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Epson Pro Cinema 6030UB Home Theater Projector Review

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Performance
Features
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Intended Use:
Home Theater
Epson Pro 6030UB Projector Epson Pro 6030UB
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Street Price: $3,999
MSRP:$3,499
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:600,000:1
Lumens:2400
Weight: 18.4 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:2.1x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:4,000 Hrs
5,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$299.00
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI (x2), RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576p

Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB
Home Theater Projector Review

Bill Livolsi, November 15, 2013
ProjectorCentral.com

The Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB sits at the top of Epson's classic home theater projector line. As in previous years, Epson's Pro Cinema line is sold through specialized dealers and custom installers, whereas their Home Cinema line is sold in open distribution via Internet-based vendors. That can make the 6030UB a bit more difficult to track down, but it's worth the search.

Physically, the Pro Cinema 6030UB is almost identical to the Home Cinema 5030UB with a few small changes. However, the addition of anamorphic stretch mode gives the 6030UB the ability to display movies in 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen, something the 5030UB cannot do. Add an extra year of warranty, a spare lamp, a ceiling mount and cable cover, along with support from the pros who sell them, and the end result is an outstanding value for $3499.

Editor's note: Since the Home Cinema 5030UB and Pro Cinema 6030UB are nearly identical in certain respects, some content from our Home Cinema 5030UB review has been reproduced in this article when appropriate. However, all measurements, calibrations, charts, and graphs used in this article use data generated from the Pro Cinema 6030UB and are not reproductions of data from the 5030UB. - Bill Livolsi

The Viewing Experience

The 6030UB is a feature-rich projector, to be sure, but the real draw is its excellent image quality in 2D and 3D. In short, the 6030UB produces the best picture we've ever seen from an Epson home theater projector.

The Pro Cinema 6030UB is meant to be used in a home theater, which means it looks best when you take steps to reduce both ambient and reflected light in the viewing space. The 6030UB is more than bright enough for such an environment, so a screen with mild positive gain like the Stewart Cima Neve 1.1 gain white screen is just about ideal. Black level is already very deep and light output is highly adjustable, so the 6030UB does not require the black-boosting abilities of a gray screen.

In 2D, the 6030UB's image is natural and smooth, giving the image a true-to-life quality that can be hard to describe. Highlights are bright, but not blown out, while shadow detail is excellent and overall dynamic range makes the image appear to pop off the screen. Black level has long been a strong point of Epson's home theater projectors, and it is as deep as it has ever been once the 6030UB's automatic iris is turned on. The Pro Cinema 6030UB shares the great color performance of its predecessors, with good color saturation and comprehensive color adjustment controls. The projector's factory configurations need a little bit of fine-tuning, but this isn't unusual in home theater projectors.

The 6030UB produces a 3D image that allows for large-screen 3D display without compromising brightness. The projector has three 3D color modes that can be fine-tuned independently. 3D viewing is made more pleasant thanks to bright, well-saturated colors and good shadow detail.

If you still watch a lot of DVDs or other standard definition media, technologies like Frame Interpolation and Super Resolution improve image quality and give new life to SD material. And while no amount of image processing can turn SD into HD, the Home Cinema 6030UB can clean up standard-definition material enough to make it easier on your eyes, now that you're used to high definition.

One big draw of the 6030UB is its ability to accept an anamorphic lens. Using such a lens, the 6030UB's 1.78:1 native image is stretched horizontally into the 2.39:1 super-wide aspect ratio used by many movies. When paired with a 2.39:1 screen, this allows those movies to be displayed without letterboxing -- the dreaded black bars at the top and bottom of the image. It also allows the projector's full pixel matrix to be used, albeit at the cost of a 1:1 pixel match, and can increase image brightness slightly since the entire imaging area of the chip is used. This capability is unique to the 6030UB in Epson's home theater line; both the 4030 and 5030UB lack the ability to apply anamorphic stretch.

