Epson Home Cinema 5050UBe 3LCD Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Pros
  • Good color accuracy and contrast
  • High-end optics with wide lens shift
  • Integrated wireless HDMI
  • Excellent value
Cons
  • Visible artifacts under some conditions from the (defeatable) auto iris
  • 4K/30 Hz wireless HDMI limit restricts UHD streaming from Netflix, Amazon
Our Take

Epson has released a worthy successor to the popular HC 5040UB that makes subtle improvements in already superb image quality while retaining extremely high value.

The new Epson Home Cinema 5050UB and Home Cinema 5050UBe 4K PRO-UHD aren't the most expensive home theater projectors in the company's line-up, but at the moment they are arguably the most advanced, and make the loudest statement about how the company views today's still-evolving home projector market. Even in this update to the popular HC 5040UB and 5040UBe, a refresh nearly three years in the making, Epson has continued to not merely eschew native 4K imagers but has doubled-down on its 1080p pixel-shifting technology, touting incremental improvements that attempt to bring apparent resolution ever closer to (if not exceeding) full 4K. As before, Epson has chosen to bypass the expense of all those extra pixels, focusing instead on refinements elsewhere and retaining better-than-expected optics, build quality, and other features while keeping cost affordable and the value quotient high.

EpsonHC5050UB-front

Before moving on, some housekeeping. First, the same projector is available as the HC 5050UB, priced at $2,999, and as the HC 5050UBe, a step-up package that integrates wireless HDMI technology based on the well-regarded WirelessHD standard and sells for $3,299. It is otherwise exactly the same as the HC5050UB. Our sample was an HC5050UBe and included this wireless kit, which I'll say more about later. But I approached the review, from a price perspective, as though this model was the base HC 5050UB; that is, as a $2,999 projector competing on its own merits without the wireless accessory. I will refer to them together in most cases as the HC5050UB/UBe.

Another sister product, the Epson Pro Cinema 6050UB priced at $3,999, is available for sale within the custom integrator channel and is identical in most respects to the HC 5050UB except for a black instead of white casing and other subtle differences. It adds lockable ISF calibration modes for installers and an extra display setting for use with an anamorphic lens. The 6050UB also enjoys a slightly higher rated contrast ratio—1.2 million:1 vs 1 million:1 for the consumer models—the result of Epson cherry-picking the highest performing units off the production line and steering them to the commercial channel. A three-year limited warranty adds an extra year compared with the 5050UB and 5050UBe consumer models. Finally, the 6050UB is packaged with a ceiling mount, cable cover, and an extra replacement lamp, accounting for the bulk of the $1,000 price differential.

Features

Many of the features on the Epson HC 5050UB/UBe mimic both the HC 5040UB it replaces and the new generation Home Cinema 4010 step down model we reviewed late last year ($1,999). All three models are built on a large, rugged chassis of approximately 25 pounds, a chunk of that attributable to the same advanced (for this price range) motorized lens with 15-glass/16-total elements, a long 2.1x zoom, and unusually wide-range lens shift (+/-96% vertical, +/-47% horizontal). The projectors all share a three-chip LCD design using 1080p imagers and Epson's aforementioned pixel-shifting technology, though the two new models use an updated system that benefits from revised processing and faster shifting of the pixels to improve clarity. As usual, the three-chip architecture brings the benefit of both equal color and white brightness plus immunity from rainbow artifacts found in some single-chip projectors with color wheels. The projectors all offer a dynamic iris to assist contrast on dark scenes. All offer HDR content support and wide color gamut claimed to hit 100% of the DCI-P3 color space limits currently used to master most UHD content.

The differences? Most critically affecting the higher price in the HC 5050UB/UBe (and their 5040 predecessors) is inclusion of Epson's "UB" UltraBlack technology, which uses a series of proprietary polarizing filters in the light path to greatly reduce stray light, with a resulting notable improvement in native black level and contrast. Like the HC 5040UB, the HC 5050UB/UBe is rated for 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast, versus the HC 4010's contrast rating of 200,000:1.

The HC 5050UB/UBe's 2,600 lumen brightness trumps the HC 4010's 2,400 lumens and the earlier HC 5040UB's 2,500 lumens. The extra 100 lumens squeezed out of the HC 5050UB/UBe over its predecessor is said to be the result of improvements in this year's lens and improvements to signal processing. In fact, this year's models, both the HC 5050UB/UBe and HC 4010, benefit from a new processor arrangement in which updated algorithms that control signal processing for the pixel-shifting, HDR rendering, and general digital imaging are shared across three chips operating in parallel. The efficiency and extra processing power is said to allow for improved performance across all three areas.

Although all the models are compatible with HDR10 high dynamic range content, only the new HC 5050UB/UBe also handles HLG. Another valuable change in the 5050UB/UBe is a new 16-step slider control for HDR brightness, easily accessible from a dedicated button on the remote, that allows a higher degree of fine-tuning of the tone-map for specific HDR programs than previously available with the 5040UB's 4-position HDR control. I'll say more about this later.

An important update to the HC 5050UB/UBe is a pair of full-bandwidth, 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 ports. This allows the projector to take in 4K, HDR content at a 60 Hz frame rate with HDR, something of importance to gamers and a capability absent from the new HC 4010 and earlier 5040UB due to the limits of their HDMI 1.4a ports.

Here's the full run-down on the key features:

  • 3LCD design free from rainbow artifacts
  • 1920 x 1080p imaging chips with improved 4K PRO-UHD pixel-shifting for input signals up to 4096 x 2160
  • High quality 15-glass/16-total element lens designed for edge-to-edge focus uniformity and elimination of chromatic aberrations
  • Up to 10 saved lens and settings memory positions for Constant Height Image (CIH) installations on a CinemaScope 2.4:1 screen without need for an anamorphic lens, or for storing application-specific calibrations.
  • 2,600 lumens white brightness; 2,600 lumens color brightness
  • 1,000,000:1 rated contrast ratio with auto-iris to optimize dark scenes
  • Proprietary UltraBlack technology to lower black level and boost contrast
  • HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range playback
  • Wide color gamut support to 100% of DCI-P3 color space
  • Up to 12-bit color depth for both standard dynamic range and HDR content
  • 2.1x motorized zoom with long +/-96% vertical and +/-47% horizontal lens shift
  • Full-size backlit remote with direct access to inputs and key picture settings
  • Support for 1080p 3D
  • Optional WiFi dongle
  • Two HDMI 2.0 ports accommodate 4K/60 Hz with HDR (4:4:4 up to 8-bit, 4:2:2 up to 12-bit)
  • Wirless HDMI integration (version 1.4) for up to four sources (HC 5050UBe only)
  • USB power port for fiber optic HDMI cable
  • Integrated Control4 and AMX device detection
  • Lamp rated for 3,500-5,000 hours max, replacement costs $299
  • Limited 2-year warranty (including 90-day limited lamp warranty), PrivateLine priority customer support, free two-business-day replacement.
 

Performance

Color Modes. The 5050UB offers eight preset color modes including Dynamic (the brightest), Bright Cinema, Natural, Cinema, B&W Cinema, and Digital Cinema. Two 3D modes, 3D Dynamic and 3D Cinema, become available when the projector sees a 1080p 3D signal.

Among the non-3D modes, measurements with CalMan Ultimate software, a Murideo Six-G generator, and an X-Rite i1Pro2 photo spectrometer showed that Natural came the closest out of the box to hitting the desired D65 white point for grayscale and the Rec.709 color space targeted for standard dynamic range HDTV. However, it was too bright for dark-room viewing on my 92-inch, 1.3 gain screen, even when I switched its default Medium power mode down to Eco. Cinema and Digitial Cinema had more appropriate brightness, but I found that both target the projector's wider color space—even when the projector's color space menu is manually set to Rec.709. The extra colors in the wide space are visible on 1080p SDR content—particularly with saturated reds. But even with attempted calibration, I could not achieve perfect color accuracy with 1080p Blu-rays in these modes—that is, there was no way of assuring that what I was looking at precisely followed what the director and colorist intended when they signed off on the master. I chose to stick with the Natural mode and used the projector's manual iris control (which is independent of its auto iris) to reduce overall light output to match my screen and retain the deepest possible black. The end result was a final peak white reading of about 21 foot-Lamberts on screen with SDR content, along with excellent out-of-box grayscale and color points that I easily tuned in for an even better result.

