It includes Ultra HD resolution courtesy of PRO-UHD pixel-shifting technology. It delivers HDR10, DCI-P3 color, 3D, and a motorized lens with position memories. Epson’s 3LCD light engine promises high contrast and sharp pictures. A well-ventilated chassis means quiet and cool running, even in the bulb’s brighter modes. A superbly-implemented auto-iris increases dynamic range and makes for some spectacular HDR. At less than $2000, it represents a great value and provides real competition for the latest round of compact DLP displays.
Epson Home Cinema 4010 4K PRO-UHD Projector
- Accepts signals up to 4096×2160 pixels at 60Hz
- 2400 lumens white and color brightness
- HDR10 and 3D support
- Full DCI-P3 color gamut coverage
- Motorized lens with wide zoom range and position memories
Ultra HD is clearly now “a thing” in the television world. It’s difficult to buy a flat panel without it these days. But projection fans still have few choices if they want native 4K imaging. And those displays will set you back at least $5000 or more in most cases. But Epson has come up with an excellent solution, PRO-UHD pixel-shifting technology. Thanks to an ingenious refraction device placed in the light path, it creates a completely convincing 4K experience from three 1920×1080 LCD chips. Epson has had a few product generations to perfect the technology and the latest models are the best yet.
Today, I’ll be looking at the new Home Cinema 4010. In addition to Ultra HD resolution, it supports HDR, 3D, and full DCI-P3 color. An auto-iris increases contrast to levels surprisingly close to the latest high-end projectors from JVC and Sony. It provides a generous 2400 lumens of both white and color brightness to create an excellent experience in small to medium-sized home theaters. A quiet fan means near-silent running, great for smaller spaces or multi-use media rooms. A motorized lens makes setup a snap and position memories allow for multiple aspect ratio options accessed by a single button on the remote. At less than $2000, it’s an attractive package for home theater enthusiasts not possessed of limitless funds. And as you’ll soon see, it sports reference-level color accuracy, as good as I’ve seen from the most expensive projectors out there. Let’s take a look.
3x .74” poly-silicon TFT
1920×1080 w/2x pixel shift, 16:9 aspect ratio
96% vertical, 47% horizontal
Light output (mfr):
2400 lumens white, 2400 lumens color
1x HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x VGA
RS-232c, 3x USB, 12v trigger
Lamp service life:
20.5” x 6.7” x 17.7” (WxHxD)
Two years, 90-days lamp
Epson Home Cinema 4010 4K PRO-UHD Projector Price:
epson, home cinema 4010, 4k, pro-uhd, ultra hd projector, projector, hdr, ultra hd, Projector Reviews 2018
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The Home Cinema 4010 uses Epson’s third-generation pixel-shift technology to create a 4K image from 1920×1080-pixel imaging chips. The 3LCD engine uses .74” devices along with an optical refractor to shift each pixel diagonally in alternating frames to create the illusion of 4K. Like JVC’s approach, it effectively doubles the pixel count in both horizontal and vertical directions to fool the eye into seeing a full 3840×2160 image. Thanks to some clever engineering and an excellent lens, the 4010 is nearly indistinguishable from a native 4K projector. Its pixel density and fill rate (pixel gap) is tiny enough to remain invisible when viewed just inches from the screen. The projected image is razor-sharp and rich with detail.
Like all the Epson projectors I’ve reviewed, the 4010 is rich with features too. You get a fully motorized lens with a tremendous 2.1x zoom range. You’ll be able to fill any screen up to 300” from a variety of distances. That, along with almost 100% vertical lens shift, means there is no environment you cannot set it up in. Whether you use a shelf, table, or ceiling mount, the image takes only moments to position and square up. Also available are lens memories which can be called up by the remote. It’s easy to set up multiple aspect ratios for cinemascope or 16:9 films and change the zoom on the fly, no anamorphic lens needed. The chassis is styled much like all Epson projectors with a matte-white finish and two large vents flanking a center-mounted lens. The fan is super-quiet, barely audible in the Eco and Medium bulb modes.
The 4010 supports HDR10 and renders the full DCI-P3 color gamut. It should have no trouble displaying content from the latest Ultra HD Blu-ray players, broadcast, and streaming sources. A single HDMI 2.0 input with HDCP 2.2 content protection ensures compatibility with input signals up to 4096×2160 at 60Hz. A second HDMI 1.4 input handles legacy sources. If you want to attach a computer, there’s an old-style VGA port as well. Control systems can interface with an RS-232 port and a 12v trigger output. In addition, you get three USB ports to use with accessories like Epson’s wireless HDMI system.