We tested the 6030UB with the CineVista lens from Panamorph. The CineVista is an anamorphic lens designed for those on a budget who still want ultra-wide home theater. The package for Epson projectors is called the CV-E100. It sells for $1,995 and includes a mounting plate that mates it to the 6030UB. The mount plate requires that the projector be ceiling-mounted, but the 6030UB includes a ceiling mount.

For a direct comparison, we put the 6030UB with CineVista lens up against the 5030UB with its image zoomed up to the same size. When watching 2.39:1 content, the 6030UB's image is slightly brighter (about 10%) and has markedly less digital noise in the picture. Pixel structure is slightly smoothed, giving the image a film-like appearance. On the other hand, the 5030UB appears to have higher contrast, and fine detail can appear slightly sharper when standing close to the screen. From normal viewing distances (anything more than one screen width), this difference in detail is much harder to detect, while the smoothness and increased brightness of the 6030UB's image remain perceptible.

The CineVista is a fixed lens; it does not move in and out of the light path based on what type of content you are viewing. As a result, the projector must horizontally compress 16:9 and 4:3 content in order to view them properly once the CineVista is installed. In these instances, the 5030UB looks sharper, brighter, and clearer than the 6030UB with CineVista, because it is using more of the projector's pixel matrix to display the image. However, this isn't a limitation of the 6030UB as much as it is a design decision of the CineVista made to reduce costs and make anamorphic theater more affordable. Panamorph does offer several lenses with automated transport sleds including the UH480 ($7,250 with transport) and the DC1 ($10,500 with transport), though these obviously increase the cost of the system overall. A fixed lens like the CineVista can still be a great idea, especially if most of the movies you watch are shot in the ultra-widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which has become increasingly popular over the last decade. This includes most recent Hollywood blockbusters and high-budget action and drama movies of the past few years.

Setup and Configuration

The Pro Cinema 6030UB is one of the most flexible projectors on the market when it comes to installation and placement, featuring a 2.1:1 manual zoom lens with horizontal and vertical lens shift, both of which have extensive range. This opens up a variety of placement options. The 6030UB includes a ceiling mount as part of the asking price, making a ceiling mount the preferred method of installation for this projector. The extensive zoom and lens shift range make it easy to target a pre-existing screen. Combined with a retractable screen, a ceiling mount can create a "disappearing theater" which may be an advantage if you are installing in a multi-purpose room.

You could also place the projector on a rear shelf to minimize the use of lens shift and achieve the best possible brightness uniformity. The projector can be placed near the rest of your equipment, so you won't need long-run HDMI cables. It is a simple, effective way to position your projector that requires zero time spent on a ladder, though it often requires using the telephoto end of the zoom lens, which can reduce light output by up to 44%.

Table placement is an option as well. The 6030UB can display a 100" diagonal 16:9 image from 9' 9", so even mid-sized rooms can accommodate large screen sizes. Placement on or below a table keeps the projector out of the way but accessible, while providing the same cable length benefits as a rear shelf mount.

If you plan to use the 6030UB with an anamorphic lens, it is still relatively easy to calculate throw distance and image size. Since the anamorphic lens only stretches the image horizontally, the projector's image height in 16:9 at a given throw distance will match its image height when using 2.39:1. Simply multiply image height by 2.39 to obtain image width. As an example, the 6030UB displays a 100" diagonal 16:9 image from 9' 9" to 20' 10". This image has a height of 49". At the same distance, the equivalent 2.39:1 image has a 127" diagonal and a 117" width.

The Pro Cinema 6030UB's ideal operation mode for home theater is called THX. After calibration, with the lens at its widest angle setting, our test unit produced 695 lumens with the lamp set to full power and 529 lumens at low power. In a darkened theater room, this is enough light for a 120" diagonal 1.3-gain 16:9 screen at full power, or more than enough for a 100" diagonal screen at low power. Larger screen sizes are easily attainable using the 6030UB's Cinema, Natural, or Living Room image modes, or a color-adjusted Dynamic mode.