Epson5050UBe-remote

For HDR content, Epson's Digital Cinema mode was a good choice. With HDR test signals its grayscale RGB balance and tracking across the brightness range was close enough to accurate, though with a little work needed to bring 100% white into the desired D65/6500K color temperature. The color primaries, with the measurement software targeting 50% of Rec.2020 color, were close to or under the desired Delta E error of 3 or under. After tuning, the final post-calibration result was excellent, with CalMan showing accurate color sweeps of DCI-P3 colors within the Rec.2020 envelope used for UHD. (To clarify further a point made earlier, today's UHD content is typically mastered for DCI-P3 color limits but placed into the larger Rec. 2020 envelope recognized by UHD displays, so it's desirable to know how well a display strikes the appropriate P3 targets within Rec. 2020.) Peak white off my screen after calibration was 30.5 ftL, or 104 nits, though with the ability to tune it higher or lower using the projector's HDR brightness control. CalMan reported that my sample was hitting 109% of the DCI-P3 color space with HDR signals, and 74% of Rec.2020.

With both SDR and HDR color modes calibrated, I was able to easily switch between them with either the remote's Color Mode or Memory button, with the latter recalling either of the two custom memories I'd saved and named for SDR and HDR.

1080p/SDR Viewing. I burned in the lamp for 100 hours before measuring and tuning the Epson, then sat down for some serious 1080p viewing. The movie Draft Day offers a compelling, if fictionalized, behind-the-scenes look at the wheeling-and-dealing among NFL general managers on the day of the NFL Draft. It's not a flashy film, but the production values are high, and it was made with the cooperation of the league. This resulted in the filmmakers shooting scenes during down-time at the real 2013 draft at New York's Radio City Music Hall, as well as in authentic-looking team offices decorated in team-themed colors that any football fan knows well. There are also well-photographed skin-tones throughout, shots with natural and artificial grass on playing fields, a water-park scene with colorful slides, and a variety of lighting conditions. All of this makes the movie an excellent reference for familiar real-life colors. I'm still waiting for Lionsgate to release it in UHD with wide gamut.

It was immediately obvious that the 5050UB/UBe was firing on all cylinders. Draft Day opens with a voiceover and closeups of a few of the empty team desks in the auditorium at Radio City. A still shot of the San Francisco 49ers desk includes a spot-lit 49ers helmet that was rendered with startling impact on the Epson. The rich, 49ers gold color was dead-on, and the paint's subtle, pearlized finish was visible under the natural sheen of light cast upon the glossy surface. The red of the helmet's center stripe was vivid without being oversaturated or cartoonish, and the white bands on either side of it were delivered with no obvious tinting (suggesting good D65 color temperature at that particular brightness).

Detail was outstanding, with the projector easily bringing out the fine weave and ribbing of the white nylon chin straps. Indeed, in all my viewing on the HC 5050UB/UBe, I never had a reason to complain about its sharpness despite its native 1080p imagers. Cable TV broadcasts coming in at 1080i could look softer than other content, of course, but good 1080p Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray transfers were always crisp and most often on par (at full viewing distance) with a high-end, native 4K projector I had on hand. Epson's "4K Enhancement," adjusted via the projector's Image Enhancement menu, applies a combination of optical pixel-shifting combined with signal processing to improve the apparent resolution. This six-position control, with options for Off through Preset 5, adds increasing levels of detail as you step up. On most content, whether 1080p or 4K HDR, I preferred the Preset 2 and Preset 3 settings as the best compromise between achieving 4K-like detail and adding too much processing that could make edges look artificial and surfaces pasty and noisy.

DraftDay-Pic1-Lionsgate DraftDay-Pic3-Lionsgate
Draft Day is chock full of familiar cues that test a projector's palatte, including punchy NFL team colors and artificial turf. (Photos: Lionsgate)

As Draft Day unfolds, actor Kevin Kostner, playing the GM of the Cleveland Browns, is in his bedroom buttoning his crisp white business shirt while sunlight streams in from the window. Kostner sports a robust brown tan in this movie, and his complexion and light brown hair all looked natural in this scene—or unnatural, as it were; a close look at his sideburns revealed his dye job. The white of his shirt again displayed the neutrality I like to see, leaning neither too red nor blue. Setting Image Enhancement to Preset 3 brought out the rugged skin texture of his jutting chin and fine detail in his faint post-shave stubble without creating obvious artifacts. I left it there for the rest of the movie.

The 5050UB/UBe continued to do an awesome job with colors and detail, depicting the close-up of a pancakes-and-bacon breakfast with mouth-watering accuracy, and delivering the punchy Seattle Seahawks blue-and-neon green right on target. The projector also did well delineating the varying skin tones on the Brown's office staff, and passed a critical test in one particular scene in which Costner is talking by phone with the head football coach at the University of Wisconsin. A split screen shows Costner in the lobby of the Brown's offices alongside padded benches in the familiar Cleveland Brown's orange, while on the other side of the screen is the coach is on his home practice field wearing a cap in his own deep red team color. The Epson displayed both colors distinctly, neither pushing the benches too red nor the cap and players' jerseys too orange.

Nothing in Draft Day places much demand on a projector's black level and contrast capabilities, so I popped in the 1080p Blu-ray of BladeRunner 2049, a movie with some very dark passages. Around four minutes in, for example, the replicant hunter played by Ryan Gosling enters the dark cabin of one of the rogue replicants, a room that's lit entirely by gray daylight from a couple of small windows. The camera eventually stops with a single window at the center of the image, casting the rest of the room around it in dark shadow. In this scene, the Epson delivered what I'd rank as very good-to-excellent black level and shadow detail, allowing me to make out details of a black upright piano with sheet music on its easel and a couple of chairs. I did eventually notice a bit of haze over the image that was evident only after direct comparison with a JVC DLA-X790 reference projector, a more expensive ($4,000) LCoS model that offers something closer to current state-of-the-art blacks and low-level detail. The JVC showed blacker letterbox bars that gave more definition to the upper and lower edges of the image, and I could better delineate the outline of the black piano against the dark walls.

But I was really impressed at how well the Epson compared on this very difficult scene as well as a few others I threw at it, and the projectors were nearly identical on most mixed scenes with higher average light level. Critically, at no time in my viewing of the 5050UB/UBe did a lack of contrast ever distract me or pull me out of the story, as can happen with less capable projectors.

UHD/HDR Viewing. The UHD Blu-ray of La La Land makes a superb case for wide color gamut. The filmmakers deliberately repeated the same bright, saturated colors throughout the production design and wardrobe—similar tones of yellow, blue, green, and an especially pure red that seems to reach out to the edge of the DCI-P3 limits. There's also tons of light-play going on, everything from brightly lit outdoor sequences to dimly lit nightclubs and moody dream sequences. It's real eye-candy from start to finish.

LaLaLand-GirlsNight
La La Land makes excellent use of UHD's wide color gamut with richly saturated red, yellow, blue, and green wardrobe and surroundings that appear repeatedly throughout the movie. (Photo: Lionsgate)

After a little tweaking of the 5050UB/UBe's HDR brightness control to add some extra punch beyond my calibrated settings, I sat back and was just knocked out scene after scene. The movie starts with a musical number shot on a sun-soaked LA freeway with traffic at a standstill and a couple dozen dancers playing the role of show-biz hopefuls. Along with the gorgeous rendering of their dresses, T-shirts, and other attire, mostly in the fundamental colors described above, the projector in its tuned Digital Cinema mode displayed a nice neutral white on the business shirt of one of the dancers and some white cars. At one point, as the camera tracked a dancer moving down the road through the parked cars, it picked up a series of specular highlights from the sun hitting the windshield of each vehicle she danced past. It was proof that even in a bright scene like this, HDR highlights can still be effective and engaging.

Some moments later, the dancers form a circle and the camera captures perhaps 15 of them facing the lens. It's a beautiful collage of color, with one dancer at center screen wearing a punchy orange dress, and the others surrounding her in shades of yellow, brown, mustard, sky blue, a deeper blue, and green. The actors varied ethnicities were borne out by the projector's ability to delineate all their different (some subtly different) skin tones, as well as their hair colors, which ranged from black to brown to blonde to red.

The Digital Cinema mode's default Image Enhancement setting of 2 struck me as a little soft with this movie, but turning it up one notch to Preset 3 again provided 4K-like resolution without unnaturally pulling out the film grain (the movie was shot on film rather than digital, in a 2:55:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio, as an homage to classic 1950s musicals). After that, details in the many close-ups of female lead Emma Stone, such as the texture of her pink skin, the fine lines on her face and forehead, and her small freckles, sharpened up and provided that 4K "wow" factor seen on the best UHD-BD transfers. Focus uniformity across the image was also subjectively excellent, and there was no evidence at any point in any of my viewing of noticeable banding artifacts. (As an aside, the 5050UBe displayed an appropriately smooth image on the spinning wheels of our ProjectorCentral 10-bit HDR Grayscale animation test pattern, which confirmed its handling of UHD-HDR signals at minimum 10-bit resolution from input to screen.)