The remote is a well-built wand, worthy of a pro-level display. In addition to discrete power keys, you get individual buttons for each input. You can control HDMI-CEC devices with a set of transport keys. In the center is menu navigation framed by one-touch access controls for many projector functions like image mode and lens memories. The handset is backlit with a soft white glow. It can bounce commands off the screen or a side wall to reach one of the three IR receivers on the 4010.
The projector also supports 3D signals, but I did not receive any glasses for this review and could not test that function.
After setting up the Home Cinema 4010 on a stand at the back of my theater, I spent all of five minutes adjusting the image geometry. The motorized lens is very precise and delivers a perfect picture with ease. Once you’ve locked it in, save it to one of the 10 position memories. It remembers shift, zoom, and focus settings to you can change aspect ratios on the fly. This allows you to fill a cinemascope screen by zooming the black bars off the top and bottom edges.
There are six color modes plus an additional two for 3D signals. Natural is the best choice for 1080p SDR content and does not require calibration. It tracks Rec.709 color with a D65 white point and almost perfect 2.2 gamma. HDR signals do not automatically change the image settings and that is a slight annoyance. To see the full DCI-P3 color gamut, you’ll need to choose the Digital Cinema preset. It puts an internal filter in place to render that extra color. It also reduces brightness a bit, so you might want to up the bulb power. For HDR, I used the High setting.
The 4010 also has an excellent auto-iris which increases contrast by a factor of 10 for both SDR and HDR. The High Speed setting is the most effective and displays very little brightness pumping. After calibrating with it turned off, I engaged it for all my viewing.
The menu system has a vast array of additional features that include frame interpolation, image enhancement presets, dynamic range options, and the like. To avoid getting lost, I recommend leaving everything alone for SDR material and simply setting the picture mode to Natural. For HDR, use Digital Cinema, set the bulb to High, and the iris to High Speed. Then, go the Signal menu, access the Dynamic Range sub-menu and change the setting to Auto Bright. That will give you killer HDR with the full DCI-P3 color gamut and superb contrast.
If you want to calibrate, Epson provides two-point grayscale sliders, five gamma presets with a multi-point editor, and a full color management system. In SDR mode, I made a few tiny changes to these to see if I could improve upon the 4010’s default state and found I could not. This projector has reference-level color accuracy. For HDR, I had to make some adjustments to grayscale in the Digital Cinema mode, plus a few tweaks to the CMS to correct magenta hue. Otherwise, no other changes were required for an excellent picture.
For serious tweakers, Epson has provided multi-point convergence (panel alignment) and color uniformity adjustments. These should be handled with care, it’s easy to get lost and make the picture look worse. Luckily, there are quick resets available. Also, too much adjustment will reduce resolution so again, use these features sparingly.
The one thing I wished for was automatic switching between SDR and HDR picture modes. If you create separate calibrations as I did, you’ll have to change manually. With everything dialed in and some break-in hours on the bulb, I sat down for some movie-watching.
With calibrations in place for both SDR and HDR, I watched several Blu-rays in both 1080p and Ultra HD formats. I used titles that included both discs in order to make meaningful comparisons.
First up was Oceans 8. Aside from a few outdoor scenes, most of this film takes place in dimly-lit interiors, loaded with murky shadows and vague detail. I was using the 4010’s Digital Cinema picture mode so color popped nicely with extra-warm shades of red and orange when appropriate. Flesh tones were nicely saturated but never too ruddy. I missed some detail in the darker areas though. That motivated me to try the different HDR dynamic range settings. Auto is the default, but I quickly found that Auto Bright was the better choice. Detail suddenly appeared without increasing the black levels. The 4010 won’t quite plumb the inky depths like a JVC LCoS display but it comes pretty close for a third the cost. Watching a few clips from the 1080p disc showed the same excellent detail but without the punch and extra color of HDR.
Next was the newest reboot of Tomb Raider. This film has loads of fast-moving action scenes that test a display’s motion resolution. The 4010 showed a tiny bit of blur when objects zipped by but for the most part, rapid camera pans stayed solid. The rich greens and blues of the jungle shone through much better than their SDR counterparts. This projector’s ability to render all of the DCI-P3 color gamut is a real asset and will improve the look of any Ultra HD content that is properly encoded for extended color.
