- Extremely bright
- Built-in Android platform with authorized Netflix app
- Built-in Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
- Built-in Speaker
- Requires calibration to look its best
- 100% saturated red and green inaccuracies
- Single available HDMI port
- Pricey compared to its competition
The Epson HC 2250 is an excellent performer and perfect for a small theater room or as an entry level projector for someone interested in exploring projection without making a huge commitment.
The Epson Home Cinema 2250 (HC2250) is part of the company's 3LCD 1080p family of projectors and the successor to their previous 2150 model. The HC2250 also lives in Epson's growing family of streaming entertainment devices, which provides built in Android TV and access to multiple popular apps.
With an MSRP and current street price of $999, the HC2250 is on the higher end of the 1080p projector scale. Though, with that being said, it also offers a lot for the money and it is rare to have a projector in this price range that is able to provide these features and performance.
The 1080p HC2250 utilizes 3LCD technology, which offers equal white and color brightness and eliminates the need for a color wheel and the rainbows that are generally common to single-chip DLP projectors. If you are a viewer who is sensitive to DLP rainbows, this is an excellent alternative. Behind this, though, is Epson's UHE (ultra-high efficiency) projector lamp, which provides roughly 4,500 to 7,500 hours of life, with the latter being for ECO mode. Depending on the picture mode, this could equate to a user being able to watch this projector 8 hours a day, every day, for 2.5 years before needing to replace the bulb. Fortunately, the lamp cost is very inexpensive as well, averaging roughly $59.
The HC2250 comes packed with multiple features that make it a plug and play experience that can have you watching a movie in 10 minutes or less. Setup with the onboard Android TV platform was very simple. If you already have a Google account and you're familiar with any Google device setup it is a fairly standard procedure. After initial setup, which goes through the process of pairing the main projector remote and connecting to Wi-Fi, you can start watching content immediately through any of the streaming apps that are included. Along with the usual YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime these include Netflix, which is unusual among projectors offering the Android TV platform due to Netflix's stringent licensing policies. A second included remote is paired afterwards through the Android TV settings as a Bluetooth device. This remote serves solely as an Android TV remote for apps though it can also control the volume of the projector as well.
Placement of this projector does allow for some flexibility thanks to the inclusion of vertical lens shift (+15% above the default offset), which is also a feature that is not very common in projectors in this category. Combined with the ability to select tabletop or ceiling installation modes, a 1.6x manual zoom, and manual focus, it allows for the projector to be placed in many places other 1080p projectors in this price range cannot manage.
With the above mentioned features the HC2250 is capable of projecting images of 30 to 300 inches, however it is important to keep in mind that screen size will impact overall light output. For a 100-inch diagonal 16:9 image, the projector lens can be placed anywhere from 9'8" to 15'8" from the screen. To determine throw distance for your preferred screen size you can utilize the ProjectorCentral Epson Home Cinema 2250 projection calculator.
Automatic vertical keystone correction (+/- 30 degrees) is also provided, as is manual horizontal keystone correction (+/- 30 degrees). These may be helpful for a quick temporary setup, but as usual it is recommended to avoid keystone correction to retain the best image quality in a permanent installation.
The rear of the HC2250 has a magnetic cover that can be removed to expose a single HDMI port, a single 10-watt mono speaker, a 3.5 mm analog audio out port, and a cover which houses the included streaming device. This compartment has a second dedicated HDMI port and USB power connection. Still, if you're not using an AV receiver to switch multiple HDMI components, you may quickly run out of ports. The HDMI ports are rated to accept a 4K signal, but the projector is not compatible with HDR.
Other notable features are the A/V Mute lens cover slider on the projector itself, which is nice to have for when the projector is not in use—you simply slide this over to engage the lens cover. Bluetooth on board allows for multiple devices to be connected such as Bluetooth speakers or headphones.
Note that 3D playback is no longer supported in the HC2250 as was originally announced. Epson reports that this feature was dropped in mid-2021, along with Frame Interpolation, in order to keep this model in production through industrywide COVID-related parts shortages.
Color Modes. The HC2250 has four picture preset modes, including Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Natural, and Cinema. The memory associated with them is tied to input. This means, for example, that if the available HDMI input is calibrated those settings do not carry over to the Android TV platform apps from the streaming stick plugged into what's called the Home HDMI input.
Out of the box (OOTB) I initially began viewing various content in the default picture modes since many buyers of a projector in this price range won't likely get it calibrated. However, those users who are enthusiasts and venture into a DIY calibration will find the HC2250 offers controls that will allow it to be dialed in nicely with good results. Initial impressions were that, for a small projector, it gets very bright, though our sample had issues in most color modes with overaccentuating red and accurately displaying flesh tones. Also, none of the whites looked correct out of the box; they tended to lean towards red in Cinema, Bright Cinema, and Natural, while Dynamic, the brightest mode, was always biased towards green. I found after some brief watching that Natural provided the best picture without any changes or calibration.
