Epson Home Cinema 3000
1080p LCD Home Video Projector
December 18, 2014
For several years now, Epson has been the only game in town when it comes to entry-level 3LCD home theater projectors. Their Home Cinema 8350 has been consistently popular for four years - an eternity in the consumer electronics world, where almost every other projector released at that time has long since been discontinued. So Epson has now released a successor model--the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 3000.
The Home Cinema 3000 is an upgrade to its predecessor in just about every measurable way. A bold, bright image makes it a good fit for bright living rooms rooms and extra-large screen sizes, and it's easy to install thanks to its 1.6:1 zoom lens and extensive lens shift. With prices starting at $1,299, the Epson Home Cinema 3000 is a great stepping stone between the sub-$1,000 projectors and more specialized home theater models that cost $2,000 or more. By striking a balance between performance, features, and price, the Home Cinema 3000 should appeal to a lot of folks looking for their next projector.
The Viewing Experience
The main reason to get a projector instead of a television has always been picture size, but a lot of folks who are new to the hobby aren't ready to commit to a blacked-out cave for their home theater. The Home Cinema 3000 is ideal for these people. The sheer brightness and vividness of the picture means that you can put up a big, bold image in a room with white walls or imperfectly covered windows, such as a spare bedroom or living room.
When you start up the Home Cinema 3000, you get a big brilliant picture. As with many other Epson home theater projectors, the lumen rating is slightly conservative, and Dynamic mode exceeded the expected 2,300 lumens. And while the color is greenish, Dynamic mode isn't unusable by any means; it would be a good choice for TV viewing when precise color accuracy isn't as important as brightness.
The real promise of this projector, however, is its Cinema mode. Producing over 1700 lumens with the lamp at full power, Cinema mode's color is accurate enough to begin using right away, and contrast and black level are surprisingly good for such a powerful projector. The automatic iris noticeably improves black levels and is useful in dark rooms. The image is smooth and has little in the way of digital noise, but a one-notch increase in Noise Reduction removed what little was there to begin with and didn't appreciably decrease detail.