Here again, this time with HDR content, contrast and black levels were excellent on most mixed-brightness scenes and, even in the darkest scenes, never called attention to the projector's limits. In one challenging shot, the film's aspiring jazz pianist, also played by Ryan Gosling, sits in near darkness at a nightclub piano as a spotlight fades up around him at center screen. The 5050UB/UBe, assisted by its dynamic iris, delivered a nice dark black in the surrounding area. Once again, only direct comparison with the JVC revealed a bit of haze I'd not noticed and exposed the Epson's limits.

Home Cinema 5050-HDRMenu
Epson's new HDR brightness control is a 16-position slider that provides a nice wide range of adjustment to accommodate variations in content. The menu at the left is available directly from an HDR button on the revised remote.

The new 16-step control for HDR brightness is an excellent improvement over Epson's prior scheme, which involved entering a menu and selecting one of four different HDR brightness levels to tune the best compromise between brighter highlights (for more visceral punch) or taming those highlights (and lowering overall image brightness somewhat) to retain more detail in and around them. Along with having access to this new control directly from the remote, its continuously adjustable scale provided a nice wide range of fine adjustment that easily accommodated dark movies like Blade Runner 2049 (best viewed near the low end of the scale for punching up highlights, perhaps a setting of 3 or 4) and Pan, an awful but exceptionally bright movie with some of the boldest HDR highlights I've yet to see from any disc (setting of 10-12 on the brightest scenes). I was pleased to see that the projector generally did a good job of retaining contrast in the darker areas of the image even when called upon to boost up the highlights. Some projectors with poorly executed tone-mapping raise the overall brightness of the image too aggressively when you bump up the HDR control and wash out the blacks.

I was less excited about some obvious and repeatable pumping of the auto iris—something I don't recall seeing in either the earlier HC 5040 or the new-generation HC 4010. Specifically, whether viewing HDR or SDR, the projector dropped into or out of slower, full black transitions in a noticeable, two-step fashion. This was most often seen as the image came up from black out of a disc or player menu, or in long transitional pauses between scenes, and it was more apparent in the High Speed Auto Iris setting than the Normal setting. Thankfully, I never noticed any of these iris artifacts following abrupt scene edits—for example, where the program might cut from a bright daytime scene to a dark night scene and potentially expose an unnatural shift in black level as the iris catches up. So this didn't usually disturb any on-screen action. But this two-phase transition was particularly evident in the opening sequence of the movie Gravity (1080p SDR version), which begins with a series of title screens consisting of white characters on a black screen. Each time the words faded down and disappeared, the iris abruptly took the black to a very dark level, then jumped it back up (a little less abruptly) as the next characters faded up. With the auto iris turned off in the menu, these transitions were perfectly smooth. I'm guessing this is the result of some inadvertently aggressive tuning in this new projector, and the kind of thing that might be fixable in a firmware update. In any event, it's helpful to know that on most scenes of mixed brightness the iris provides no effect, and only a mild effect on all but the very darkest of scenes. So you could defeat it and still enjoy excellent blacks and contrast overall if you find these interscene transitions bothersome. It wasn't a dealbreaker for me, and certainly for any overall dark movie the benefit of the iris outweighed this minor annoyance. With any luck, Epson will deliver some refinements in a future update.

3D Viewing. I'm not a huge 3D guy, but came away very impressed with the HC 5050UB/UBe's 3D playback. The projector's two 3D modes provide exemplary brightness for dark-room viewing, though neither looked great out of the box color-wise, with both leaning a little too red. Some on-the-fly adjustment of the Color Temperature and Skin Tone controls got the 3D Cinema mode looking fairly good. An episode of the BBC series Dr. No on 3D Blu-ray showed nice skin tones and natural-looking foliage, with not a hint of crosstalk and only modest panning artifacts. (Frame interpolation was available up to its High setting, but leaving it on its Low setting provided some relief without introducing soap opera sheen.) I had a similar experience with that old stand-by, Avatar, which looked great in the modern lab settings as well as in the many rainforest/jungle scenes.

Conclusion

Epson-hc5050ub-right

At this writing Epson is the only home theater projector manufacturer to not offer a model with full UHD resolution. Even JVC, which till this year had similarly offered only 1080p pixel-shifters, now has a trio of native 4K consumer projectors and has carried only a single 1080p offering from its prior line-up. Several other manufacturers have long opted for Texas Instrument's 4K DLP solutions, which also rely on pixel-shifting but deliver full UHD pixel count to the screen at the required frame rates.

I know from mail we get at ProjectorCentral that some enthusiasts believe Epson has gone too far with this 1080p pixel-shifting approach; that the company is overdue to deliver full 4K models and that using this technology means asking viewers to accept inherent flaws in picture quality. But then, I do wonder if these critics have seen how effective the company's pixel-shift technology really is. It's hard to argue with the result that the HC 5050UB/UBe splashes all over the screen. Image detail, with judicious use of the Image Enhancement control, is about as sharp as anyone could want.

Beyond resolution, color accuracy in the HC 5050UB/UBe with a tuned image is as good as the best out there, and better out of the box than most. Finally, the last remaining key differentiator between the HC 5050UB/5050UBe and other, more expensive projectors is black level and contrast. Here, it's my judgement that you get way better performance in this area than you should normally expect at a $2,999 price point. I'd place it in the upper range among affordable under-$5,000 projectors, though short of the best—primarily the well-regarded LCoS-based models from JVC and Sony that start with deeper native blacks by virture of their imaging technology.

In the end, these things might also have been said about the previous model HC 5040UB. But the HC 5050UB/UBe steps up with some modest yet worthwhile updates and features, including long-awaited HDMI 2.0 inputs that makes the projector fully compatible with most currently available entertainment and gaming content. These changes, taken together, make it a truly worthy successor to the HC 5040 and places it prominently among the very best values today in home theater projection. It easily earns our highest honor Editor's Choice designation.

Maxell MP-WU5603
WUXGA Conference Room Laser Projector
Maxell MP-WU5603
WUXGA Conference Room Projector

Connections & Measurements

Connection panel inputs are listed below. Both wired HDMI connections are HDMI 2.0b with 18 Gbps bandwidth, which can carry 3840 x 2160 signals at 60 Hz with HDR (4:4:4 up to 8-bit, 4:2:2 up to 12-bit).

The wireless HDMI transmitter provided with the 5050UBe and its companion receiver built into the projector are based on the WirelessHD (WiHD) 4K standard developed by Silicon Image and licensed through the WirelessHD Consortium. The transmitter accepts up to four switchable HDMI sources (three on the rear, one on the side), and a dedicated button on the remote calls up an on-screen menu that lets you select any of the four inputs.

Epson-4kWireless-Transmitter-800 Epson-4kWireless-Transmitter-connections-800

WirelessHD is a well-regarded in-room solution, and in my limited tests with UHD HDR Blu-rays played back at 24 Hz, the system never displayed any artifacts, dropouts or latency issues. However, potential buyers of the HC 5050UBe should know of a couple of significant limitations.

First, the reception pattern for the projector's internal HDMI receiver is strictly in front of it. If your source components or A/V receiver are at the rear of your room or anywhere behind the projector, as might easily happen with a ceiling mounted unit, placing the transmitter in that location will result in no signal lock. Even moving the transmitter just two or three feet behind the projector broke the connection in my tests. I gather that purchasing the base HC 5050UB and a standalone WirelessHD kit, such as the DVDO Air 4K, could provide the flexibility in receiver and transmitter location and orientation to get around this issue—but at the sacrifice of the on-screen integration and input changing allowed with the 5050UBe kit.

More critical for many is that the WiHD 4K technology's inherent bandwidth limitations and HDMI 1.4a connections restrict it to sending and receiving 4K/30 Hz signals. This currently prevents the streaming of HDR/wide gamut content, or in some cases even UHD resolution, from the major streaming services. This is no fault of Epson's; it is wrought from the combination of the WiHD system's inherent bandwidth and how the individual streaming services currently handle signal delivery when they see a device on the receiving end that won't accept UHD/60Hz HDR signals. This varies by service, with some (like VUDU) allowing the passage of 4K resolution without HDR or wide gamut, while others (Netflix and Amazon) automatically downscale the stream to 1080p. You can read more about both the performance of the WirelessHD system and our tests with the streaming services in our review of the DVDO 4K Air system based on the same technology.