While the 6030UB is great for home theater on screens of 120" diagonal and above, there is a case to be made for a 100" diagonal screen of about 1.1 gain. In THX mode, even accounting for 20-30% light loss from using the center of the projector's zoom range, the picture is bright and enticing at 100 inches. Then, when switching to 3D, the 6030UB's 3D Dynamic mode is bright enough to give you a 3D picture that actually gets 16 foot-Lamberts to your eyes. This is something that few other home theater projectors can accomplish, and it means you get 2D and 3D pictures of almost equivalent brightness.

Common Core - Epson's Home Theater Projectors

The following items are common to all three of Epson's new home theater projectors, and so represent the common core of Epson's projector technology. Unsurprisingly, these features are more or less a list of reasons why many people buy Epson home theater projectors.

Placement flexibility. Epson's projectors feature a 2.1:1 manual zoom/focus lens with horizontal and vertical lens shift, which is also manually controlled. The zoom lens can create a 120" diagonal 16:9 image from throw distances between 11'9" to 25' 1". The lens shift has a total range of 3 image heights and 2 image widths, with the middle position putting the center of the lens at the center of the screen. The range of the lens shift is roughly oval-shaped, so you cannot reach maximum horizontal and maximum vertical shift simultaneously.

Super Resolution. Epson's smart sharpening system, called Super Resolution, can increase the appearance of fine detail. The system identifies blurred portions of the source image and selectively applies sharpening to these areas, then compares the sharpened image to the original and attempts to minimize the differences in order to reduce artifacts. Super Resolution shows improvement compared to last year's implementation, leading to an increased perception of detail with fewer artifacts overall. When taken too far, it can still cause mild ringing or artificiality, but a setting of 2 or 3 (out of 5) is effective while still being subtle.

Full HD 3D. Epson's 3D system is as hassle-free as it gets. The system uses radio-frequency glasses synchronization to eliminate interference with remote control signals. The projectors have multiple dedicated 3D viewing presets which can be calibrated independently, allowing you to save more than one calibration for 3D viewing. This makes it easy to have a bright setting for television and animation and a more subtle, reserved setting for film.

The 3D Glasses (model ELP-GS03) are lightweight and comfortable, and their batteries are rechargeable over USB (a cable is included with each pair). Each projector comes with two pairs of 3D glasses, and additional eyewear costs $99 from Epson.

3D brightness can be adjusted to one of three levels, which allows the user to trade between image brightness and crosstalk elimination based on the content being viewed. The default setting is Medium, which allows 25% total light transmission. Medium brightness effectively eliminates crosstalk in all but the most difficult content, and was our preferred setting throughout testing. Low brightness, at 18.5% light transmission, removes any trace of crosstalk whatsoever, but also restricts screen size due to less light making it to your eyes. High brightness, at 29.5% transmission, is great for 3D content where crosstalk is less of a concern. While we did not switch away from Medium very often, we appreciated having the option available for those times when the content demanded a different approach.

B&W Cinema. Black and white movies look their best at around 5500K color temperature, which is close to the color temperature of the commercial projection systems in use back in the 1940's and 50's. When you try to watch them in a mode that has been optimized for color films, they end up looking cold and uninteresting. The Epson 4030, 5030UB, and 6030UB all include the "B&W Cinema" image preset which is intended to display classic black and white films as they were originally seen in theaters. It's a big help when you're a fan of the classics but don't want to adjust your Cinema calibration every time you watch a black and white film.

Picture in Picture. As the name implies, Picture in Picture (PIP) displays a small secondary image from a separate source in a corner of the larger main image. Epson's home theater projectors have had PIP capability for years, but this year the system is able to use HDMI inputs for both images. This is a big deal -- in the past, projectors typically had one set of HDMI circuitry, and could not use digital sources for both inputs. The use of two digital sources for PIP is a first for Epson home theater projectors and may in fact be unique in the market today.

