Product Name : Home Cinema 4010 (US) – EH-TW7400 (Europe)
Manufacturer : Epson
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The last couple of years there have been great advancements in projection technologies and as a result we see more and more projectors that support 4K resolution in very affordable prices. Until now there have been two categories concerning 4K projection systems with one consisting of true 4K projectors offering the full 4K resolution and the other consisting of pixel shifting 4K projectors that basically are 1080p projectors and by using advanced pixel moving techniques they are able to show what is considered a 4K image.
Obviously up until recently true 4K projectors were the crown jewel of home theater projection systems but their single biggest disadvantage was their often unreachable prices. And that’s the reason why many people were turning towards the pixel shifting ones as they are able to offer very good image quality, sometimes almost as good as real 4K ones but at the same time in much lower and affordable prices. But things start to change slowly as we have seen from Sony releasing a true 4K projector for under $5,000 which really is an impressive feat and shows how technology brings prices down. But this also puts the pressure on the pixel shifting models to offer more as their strongest point starts slowly to look not so strong. Of course it will be some time before true 4K projectors can rival in price the pixel shifting ones so for the time being these models are a good alternative for those that want a good projector without braking the bank.
And this is where Epson comes in with their new Home Cinema 4010 model. Some months ago we had reviewed the Home Cinema 4000 one and received very good scores from us so we were curious how much of an improvement the 4010 would be. Does one year makes a huge difference or the advancements are too small compared to last year. Read our Epson Home Cinema 4010 review to find out.
First of all we need to clear up a bit of confusion that is happening cause Epson has released two models with the same specifications. The Epson Home Cinema 4010 is exactly the same projector as the Pro Cinema 4050 but the difference in price is more than obvious with the PC4050 costing some $400 dollars more. The Pro Cinema model offers an extra lamp, a cable cover, a ceiling mount and an extra year in the warranty to justify the higher price. The projectors are exactly the same and the only way to distinguish them is the color as the HC4010 comes in white while the PC4050 in black. So if you value these extras then by all means go for that otherwise it’s more or less a close tie which one you should choose.
As for the projector itself the similarities with the previous 4000 model are more than obvious. The projector is pretty big we would have to admit compared to some other pixel shifting projectors we have seen lately. With a size of 20.5″ x 17.7″ x 6.7″ (520 x 450 x 193 mm) and weight of 24.7 lb (11.2 kg) this is certainly a projector that is not easy to carry around so you better find a sweet spot for it and leave it there.
Looking the projector from the front we see that there are air vents in both sides of the centered lens. Under one of the vents we find the IR sensor while in the front corners we get screw-type adjustable feet in case you want to place it on some furniture. On the right side we find some control buttons under a sliding door while on the top we find three function LED lights for status, lamp condition and temperature as well as the lamp replacement door. The Epson logo as well as the model number and 3LCD logo complete the top design remaining at the most part the same as last year’s model.
The Epson Home Cinema 4010 features 2.1:1 motorized zoom lens and the really important thing here is that the 4010 has 10 lens memory slots from which 2 of them can be directly selected from the 2 dedicated remote buttons. To our knowledge the Home Cinema 4010 is now the cheapest 4K projector that supports lens memory with motorized lens something very important if this model is to stay competitive now and in the near future. The projector also offers very good ±96 degrees vertical and ±47 degrees horizontal lens shift for quick image geometry adjustments.
And while on the outside changes are almost none, under the hood is where most changes were made in order for the 4010 to have the necessary improvements over last year. Epson claims that the Home Cinema 4010 features improved pixel shifting technology. Although details on this are a bit sketchy, from our gathered info pixels move at a faster pace and stay locked in their final position for more time thus resulting in better image quality and a bit more brightness.
For those unfamiliar with the terminology the Home Cinema 4010 may be marketed as a 4K projector but what it really is, is a Full HD 1080 resolution projector that shift it’s pixels at a high speed in order to create the illusion of a 4K picture. In essence it is not displaying the full 4K image all at once but due to the speed of the shifting our eyes cannot understand very much the difference.
