Epson Home Cinema 2030 LCD 3D Projector Review


Setup of the Epson Home Cinema 2030 LCD 3D Projector

I placed the HC2030 right-side-up on a small stand just in front of my seating. This allowed me to easily fill a 92-inch diagonal screen with an extremely bright image. Video was fed via HDMI from an Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player. I also played with the Roku stick Epson included with my press sample.

I placed the projector level to avoid keystone correction. Epson has a neat sensor that will automatically adjust keystone when the projector is not level. I can understand the necessity for this in a projector like this but if you can avoid using it, you'll be able to maximize image quality. Any sort of keystone correction will reduce vertical resolution and introduce softness.

The menu system is laid out just like every other Epson projector I've ever worked with so it was instantly familiar, just missing a few things. I went right to the Cinema and Natural picture modes for my evaluation since they've traditionally been the most accurate. Other modes are labeled Living Room and Dynamic and take licenses with color to help the 2030 compete with ambient lighting. Use them as a matter of personal preference but if you're looking for the best image to watch in the dark, go with Natural or Cinema. The difference between the two is subtle but I'll explain it more in the Benchmark section.

Epson provides every calibration control from their more expensive models except gamma correction. I found this an odd omission. The vast majority of people purchasing a $900 projector aren't going to touch the color management system, but a couple of gamma presets would be an easy way to improve image quality especially given the low contrast inherent in this model. Speaking of contrast, you will absolutely, positively want to use the auto iris. Not only does it visibly improve black levels, it does so with no penalty to gamma, which is a nice surprise. The last control in the Image menu is Power Consumption (translation – lamp power). On ECO, the bulb is rated for 6000 hours and I got over 30 footLamberts peak. On Normal (5000 hours lamp life rating), you can pump over 43 fL of light from the 2030. Now that's a lot of light from a 200-watt bulb! Oh and before I forget, go into the Advanced sub-menu and turn Epson SuperWhite On. This improves gamma a bit and extends the signal range to show all above-white information.

Here are the highlights from the other menus. In Signal, you can set a few options for 3D like depth and brightness. Depth works when converting 2D images to 3D. Use this one to taste. Brightness will do just as it says but at the penalty of increasing crosstalk. The HC2030 is bright enough in 3D without this. Here also are options to tweak computer-generated images. Lastly is Image Processing, Fine or Fast. Use Fine for most content but if you're playing games, input lag is reduced significantly with the Fast option.

In Settings, you can adjust the keystone correction manually if the automatic function doesn't work to your liking. Again, try to avoid using this if possible. HDMI CEC is supported here if you want to control your source from the 2030's remote.

The last thing I did before calibrating was to pair the 3D glasses. Epson included them with my press sample but you'll have to buy them for $99 separately. Operation is via RF so you don't need line-of-sight with the HC2030. They charge via USB. To pair them, send a 3D signal to the projector and turn the glasses on. Within a few seconds they're recognized with an on-screen message that indicates success and tell you the remaining battery power. In my tests, they fired up without fail every time. They're light and comfortable and easy to wear for long periods. I had no trouble getting through Avatar without a break. Go to Page 4: In Use