Lamp. All three projectors use the same 230-watt E-TORL lamp, which is rated for 4,000 hours of use at full power and 5,000 hours in Eco-mode. Replacement lamps cost $299 each.

Low to moderate fan noise. Perhaps due to the use of a relatively low-wattage lamp in a large chassis, none of Epson's new home theater models creates much audible noise in eco-mode. Eco-mode is nearly silent, and sitting any farther than a foot away from the projector means you won't hear it running. In full lamp power mode the fan noise can be noticeable during quiet interludes in a film, but it is low in pitch and not overly distracting.

Warranty. Each projector has, at minimum, a two-year warranty which includes 90 days of lamp coverage. The Pro Cinema 6030 and 4030 extend this warranty to three years. Up to two years of additional warranty coverage is available for purchase on the 5030, if desired.

Automatic iris. Epson has perfected the automatic iris by creating a system that is both effective and unobtrusive. The iris deepens black levels in scenes with low illumination. It has two settings, Normal and High Speed, with High Speed being the more aggressive of the two -- the iris in High Speed appears to react more quickly than in Normal mode.

Connectivity. All three projectors have two HDMI ports, 3-RCA component input, a 12V trigger, and an RS-232C port for external command and control. The Home Cinema 5030 has a wireless model, the 5030UBe, which also include a WirelessHD transmitter with 5 additional HDMI inputs and MHL compatibility.

Calibration and customization. The menu system gives the user total control over color, contrast, and gamma. Each projector features full RGB Gain/Bias controls for grayscale adjustment as well as a full color management system for fine-tuning gamut. Each projector also has at least some amount of control over gamma. Ten user memory locations allow you to save different calibrations for the same image mode without overwriting your previous settings, and these memory slots can be renamed as well.

Panel alignment. The panel alignment system can correct for convergence errors, which are almost an inevitability in a three-chip light engine. As the projector is used and components age, there may be some tiny shifts in the positioning of the LCD panels used to create the image. Using the panel alignment system, you can correct for these shifts without sending the projector out for service, thereby reducing downtime and expense.

Key Features of the Epson 6030UB

2D picture quality. The best reason to purchase the 6030UB, hands down, is image quality. The 2D picture from the 6030UB is high in contrast, impressively three-dimensional, and after calibration has spot-on accurate color. Thanks to an aggressive and effective automatic iris, the 6030UB offers the best black level performance found in any projector in its price range, period. Detail is sharp and clear even without the use of Super Resolution, though that technology can make detail pop even more than it already does. Frame interpolation is very effective at reducing judder in 24p material, and shows few artifacts.

3D picture quality. If you care about 3D theater, the 6030UB delivers a compelling experience. The 3D image from the 6030UB has no noticeable flicker, almost zero crosstalk, and is bright enough to display on large screens. That last point is crucial; insufficient brightness is a major cause of headaches and eye strain when watching 3D movies and video. The 6030UB's 3D Dynamic mode is bright enough to power a 100" diagonal 1.3 gain screen at over 16 fL. That measurement was obtained using the Low 3D brightness setting and already accounts for light loss from the 3D glasses. Using those same settings, the Medium brightness setting is just about bright enough for a 120" diagonal screen. To top things off, Frame Interpolation is available in all 3D image modes.

The "Pro Cinema" package. The Pro Cinema 6030UB includes a number of extras not included with the Home Cinema 5030UB, which we've taken to calling the "Pro Cinema" package. These include a Chief ceiling mount, a spare lamp, a cable cover, and a three-year warranty instead of the standard two. As a result, the 6030UB has an MSRP of $3,499 versus the $2,599 of the 5030UB.

As it happens, Epson does sell all of those accessories separately. If you were to purchase an Epson 5030UB ($2,599) and then add a spare lamp ($299), Chief RPA Elite ceiling mount kit ($296.99), cable cover ($50), and an additional one year repair/exchange extended service plan ($279.99), you'd end up spending $3,524.98. Compare this to the $3,499 price of the 6030UB, and then remember that you still wouldn't have anamorphic lens compatibility without an outboard image processor. The 6030UB costs more, but that doesn't mean it lacks value.