One key characteristic that we have seen is becoming evident with all these pixel shifting projectors is that almost all of them are a bit noisy when they are being operated at full power. We are not sure if this has to do with the pixel shifting hardware used but for some that are noise sensitive the HC4010 can be a bit bothering but without reaching intolerable levels. If you are watching 4K content with HDR you will want to operate it at full power but using it in brightest mode with mid-lamp setting will give you also good image performance with much lower noise. So you will have to try it yourself and find the best compromise.
Epson claims the projector lamp to last for 3,500 hours in High Mode and 4,000 hours in Medium mode which is more or less adequate but we have seen better values in some other projectors. There is also a 5,000 hours ECO Mode but we believe not many will be using this mode in such a projector as ECO Mode is lowering the overall image quality considerably.
As the changes from last year were very small the included remote is exactly the same so our opinion about it remains the same. It is functional, feels good quality, sturdy and very important that is backlight enabled which avoids many frustrating moments if you have a low lit environment. In general it is a rather large remote and has all the buttons you will need for the functions that you will use the most. As such in the top we find a group of source buttons, under a set of playback buttons, below a group of settings and menu navigating buttons and on the bottom 9 buttons for various features of the projector.
With the Epson Home Cinema 4010 we reached the third generation of pixel shifting technology that combines 1920×1080-pixel imaging chips to create the 4K pictures. The 0.74” devices that are used by the 3LCD engine work along an optical refractor in order to shift each pixel in a diagonal position during alternate frames and thus create the illusion of a full 4K image. The shifting is done at such a speed that is undetectable by the naked eye and with the addition of some ingenious engineering the HC4010 is capable of producing an image that is almost of the same quality as other native 4K projectors with exceptional detail and sharpness.
4K UHD / HDR Content
For our 4K content testing we used the 4K UHD disc of Battleship and tried various scenes throughout the film. Having recently tested a native 4K projector from Sony we were very pleased to find out that the image displayed by the Epson projector was just as sharp and full of details and could easily be mistaken for a true 4K rather than a pixel shifting one. Epson claims that you should not judge a book by it’s cover and with this they want us to keep an open mind when it comes to this pixel shifting technique.
From our experience with this new pixel shifting hardware we would have to admit that the HC4010 indeed comes extremely close in quality and sharpness to any of the more expensive native 4K projectors and as such Epson’s claims hold somewhat true, something we really applaud them for. Battlefield never looked any better with every tiny detail on the alien ships metal surfaces be visible and clearly distinguishable while textures on the humans skin and clothes were clearly defined.
The projector supports HDR content but like other projectors we get only HDR10 support. As a result any Dolby Vision enabled content will fall back to the core HDR10 protocol. HDR10 is the most widely supported HDR protocol as it is necessary for UHD viewing so it pretty much covers most cases you will want to use this projector.
The HC4010 supports wide color gamut and it covers the BT.709 color space in full so during HD/SDR content colors are spot on and correctly displayed. But since such a projector is meant mostly for viewing 4K content the most important fact is that it can also cover almost in full the DCI-P3 color space and from our calculations it covers around 98% which is amazing if you consider the cost of the projector. Having so good coverage means more lifelike and vibrant colors that are displayed exactly how the creators wanted to.
Brightness / Contrast
The included 250 watts lamp of the HC4010 gives it a rating of 2,400 lumens of brightness which makes it one of the brightest projectors in this price range. But marketing numbers almost never hold true so we were eager to see how close to that number the projector would go. As with most projectors the Epson Home Cinema 4010 provides various picture modes that include Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural, Cinema, B&W Cinema and Digital Cinema. We should point out that Digital Cinema and Cinema modes use a special color filter in order to improve colors but as a side effect it reduces greatly brightness output. So you have to choose what you want more, better color or more brightness.
While trying different settings we found out that for us the best results for HD/SDR content were achieved with Natural mode that provides a very good color coverage while brightness tops at 2,200 lumens with Full Power. By putting the lamp in medium it still manages to achieve 1,500 lumens which is considered very good for SDR content.
For UHD/HDR content we settled for Digital Cinema mode which offers the best color reproduction possible but brightness suffers a bit due to the color filter and we have to settle with 1,100 lumens which may not be the brightest for HDR content but for our tastes was more than adequate.
