Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030
1080p Home Video Projector Review
August 27, 2013
Full HD 3D. The Home Cinema 2030 includes full 3D capabilities, so you can connect it to a 3D Blu-ray player or set-top box and start watching 3D right away. The Home Cinema 2030's 3D image quality is quite good and nearly artifact-free. The 3D image has no visible crosstalk at default settings, save in exceptionally difficult scenes, and even then the artifact is only faintly visible. 3D flicker is also largely absent.
RF 3D Glasses. The Home Cinema 2030 uses Epson's radio-frequency (RF) 3D glasses -- the same glasses used on the more expensive Home Cinema 3020 and Home Cinema 5020UB projectors. RF glasses have several advantages over infrared (IR) glasses: they do not lose synchronization as easily as IR glasses, the RF signals do not interfere with the operation of infrared remote controls, and they can be paired to a specific projector in environments where more than one projector is operating. That last benefit is only useful to people who run more than one 3D projector in a small environment, but it's something we appreciate very much during projector evaluation. The Home Cinema 2030 does not include any glasses in the box, which keeps costs lower for those who do not plan on watching 3D content. If you do decide to add 3D glasses, the Home Cinema 2030's RF emitter is internal; it does not need to be purchased separately.
MHL. One of the Home Cinema 2030's two HDMI ports has Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) functionality, allowing it to be connected to mobile and streaming devices which support this protocol. Aside from many Android smartphones, the most popular of these devices are streaming media sticks such as the Roku Streaming Stick. These devices allow you to watch content from popular Internet streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video from your projector by just plugging in a device that's about the size of a standard USB thumb drive. It does not require any external power or data connections since the MHL port itself supplies power to the device. The MHL specification also allows control of the device over HDMI-CEC, also known as HDMI Link (or any number of other names, depending on the device's manufacturer). The Home Cinema 2030's remote control includes playback and navigation buttons. If you want to use the Home Cinema 2030 as a mobile projector, the MHL port gives you a no-hassle way to get content to your projector without running any additional wires. If you are worried about sound output, fear not: the Home Cinema 2030 has stereo RCA audio output jacks, so you can easily output sound to a larger set of speakers.
Epson Home Cinema 2030 rear connection panel
USB Projection. Like previous Epson home video projectors, the Home Cinema 2030 has the ability to display image and movie files from a USB thumb drive or other connected USB device. By pressing the "slideshow" button on the remote control, the projector will search attached media for valid files and then present them in a grid view for browsing. Using this function, we were able to display JPEG and PNG images directly from the projector. This function is particularly useful for slideshows of vacation photos or other photography display. However, 1080p images are not displayed at 1:1 native resolution due to a status bar that is always present at the bottom of the image.
Onboard sound. The Home Cinema 2030 has a basic sound system on-board consisting of a 2W monaural speaker. While this lacks the power of the Home Cinema 3020's 10W stereo speakers, it is adequate for casual viewing with a small audience. More importantly, the speaker did not experience any tinny distortion until we brought it to 9/10 on the volume scale. Many competing projectors' speakers will distort at lower volume levels.
Lamp life. The Home Cinema 2030's E-TORL lamp is rated for 5,000 hours of use at full power or 6,000 hours of use in Eco mode. Replacement lamps cost only $99 from Epson.
The Home Cinema 2030 has an air filter that requires occasional replacement. However, replacement filters cost $19, and existing filters can be cleaned several times before they are due for replacement, so this cost is negligible.
Warranty. The Home Cinema 2030 comes with a two-year warranty, which also includes 90 days of coverage on the lamp. Epson's warranty coverage also includes PrivateLine, which is a toll-free customer support line that is provided free of charge for the duration of the warranty period. If your projector should require replacement during this time, Epson includes ExtraCare, an express replacement option, wherein Epson will cross-ship a replacement projector to you. Epson requires a credit card in order to hold a deposit, but upon successful completion of the swap, you are not charged anything. Epson covers the cost of the replacement projector as well as shipping in both directions.