Epson-hc5050ub-connections
  • HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2 (x2)
  • Wireless HDMI 1.4a, HDCP 2.2 (available only on HC 5050UBe) (x4)
  • USB Type A (for optical HDMI cable 300 mA max. power supply only)
  • USB (for wireless and firmware)
  • Mini USB (service only)
  • LAN (RJ-45)
  • Computer/D-sub 15 pin
  • RS-232c (D-sub 9-pin)
  • Trigger out (3.5 mm mini-jack) 12 V DC, 200 mA maximum

Brightness. Lumen measurements for every color mode were taken with the lamp power mode set to High and with the lens at the widest zoom position. However, the factory defaults for lamp power vary based on mode, with Dynamic at High, Cinema at the lowest ECO setting, and all other non-3D modes at Medium. Users therefore have some flexibility in tuning brightness to their individual needs. The projector is also equipped with a manual fixed iris for setting baseline brightness in any mode or power setting. Compared with the High power setting, I measured about a 22% drop in brightness to the Medium power setting, and just over a 27% drop in the ECO setting (this should hold for any color mode).

The Dynamic mode provided just over the rated 2,600 lumen (ISO 21118) specification but has an obvious green bias. All other modes delivered more balanced color but produced considerably less output, especially Cinema and Digital Cinema, which engage the projector's DCI-P3 color filter.

The Natural and Bright Cinema modes measured nearly identically at just short of 2,000 lumens and provided the best color for ambient light viewing. However, Natural with my calibrated settings for dark room SDR viewing (Eco power mode, manual iris turned down to -11 from its default 0 setting) delivered only about 500 lumens on peak white—a surprisingly low number given the measured 21 ft-L reflected off my 92-inch, 1.3 gain screen. The Digital Cinema mode, optimized for dark room viewing of HDR in its default Medium power mode, delivered 680 lumens—good for about 30 ft-L off my screen prior to any tuning of the HDR brightness control to customize the image for specific content. Of course, the projector had extra horsepower in either of those modes to accommodate a larger screen or high ambient light.

ANSI Lumens

Mode High Medium ECO
Dynamic 2635 2061 1916
Bright Cinema 1972 1542 1435
Natural 1979 1547 1438
Cinema 1016 795 739
B&W Cinema 1749 1368 1272
Digital Cinema 1058 828 770

Zoom Lens Light Loss. Going from the widest to the full telephoto setting on the 2.1x zoom lens resulted in a little more than 28% loss of light in any given color mode. However, most setups are not likely to require full telephoto capacity, which would allow placement of the projector as far away as 20.5 feet for a 100-inch image. (You can check our Epson Home Cinema 5050UBe calculator to determine throw distance range for you specific screen size.)

Brightness Uniformity. With the zoom at its widest position, brightness uniformity was 84.2%. This dropped to 78.8% at the longest zoom. Both numbers are acceptable results. Measurements revealed that the brightness dropped off slightly in the bottom-right quadrant of an otherwise uniform image, but the difference was so gradual as to not be visible on either a 100% white test pattern or in any real content.

Fan Noise. Epson rates fan noise as a range from 20 decibels in ECO power setting to a max of 31 dB in High Power setting. Both the intake and exhaust vents are on the front of the projector. From a 5 foot distance below and in front of the projector (approximately simulating an 8-foot ceiling mount above and somewhat behind the viewer), Mid and ECO fan noise were barely audible in a quiet room and not perceptible over typical soundtracks. The High setting raised the volume and also the pitch, making it harder to mask and obvious in quiet moments. The High Altitude mode, which Epson recommends above 5,000 feet elevation, adds perhaps 2 to 3 dB to any given setting. If it's required along with the High Power mode, consider options for mounting the projector further away from viewers or isolating it.

Lamp Life. The supplied 250w UHE lamp is rated for up to 3,500 hours in High power, 4,000 hours in Mid, and 5,000 hrs in ECO. A replacement lamp (model ELPLP89) costs $300.

Input Lag. The best results for input lag with 2160p/60 signals, as measured with a Bodnar 4K lag meter, was a fairly low 22.5 milliseconds in Dynamic mode. Results were about the same (around 23.5 ms) in the Natural, Bright Cinema, and B&W Cinema modes, and got as high as 28.5 milliseconds in the Cinema and Digital Cinema modes. With 1080p/60 signals, as measured on a Bodnar 1080p lag meter, all color modes measured between 28 and 29 ms. Though these results are still a ways off from the 16 ms or even quicker lag times found on some of the fastest projectors, they are still very good—particularly at the low end of the range—and should be suitable for all but the most serious gamers.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Epson Home Cinema 5050UBe projector page.

To buy this projector, use Where to Buy online, or get a price quote by email direct from Projector Central authorized dealers using our E-Z Quote tool.

The Epson Home Cinema 5050UBe is also sold outside of the United States of America as the Epson EH-TW8400W and the Epson CH-TW8400W. Some specifications may be slightly different. Check with Epson for complete specifications.

Comments (73) Post a Comment
Walter Posted May 25, 2019 1:00 PM PST
Great review - thanks Rob. This machine will be high on my list for my next projector purchase.
Terry Mitchell Posted May 25, 2019 3:44 PM PST
Very good review. I'd love to see a direct comparison with the 6050UB, including screenshots, to see if the "cherry picked" 6050s do in fact have better sharpness and contrast than the 5050UB.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 25, 2019 4:05 PM PST
Thanks, Terry. I just got asked whether we'll do that by one of the guys over at AVS as well, but it's not likely we'll put any immediate resources into that. The only performance difference as you know is the rated contrast, 1 million:1 vs 1.2 million:1 on the 6050. So while it's not a totally insignificant difference (about 18% I think), I think it would only be visible in very dark and challenging content, and even then, I suspect it would be like splitting hairs. Nothing like stepping up from a 4010 to a 5050, for example. But if the opportunity arises, it would be worth the quick comparo.
Kevin Attwood Posted May 25, 2019 4:31 PM PST
Hi Rob, Thanks for the great review. Being in Australia, I believed the equivalent model here to the 5050UB is the EH-TW9400 with a EH-TW8400 variant coming out next month. The 9400 is rated at 1,200,000:1 contracts ratio and the 8400 is 1,000,000:1.

You are showing the 5050UB as 1,000,000:1 with the 6050 rated at 1,200,000:.

It looks to me that the EH-TW9400 may be a 6050 without the mounting bracket and spare globe etc. Are you are able to clarify the difference with the international models?
Jon Posted May 25, 2019 5:00 PM PST
Brightness for 5040ub in high/dynamic was 3527 as measured by David Stone. Is that due to a different measuring technique, or is the 5040ub really that much brighter than the 5050ub?
Mark Posted May 25, 2019 10:25 PM PST
I am curious what has caused the 5050UB to lose around 1000 lumens in the brighter modes compared to the 5040? That seems very significant to me despite how similar the projectors are on most other respects. Hard to believe Epson would cut brightness by so much (around a third) on an upgraded model.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 25, 2019 11:04 PM PST
Mark, I acknowledge that Epson's projectors have often achieved well over their spec, and I know at least one other review I know of on the 5050 cited higher numbers more in line with the 3,000+ we saw on the 5040. The 4010 beat its own 2,400 lumen spec by a wider margin when I measured it in my studio, closer to what this 5050 sample measured. I can say only two things: 1) I had a lot of hours on the lamp when I finally got around to doing the lumen measurements at the tail end of my eval period, certainly more than 200 -- enough to at least marginally affect lamp brightness; and 2)the projector made its spec. I'll probably make it a point to measure lumen output earlier in the process going forward while reviewing, but there is a reason this is rated for 2,600 lumens and not 3,000 lumens or 3,500 lumens. If every sample coming off the production line could be counted on to consistently hit those numbers, I guarantee it would be reflected in the specs.
David Rivera Posted May 27, 2019 5:10 PM PST
Excellent review Rob. Unfortunately, Epson's decision not to bring to market a true native 4k projector means that my own Epson 5040UB will have to do for the foreseeable future. I remain hopeful that Epson will see the proverbial light and bring to market a true Native 4k (not DLP pixel shift) within the next two years. Maybe even with a Laser light. Epson has a strong loyal customer base, but Sony and JVC will continue to nibble at the market share with their good to great native 4k Projectors.
Daniel Posted May 28, 2019 8:59 AM PST
Since you spoke to the projector's performance in terms of black level vs the X790, did you notice anything in terms of clarity and HDR performance? Is Epson's newest 4K enhancement better than E-shift? Does the 50/6050s HDR implementation work better than an X790 with MadVR providing the tone mapping? Are the lenses equally sharp? I could live with marginally worse black level performance if the other features perform as good or better than the X790.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 28, 2019 9:01 AM PST
Daniel, I don't have all the answers to these questions as my comparisons during my 5050 eval were more casual and focused on the black-level/contrast performance; I was just trying to ascertain where the 5050 sat in the pecking order in that area. There's no question that the JVC is in a step-up class, despite how well the Epson did against it. But the detailed X790/5050 comparison is definitely compelling and one I plan to do. The one thing I will say up front is that the 5050 generally feels more modern and refined in mechanical execution, menu presentation and navigation, remote control /ease of use. Beyond that, the 5050's tone-mapping looked very, very good, and the JVC is an aging projector at this point. But I'll need to spend more time before passing judgements on HDR performance and sharpness. Nor have I implemented MadVR with this projector to date.
Trip Posted May 29, 2019 3:25 AM PST
Doing a shootout vs the 6050 would be super interesting considering the fact that I am assuming Epson sent you the 5050 test model that you have, and it was likely cherry picked. How much better can the lens get if they cherry pick amongst the cherry picked? :)
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted May 29, 2019 6:32 AM PST
Trip, I can't be certain that Epson doesn't qualify some samples coming off the line as what are often called "champion" models to put aside for reviewers -- who's to even say that they don't take what has already been identified to become a 6050 and put that in a white case, add the wireless transmitter to make it a 5050UBe...