Black levels on the HC4010 are good but not great and certainly cannot reach the levels of the more advanced HC5040UB projector. Having a dynamic iris improves things a little but how good the result will be also depends on the environment of the projection. In a completely dark room or home theater the problem will be more obvious as the HC4010 fails to show very deep blacks while being in an even low lit environment will help make this problem much less obvious. And while black levels are average shadow detail is excellent revealing every bit of small detail on the picture.
HD / SDR / 3D Content
We also tested the projector with Full HD content and the projector performed admirably. We tried the Blu-ray disc of Oblivion that has a very clean, almost sterile look and the quality we saw was spectacular with very good sharpness, excellent colors and good brightness if you consider we are talking about SDR content. A lot of content is still in Full HD resolution and this necessitates that any projector should excel at this and with the HC4010 this was the case being a great 1080p/SDR content performer.
The HC4010 is also 3D capable even though 3D is slowly fading out. Most TV manufacturers have stopped support for it but it seems that projector manufacturers continue to support this making a good choice for those that still have large collections of 3D movies. You will need to buy the glasses separately something that adds to the cost and since these are active 3D glasses this may result in crosstalk in addition to the lower brightness that is a characteristic of 3D viewing. Otherwise 3D with the HC4010 is very good although we are not very fond of it in general.
Input lag on the HC4010 hovers around the 30ms mark which make it a good one but not great. For most cases gaming on the HC4010 felt very responsive and we didn’t felt like the projector was hindering our controls. There were certain cases during very fast action moments that we would like to have a bit better control but in general we are very pleased in this department. It may not be able to reach some ultra low input lags we have seen in flat panels lately but it’s more than ok with what this projector can achieve both in 4K and Full HD gaming.
The projector scored very good in motion performance during our testing and even in test scenes with fast camera pans remained pretty solid although there were a few instances of blur being displayed. The HC4010 comes equipped with CFI frame Interpolation features in order to smooth out the motion. In general everything looked good and we had no serious complaints in this area.
All ports are placed at the back of the projector, grouped together in an inset that covers a bit the connection plugs to be more aesthetically pleasing. What we get from left to right is a USB Type A port (for optical HDMI cable 300 mA), an HDMI port that supports HDCP 2.2, a second HDMI port that supports HDCP 1.4 for older legacy devices, a couple of USB ports, one for connecting a wireless LAN dongle and one for service only, an RJ-45 port for wired connection to the Internet, next is a VGA PC port and the familiar RS-232 port for command and control and last is a 12V trigger port to use with a motorized screen in order to open or close automatically.
That is all and what made a bit of impression to us was that both HDMI ports are version 1.4/10.2Gbps. No v2.0 means no 4K/60Hz but this shouldn’t be a problem for anything else other than video gaming as all 4K UHD discs are made at 4K with 24 fps. Nevertheless we were hoping that Epson would make these ports a bit more future proof but it seems this is not the case here. Also there are no analogue audio ports available if this is something you were looking for. As for everything else we get a pretty standard ports layout that really reflects the projector’s price.
OS, Apps and Features
One of the strongest points of last year’s model was it’s motorized lens and this continues to be the case this year with the HC4010. Being able to adjust the focus, change horizontal and vertical shift as well as zoom can all be done with the press of a button on the remote instead of manual dials which saves time and frustration and is a great feature to have in any projector, budget-friendly or premium. And with the addition of lens memories you can save up to 10 different setups with 2 of them being directly accessible from 2 dedicated buttons on the remote.
The Home Cinema 4010 menu is very similar to last year’s as most functions remain the same so there was no need for a drastic change. All settings are grouped in categories depending their functionality and some of them include an info menu that show details like lamp hours, Input source, resolution and color depth while other menu controls include Sharpness, Color Temperature, a full color management system as well as Frame Interpolation controls.
The HC4010 has an ECO mode as almost all projectors but Epson projectors tend to have three power consumption levels with High, medium and Eco. If you are mostly viewing HDR content then High or Medium settings should be chosen as Eco mode tends to lower the brightness by a whopping 35%. And while High setting tends to make the projector a bit noisy our mode of preference turned out to be the Medium one. On the other hand if you want to view broadcast programs or any kind of SDR material Eco or Medium modes are adequate.
Some of the other features of the HC4010 include a setting to adjust the 3 LCD chips if needed, there is a picture in picture capability but only applies to 2D images and a 2D to 3D conversion system.
