Epson Home Cinema 5040UB 5 1 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
$2,299 MSRP Discontinued

The Epson Home Cinema 5040UB is a stunning value in today's market with its recent drop to $2,699. Built around three 1080p LCD chips and Epson's 4K-Enhancement pixel-shifting technology, its image looks a lot closer to true 4K than 1080p. Compared with standard 1080p models like the Sony HW45ES and the Epson Home Cinema 3900, it offers visibly superior resolution and image quality for not a lot more money, as well as compatibility with all of the new 4K video content coming onto the market. And when compared with current native 4K projectors, it delivers nearly as high quality an image at a far lower price. That puts it in a sweet spot virtually by itself at this writing.

Beyond its 4K advantage, the 5040UB has other features that by themselves justify most of the difference in price between it and conventional 1080p models. At the top of the list is the all-glass, 16-piece 2.1x zoom lens that is designed for 4K performance. The lens system has motorized zoom, lens shift, and focus, with a lens shift range that no other projector exceeds. And conveniently, the powered Lens Memory feature lets you save 10 lens positions and adjust all three settings with a single command for Constant Image Height (CIH) operation with a Cinemascope 2.4:1 screen without the bother or cost of an anamorphic lens.

The 5040UB boasts HDR-compatibility as well as the ability to display the entire sRGB and DCI color spaces. And when it comes to lumen power the 5040UB delivers more than it promises. Epson rates it at 2,500 lumens for both white and color brightness. But that is pretty much what it gives you in Video Optimized calibration. In its brightest mode we measured it at roughly 3,500 lumens, which makes it suitable for an even wider range of lighting conditions. The high brightness will let it stand up to ambient light, while the HDR support is best reserved for dark theater viewing.

Epson 5040UB

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB

Picture Quality

In addition to running our usual tests for this review, we did side-by-side comparisons of the 5040UB with the Epson 3900 and Sony HW45ES, two highly capable 1080p models priced about $700 below the 5040UB. The results are discussed in detail in the Epson 3900 review and the Sony HW45ES review. The conclusion, however, is that the 5040UB is in a wholly different league, with wider color gamut and more refined color, deeper blacks, noticeably higher contrast, and a sharper, more detailed image even before turning on 4K enhancement.

That's worth underlining. A lot of what makes the 5040UB's image stand out has nothing to do with the 4K enhancement or the HDR support. It comes from the basic fundamentals of rich color, deep blacks, and obviously high contrast that adds a sense of three-dimensionality.

The color accuracy is good enough in almost every predefined color mode so you wouldn't know if it's technically off at all without measurements or at least comparing it to something you know is properly calibrated. The exceptions are Dynamic mode, which has the usual slight green bias most projectors have in their brightest color modes, and B&W Cinema mode, which is designed to give you a warmer 5500 degree color temperature to mimic the original appearance of B&W film in a 1940's movie theater.

The sense of extra sharpness with plain vanilla 1080p comes partly from the high contrast ratio and partly from sophisticated video processing features, like Epson's Super Resolution. At its default setting, it works nicely, along with the defaults for sharpness and detail enhancement, to make the image a little crisper.

Also adding to the sharpness and detail is the high quality, 16-piece glass lens. By virtue of being designed to hold the higher level of detail the 4K-enhancement feature delivers, it also holds detail better even with 4K Enhancement turned off.

4K Enhancement. The key to understanding why the 4K Enhancement looks so impressive is realizing that there's only so much detail the human eye can actually resolve. The 5040UB's pixel-shifting technology increases the apparent resolution of the picture by enough to come close to that limit. Of course it depends on how close you like to sit to the screen. And it also depends on the type of subject matter -- it is easier to see resolution differences between the 5040UB and native 4K projectors when viewing high resolution graphics and text documents than it is with video.

Depending on the input signal, some menu options aren't available. Using a 4K input signal, Frame Interpolation (FI) and the noise reduction features are not available. With 1080p input, you can choose either one without the other, or turn off both. Since you can't have 4K enhancement and FI at the same time, you may never use FI, which a lot of people don't like anyway because of the digital video effect. If you use it, you can choose between Low, Medium, and High. The Low setting delivers a slight smoothing of motion artifacts with hardly any digital video effect. Medium increases both, and High increases them even more, which makes the two highest settings best reserved for live or recorded video.