But the 6050/5050 comparison still strikes me as a waste of valuable reviewing resources, and there are other projectors we would like to directly compare with this model with as we're able. My view is that the 5050 and 6050 are both a great projector and value...some will opt for the 6050 because (1) they're buying through an installer and paying for those services as well; (2) they must have the anamorphic lens mode only available on that model. Without those drivers, even accounting for the mount and extra lamp you're paying for up front, you're still probably looking at about a $500-$600 premium for that extra bit of contrast... hard to justify, I think.
Austin Posted Jun 1, 2019 6:25 PM PST
You should do an article on HDR optimization. Getting this projector I've come to realize dynamic iris and ambient light make static settings rather moot for users like myself without a dedicated isolated viewing room. For ambient light my plan is to utilize an optimization tool to create a curve for settings and utilize a light sensor to set things automatically. For the iris though, I'm not really sure. I wonder if the auto iris would be best left off for HDR.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jun 3, 2019 6:30 AM PST
Interesting thoughts here Austin. Trying to view HDR with a projector in any kind of ambient light is a tough thing; you will basically wipe out the dark and mid tones while greatly diminishing the impact of the highlights. I did find that the auto iris was really only noticeable on overall dark content that would typically not look very good in ambient light.
Bevan Posted Jun 5, 2019 8:19 AM PST
Could you make some recommendations for 4K players and receivers that would be compatible with this model? Perhaps that's not an issue anymore, but I know the 5040 had major compatibility issues and you needed to buy specific players/receivers to work well with it.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jun 5, 2019 4:22 PM PST
Bevan, I wasn't aware of specific HDMI issues with the 5040. What I can tell you is that I used a Marantz SR7010 receiver with it with no problems, and a Sony UBP-X800 UHD BD player with no problems out of the ordinary -- it's a slow, quirky player to begin with. If I were to recommend any specific Blu-ray player right now for anyone, it's one of the two Panasonics: either the DP-UB820 for $499, or the DP-UB9000 for $999.
Grady Posted Jun 9, 2019 2:26 PM PST
Rob, great review and I'm curious if you have any idea of when you might be performing and publishing a comparison between the 5050 and the X790. I'm very interested in how the two projectors handle tone mapping natively within the projector. I've read quite a bit about using the two Panasonic players or MadVR to get the best for movies, but I'm curious how the projectors handle sources that don't provide as much flexibility, like from Netflix, Amazon, etc.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jun 9, 2019 2:45 PM PST
Grady, I understand the interest and hope to be able to attack this comparo soon. No specific time frame right now, I'm afraid.
Don Posted Jun 10, 2019 11:13 AM PST
If I don't have a light controlled living room, but use is usually at night how much of an improvement would the 5050 UB have over the 4010. Any reason to consider the 5040 UB for the iris as a step up from the 4010?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jun 10, 2019 11:40 AM PST
Don, The 4010 does have an iris, but it's Epson's UltraBlack "UB" technology that actually gives the 5040 and 5050 their great contrast/black level advantage. That's executed with a series of filters in the light path that reduces scatter. The difference in blacks in both the 5040 and 5050 from the 4010 and prior generation 4000 is distinct, however, it will really only be seen on challenging dark material in dark room settings. It's definitely possible you'll see it in a dark room at night on this challenging content, though much less likely with artificial ambient lighting.

The 5040 may still be available at closeout now, which is a great deal. However, the 5050 has some notable improvements with its high bandwidth HDMI ports and new HDR control, not to mention whatever additional tweaking Epson has done with its tone-mapping. Also, as we've discussed in comments in our 5040 review and subsequent shootouts, the 5040 did suffer some widespread reliability issues that I'm certain have been dealt with sufficiently in this new generation model--so that's another reason to consider the newer model.
Martin Posted Jun 18, 2019 9:44 AM PST
Hi Rob, thanks for your great review. Im really into trying to make a setup with this projector and a CinemaScope 2.35:1 / 2:40.1 screen. In your review your are writing that with this projector you don't need an anamorphic lense to view movies in a CinemaScope format. Instead you can ajust the lense to compensate for the anamorphic lense.

I contacted Epson in Denmark to get this verified before buying both the projector and the screen. Two different support technicians are telling me that i need to add an anamorphic lense before i can enjoy the full CinemaScope experience and watch a movie in fullscreen on a 2:35.1 / 2:40.1 screen.... I'm confused. Am I getting something wrong? Do you care to explain if you have the time?

Only thing i can think of is that i'm asking regarding model EH-TW9400 (EU modelnumber) and there is a difference on the models after all... although i don't believe so.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jun 19, 2019 8:04 AM PST
Martin, it may be in the interpretation of what constitutes a widescreen image here that's creating the confusion. The best way to get a widescreen 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 image is with an anamorphic lens that slides over the main lens and a projector that has an anamorphic aspect ratio setting that provides the appropriately squeezed picture to the anamorphic lens (which then unsqueezes the image to appropriate width). The Epson Pro Cinema 6050 or its European equivalent should have this aspect ratio setting, while the Home Cinema 5050 (and presumably it's Euro equivalent) do not.

The other way to enjoy images on a wide 'Scope style screen is with a lens memory function, which you do have on the 5050UB. In this case, you would watch in the normal aspect ratio setting and zoom the image so that the black bars that are normally reproduced inside of a 16:9 image with widescreen movies bleed off the top and bottom of the 2.35:1 screen. So in essence, you are zooming the image out and repositioning/re-focusing it so that the active portion of the picture fully fills the wider screen. The effect is the same, at the sacrifice of some sharpness/resolution that would be provided with a costly anamorphic lens set-up. But I know many serious enthusiasts and even reviewers who use this arrangement with no complaints.
Wreckie Posted Jun 24, 2019 11:14 AM PST
Thanks for having more in depth 3D part of review! So many reviews don´t really touch it. I´m planning a new purchase soon and having decent 3D quality is a must, along with motorized lens shift. Also I wouldn´t mind having more info concerning good 3D settings: iris on/off, brightness etc.
Peter Posted Jul 7, 2019 3:50 PM PST
I have a few questions. 1. I have a benq ht2150st. Is this Epson a worthy upgrade? I use it on a 120 inch screen. 2. What is the noise level of the Epson? The 2150st is 28db, nice and quiet.
Jason Posted Jul 9, 2019 2:14 PM PST
Hello gentlemen!

I have a question on the comparison between the 4010 vs the 5050 but I’m not seeing a lot of direct comparisons.

I currently have a 2150 and love the projector. I have converted my loft into a pseudo movie room and often use it for gaming (PS4) and movies (mostly in the evening).

I’m really interested in upgrading for the 4K and HDR capability for both my uses. I’m using a 100” white screen and my room has a fair amount of ambient light. My 2150 handles it well AND we have blackout curtains that make the room fairly dark. Additionally, as night it’s absolutely dark in the room.

My main question is if the jump from the 4010 to the 5050 worth the $1000 price difference? What, besides the UB, are really all that noticeable to justify the much steeper cost of admission?

Thanks!!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 9, 2019 4:11 PM PST
Jason, just to make at least one initial point, the 5050UB carries essentially the same or slightly higher lumen count as your 2150, while the 4010 comes in a bit below. I don't think you'll see much difference if you opt for the 4010, but just keep it in mind.