Epson managed to once again push the prices down by offering a 4K projector at a sub-$2K price even if we are talking about a pixel shifting one. But the impressive thing is that the HC4010 takes what was already good with last year’s model and improves upon it. The differences may not be so huge but they are enough to be noticeable and if you consider how good the Home Cinema 4000 was, being able to offer an improved model with an even lower price is an achievement by itself.
The Epson Home Cinema 4010 is offering improved brightness and better color reproduction by covering almost the complete DCI-P3 color space even without any calibration and this is due to the use of a new pixel shifting technology. Also the inclusion of lens memories offers amazing flexibility in viewing and positioning while motorized lens makes things so much easier. 4K image quality is exceptional and it comes very close to the quality of native 4K projectors that have a minimum price of $5K these days.
But as always when we are talking about such an aggressively priced projector there bound to be a few compromises and it’s main weakness is it’s average black levels. In this range most projectors don’t offer very good black levels so if this is a major point for you then you will have to consider going higher in price to see any real improvement. Also we would like to see the HC4010 to have HDMI v2.0 but we have to settle for the older 1.4 version that does not support 4K/60Hz. For 4K UHD all movies run at 24fps so you are covered with the included ports but we would like Epson to make it a bit more future proof. Lastly when it runs at full power it tends to be a bit noisy due to the pixel shifting hardware so it would be advisable to test screen it first before you decide to buy because it really depends on how sensitive you are to it’s sound. You may not be bothered at all or it may sound a bit frustrating some times.
Closing we will just say that we are very happy with the improvements Epson made even if they are not a huge leap forward. Offering better specs than an already very good projector that the Home Cinema 4000 was last year and doing so at an even lower price is a win win situation. Image performance is amazing, brightness is very good and colors are very accurate. If you can settle for the few weaknesses it has then the Epson Home Cinema 4010 is an amazing projector that will offer you countless hours of cinematic entertainment.
|US Model||EU Model|
|Home Cinema 4010||EH-TW7400|
- Projection System : Epson 3LCD, 3-chip technology
- Driving Method : Poly-silicon TFT Active Matrix, 0.74″-wide panel
- Color Brightness – Color Light Output : 2400 Lumens
- White Brightness – White Light Output : 2400 Lumens
- Aspect Ratio : 16:9 widescreen (4:3 resize, 16:10 resize), Compatible with 4:3 with Normal, Full or Zoom Modes
- Native Resolution : 4K Enhancement (1920 x 1080 x 2); Max. Resolution: 4096 x 2160
- Lamp Type : 250 W UHE
- Lamp Life : Up to 5,000 hours (ECO Mode); up to 4,000 hours (Medium Mode); up to 3,500 hours (High Mode)
- Throw Ratio Range : 1.35 – 2.84
- Size – projected distance : 50″ – 300″
- Keystone Correction : Vertical: ±30 degrees (Manual)
- Contrast Ratio : Up to 200,000:1
- Color Processing : Full 10-bit (partial 12-bit)
- Color Reproduction : Full-color (up to 1.07 billion colors)
- Projection Lens Type : Powered focus/optical zoom/lens position
- F-number : 2.0 – 3.0
- Focal Length : 22.5 mm – 46.7 mm
- Zoom Ratio : 1.0 – 2.1
- Lens Shift : Vertical: ±96, Horizontal: ±47
- Lens Cover : Powered, Slide Lens Shutter
- Inputs : 1x HDMI (HDCP 2.2), 1x HDMI (HDCP 1.4), 1x USB Type A (for optical HDMI cable 300 mA max. power supply only), 1x USB (for wireless and firmware), 1x Mini USB (service only), 1x LAN (RJ-45), 1x Computer/D-sub 15 pin, 1x RS-232c (D-sub 9-pin), Trigger out (3.5 mm mini-jack)12 V DC, 200 mA maximum
- Fan Noise : 20 dB – 31 dB
- Power Consumption : 373 W (High Mode), 283 W (ECO Model)
- Security : Kensington Security Lock Port
- Operating Temperature : 41 ° to 95 °F (5 ° to 35 °C)
- Dimensions : 20.5″ x 17.7″ x 6.7″ (W x D x H)
- Weight : 24.7 lb