Editor's Comment: On a personal note, I watch a lot of live performance video on the exquisite Blu-ray discs produced by Opus Arte such as Einstein on the Beach and many of their Royal Ballet productions. With this premium live performance material the digital video effect from an aggressive use of Frame Interpolation is beneficial--you want it to look as real as possible. To my eye, the 5040UB's combination of FI set on High, plus its Super Resolution booster actually produces a more stable and crystal clear picture than even its 4K enhancement option. FI and resolution enhancement artifacts are remarkably scarce. Videophiles will enjoy experimenting with these options. This is one of many reasons to give the Epson 5040UB our rare Editor's Choice Award. EP


3D Video. The 5040UB's 3D support is limited to 1080p and RF glasses. Image quality is similar to 1080p 2D for image characteristics that both 2D and 3D share. Beyond that, I didn't see any 3D-related motion artifacts in most clips that tend to show them and only a hint of them in the few where they did show. I also saw some exceedingly minor crosstalk in one clip where it tends to show, but nowhere near enough to consider bothersome. Brightness is necessarily lower than in any of the 2D modes, but you have a choice of both a 3D Cinema mode with a typical drop in brightness and a somewhat brighter 3D Dynamic mode.

HDR. Projectors have inherent limitations for HDR, including the fact that ambient light will wash out darker shades on screen and most of the benefit of HDR along with it. Within that context, however, the 5040UB does a credible job. For testing HDR, I used a Samsung UBD-K8500 player and a Batman v Superman 4K HDR disc.

The 5040UB's four HDR modes all darken the average image brightness overall compared with SDR mode, with HDR 1 being the brightest and HDR 4 the darkest. HDR 1 is the default for HDR input, since Epson feels that most people will find it the best compromise between overall brightness vs. color accuracy and shadow detail. Be aware that the 5040UB doesn't change any other settings when it switches to HDR mode. You need to adjust Brightness and Contrast separately for HDR, save the settings to memory, and then manually load them for HDR input. When it comes to HDR the right settings make all the difference between a compelling picture and an almost unwatchable one.


Brightness. Recently we've seen a number of Epson projectors coming in with lumen performance that exceeds their published specs. The 5040UB outdoes expectations even for Epson. It is rated at 2500 lumens, but we measured it in Dynamic mode at 3527 lumens, a whopping 41% above spec. As a welcome surprise, that leaves Bright Cinema, with its better color fidelity, close to the published rating, at 2401 lumens.

ANSI Lumens for High, Medium, and Eco power, were measured with the zoom lens at its widest angle setting.

Epson Home Cinema 5040UB
ANSI Lumens

Bright Cinema
B&W Cinema
Digital Cinema

Note that the factory default settings for lamp power vary from one color mode to the next. Bright Cinema, for example, is set to Medium power by default and Cinema is set to Eco.

Video Optimized Lumens. Our pick for Video Optimized mode is a slightly tweaked Bright Cinema. At 2400 lumens, it's bright enough for a 225" diagonal 16:9 image in a dark theater room by the usual rules for SDR. With HDR content, and its lower overall image brightness, you will likely want to go with a smaller image. The ideal image size will depend on factors such as which HDR mode you use and screen gain.

Presentation Optimized Lumens. Should you need to use the 5040UB for presentations, it delivers vibrant, saturated color for data and graphics even at top brightness in Dynamic mode. The 3527 lumens is bright enough for a 150" 16:9 image in moderate ambient light.

Low Lamp Modes. The 5040UB offers two reduced power modes: Medium, which is 23% lower than High lamp mode, and Eco, which is 25% lower than High mode.


ProjectorCentral uses the
OPPO UDP-203 4K Blu-ray Player


Zoom Lens Effect. The 2.1x zoom lens offers excellent flexibility for positioning the 5040UB. At the full telephoto setting, however, the lens curtails light by about 33% compared with the wide-angle setting. In most cases you'll want to put the projector as close to the screen as possible to maximize brightness.

Brightness uniformity. At a measured 93%, the brightness uniformity is close to perfect as far as the human eye is concerned. The subjective impression is that there's no visible difference.

Input Lag. Input lag varies, depending on the settings for 4K enhancement and FI. Surprisingly, the setting for Fine and Fast mode makes no difference. With 4K enhancement on, FI is not available, and the lag is 28 ms. With 4K enhancement off, the lag varies with the FI setting, from 29 ms with FI Off, to 68 ms for Low, to 104 ms for Normal or High.

