these.