Three key differences going from 4010 to 5050:

- The UB is really a significant upgrade provided you can enjoy the projector in a room with well-controlled light, which you obviously have, especially once the sun goes down. It just makes any dark content look much better.

- The 5050 has a new menu system for adjusting HDR brightness that has more variable range and is much easier to access and use day to day than the 4010's older system. Both projectors do enjoy Epson's latest tone-mapping, however.

- The 5050 has an HDMI 2.0 port that actually accepts higher bandwidth signals and can play 4K HDR content at 60 Hz frame rate, which the 4010 does not. That should interest you as a gamer.

These are both great projectors and both are a great value at their respective price points; I think in your case it comes down to budget and whether the differences I've cited are important to you.

Craig Posted Jul 12, 2019 8:27 AM PST
Hi Rob, Great review. I was wondering if there was anymore testing or information on ECO mode? Full power is normally way too loud in my living room setting and I was wondering what the noise, brightness and power levels fell to under ECO mode. I'm using a Epson HC 2150 right now and ECO mode is all I use.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 12, 2019 9:40 AM PST
Craig, only thing I'd suggest is taking a close look at the brightness measurements on the last page of the review (the addendum) and see how the desirable modes look lumen-wise with Eco engaged. Perhaps you missed that page as it's right after the Conclusion. You've got around 1,400 lumens to play with in the Natural mode (good for 1080p/SDR) with ECO turned on, which is not too bad if not downright punchy depending on your screen size. The Cinema and Digital Cinema modes, which provide the widest color gamut for HDR purposes, are much less bright, but if they don't have enough punch in that power mode you can consider using something like Bright Cinema, which with a little tuning can probably provide accurate D65 color and give you more light for HDR at the sacrifice of the extended color gamut.
Nash Stanton Posted Jul 12, 2019 1:46 PM PST
Hi Rob,

I've noticed in the past that previous Epson projectors tended to "soften" the image up when 4ke is turned on for 1080p sources.

Can you speak a little bit on if the 5050UB is improved? Mine arrives on Wednesday, and I'm trying to set my own expectations....is 4ke always on always the best, no matter the source? Does it soften up the image?

I'm coming from an Epson 8700UB...so I'm a little excited, I'm just wondering how much better my 1080p content is going to look...
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 12, 2019 6:47 PM PST
Nash, this will be a matter of personal taste but I'd urge you to experiment with the Image Enhancement setting and I don't think you'll be disappointed. My experience was that 1080i material coming off my cable box always looked soft, which I attribute to both the need to deinterlace the content before other video processing and the the usual compression artifacts/mosquito noise associated with most traditional (non-FIOS) cable TV transmissions. But good 1080p Blu-ray transfers looked extremely sharp, often stunningly so, and always better/sharper with the pixel-shifting/4K enhancement turned on -- it was typically just a matter of which setting to use. The object is always to get it as sharp as possible without creating obvious ringing or edge enhancement that calls attention to itself. More often than not, a setting of 2 (the default for most picture modes) looked just a little soft to me with 1080p, while 3 was about right.

Enjoy your new projector.
Warren Aronson Posted Aug 12, 2019 2:06 PM PST
Epson 6069 and Apple TV 4K . Tried every setting in the book and cannot get hdr coded Netflix or Amazon shoe to project as hdr, always sdr? Any ideas
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 12, 2019 2:51 PM PST
Warren, I'm sure you mean the HC6050, right?

In any event, one of the things we've learned recently and reported on in some reviews is that the streaming services will automatically strip off the HDR, or even send a downscaled 1080p image instead of 4K, if the device receiving the service (in this case your Apple TV) is not seen by the service as being fully HDMI 2.0a compliant. There's a handshake thats performed between the device and service in which the streaming device reports back the capabilities of the display. In this case, we know the display is HDMI 2.0a compliant if it's an Epson 6050. I do not know what the capabilities of your Apple TV streamer are, whether or not it is 4K compliant (I assume it is?), and whether or not it is properly seeing that it has a full bandwidth UHD display at the end of it. I'd troubleshoot this if possible by connecting a different 4K/HDR compliant streaming stick or box and seeing if it behaves any differently. Another options: take your Apple TV to a different 4K/HDR display you may have in the house, such as a flatpanel in another room, and see if you can get HDR on that display with this streaming box.

And although you've tried all manner of settings, I'd look again at everything in the streaming box and the projector to make sure you're not defaulting to playback at a lower resolution than full UHD.
Sri Posted Aug 16, 2019 11:10 AM PST
Good review thank you. Any recommendations for screen for reasonable price 110 or 120 width and

Suggestion needed Screen or paint on wall good for this 5050ube projector

Thanks
Miro Posted Aug 23, 2019 1:10 PM PST
Hi Rob, Your review is outstanding! I can't imagine all the work that you must have put into that! I also have a passion for sound and film and I am in the business of designing and executing home theatre installations. Recently I’ve decided to upgrade my own media room, and after finishing with the sound upgrade I have difficult time to chose proper projector within my budget. Basically it went down to two choices: Epson 5050 UB and JVC DLA-X790, which you’ve mentioned in your review. I have super dark “ man cave “ and 160 inch. 1.1 widescreen. I’m mostly using best possible sources in my Theatre room- UHD BD’s with HDR. I’m also a big fan of 3-D movies, which are not 4K, unfortunately. I own Panasonic DP-UB820 and newer Marantz receiver. I would love to get that black levels of JVC projector but the same time I’m little concerned that JVC will not deliver same brightness/ picture quality as Epson, especially when comes to 3-D movies. Which projector would you choose? Your advise if greatly appreciated. Best Regards, Miro.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 23, 2019 1:12 PM PST
Miro, your instincts are good -- assuming you have no issues with using an excellent 1080p pixel-shifter vs the full-4K DLP XPR models available at this price range (which you shouldn't -- they're THAT good in terms of apparent resolution), the only real concern here is whether you trade off the deeper blacks of the DLA-X790 for the brighter output of the 5050UB. I love the image on the DLA-X790 I use as my own reference -- it produces absolutely state of the art black levels for home theater, even better than JVC's current line-up of native 4K projectors. But we're talking about a significant difference in output: the JVC's 1900 rated lumens (and possibly less; I've yet to do an ANSI measurement on it) vs. the rated and measured 2,600 lumens on the Epson. I've not seen 3D on the JVC (I don't own an emitter, which costs about $100 extra by the way...though I have on one order). But I was very impressed with the 3D on the 5050UB and it's overall brightness and execution. That was on my 92-inch diagonal screen. Given that yours is 160 inches, I really think you'll want the extra light output for both 2D and especially 3D viewing. Yes, you'll sacrifice some native black level on the very darkest scenes and things like title/credit screens with white type on a black background, but the 5050UB is still excellent next to most projectors in this regard, and you'll get far more benefit out of the extra punch with the 5050...not to mention that you'll save about $1,000 retail on it. I'll also add that, while the X790 is an extremely solid and well-built projector (I actually injured a tendon in my arm lifting its 34 pound weight onto my rack at one point), the 5050UB offers some refinements in terms of the smoothness and quietness of its motorized lens, and its 16-step HDR brigthness control that makes tweaking HDR content a little easier.
AE4000 happy user Posted Aug 24, 2019 7:54 PM PST
Hi Rob,

What would be your advice to an AE4000 owner with respect to upgrade? Is it worth replacing with newer models, such as the 5050UB or the 4010 or even a second hand AE8000 or would you advise to wait a few more generations? I enjoy reading the reviews on projectorcentral but so far, other than more lumens, I don't feel I am missing out a lot.

Thank you for your time.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 24, 2019 8:16 PM PST
This is a bit of a tougher call without doing a side by side, but I'd probably lean towards replacing with a newer model. Although the AE4000 is a fine quality 1080p 3LCD projector with a reasonable 1,600 lumen max output (with a fresh lamp, that is...), I think the benefits of having access to 4K HDR content in one of the newer models, not to mention the additional brightness in either of the two Epson models you listed, is worthwhile. Furthermore, the latest generation of 1080p pixel shifting in these Epsons, not to mention their excellent lens, will likely give you a fine boost in apparent resolution with both 1080p and 4K content. Keep in mind that the AE4000 was launched in 2009, and the AE8000 in 2012. Very old technology now.
Miro Posted Aug 27, 2019 1:24 PM PST
Thank you Rob so much for generously sharing your time and expertise. I’ve decided to go with Epson 5050UB. All the best! Miro.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 30, 2019 7:27 AM PST
Glad to help. Enjoy your new projector!
Miro Posted Aug 31, 2019 4:30 PM PST
Dear Rob, There is one more detail that I’m a little concern about it. I’m wondering if lack of frame interpolation for 4K viewing will be an issue on this Epson projector. Hopefully 4K Blu-ray transfer will be smooth enough, so any fast action movements can be comfortably viewed on my 160 inch wide-screen. Again you expertise would be greatly appreciated. Miro.
jim tietz Posted Sep 2, 2019 8:58 AM PST
I have a Mitsubishi 6800 with a SI diamond screen 131” x 54” and a throw distance of about 16’. I know this setup is old, but am I going to notice a significant difference with the 5050ub projector? I have the CinemaScope screen size, will the 5050ub adjust to it?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Sep 2, 2019 11:00 AM PST
Jim, I'd ask you and all other readers who have been asking about whether this or any other modern-day projector will constitute an improvement over their projector designed 10 or more years ago to use the resources on our website, read the reviews (there's a good chance we reviewed it back when, as we did the Mits 6800), and then apply some basics to make a determination.