Fan noise. Epson rates High power mode at 31 db, which is enough to be noticeable in most home theater-size rooms during quiet moments. It helps that it is a constant medium-pitch white noise rather than varying in volume or pitch, but it's not as quiet as you'd ideally like for a home theater, particularly if you're sensitive to fan noise. In Eco mode, the rating is an extremely low 20 dB. Medium isn't noticeably higher. Either one is hard to hear in a quiet room even you're listening for it.

Epson recommends High Altitude mode for 4920 feet and above. Fan noise is louder for each power setting in this mode, but both Eco and Medium with High Altitude Mode on are quieter than High mode with it off. Most users will likely want to stay with Eco or Medium modes with High Altitude operation.

Lamp life. Epson rates the 5040UB's lamp at 3500 hours in High mode, 4000 in Medium, and 5000 hours in Eco. Replacements are $299.99.

Warranty. The price includes a two-year warranty for the projector and a 90-day warranty for the lamp.

Set Up

The 5040UB offers impressive placement flexibility. Both the intake and exhaust vents are on the front, making it amenable for placement on a rear shelf. However, a large shelf would be required since this is a large projector -- far too large for a typical bookcase. In general, the 2.1x zoom and extensive vertical and horizontal lens shift allow a wide variety of placement options either on the ceiling or behind the seating area. They also make it easy to replace an older projector in a mount, for example, and adjust the image position to fit on an already existing screen. The powered zoom, focus, and lens shift make the adjustment step as easy as it could be.

Keep in mind that if your current HDMI cable isn't 4K HDR compliant, you'll need to replace it. And if you're upgrading from the Epson 5030UB, note that the 5040UB is more than 6 pounds heavier, at 24.7 pounds, and larger in all three dimensions, at 6.7" by 20.5" x 17.7" (HWD) not including feet.

Throw Distance. The 5040UB's throw distance for a 150" 16:9 diagonal image is roughly 14.75 to 31 feet. At the long end of the range, however, the lens will curtail the projector's potential lumen output by 33%. So for maximum brightness, you'll want the projector closer to rather than farther from the screen.

If you want to use the 5040UB's Lens Memory to set up a Constant Image Height (CIH) rig without bothering with an anamorphic lens, the 5040UB makes it easy to adjust image size when switching between material in 2.4 format, 16:9 format, and other aspect ratios. Simply store the appropriate lens settings for each format in one of the 10 memory entries for lens position, pick a setting, and let the powered zoom, lens shift, and focus do the rest. Keep in mind that you'll need to chose a distance that will accommodate the CIH for all the aspect ratios you need. The Epson 5040UB Projection Calculator will let you find an appropriate range for the screen size you want to use.

Lens Shift Range. The 5040UB offers a substantial lens shift for both vertical and horizontal directions. In the neutral position, the centerline of the lens is at the geometric center of the projected image. From this position, the image can shift up enough for the bottom line of the image to be 50% of the image height above the centerline, or shift down by the same amount.

The vertical and horizontal shift ranges are interrelated, so the position for either affects the other. From the neutral position for both, for example, the horizontal shift is nearly 50% of the image width left or right, but from the extreme top or bottom vertical position it's only 10% left or right. If you need to tilt the unit beyond the range that the lens shift allows, you can adjust vertical keystone by up to +/- 30 degrees. There is no horizontal keystone.

For additional details and restrictions on installation, consult the Epson 5040UB User Manual.


4K Enhancement vs. Frame Interpolation and Noise Reduction. The 5040UB doesn't let you use 4K enhancement and FI at the same time. With a 2160p input signal, which turns on 4K Enhancement automatically, you can't use noise reduction either. However, you can use both Noise Reduction features if the signal is 1080p and you turn on 4K-Enhancement manually.

No Point in Fast Mode. The usual reason for having Fine and Fast mode is that Fine mode offer better picture quality, while Fast mode cuts down on input lag. With the 5040UB, Fine mode will give you better quality but Fast mode doesn't change the input lag. We see no reason to use it.

HDR Compatibility. HDR signals differ in frame rate, bit depth, and chroma sub-sampling. The 5040UB isn't compatible with all combinations, which means it's compatible with some, but not all, HDR sources. We discuss these issues in more detail in our HDR compatibility survey.

Auto Iris. The Normal mode for the Auto Iris works fine, but High Speed has problems switching from a black screen or dark scene to an image with much higher average brightness. The iris can often take a full second to adjust and does the adjustment in two or three increments. You can avoid this issue by setting the Auto Iris to Off or Normal.


