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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030 Projector Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030
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Street Price: $873
MSRP:$849
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:15,000:1
Lumens:2000
Weight: 6.4 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:5,000 Hrs
6,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$99.00
Warranty:2 year
Connectors:  Composite, RGB, HDMI, HDMI / MHL, USB (x2), RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1080p/50, 576i, 576p

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030
1080p Home Video Projector Review

Bill Livolsi, August 27, 2013

Performance

Light output. Epson's projectors often exceed their lumen specifications and the Home Cinema 2030 is no exception. The projector's Dynamic mode, which is the brightest mode available, measures 2172 lumens on our test sample out of a rated 2,000 lumens maximum. Dynamic mode has a green bias, making it ill-suited to content that requires accurate color such as HD film and video. But it does a good job of cranking out the lumens for, say a Super Bowl party, when image brightness is more important than color fidelity.

Living Room mode, at 1670 lumens, has none of Dynamic mode's green push but it is still cooler than normal, measuring around 7800K average in our color temperature tests. This cool tint can help to cancel out the yellow tint of ambient light created by incandescent lightbulbs or compact fluorescent bulbs made to mimic incandescents.

Cinema mode measured 1441 lumens on our test unit, and in factory default settings has an average color temperature of about 7200K. The Home Cinema 2030 has full color controls, so it is relatively easy to balance Cinema mode for the ideal 6500K color temperature. Doing so on our test unit did not result in much loss of light output. Cinema mode has the best dynamic range and black level of any default image mode, as well, making it the best choice for film and video when the room lights are off.

For true dark-room home theater viewing, all of the Home Cinema 2030's image modes are more than bright enough. If you wish to lower brightness, say to use the projector on a smaller screen, reducing lamp power cuts light output by 32%, bringing Cinema mode to 948 lumens on our projector.

Contrast. Home video projectors do not produce the deep, dark black levels of home theater projectors because they are intended to be used in ambient light. However, some home video projectors have potential for crossover home theater use, and the Home Cinema 2030 is one of them. It includes an automatic iris which is active by default in Cinema mode, reduces black levels in dark scenes, giving the impression of overall higher contrast. The Home Cinema 2030's iris is quick and quiet during operation, though it can be heard if you sit very close to the projector itself and have the sound turned off.

As far as dynamic range is concerned, the Home Cinema 2030 turns in a respectable performance, though it does not quite match some of its similarly-priced competition based around DLP technology. The Home Cinema 2030 preserves shadow detail well and does not crush blacks or blow out highlights, but dynamic range is not the projector's strongest suit.

Color. In factory default calibrations, the Home Cinema 2030's Cinema mode has a slight bias toward blue and green, resulting in an average color temperature around 7200K. This is fine in rooms with some ambient light, but if you want an ideally balanced picture for viewing in the dark, you may want to make a few adjustments.

Epson Home Cinema 2030 RGB levels, Cinema mode, factory defaults
Epson Home Cinema 2030 RGB levels, Cinema mode, factory defaults

The Home Cinema 2030 includes full color controls. White balance is adjusted using the projector's RGB Gain/Offset controls while color gamut can be calibrated using RGBCMY hue/saturation/brightness controls. The latter require a color meter and some software, so most folks will opt to leave them alone. It doesn't hurt that the Home Cinema 2030's default color gamut is not too far from the Rec. 709 HD standard.

Epson Home Cinema 2030 color gamut
Epson Home Cinema 2030 color gamut

On our test unit, white balance required a boost to red in both the low end (Offset) and the high end (Gain). After that, calibration became a matter of balancing red against blue and making sure green was not overdriven. Our final calibration looked like this:

Epson Home Cinema 2030
Cinema Mode
Gain
R8
G2
B-3
Offset
R7
G-4
B7

Epson Home Cinema 2030 RGB levels, Cinema mode, calibrated
Epson Home Cinema 2030 RGB levels, Cinema mode, calibrated

Input lag. The Epson Home Cinema 2030 has two options for image processing: Fine and Fast. Fine processing is the default, and for film and video it is the best option. However, gamers looking for the lowest possible input lag can make use of Fast processing to cut lag times significantly.

