The Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 4030 is a brand new projector in Epson's home theater line-up that does not replace or upgrade any existing projectors. Instead, it is in many ways a spiritual successor to 2010's Pro Cinema 9350. The Pro Cinema 4030 is a low-cost projector in a Pro-level package for those who want the professional installation experience but cannot afford the step up to the 6030UB.
The 4030 is a capable projector for both 2D and 3D home theater. At $2,499, the Pro Cinema 4030 includes both the projector and what we're calling Epson's "Pro package," a collection of extras such as a spare lamp, Chief ceiling mount, three-year warranty, and cable cover that add considerable value to the package. While the 4030 faces stiff competition from projectors both near and below its asking price, it is a solid choice for entry-level home theater.
The Viewing Experience
Like the Pro Cinema 6030UB, the Pro Cinema 4030 is a matte black projector with a centrally-mounted 2.1:1 zoom lens. In a blacked-out theater room, the 4030 practically disappears. Such a room is where the 4030 will look its best; its deep black level benefits from any steps you can take to reduce both ambient and reflected light in your viewing space.
In such a space, the ideal screen material for the 4030 is white with a mild positive gain. We performed our testing using the Cima Neve 1.1 from Stewart Filmscreen, which fits these criteria and proved to be a very good match for the projector.
Watching 2D high definition content, the 4030 produces a polished picture that has plenty of pop. The projector's factory settings are not as impressive as those of the 6030UB, but the 4030 shares the 6030UB's excellent calibration controls and is relatively easy to tune up. After calibration, the Pro Cinema 4030 has crisp highlights that are not clipped and deep shadows that nevertheless do not smudge together. The projector's auto iris is quiet and highly effective, reducing illumination in darker scenes and improving black level when it is most needed. The gamut is very near to the Rec. 709 standard for high-definition content, and white balance is quite close to 6500K across the entire grayscale.
3D on the 4030 shows no signs of crosstalk or instability, and the picture has a strong 3D effect through the included RF 3D glasses. Two dedicated 3D color modes (3D Dynamic and 3D Cinema) allow you to maintain separate calibrations for different types of 3D content. In general, the 4030's 3D modes feature well-saturated color and excellent brightness, making bright, large-screen 3D a possibility.
Watching standard-definition content on HD displays can be painful at times due to a lack of resolution and detail. While there's no true fix for this, the 4030 does include Super Resolution. Super Resolution enhances fine image detail and makes SD content appear sharper and cleaner. If you have a large DVD collection that you haven't upgraded to Blu-ray, give Super Resolution a try and see if it helps to perk up some of those old movies.