Projectors

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5010e LCD Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5010e LCD Projector

When the box arrived on my doorstep, I noticed a list of specs down one side. Since I didn't have time to open it up right away, I read the list. I stopped when I got to "Wireless HD. " Say what? Yes, you guessed it; Epson has included cable-free HDMI in a $3300 projector; how cool is that? My current setup has a 30-foot garden-hose thick HDMI cable making the run from the rack up to the projector. The cable works great but I can barely bend it making new projector installations a bit challenging. Setting up the 5010e's connection was simple. I connected the included transmitter, which is about the size of a soda can, with the included HDMI cable, to my surround processor. After turning everything on, I selected WirelessHD on the remote and the picture appeared. There are a few caveats. Range is quoted in the manual as 32 feet. I wasn't able to test this but I had it about 10 feet away and was rewarded with 100 percent signal strength. You don't need strict line-of-site placement but if there are any objects between the transmitter and projector, the signal will be weaker. I also had to reset the transmitter a few times when the connection stopped working. There is a small button for this which you hold down for 10 seconds. The only other issue is changes in refresh rate take longer than with a wired connection.

The glasses are not included in the box, but can be purchased for $99 a pair. The emitter is built in to the projector.

One thing that's always impressed me about Epson is they don't make you buy the flagship model to get full calibration controls. Multi-point gamma, grayscale and CMS adjustments are available even at this low price point. I started by checking out the different modes to choose a starting point. Surprisingly, Cinema measured poorly with an over-saturated color gamut. Natural is the better choice with a nearly perfect CIE chart and excellent out-of-the-box grayscale and gamma. In fact, all I had to do was raise the gamma correction one click, make small adjustments to grayscale and tweak the CMS for blue only. You'll see the results in the benchmark section are quite good. I was also impressed with the prodigious amount of light available even in the lamp's Eco mode. Peak output after calibration was over 24fL! It's nice to see a large amount of headroom like this because as the lamp ages, it will also dim. The 5010e should stay nice and bright for the duration of the bulb's lifespan.

After the initial setup, I explored the rest of the menu system. It's the same as every other Epson projector I've worked with; intuitive and logically laid out with everything you need to get the picture just right. All image adjustments are in the Image menu and include a full CMS, two-point grayscale and nine-point gamma controls. Sharpness can be set individually for horizontal and vertical lines, and thick or thin lines; nice. 3D setup is in a separate Signal menu. Here you can turn 2D-3D conversion on or off and set depth and brightness parameters. Also of note is the frame interpolation which has three levels and the auto iris which has two speed choices. Both parameters can be controlled with dedicated buttons on the remote which I found very handy.

To view 3D content, you must first turn on the function in the Signal menu. Then you can turn it on and off with the remote whether the content is native 3D or converted. The glasses are fairly comfortable and sync with the 5010e via infrared. The emitter is built into the projector so there are no extra parts to deal with. I had no trouble viewing any 3D content at any time. The remote key made it easy to check out some of my favorite 2D titles in 3D. The effect varies depending on what you're watching. And certainly native 3D Blu-ray is the best way to enjoy it.

The final, and perhaps most significant discovery I made was in the Extended menu. There's an item there, not mentioned in the manual, called LCD Alignment. Yes folks, Epson has included convergence for the first time in an LCD projector. And you can make changes in increments smaller than one pixel. You can adjust blue and red relative to green and it is multi-point which means any part of the screen can be tweaked. It's a laborious process but the results I got were excellent. After spending about 30 minutes I had a tack-sharp image with superb field uniformity. There was a slight red tint in the upper right I could not solve but it was extremely minor. I applaud Epson for including this because it addresses my main beef with LCD projectors. Typically, they vary greatly in field uniformity from excellent to poor. Since most people don't have the luxury of hand-selecting their projector, this feature is a boon, bravo!