Cinema mode measured 100 milliseconds, or 6 frames, of lag using Fine processing. For gamers, this is unacceptable. Even something as simple as moving and clicking a mouse can make this level of lag readily apparent to even the casual user. However, switching to Fast processing results in 34ms (2 frames) of lag, which is faster than most home theater projectors. Many gamers will find 34ms acceptable, though there are projectors that are a bit faster still, getting down to 1 or 1.5 frames of lag.

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Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
  Conclusion

Reader Comments(36 comments)

Posted May 13, 2014 11:58:42 AM

By Richard

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Hi,

i brought this projector and put in the rgb settings above which did improve the image quality but i can see the yellows and blues are out do you have the RGBCMY settings for this projector?

Posted May 1, 2014 8:39:06 AM

By PRG

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I own this projector and it is ceiling mounted. It certainly wasn't the easiest, in fact out of my 3 PJ's it was the most difficult, but certainly nothing that can't be handled. Get your measurements right the first time. And be aware that there are no forgiving adjustments with this PJ, either physical or mechanical. If you have the option, mount the PJ before your screen. it might help slightly with lining things up. Now that its up there, I couldn't be happier. And ,my wife appreciates the brightness:) Shadow detail not the best, but its good enough to where I don't notice its shortcomings. I've seen some questions about fan noise, and int the eco modes, it is very quiet. it is right above our heads and hardly ever notice it. Once in bright mode, it does get quite loud. But I usually only do that for a sporting event in daylight hours when guests are over. I am seeing it online and around town for $800. That's a steal. I paid $200 more and feel its a bargain even at that point. I went from 408p>720p>1080p btw, the 3d is cool too. Works better than anything I have seen in the Theaters.

Posted Apr 7, 2014 12:28:55 PM

By Joe

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I have been trying to get an answer to the same question. Did you have any luck?

Posted Mar 12, 2014 7:21:18 PM

By Vick

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I am looking for a ceiling adjustable mount for this projector. Any recommendations? Thanks

Posted Mar 7, 2014 4:51:38 PM

By Spectre

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BHall--your negative comments have nothing to do with the actual projector!!! They are all about the previously installed ceiling mount in your home, this site's online calculator and the manufacturer's instruction manual--which by the way, is all they need to provide. It's up to YOU to do your homework and research the best way to mount it--Google is FREE. Please don't bash a product over preexisting circumstances and lack of research.

Posted Mar 7, 2014 4:44:10 PM

By Spectre

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You just need to make a list of features you want, then look for a projector that has them. Make sure to read reviews. Viewing outside at night requires less light, but I'd still go with 1500+ lumens. Also, make sure it has "tabletop" mounting capability. You also might want to consider a short throw projector. Just do your homework.

Posted Jan 25, 2014 11:26:41 PM

By Bruce L.

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I got my Epson 2030 less than a month ago. I have had an Epson Powerlite 705HD for the past 4 years and have been happy with it so decided to upgrade to the 2030. The only problem I'm finding with the 2030 is that I can't change the Aspect ratio. It's always set to the normal mode and the other options are grayed out. I have a Sony Blu Ray player connected to the Projector via HDMI cable. I realize that you can't change aspect in 3D mode, I'm unable to change it in the 2D mode. My old 705HD could change to any (16x9,Full,Zoom,Native) of the ratios at any time. I was told by a tech at Epson that this is normal when you connect your player using the HDMI input, and he told me that my Powerlite 705HD should NOT be able to change aspect ration hooked up the same way but it has for the past 4 years. Any help would be appreciated.

Posted Jan 14, 2014 1:06:12 PM

By Wayne

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Can an IR emitter be used with the epson 2030/2000? I have ps3 3d glasses I'd like to use with it? Anybody?