Solo, A Star Wars Story is the latest prequel in Disney’s quest to bring out a new Star Wars film every year. It also features lots of dark and murky action only this time, it’s punctuated by super-bright laser blasts and sparking metal. The train heist sequence showed this effect particularly well. The robbery takes place on a dark and icy planet rendered in a blue and gray monochrome. I had no trouble picking out fine details like Solo’s uniform or Beckett’s intricate blaster weapon. When rich color was called for, the 4010 responded with shimmering golds punctuated by nice white highlights.
Ready Player One has a long sequence where digital characters are super-imposed on the creepy hotel interiors from The Shining. The CGI has its usual clean look while the vintage film is rendered with realistic grain and a period look. The 4010 had no trouble differentiating these fine details to create a perfectly believable effect. This is what 4K is made for. Not only do the extra pixels make a difference, the wide color gamut and dynamic range contribute to an amazing image. This sequence is far better in Ultra HD form than in 1080p.
I finished up with the Deserts episode from Planet Earth II. There is one scene consisting of slow-pan closeups of cactus needles that always leaves me shuddering. 4K makes those points look extra sharp and I’m not exaggerating. I had a physical reaction when watching it on the 4010. This release, more than any other, takes full advantage of HDR and extended color. It’s a demo that will not be eclipsed any time soon and the 4010 looked most impressive showing it.
To test the Home Cinema 4010’s color accuracy, I measured from the lens with an X-Rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer fitted with a diffuser attachment. Luminance readings were taken with a Spectracal C6 tri-stimulus colorimeter facing a 92” diagonal Stewart Filmscreen Luminesse with Studiotek 130 material, gain 1.3, from a 10-foot distance. Patterns were generated by an Accupel DVG-5000 and controlled with CalMAN, version 5.8.
The Home Cinema 4010 may not be THX-certified, but it gives away nothing in performance and accuracy to those more-expensive projectors. Users might gravitate toward the Cinema mode as the best starting point for calibration, but I found Natural to be the better choice. It measures nearly perfect right out of the box.
If I’m picking nits, I might say that the gamma is a tad light here, but really, there is no visual difference to speak of. Grayscale runs a tiny bit red, but that can only be seen in a test pattern, and only if you’re really looking for it. There is no need to calibrate based on these results.
Despite that, I wanted to see what the menu had to offer, and I found I could not improve upon the 4010’s default state of accuracy. Gamma is the slightest bit darker but again, there is no visible impact. Test patterns now look a bit more neutral, mainly because the previous red error is easier to see. In actual content, there is no difference whatsoever. Grayscale accuracy can’t get much better than this.
Continuing with measurements in the Natural mode, I found the same excellent performance in the color gamut and luminance tests. Every point is on-target with errors under 2dE. Only the blue primary shows a bit of extra brightness, but this is not visible to the naked eye. An average error of 1.14dE is reference-level. Only a few professional monitors I’ve calibrated can post better numbers than the 4010.
I tweaked a few sliders in the CMS to reduce blue luminance and shift the magenta secondary a little more towards red. The resulting error level is slightly higher at 1.19dE but that’s a wash when compared to the default result. The one reason to make these adjustments is that it helps the HDR mode look a little better. As you’re about to see, I used the same picture mode for both SDR and HDR; something I’ve not been able to do on any other display.
I used an HD Fury Integral to modify the signal from my Accupel generator into an HDR-compatible source. The charts come from an HDR10-specific workflow provided by CalMAN. To access the full DCI-P3 color gamut of the 4010, I switched to the Digital Cinema picture mode. This must be done manually as the projector will not change automatically when an HDR signal is detected.
Despite a major drop in blue between 45 and 55%, this grayscale doesn’t look too bad. Errors run in the visible range from 45% on up. Luckily, the fix is an easy one. EOTF tracking is a little darker than I’d like but that can easily be fixed by visiting the Dynamic Range sub-menu in the Signal section.
After a few changes to the gain sliders, the grayscale tracking is significantly improved. I brightened the EOTF a bit by choosing Auto Bright in the Dynamic Range sub-menu. There are several options here which should deliver a solid experience in any home theater. The default is Auto but I chose Auto Bright for more pop. You can also set the level manually with four tone map options.