While this isn't quantifiable, there is one additional benefit to purchasing the 6030UB. Since the projector is sold through custom installation professionals and specialized dealers rather than Internet vendors, you get the benefit of a local point of contact in the event that something goes wrong or you have a question about the product that isn't answered in the manual. In other words, you get customer service from a real person you've met before.

Anamorphic Widescreen. As the only current Epson home theater projector capable of anamorphic stretch, the 6030UB has special appeal for those interested in ultra-wide 2.39:1 anamorphic cinema. In addition to the obvious lens compatibility, the 6030UB also has a 12V trigger which can be used to actuate a motorized sled and move your lens out of the light path when watching non-anamorphic content. The projector's lens is centered in the case, which can make installation easier -- and easy installation becomes doubly important when an anamorphic lens is involved due to the increased complexity of the system. The projector's long zoom and H/V lens shift can likewise make mounting easier. You can even use the projector's panel alignment system to correct for any chromatic aberration caused by the anamorphic lens, should you wish to do so. All in all, the 6030UB is a projector designed to take an anamorphic lens and make that addition as simple as possible for the user.

Frame interpolation. Frame Interpolation is a technology that reduces the appearance of judder and motion blur by adding interstitial frames to a source video signal. Frame Interpolation has three settings as well as an Off switch (it starts out disabled). Low, the most conservative setting, does not eliminate judder but also has the least noticeable digital video effect. Normal, the next setting, drastically reduces judder but can increase the appearance of DVE in some content. We found the appearance of digital video effect to be highly content-specific. Some films show DVE on Low, while others do not show much DVE even with Frame Interpolation set to High. Low is a safe all-purpose setting for reducing judder in most film and video, though, so we left FI set to Low for the majority of our testing.

ISF Certified. The Pro Cinema 6030UB is almost physically identical to the Home Cinema 5030UB, but it does carry ISF certification where the 5030UB does not. ISF Certification guarantees that the projector's controls are independent, meaning they do not affect one another -- so when you adjust white balance, for example, you will not see a shift in brightness or color saturation. The projector does not include any additional menu options or image controls as a result of this certification.

Performance

Light output. The Pro Cinema 6030UB is capable of outputting quite a bit of light or very little light, depending on the needs of the situation. On the high end of the lumen scale is Dynamic, which on our projector measured 2211 lumens with the lens at its widest angle setting. Before adjustments, Dynamic has a greenish cast, but is useful whenever maximum light output is needed. We were able to reduce the green tint to a tolerable level using the 6030UB's RGB Gain/Bias controls for the cost of about 200 lumens. The end result is a much more balanced picture that is useful in a greater number of situations.

Living Room mode, measuring 1561 lumens on our projector, has a bluish tint that pushes color temperature up to around 8000K. This cooler tone actually helps to fight ambient light, which is predominantly yellow, when the projector is used in a living room or other non-theater environment. However, Living Room is also a great mode to use if you want a bright, engaging picture that does not require a lot of fiddling with the controls. By taking the Color Temperature slider from +3 to 0, you'll end up with a picture that measures 6400K to 6600K across the grayscale with no effort on your part, though green is under-driven slightly. Making this color temperature adjustment lowers light output slightly to 1395 lumens, a decrease of about 11%.

Natural and Cinema mode, at 863 and 796 lumens, are quite similar, with only some differences in gamma and color gamut separating them from each other. Both Natural and Cinema default to low power lamp mode, though our measurements were taken with the lamp at full power.

The 6030UB also includes B&W Cinema mode. B&W Cinema is tailored for the display of black and white movies and measures 818 lumens with the lamp at full power. B&W Cinema has a color temperature around 5500K, which is ideal for black and white films.