Posted Jan 12, 2014 2:32:37 PM

By Nyraiderfan

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I received the epason 2030 for Christmas with an ezcinema 100 pull down screen the image is great but even though I have the image perfect on the screen their seems to be another image behind the picture image which is a distorted white rectangular image that projects off the screen on the top right and on the left side of the screen now I have my projector set off to the left side of the screen using the keystone adjustment the verticals is at 10 and the horizontal is at 40 so I'm wondering why I'm seeing the white light of the projector screen even though my image is perfectly on the screen? Does anyone have any idea on why this white image is off the screen even though my picture image is perfectly on the screen? could it be that I have the projector to the left of the screen and using the keystone? Or is my projector defective? Any help would be greatly appreciated .

Posted Jan 12, 2014 10:10:39 AM

By Nyraiderfan

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If you are hooked up with a HDMI cable then your device and player should sinc automatically. I am also using the PS3 and hooked up a sound bar so my HDMI goes from my PS3 and in to the sound bar then another HDMI comes out of the sound bar and into my Epson 2030 and everything sinc's simultaneously . Now maybe your glasses are not compatible with your projection. I'm using the ssg3100 that I was using from my 2011 Samsung plasma and they work fine, another thing to consider is maybe your battery is dying in your glasses which will make your glasses lose sinc.

Posted Jan 11, 2014 3:56:34 AM

By michaelcasdf

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Hey I figured out the lag problem for the ps3 and or gaming in general question. You have to set the setting to fast instead of fine in the menu options under the signal tab. Fixed my gaming experience right away. Hope you have as much fun as I'm having with this wonderful product! :-)

Posted Jan 6, 2014 2:43:03 PM

By Chipmonk

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I have the Epson 2030, I was excited to try out the 3D feature, but I am having problems. I have the projector hooked up to my PS3 and have Samsung glasses that seemed to sync at one point, but the error message that my player couldn't detect my 3D compatible viewing device kept showing up. I tried hitting the 2d/3d button with no better results. I tried updating my PS3. What could be my problem, and how do I fix it?

Posted Dec 29, 2013 9:59:30 AM

By John Ianiro

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My wife has also given me the EPSON 2030 for Christmas with an Elite ezcinema 100 inch pull up screen and all I can say is......WOW!!!! This projector rivals my Sony 52 inch LCD and my Samsung 59 inch plasma. You need to see the 3d in order to believe how good it really is....I would've paid twice the price for this projector if I didn't know any better. Thanks to the reviews on Projector Central, I picked out "what I believe" is the best projector for the money. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE.

Posted Dec 22, 2013 8:10:01 AM

By Adam Baldwin

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I got the 2030 as a Christmas gift from the wife. First off this is my first projector so my expectations were low but I did do my research before and wanted a quality 1080p projector. This projector exceeded my expectations . The picture quality is excellent and matches my flat screen 52 inch in my living room. This projector is easy to use as you can essentially get it running and formatted with little to no instructions reading. The cool factor of this projector is at level 10 as you have a 200 inch beautiful TV screen out of the box. Playing Maddden football and music videos is awesome now! I recommend this projector! A+

Posted Dec 16, 2013 7:29:01 PM

By Drew Martin

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Hey Scott, I am in a very similar situation. Did you get any answers on what projector to get? I also want to use it at home but want to pull it off the shelf to use it outside at our "Drive-In"! A 8 ft X 12 ft screen about 25 feet away from the projector.

God Bless! Drew

Posted Nov 30, 2013 10:02:33 PM

By Michael

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I have serious lag time with my epson 2030 while playing ps3 at 4 players in the same time. Does anybody have suggestion that could reducethis problem?