HDR color accuracy is surprisingly hard to find among the latest Ultra HD displays. But Epson most certainly has it right in the 4010. It tracks the Rec.709 gamut perfectly in HDR mode except for the fully-saturated target of blue where it’s a bit under. Since all the UHD content I watched is mastered in DCI-P3 and Rec.2020, I never noticed an issue.
The 4010 renders nearly all of the DCI-P3 gamut (99% by my calculations) if you select the Digital Cinema picture mode. Color saturation tracking is spot-on but there are a few small hue errors. I corrected magenta and yellow to within a hair of spec, but blue could not be improved. The issue is a minor one and didn’t reduce my enjoyment of HDR content one bit. It’s nice to see this extra color when watching Ultra HD discs. It adds significant punch and depth to the image. Bravo Epson!
The Home Cinema 4010 has a very capable video processing solution built in, which means if you watch DVDs or other interlaced content, it will handle the cadences without artifacts, unless it’s 2:2 which almost no display can process correctly. Below black and above white are clipped by default but that’s OK because it allows one to use the projector’s full dynamic range. If you want to retain above-white information, turn Epson Super White on. To see all of digital 0-255, set HDMI Range to Expand. The Auto option is fine for all content and maximizes contrast. In the ship clip, I saw a few flashes of anti-aliasing but for the most part, it looks perfect with no jaggies visible.
All luminance values are expressed here in nits, also known as candelas per square meter (cd/m2). For those needing a frame of reference, 1fL equals 3.43 nits, or 1 nit equals .29fL.
The Home Cinema 4010 is a bright projector, but it won’t quite pump out the searing whites of some compact DLP models. I started by measuring its native contrast after calibration in the Medium bulb mode. Peak white was 213.3837 nits with .0495 nits black and 1257.8:1 contrast.
Setting the auto-iris to High Speed results in the greatest possible contrast. The Eco bulb mode is fine for small to medium theaters with screens up to around 100”. There, you’ll see 193.2571 nits white, .0128 nits black, and 15,134.4:1 contrast. For more light output, set the bulb to High. Then, the white level is 261.5022 nits with .0183 nits black and 14,264.2:1 contrast.
Without 3D glasses, I was unable to test the 3D mode.
HDR produces similar results to SDR. In Digital Cinema mode, with the bulb on High, and the auto-iris set to High Speed, I recorded 128.0429 nits white, .0079 nits black, and 16,274.9:1 contrast. This combination yields the highest dynamic range thanks to the internal color filter that enables the full DCI-P3 color gamut.
For less than $2000, EPSON’S HOME CINEMA 4010 4K PRO-UHD PROJECOR delivers killer HDR, the full DCI-P3 color gamut, and reference-level performance.
- Bright contrasty SDR and HDR images
- Excellent out-of-box accuracy
- Tons of features
- Full DCI-P3 color support
- Responsive to signal and mode changes
- Automatic switching of picture modes between HDR and SDR
- A manual iris for better control of contrast and output
I’ve spent the past eighteen months reviewing value-priced Ultra HD projectors from every major manufacturer and each new model is better than the last. It seems that one no longer must spend $5000 or more to get great HDR, rich color, and a razor-sharp image. Budget DLPs win the clarity contest with their single chip designs and lightning-fast DMD devices. But contrast is still king and that is where Epson has no competition in this price class.
For less than $2000, the Home Cinema 4010 delivers the best dynamic range short of a $5000 model from JVC or Sony. Native 4K? It just isn’t necessary when pixel-shift looks this good. Unless you spend a large amount of money, you won’t be able to improve upon the 4K experience delivered by this Epson. And several of the expensive displays I’ve reviewed can’t render the entire DCI-P3 color gamut.
Honestly, my only complaint is that it won’t automatically switch picture modes when playing HDR material. That’s something I can live with after seeing its superb image quality. Calibrated or not, the Home Cinema 4010 delivers reference-level accuracy. And a vast array of image options means one can dial it in to any preference, standard or otherwise.
Each Ultra HD projector I receive becomes more difficult to part with and the Epson Home Cinema 4010 is no exception. I enjoyed my all-too-brief time with it and am sorry to see it go. If you’re looking for a sub-$2000 Ultra HD projector, you’ll have a hard time beating it. Highly Recommended.