Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB
Home Theater Projector Review
November 6, 2013
No anamorphic stretch. An anamorphic stretch mode enables the projector to vertically scale a 2.4:1 movie to fill the projector's 16:9 pixel matrix, This signal can then be horizontally stretched using an anamorphic lens to create a 2.4:1 Cinemascope format picture. With this type of set up, all 2:4 movies as well as all16:9 and 4:3 content are displayed at the same picture height, so the rig is commonly referred to as Constant Image Height (CIH). Since the 5030UB lacks an anamorphic stretch mode, you cannot use it with an anamorphic lens without adding an external video processor. Another option is stepping up to the Pro Cinema 6030UB, which includes anamorphic stretch.
Manual lens controls. The 5030UB has some of the best placement flexibility of any projector 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.
Manual adjustments also make it more difficult to use the projector's zoom to simulate an anamorphic lens and CIH setup. You can do it if the unit is shelf or table mounted, and you want to reset the zoom position when you change the aspect ratio of your subject matter. But some projectors with powered zoom lenses incorporate a feature that automatically zooms the image to a number of pre-set positions, allowing you to use the projector on a 2.4:1 screen without the cost or bother of an anamorphic lens, and without the need to manually reset the zoom when switching from 2.4 to 16:9.
No ISF certification. Epson's new Pro Cinema projectors include ISF certification, but the Home Cinema 5030UB does not. Note that the ISF-certified models do not include any additional calibration controls, as is the case on some other manufacturers' home theater projectors.
Grayscale adjustments shared. The 5030UB has excellent color controls, but there is one limitation: the projector'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.