Posted Nov 23, 2013 2:45:09 PM

By Jim

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Have you had any luck with this question? I have the same scenario. Cheers

Posted Oct 24, 2013 9:09:08 PM

By Scott

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I'm a novice to projectors, but want to start an outdoor movie night so friends can all come sit on the lawn under the stars and watch classic films. I purchased a Camp Chef OS132 (132" SCREEN) for this project, and need to know what specs I will need in a projector in order to get a decent movie experience outdoors. Any help would be appreciated. (I don't demand perfection)

Posted Oct 17, 2013 11:09:06 AM

By Bill Livolsi

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Chris F - You should check out our new shootout article, "Best Video Projectors Under $1000." I think you'll find that it answers your question.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/best_projectors_under_$1000.htm

Posted Oct 17, 2013 10:58:09 AM

By Chris F

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So is this my best bet for a low light budget home cinema room? I see they suggest the BenQ W1070 at thewirecutter(http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-1000-projector/)

What projector currently reigns king for a dark room under $100?

Thanks for any help!

Posted Oct 4, 2013 6:31:00 PM

By BHall

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I got this projector a couple weeks and I'm a little mixed. I inherited an Optoma Pro 260X from the previous home owner, and it crapped out after 5 months (no older than 9 months of total use) so I didn't want any of that. After reading this review in particular,I went with this projector. The picture quality, especially the black levels, is much better (don't know what you're missing until you see better) and compares decently to most flat screens despite the obviously larger image size. I haven't tried out 3D yet, but I am definitely looking forward to it!

Now for the bad. All of the placement troubles are accurate. The previous owner had that crappy projector, but a great set up. 100" screen and the projector was discretely hidden behind the viewing area with a ceiling mount, which I was planning on using. Problem is the mount was about 3 feet too far back for the limited zoom. It is also incredibly difficult to get it aligned properly. A millimeter here or there and it throws the image off noticeably, so I've been going nuts trying to mount it without the use of keystone (using a tabletop mount for now).

The other huge pain in the a$$ is the throw calculator on this site doesn't indicate how far from the ceiling it needs to be, and the Epson site's calculator doesn't even have this model yet. On top of that, the utterly useless (and I can't emphasize how useless) online manual doesn't have any instructions for ceiling mounting, aside from telling you how to turn the image upside down.

I will admit I have never had a projector before the ill-fated Optoma and this Epson, so I'm no expert, but this has been frustrating. The picture is very good, but I also can't find out if this natively displays 1080p/24Hz. It "supports" that format, but is it scaled? Blu Ray's do look great and don't have much shudder, so I think it does.

Bottom-line is if you know what you're doing when it comes to projector setup, this is a great buy. If you are a novice with projectors, yet an electronics perfectionist like me, be prepared to be incredibly frustrated

Posted Oct 2, 2013 9:42:21 PM

By Chris B.

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RE: Epson 2030

If I buy this one it will be the third projector we have had, what keeps the brakes on from buying this is the throw angle. Can someone help me on this ???

Here are my numbers:

Throw distance: 14 ft

Ceiling Mount: 73" from floor

Ceiling Height: 78"

Top of Screen: 75.5"

Am I going to see half the image on the ceiling???

Posted Sep 20, 2013 3:46:11 PM

By Bill Livolsi

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Hi folks,

We are preparing a shootout of 1080p projectors under $1000, and the Epson 2030 will be included in that comparison.

In the meantime, here are answers to some of your other questions.

Chris: the Epson 3020 has two 10W speakers. Compared to most projectors, that is a "sound system."

johnny: the optoma DLP projectors you mention are two models we have yet to review, so we cannot comment on comparative benefits. However, you can answer your own throw distance question by using our Projection Calculator Pro. The link is in the sidebar.

praethian: The 2030 does have a bypass -- switch Image Processing to "fast." Unfortunately, it's still not the single-frame delay we were hoping for.

Sis: glad you enjoy it!

Dust&Bones: the BenQ W1070 is very fast for video games and costs about the same.

Dan S: it sounds like you're the perfect customer for the Epson 8350. It lacks 3D, but so does your current projector, and the 8350 will blow the AE900 out of the water.