The HC2250 includes a dynamic iris to optimize the image based on brightness of scenes. You're provided three options for this setting, Off, Normal, and High Speed. Off raised the entire black floor and resulted in washed out blacks. Normal and High Speed provided the same experience in detail it resolved. However, High Speed didn't make brightness adjustments any faster from what I was able to tell and functioned no differently than Normal.
Using Calman Ultimate calibration software from Portrait Displays, Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer, Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter, and Murideo 8K Seven Generator I began taking measurements. The HC2250's throw distance was 12 feet and it projected a 100-inch, 16:9 image on a reference 1.3 gain, 135-inch, 2.35:1 Stewart screen. The white point for all OOTB picture presets was very inaccurate against the industry standard D65 (6,500K) color temperature, with Bright Cinema, Natural, and Cinema pushing an extreme amount of red within the grayscale. As often happens with budget projectors, the brightest mode, Dynamic, was heavily biased towards green from roughly 30% brightness through the rest of the grayscale; red was more predominate in the darker end below 30%.
Gamma within the OOTB settings tracked from 1.2 to 1.7 in all picture modes except Natural. Natural tracked closer to a more desirable 2.2 gamma with the default value of 0 selected. Natural was also the most accurate picture preset overall OOTB, with a max error of 9.9 deltaE and an average 4.4 dE on grayscale, 7.3 dE for gamut, and 10.9 dE avg. on the Calman ColorChecker (which measures accuracy on a wide range of color swatches corresponding to skin tones, blue sky, etc.). The other three picture presets ranged from an average of 6.9 dE to 12.9 dE. With my measurements verifying what I saw from initial viewing, I settled on Natural as the mode I would calibrate. (DeltaE signifies how accurate a display's grayscale and color points are to accurate, with a dE of under 3—some say under 4—considered indistinguishable from perfect.)
Post calibration results were very good and a pleasant surprise for a projector in this price category. I targeted the production industry standard D65 white point, performed a 2-point grayscale adjustment and a full CMS (color management system) calibration for the RGBCMY primaries and secondary colors, along with setting Power Consumption to Normal, Auto Iris to Normal, and Gamma as Custom. I opted to use Custom to create a slightly flatter curve, though the -1 gamma option will put you close to 2.4 gamma as well. This resulted in the Natural picture preset being calibrated to peak 30.1 fL/103.2 nits to fit the dark theater room where I had setup the HC2250. This was plenty of light output for projecting a 100-inch image on my screen. Post Calibration errors were much better with an average 3.5 dE on ColorChecker, max error of 3.3 dE grayscale, and a max color gamut error of 5.6 dE on Red. Most all other points were well within tolerance of under 3 dE, with many ranging from 0.6 dE to 2.6 dE. However, even a full calibration could not fully resolve the issues with red and green, which tracked well at less than 100% saturation but remained off hue at their 100% color points.
1080p/SDR Viewing. I selected various devices and content to watch post calibration, which included everything from an AppleTV 4K, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray player, Xbox Series X as well as the on-board streaming apps. Starting with Netflix from the internal streaming app of the HC2250, I watched The Witcher, Episode 5, which allowed me to check the performance of the low light scenes and the overall color palette of the opening scenes. Overall, flesh tones were presented well. Contrast was, unfortunately, not the greatest and exposed more detail in the background scenes than I'd like to see, such as when the Doppelganger impersonated the older man. And this was viewed with Auto Iris set to Normal; setting it to Off lifted the entire black floor and washed out the scene. The Normal and High Speed iris settings offered roughly the same performance.
After getting sucked in and watching much more of The Witcher than I should have, I moved on to several Blu-ray movies. I started with Lucy, specifically the "70%" chapter. This is the chapter where Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) begins using 70% of brain function and the movie offers various special effects, camera cuts, and close-ups, in scenes ranging from high APL (average picture level) to low APL. This sequence impressed me the most post-calibration. Not only were the whites white with no hint of tinting, but all of the skin tones were reproduced very well. The close-ups of Scarlett Johansson's face looked great, the changes in color within her eyes were easily visible, and the subtle color in the computer she built was all there. Even the stars that were on the flash drive she created resolved without issue.
Disney Pixar's Up was next. I went to the scene where Carl releases the balloons from his house for the first time and the colors were distinct and vibrant, without being over-saturated and neon looking. Once the house was in the air, the clouds were a very clean white. The entire scene had a very soft tone to it, which is what you want. Up is one of those movies where if you have any issues with oversaturation, you will see it in this scene. It should be more muted, and I was very happy to see that was the case here.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was next in my stack of movies. The scene I focused on was in the "What's up Danger" chapter when Miles is sitting on top of a building at night before pulling down his mask and jumping off. This scene offers a lot of subtle detail in the clothing due to the art style of the animation. Despite an Auto Iris setting of Normal, the low contrast of the HC2250 lifted the scene compared with projectors that have deeper blacks. But it was still very pleasant, and overall it looked good. The projector resolved most of the detail in the black suit when Miles does his flip, and it showed off the Spider-Man logo he painted on the suit, which was vibrant as he was running through the streets and swinging through the city.
