The Epson Home Cinema 1080, based on LCD technology, is one of several breakthrough projectors that now offer 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) resolution for less than $3,000.
That is remarkable given the time that many of us have waited for a projector with 1080p resolution at anything close to an affordable price. I bought my first projector, a Sony 10HT, a bit more than seven years ago (although it seems much longer than that). The 10HT featured a widescreen 16x9 format with 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution, and very quiet operation compared to the business projectors of its time.
The Sony 10HT was based on LCD technology and therefore had a limited contrast ratio, making dark scenes look washed out, and had the Screen Door Effect (SDE), such that one could see the pixel structure in brighter scenes, i.e., one could see the individual pixels and the spaces between them as a fixed pattern on the screen. To my eyes and brain, SDE made the projected image look less film-like.
For the last few years, 720p projectors with 1,280 x 720 pixels became the defacto standard for reasonable cost High Definition (HD) projectors, despite the fact that most HD material was being broadcast in 1080p format! So, 720p was actually a step down in resolution from my 10HT! I could definitely see, and was bothered by, SDE on 720p projectors, especially LCD projectors.
It has been obvious to many for some time now that projectors with 1080p resolution were really needed to take full advantage not only of HD sources, but to present standard definition sources such as DVDs at their best.
Over the next three years, the price for 1080p projectors dropped to $15k, to $10k, then $5k, and now below $3,000 (street price) with the Epson Home Cinema 1080. It took a while to get to 1080p projectors, but now that they are here and affordable, I highly recommend the upgrade to 1080p. I have. My current projector is a Sony VPL-VW50 ("Pearl"). 1080p is definitely worth it if obtainable for an affordable price. Which of course brings us back to the Epson Home Cinema 1080.
Inputs and Connectivity
The Epson's inputs are located on the back of the projector. The following set of inputs is provided: composite video, S-Video, component (RCA), and HDMI (1.3 and HDCP compliant). The Epson also has a 15 pin Mini D-sub analog RGB connector (VGA) for connection to a PC, a 9-pin Mini D-sub connector for RS-232 control, a 12V trigger output, and a D4/SCART connector (mainly used in Japan). A Kensington® Lock Port is also located on the back of the projector.
Remote Control/Projector Panel/Other Controls
The Epson's remote has discrete buttons to select the desired input, much better than an input toggle, and the expected buttons to access and navigate the menu system, arranged in a familiar pattern, as well as a number of handy buttons that directly select critical menu pages, e.g., color mode, aspect ratio, gamma, color temperature, skin tone, and contrast.
Another button brings up a test pattern that is very handy in making manual focus, zoom, and lens shift adjustments. Thankfully, the pattern stays on the screen until dismissed, unlike my current projector where the pattern goes away after a few seconds! The Epson's remote buttons are backlit and are easily readable in the dark. The buttons are well laid out, with good spacing for my larger than average hands.
The main ventilation ports are on the front of the projector. Infrared ports are on the front and back.