Posted Sep 20, 2013 7:23:15 AM

By Dan S

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I'm not sure that I get Epson's marketing strategy with the 2030. The under $1000 pricing, along with a very bright & sharp image will surely be noticed by a lot of prospective buyers. However, I wonder how many units will be sold given the extremely limited placement options: no lens shift, the unusual (that's an understatement) throw angle, and a 1.2x zoom. My bias here is that I have a fading Panasonic ae900u on a 15 inch-wide shelf built into the wall 5 ft high, behind the couch, projecting 15 feet onto a 8 foot wide screen.... a very nicely centered and proportioned set-up. Sure, $1000 sounds great, but if it cost $200 more and had a 1.6x zoom, a little lens shift, and got rid of that ultra-high throw angle, I would buy it in a second. Given it's compact design, I'd bet it would give the Panasonic ar100 some serious competition, given that projector's mammoth size.

Posted Sep 19, 2013 1:11:02 PM

By Dust&Bones

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Hello, this model is it a good option for the video game, including online? Otherwise what other models (3LCD or DLP) in this price range that have better latency and are therefore more efficient. thank you

Posted Sep 19, 2013 10:56:44 AM

By JulioGF

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Where can I buy this projector in Miami Beach?

Posted Sep 11, 2013 6:11:55 PM

By Sis

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This projector just arrived at our house. We've had two other projectors in the past. This projector has stunning colors and bright whites. 3D is incredible. The noise level is low. We've had aSony VLP and it was like a train running. I cannot remember the other brand we had before the Sony. We are pleased with this especially the price. Excellent projector!!

Posted Sep 9, 2013 1:48:26 PM

By Jheeoh

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I am planning to purchase HC2030 or HC8350. HC2030 looks more affordable projector with decent functions and performance. I am wondering 2D image qualities of these two projectors. If the image quality is not noticeable, HC2030 may be good choice.

Posted Sep 6, 2013 12:30:06 PM

By praethian

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The only thing preventing me from buying one right now is the input lag. If it was halved (single frame) then I would have no issues using it to be my regular display. I don't see why they can't just have an optional by-pass (it could even be a separate hdmi port) and disable all image processing/etc and let that be performed on the source, to the best of it's abilities.

Posted Sep 4, 2013 5:25:48 PM

By clay

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Yeah, how does this compare to the competition? HD131xe, HD25e, and the W1070?

Posted Sep 3, 2013 8:06:57 PM

By davidm

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It'd be great if every projectorcentral review could cover issues like fan noise consistently. For any sort of projector, it can really ruin the experience, whether it's drowning out subtle dialogue or frequencies of music. The Epson 8350 is one of the only sub $2000 projectors with low noise levels, no idea about this model from this review.

Posted Aug 31, 2013 7:34:15 PM

By Lucious Bappa Rozario

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Projctor is good bur price high for our country.

Posted Aug 28, 2013 6:08:40 PM

By johnny

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how does it compare to the optoma hd25e? what about compared to optoma hd131xe??

contrast? color? is there horizontal and vertical keystone?

3LCD vs DLP? how is it different in this comparison?

What about throw distance? which would need a greater distance for a 100' screen?

Posted Aug 28, 2013 1:55:57 PM

By Chris

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"It lacks the 3020's longer zoom lens, higher contrast ratio, and more powerful sound system, but it retains the core functionality and image quality that made the Home Cinema 3020 a successful home video projector."

How does a projector have a "sound system"?

Posted Aug 28, 2013 10:33:09 AM

By Grayson

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How does this compare to the BenQ W1070?

Tate, I read elsewhere that the Epson 8350 has better black levels, but isn't as bright.

Posted Aug 28, 2013 10:29:51 AM

By Tate

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How does the 2D image quality compare to the similarly-priced Epson 8345? I'm looking for a good value in a HT setting for gaming and film.

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