THX mode is the projector's default image mode and our preferred setting for home theater film and video. It has more accurate color than the 6030UB's other image modes, which calibration improves even further, and the best contrast performance as well. THX mode at its factory settings measures 675 lumens with the lamp at full power and 514 lumens at low power. Our calibration, which improved both white balance and color gamut, resulted in a final light output of 529 lumens at low power and 695 lumens at full power.

Switching to low lamp power reduces light output by 25% on average, though some modes (Dynamic, Living Room) lose slightly more light while others (THX) lose slightly less. Note that in THX mode, the low power lamp setting is called "Normal" while full power is called "Extra Bright." In all other image modes, low power is "ECO" and full power is "Normal."

The 6030UB's 2.1:1 zoom lens allows different amounts of light to pass depending on zoom position. The lens's wide angle position passes the maximum amount of light, which is reflected in our lumen readings above. But the maximum telephoto setting, which produces the smallest image size at a given throw distance, restricts light output by 43%. As an example, THX mode drops from 529 lumens to 302 lumens with the lamp at low power. This is important to keep in mind when mounting your projector, as a lack of brightness can impact your ability to use large screen sizes.

Contrast. The UB on the end of the 6030UB's name stands for Ultra Black, and if anything that's a modest assessment. The 6030UB has an automatic iris that effectively combines aggressive performance with unnoticeable operation, leading to the best black levels available in a home theater projector in this price range. When combined with the projector's sparkling highlights and well-defined shadow detail, the end result is a projector that can handle the most difficult Blu-ray content without breaking a sweat. The dynamic range of the 6030UB's image gives it a three-dimensional quality that makes it a real pleasure to watch.

If you want to fine-tune the 6030UB's handling of shadow detail, the projector has very good controls for gamma adjustment, allowing you to individually adjust ten points along the gamma curve. If you are more visually-minded or lack the required hardware to do a full calibration, the system will also allow you to pick a point in the image and then make adjustments from there. That can be especially helpful when you can see what's wrong in the image and want to fix it right away.

Color. When evaluating color on a home theater projector, we are looking for two things. The first is good, if not great, color performance straight out of the box. The second is the ability to fine-tune the projector until it looks even better. The Pro Cinema 6030UB delivers both.

Straight out of the box, the 6030UB defaults to THX mode. On our test unit, factory-preset THX mode has a consistent grayscale that measures about 6400K across the board, though the upper end of the grayscale is deficient in green and the shadows have too much red.


THX mode, factory settings

On our projector, we corrected for this by adding green and reducing red and blue in the highlights, and then decreasing red in the shadows to compensate for the shift brought on by our calibrations. This gave us smooth, consistent 6500K grayscale tracking across the entire spectrum.

Epson 6030UB, THX mode
Color Temperature: 6500K
Offset
Gain
Red-1Red-3
Green11Green1
Blue-2Blue0


THX mode, calibrated

The 6030UB has a full color management system, and while the gamut in THX mode wasn't far from the Rec. 709 color space to begin with, we found the system exceptionally easy to use. We ended up making a significant improvement to the 6030UB's color gamut with just a few minutes' work using our color meter.


Color gamut after calibration

Living Room, at its default settings, measures right around 8000K, but as stated earlier it can be corrected with a minor reduction of the Color Temperature control. The end result isn't nearly as precise as the THX calibration above, but it is a noticeable improvement over the factory settings.


Living Room mode with quick adjustments applied

Cinema mode can be every bit as accurate as THX mode, given a little bit of work. The factory settings of our projector give Cinema too little green, too much blue, and a color temperature that ranges between 6600K on the low end and 6800K on the high end.


Cinema mode, factory settings

After increasing green and reducing red to compensate for the shift towards blue this caused, our final Cinema calibration actually measured brighter than the factory setting. Grayscale tracking was much improved as well.