1)SEARCH BOTH PRODUCTS IN OUR FIND A PROJECTOR DATABASE, put them in a Compare list, and look at their basic specs side by side. If one projector has significantly higher lumen output and accommodates your throw distance and screen size(if you tap our ProjectorCentral screen calculator, you'll see the 5050UB scores on both), you're going to get a huge bump in brightness that should be quite welcome, particularly if you watch on an ALR screen like the SI you mention in some degree of ambient light. Keep in mind, too, that the brightness spec for your old projector is based on its performance with a new lamp. Unless you've changed yours out recently, you may be looking today at a much-less bright image than even what's spec'd.



Contrast/black level in most modern projectors has also improved through the years, particularly with LCD imaging devices. I'd guess the 5050UB, which is among the better models out there in this price range for contrast, will likely be as good or better, perhaps much better, than a model first released in 2009, like the Mitsubishi 6800. (The date of first ship -- and the last year shipped) is always listed on our database product page.

2) READ THE REVIEWS and look at the features. Anyone who read our review, for example, will know that the 5050UB has screen memories that can zoom the image to 2.35:1 aspect with full height, but that it does NOT have a mode to accommodate an anamorphic lens, which is the preferred way to accomplish this. Only the Pro Cinema 6050, the professional-line version of this projector, has that feature. So, if you already happen to use an anamorphic lens for your Mitsubishi, you'll want to at least step up the 6050, which costs $1000 more but comes with an extra lamp and a ceiling mount.

3)As I have frequently said, the access to UHD HDR content that modern projectors afford, as well as the additional resolution afforded by either 1080p pixel-shifting (as executed to a high level by Epson or JVC) or to 4K imagers (either native 4K or by pixel-shifting 1080p as done in the DLP XPR chips) provides an obvious benefit that makes stepping up from most older 1080p projectors a sensible move.
Myron Oleson Posted Sep 11, 2019 2:44 PM PST
We own a very nice Panasonic PTAE-8000U. 155" diagonal screen, with a 25 foot throw distance. On standard Blu-ray discs, what improvement will we see? Is the "upscaling" good enough to justify the $2700 expense? The room is a dedicated theater, 100% light controlled. Thanks!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Sep 17, 2019 9:13 AM PST
Hi Myron. I've responded to similar inquiries in the responses above, but to remake the key point: all other things aside, the combination of additional detail seen in UHD resolution content as well as the ability to watch UHD HDR content is likely to amount to a significant upgrade over any aging 1080p projector at this point.
Myron Oleson Posted Oct 4, 2019 4:47 PM PST
Rob - Thanks for the response. I just loaded the Epson 5050UB in my theater. A bit surprised, as I can discern little if any difference from the Panasonic PTAE-8000U. We watched two 4K movies, Back Draft and Dunkirk. Honestly, I could not see $2900 worth of difference from the Panny. Might be returning this in a couple days. My seating is between 6 feet and 20 feet from the screen. 155 inch diagonal. Surprisingly, the Panny actually seems a bit brighter. Just a heads up to everyone else here.
Myron Oleson Posted Oct 5, 2019 8:57 AM PST
The other surprise...there is no owner's manual, other than a simple "Quick Start" guide. But here is the killer, the substantial lag time with the remote when adjusting the features and/or setup of the projector. I found it nearly impossible to get the focus correct. Hold the focus adjust button for a micro-second too long, and you zoom right past being in focus. There is no way to slowly "bump" the focus into position. Perhaps my expectations were too high? Honestly we thought this would look twice as good in 4K as standard Blu-ray in our PTAE-8000U. But there was no "Oh my gosh, WOW, what a picture" moment with this projector, even with 4K UHD material.
Myron Oleson Posted Oct 5, 2019 10:16 AM PST
Okay...upon further review, the Epson does show a bit more detail with 4K. Watching Dunkirk (4K), and doing a side by side comparison with the Panny, Epson wins out. But I would only give it 10% improvement in detail and overall visual quality. We will keep the projector. But it is not the 100% improvement we expected. Not "night & day" better. Only marginally better in some scenes. Is it worth $2900? Yes, if you have a projector that is a decade old. My Panny is only 5 years old, with 170 hours on the lamp.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 6, 2019 12:18 PM PST
Thanks for your comments and updates, Myron. I can't say with certainty how your large image size might interact with the projector's motorized lens controls though I assume that as you get larger the focus movements have a much greater effect on screen than what I experienced in my studio with a 92- or 100-inch image. Also, you didn't say what settings you might have used for your audition, though with a 155-inch screen you would certainly want to tune in one of the brighter modes. I'd also suggest that you selected two pretty awful movies on which to initially judge your new UHD/HDR-compliant projector -- a nearly 40 year old title and another that was presented in black and white. And...did you stream these from a compressed web service or watch on UHD Blu-ray? Disc-based content will better show you what the projector is capable of. You might want to try one of the recent movies shot sharply and transferred to UHD with HDR in mind -- I'd recommend Aquaman among others -- to get an even better idea. Also, play with the projector's Image Preset control to tune the degree of detail you'd like to see on screen -- I think you'll find that it is much sharper than any standard 1080p model at its higher settings, and you ought to be able to find a compromise between an ultra-sharp image and the potential introduction of edge-enhancement or other undesirable artifacts at the very highest setting. (On a side note, the lack of a printed instruction manual is unfortunately standard now with projector and other consumer electronics product these days. You can visit the 5050UB database page on ProjectorCentral to download a pdf of the full manual.)
Myron Oleson Posted Oct 8, 2019 12:08 PM PST
Rob - Thanks again for your comments. The two titles are not old at all...Dunkirk is a very recent (2017) 4K movie. The scenes where the soldiers are all lined up on the beach are very good, with great detail of the individual's. Backdraft is a bit older (Ron Howard film, 1991), and the video did not show night and day improvement from the Panasonic to the Epson. My Blu-ray player is Panasonic's former "Flagship" model, the DMP-UB900. The Panasonic holds it's own very well, here. Especially considering the price I paid for it. But the 5050UB is better, and will remain in my home theater. We will continue to experiment with settings. But using the Spears & Munsil HD Blu-ray disc, the factory presets appeared to be "spot on". The setting used for now for brightness is the brightest setting, which was the factory setting. Happy Viewing!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 8, 2019 4:32 PM PST
Glad to hear, Myron. Enjoy!

Bill Posted Oct 16, 2019 5:59 PM PST
Is it possible to get 4K 60hz wireless so UHD is not restricted from streaming NETFLIX? The extra cost shouldn’t limit quality.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Oct 17, 2019 5:42 AM PST
Bill, the wireless transmitter associated with this projector is licensed technology with a limitation on its bandwidth that prevents this. Netflix sees this on its end and, unless something has changed since the writing of our review, automatically reduces the resolution of its signal to ensure transmission through the pipeline. I'm not aware of any subscription options or settings for Netflix that would allow you to bypass this limitation, but if any readers know of a go-around for this, I'd love to hear it.
Marcus Posted Oct 19, 2019 12:17 PM PST
Great review, I think I've decided to go with the Epson 5050ub. I intend to make the purchase within 2 weeks, but I need some guidance.

I am definitely not a videophile or audiophile and I get lost in the technical specs and abbreviations (HEVC, HDR10, H.265...ugg my head is spinning).

Basically, I want the best audio/video I can afford. The 5050ub is at the very high end of my price point.

Quick info:

Current projector: Panasonic PT-AX200U (bought used 5 yrs ago...it just got fried from a bad replacement bulb from Amazon) Bedroom Screen = Carls Place ALR (dark grey): Gain 1.5 (I think) : 68" diag (FIXED/hard-mounted): 14' from Projector Sitting position: Laying in my bed, 14 feet from the screen. (Projector is on a shelf above my bed) Light control: At night, the room is dark. Daylight..lots of light. MOST (not all) of my viewing is at night.