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The last movie on Blu-ray that I selected was Mad Max: Fury Road, where the projector didn't perform as well due to the issues seen in 100% saturated red and green. These color errors really impact that entire side of the Rec.709 color space, primarily seen in the orange, brown, and red area. So the desert scenes where much of the movie is shot were less than optimal. With that being said, the image was serviceable and more than watchable. But if you've seen this movie on any properly calibrated reference display it is very easy to see that the image simply has too much red in it.
The HC2250 is a good projector, and I would say that I was pleasantly surprised by the performance, especially post calibration. Granted, out of the box accuracy leaves much to be desired for the serious enthusiast, but depending on the use case this may not matter much. If it does, because the projector is being used for a home theater, the user will find that a calibration delivers good results. And if calibration is not part of the plan, the Natural picture preset can still provide a pleasing image, though at the sacrifice of some accuracy in skin tones.
Along with its bright picture, the HC2250 has the advantage of being very small and light, so it can fit on a shelf in the back of a room or be table-top or ceiling mounted. It's a solid choice for someone who wants to make a small home theater, or have a projector for a playroom/game room for children that offers Android TV support. It would be perfect for a backyard movie night as well. There are a lot of use cases for this projector thanks to its high light output, compact size, built-in Wi-Fi, internal streaming apps, and speaker.
Overall, the Epson HC2250 offers a lot in a small, relatively inexpensive package. It's priced on the higher end of 1080p projectors at its $999 MSRP and street price, which does place it not too far from the least expensive, though less fully-featured, 4K projectors out there. You'll also find some very good 1080p competitors without built-in streaming for considerably less. But this Epson is a great entry into projection without having to make a massive financial commitment. If you already own a decent 1080p projector you're probably good staying with what you have. If you are on the fence about getting your first projector, the HC2250 is a viable option to get you started.
Brightness. The HC2250's brightest mode was the Dynamic picture preset in Normal power consumption, with Auto Iris Off. This mode measured in at 2,728 ANSI lumens, essentially hitting its rated 2700 ANSI lumens specification. Since this is a 3-chip projector, it also delivers equal white and color brightness.
Moving the lamp power setting from Normal to ECO resulted in a 32% reduction of light output in any picture mode.
Epson Home Cinema 2250 ANSI Lumens
Brightness Uniformity. Brightness Uniformity measured in at 85.7% in the HC2250's widest zoom setting, with the brightest portion of the screen being the middle center, and dimmest at the top right. For the longest zoom setting measured brightness uniformity was 87.2%, with the brightest again being the middle center and the dimmest being the right bottom section. The difference in brightness on a full white screen was not noticeable in normal viewing.
Fan Noise. Epson rates the fan noise for the HC2250 at 36 dB for Normal mode and 28 dB in Quiet mode which relates to the ECO setting. Using Room EQ Wizard software and a Umik-1 microphone, my theater room ambient noise floor is 33.3 dBA. Measuring the HC2250 at approximately 4 feet away from multiple locations (all 4 sides as well as above) the HC2250 measured in at 38.0 to 38.6 dBA in all Picture modes when the lamp power mode was set to Normal. In the ECO mode all picture modes measured 33.9 to 34.2 dBA. Once content is playing or once the ambient noise floor rises the HC2250 is drowned out fairly quickly.
Input Lag. The HC2250 measured 27 milliseconds of input lag with 1080p/60 signals, which is fast enough for most casual gaming but well below the performance of the best gaming projectors that have input lag of 16 ms or less.
- HDMI 1.4 (x2, one inside streaming device compartment)
- USB type mini B (Service Only)
- Analog audio out (3.5 mm stereo)
Calibrated image settings from any third-party do not account for the significant potential for sample-to-sample variation, nor the different screen sizes and materials, lighting, lamp usage, or other environmental factors that can affect image quality. Projectors should always be calibrated in the user's own space and tuned for the expected viewing conditions. However, the settings provided here may be a helpful starting point for some. Always record your current settings before making adjustments so you can return to them as desired. Refer to the Performance section for some context for each calibration.
Color Mode: Natural
Color Saturation: 48
White Balance: Custom
Offset R: 41
Offset G: 49
Offset B: 47
Gain R: 43
Gain G: 50
Gain B: 52
Color Tone 1: 3
Color Tone 2: 2
Color Tone 3: 0
Color Tone 4: 0
Color Tone 5: 1
Color Tone 6: 3
Color Tone 7: 5
Color Tone 8: 5
Color Tone 9: 11
R - Hue: 57 / Saturation: 26 / Brightness: 50
G - Hue: 82 / Saturation: 34 / Brightness: 55
B - Hue: 57 / Saturation: 30 / Brightness: 36
C - Hue: 51 / Saturation: 50 / Brightness: 38
M - Hue: 59 / Saturation: 24 / Brightness: 36
Y - Hue: 55 / Saturation: 15 / Brightness: 70
Power Consumption: Normal
Auto Iris: Normal
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Epson Home Cinema 2250 projector page.