Epson 6030UB, Cinema mode
Color Temperature: 6500K
Offset
Gain
Red-14Red0
Green12Green4
Blue-8Blue-3


Cinema mode, calibrated

The Pro Cinema 6030UB is about as easy to calibrate as a projector can get. By the end of our adjustments, we were left with three accurately-calibrated image presets, each useful for different situations, that all made the projector look wonderful.

Input lag. If you're into gaming, you'll want the least input lag possible. That is achieved by switching the Image Processing control from "Fine" to "Fast." This setting is designed specifically to reduce input lag, and resulted in only 37 milliseconds of lag, which is a touch over two frames on a 60 frame per second signal. While this isn't the fastest home theater projector on the market, it is certainly a marked improvement over last year's 50 milliseconds using the same settings. Note that "Fast" processing has a softening effect on the picture that reduces the appearance of fine detail, and this reduction in apparent resolution is most visible when there is a lot of small text or other detail on the screen. Depending on what kind of game you're playing, that softness could be invisible, obvious, or anywhere in between.

If you use the projector's standard settings, which include "Fine" Image Processing, the 6030UB measures 91 milliseconds of input lag, equivalent to five and a half frames of a 60fps signal. That's slower than last year's Home Cinema 5020UB (67 ms) and equal to the Home Cinema 5010 (92ms).

Several features increase input lag even more when activated. Frame Interpolation is the worst offender at 183 milliseconds, or about 11 frames. It did not matter which level of Frame Interpolation was applied; all three settings result in the same increase. Super Resolution, on the other hand, only increases input lag to 102 milliseconds or six frames, a half-frame increase over the baseline.

The end result is that the 6030UB is faster in "Fast" mode but slower in other modes than the 5020UB was last year. Since gamers who care about input lag are unlikely to use anything but the fastest setting available, this comes out as a win for the new model.

Limitations

Manual lens controls. The 6030UB has great placement flexibility thanks to its 2.1:1 zoom lens and H/V lens shift. However, all of the projector's lens adjustments are manually operated rather than powered. This can make it more difficult to initially adjust the projector's focus, since adjustments must be made from the projector itself. When a projector has powered focus, you can make your adjustments while standing near the screen, making it easier to see what you're doing.

Grayscale adjustments shared. The 6030UB's RGB Gain/Bias adjustments are shared between image modes. In other words, if you adjust grayscale tracking in Cinema mode and then switch to Living Room mode, the RGB Gain/Bias controls will still be set to the values you added in Cinema. If you want to save independent calibrations for each mode, you'll have to use the projector's Memory settings. Luckily, there are ten of them. This restriction does not apply to the RGBCMY gamut controls, which are saved independently for each image preset.

Anamorphic restrictions. There are lots of advantages to using an anamorphic lens with the 6030UB, but using such a lens imposes its own set of restrictions as well. Most anamorphic lenses have a preferred throw distance, typically around sixteen feet, which yields peak image performance. Anamorphic lenses also make it more difficult to take advantage of the projector's impressive zoom lens and throw distance, since projecting an image that is too large for the lens can lead to pincushion or barrel distortion as well as chromatic aberration. In other words, while the Pro Cinema 6030UB can be set up to use an anamorphic lens perfectly, doing so drastically reduces your options for placement and installation. This isn't necessarily a limitation of the projector itself, but we mention it here so that readers considering such a setup are aware of the added requirements.

Conclusion

The Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB comes dangerously close to having it all. Despite the similarity with the Home Cinema 5030UB, the 6030UB is its own projector and offers its own set of benefits and downsides that you won't find on the Home model.

What is shared between the 5030UB and 6030UB is the smooth, three-dimensional, film-like quality of the projected image that creates a polished home theater experience regardless of the content you choose to display. The ability to watch anamorphic 2.39:1 films in their native aspect ratio on a giant screen is an important feature, to be sure, but the value of the 6030UB is in no way diminished even if you never make use of that feature. The added bonus of an included ceiling mount, spare lamp, and extended warranty more than justify the increased purchase price, and all in all make the 6030UB a killer value in home theater.

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