Source: AppleTV 4K. (casual watcher of movies & Hulu/Netflix shows)

Receiver: Denon AVR-X2500H. Receiver specs: Video Standard H.264/HEVC SDR Main 10 profile, MPEG-4 Simple Profile Frame Rate 30fps, 60fps Resolution 3840 x 2160, 640 x 480 Resolution 4K SUHD (2160p) HDR Capable Yes HDR Technology HDR 10

Am I making the right choice with the Epson 5050?

My priorities: It looks as best as possible considering both lighting conditions (bright & dark). My biggest complaint with the previous projector is I could never get the picture bright enough for my taste (either due to my age, or the projectors age??) I like bright colors at night and visible images during the day. I hope for the highest resolution with the brightest viewing (within reason) I understand there may be some compromises.

I hope to find the best combination of: AppleTV 4k ; Denon AVR-X2500H receiver; Screen; and now the projector

I appreciate any feedback or advice.

Thank you in advance.
Myron Oleson Posted Oct 28, 2019 11:55 AM PST
Update: The auto-iris is a disaster! Extremely annoying with that "pumping" effect whenever the lighting in a scene changes from light to dark, dark to light. Very poor design, hope they can fix this. Until then, this feature is off!
Steve Vincent Posted Nov 9, 2019 12:55 PM PST
I would buy one, but I understand that in long term use they suck dust into the optics and you get dust blobs projected onto the screen along with the picture. This can only be fixed by a "service". I wish it wasn't true but I suspect it is.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Nov 9, 2019 1:06 PM PST
I can't say I've heard this specific complaint about either the 5040UB that precedes this model or the 4000 that uses the same chassis. I would hope, however, that if this was a chronic issue it might have been addressed in this update. I also wonder, for those who might have encountered this in the previous models, what sort of environmental conditions it occurs under.
Chris Posted Nov 18, 2019 7:45 AM PST
Thank you for such a detailed review. I've been going back and forth between this review and the one you did for the Sony 295es. I have a totally light controlled room in the basement with no windows. My only concern for the Sony is not being able to match the black levels/contrast of the 6050UB which I am leaning more towards, and my only reservation really for the Epson is non-native 4k as well as being unable to match the motion processing of the Sony. Such a predicament, both are just within my budget and would be used for movies and gaming. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Bob Posted Nov 24, 2019 5:31 AM PST
Hi, awesome review. Considering upgrading my Epson 2150 which is an amazing g projector for the price. I use in a totally dark room, mostly for gaming. Would jumping to the 5050ube be worth it in terms of image quality? I do not want to run another 18gbs hdmi cord, do you think this would run through my 10.2 hdmi cord at 4k/60fps? What about gaming with the wireless transmitter? Any lag or image issues? Thanks!
Nick Posted Nov 25, 2019 7:13 AM PST
Thanks for the comprehensive review Rob! You mentioned you did some fine-tuning of the picture in Dynamic Cinema mode. Any chance you can share what setting you adjusted and the levels they were set at? Thanks again! Nick
Eric Posted Jan 7, 2020 2:19 PM PST
Hi Rob, thanks for your comprehensive reviews and Happy 2020! I can get an almost new Sony VPL-VW295ES from a friend (who is upgrading to the JVC NX7) for the same price as a new 5050UB. Do you have a recommendation. My theatre is completely dark and has a 96" wide Seymour acoustically transparent screen (1.0 Gain). I'm replacing a Panny AE-7000U. Thanks, Eric.
Gary Posted Jan 9, 2020 10:50 AM PST
Thanks for the review; I got the projector just after Christmas. I have no idea how to manage the settings re: color/hdr etc. Is there a good place to read up on this?
Nate Posted Apr 8, 2020 3:45 PM PST
Thank you for the great review. I am in the market for a new 4k projector and this projector seems to be the best one at or near its price point. My question to you is, what projector do you think is the next step up, price-wise, that you would consider is better enough to be worth the additional cost?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Apr 13, 2020 6:03 AM PST
Nate, I think when you go above this price point there's not much left until you jump to the native 4K 3-chip models from Sony and JVC. JVC's DLA-X790 is another excellent UHD-compliant 1080p pixel-shifter and remains on the market at $4,000 until at least September; after that it will be retired permanently from JVC's line up. I use this as my day to day reference projector for it's excellent black level, but my assessment is that Epson's current pixel shifting delivers a slightly sharper image and has a more friendly HDR adjustment for day-to-day use, though the JVC allows finer control in its advanced settings. So that's one to consider if you have more to spend.

Sony's entry level native 4K SXRD model at $5K is a very good projector that will net you the potential for a somewhat sharper image, though I found the HDR tone mapping adjustment in the 5050UB to have a wider range and be more advanced. The JVC DLA-NX5 sits at $6K, and I believe it enjoys the excellent frame adaptive auto-tone mapping that JVC added to these models last year.

Most of the decent high-value single-chip DLPs are sitting at a lower price point than this and don't share the fine lens and build quality found with the Epson. It would be nice if one of the DLP manufacturers put out a model that uses the 0.66-inch XPR chip with a very high quality motorized lens at $3,000 and this kind of contrast performance to more directly compete with this Epson, but I haven't seen a home theater model yet that hits that sweet spot. BenQ's HT5550 competes at a slightly lower price point but didn't perform as well in our tests.
Cory Posted Jul 15, 2020 9:57 AM PST
Perhaps this is due to the age of this review (Over a year old) but the price for lamps from this projector are less than $150 from both Pureland Supply and MyProjectorLamps.

Is it normal for the price of lamps to drop this fast (half the quoted price in a year)?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 15, 2020 10:08 AM PST
It's not unusual for the price of projectors or their associated lamps to drop.
Kevmeister Posted Jul 20, 2020 3:02 AM PST
Thanks for the review. We have 9-year old JVC X3 that has stopped working and I'm now wondering to get it repaired (if possible) or look at something like the Epson 6060. We run a 2.35 screen but no Anamorphic Lens so the Lens Memory would be a great improvement versus the manual adjustment we had to do with the X3. My main concern is the contrast ratio -- our room is beige walls/white ceiling not a bat-cave and I think I'd be really annoyed if I see noticeable gray bars top and bottom with 2.35 material. Am I being too concerned?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 20, 2020 5:50 PM PST
Can't say with certainty without a side by side, Kevin, but I'd guess the Epson 6050UB (or 5050UB,essentially same projector) may very well deliver similar blacks to the 9 year old JVC, though probably not a late gen JVC model.
Brett Gillmore Posted Aug 9, 2020 2:03 PM PST
Quick question.

Would you say this projector is a big improvement over the Sony VPL-HW55ES at 1080 content? I'm looking to upgrade, but want to make sure I see the benefit beyond the 4k and HDR.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 10, 2020 9:09 AM PST
Brett, the only thing I can't say with certainty is whether the low black-level/contrast will match the Sony's SXRD-driven engine. But I will say that the 5050 compared quite favorably to my JVC DLA-X790, which is also LCoS -- not quite as black (that projector's black levels are state of the art)but very good. What I will say is that stepping up to 4K content with the 5050UB's pixel-shifting technology and excellent HDR tone-mapping will be quite noticeable and likely makes up for a modest sacrifice, if any, that you'd experience in low black level.
Chris Posted Sep 2, 2020 8:12 AM PST
I picked up an extremely lightly used 5050UB from a local AV company owner for $1700! My theater room is being built literally at this moment, but from the testing I've done with the 5050, I can't wait to get it mounted in the room (dark theater) and projecting on to the 135" screen :)
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Sep 2, 2020 9:09 AM PST
Fantastic deal, Chris. Stop back and let us know how it looks.
Nik Posted Sep 20, 2020 8:27 AM PST
Hello

Thank you for your review. I just bought the 5050UB after reading your review. I have never owned a projector and I am thinking of buying a 150 Inch Elite Screen Manual Pull Down (no tab tension) as that is the only screen which is close to my budget. I see they have a black and white option with the black being significantly cheaper than white. Can I go with a black screen with the 5050UB or should I stick to the traditional white.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Sep 20, 2020 10:53 AM PST
Nik, without looking at the specifics of each screen's gain, I assume the gray screen will improve black level further while sacrificing some image brightness, which is to say your white highlights will lose some of their punch. If you're going to be watching in a dark room go with the white screen. If you'll be viewing frequently in ambient light, you'll want to darker screen to keep the image from looking washed out.

Post a comment

 
Enter the numbers as they appear to the left