At $2,699, the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB occupies a unique position in today's market, delivering image quality that rivals far more expensive native 4K models for not much more than the price of a top quality, standard 1080p model. Beyond the image quality and 4K compatibility, it is far brighter than expected based on the 2500 ANSI lumen rating, which gives it some additional versatility for use in ambient light (think Super Bowl parties) that most home theater projectors don't have.

Though it gets much of its attention from its 4K compatibility, pixel-shift technology, HDR, and wide color gamut, its performance on conventional parameters such as contrast and a stellar 93% brightness uniformity make it outstanding even among conventional 1080p projectors. Beyond this, one of the most compelling features is its automated Lens Memory -- essential for CIH installation without an A-lens if you are interested in that option.

In the end this is a highly unique set of features that exists nowhere else in this price range. The only other models under $3,000 that have both 4K-enhancement and powered Lens Memory are the Epson 5040UBe, which is a wireless version of the 5040UB, and the Epson Pro 4040. Due to outstanding performance and an impressive array of features, ProjectorCentral is pleased to give the Epson Home Cinema 5040UB our top honor, the Editor's Choice Award.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Epson Home Cinema 5040UB projector page.

Comments (12) Post a Comment
Peter Posted Oct 4, 2017 8:22 AM PST
Very interesting review and impressive projector for the price. I am considering replacing my Panasonic AE4000u with the Epson 5040UB as a result of the great reviews it's gotten and the higher lumen output, not to mention the 4K Enhancement technology. It would have been of additional interest to comment on the 5040UB's black levels and how good/bad they are compared to other projectors, especially since based on your tests the 5040UB seems to put out higher lumens than is actually stated in its specs. Otherwise, I am looking forward to purchasing this projector real soon.
Duane Adam Posted Nov 1, 2017 10:08 AM PST
Had I not owned a JVC I would have thought the Epson blacks were superb. They're not as good as the best of the best, but they're very good and quite acceptable.

I am confused by the comments here and elsewhere on this site regarding fan noise being not noticeable. I don't know if I have a bad fan or I'm just more critical but mine is very noticeable even in eco mode. It also seems to wander so the pitch changes making it harder to get used to. Appreciate hearing comments from anyone else owning this projector.
Tyler Posted Dec 23, 2018 9:22 AM PST
I have read a lot of reviews stating the projector is great, but the power is consistently failing. The units suddenly refuse to come on at all. Are you aware of this issue, and do you know if it's been fixed? I was ready to buy but now am hesitant. Thanks!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Dec 23, 2018 11:07 AM PST
Tyler, I'm aware of this issue and recently reached out to Epson about it. The same issue applied to what appears to be a smaller number of HC 4000 samples as well, if you read the reviews on Amazon. Epson's official response to my query is below.

"Epson has identified and addressed an issue in select projector models that may cause a small percentage of units to not power on. The issue has already been addressed in models shipping from Epson, but there is a possibility of a small fraction of units still in channel inventory that may be affected. Epson places the highest priority on product quality and customer satisfaction. For customers in need of a replacement unit, please contact Epson customer support at 1-800-788-0336. We will handle each occurrence on a case-by-case basis consistent with our warranty."

One thing I would add is that, given that Epson had a significant number of product failures on this chassis that they had to deal with after the fact, we can probably feel confident that the new updated models built on the same chassis -- the HC 4010 and the successor to the HC 5040 that is currently expected soon -- will not suffer the same issues.
Dan Lindberg Posted Apr 15, 2019 11:58 PM PST
Yeah...I’m going onto my third replacement, warranty ends in 2 months for the 5040ub. Wish I kept my 5030 as the one I bought is still running strong and like new and never have needed a replacement.
Rene Posted Jun 8, 2019 1:14 AM PST
It seems that I do have such a projector (with limited percentage) at home - twice sent in to Epson and then the projector works for roughly 6 months - just to show the same issues as before - now it started to show similar symptoms for a 3rd time. In the meantime, my unit's out of warranty - was never happy with its limited 4K support anyway and will change to a different brand.

Just a quick idea - how about long time reviews? Switching it on and putting on the brightest and best picture works for a test of a couple hours and indeed looks great, but Epson's 5040 quality quickly deteriorated when throwing light from the ceiling.

Also, I would challenge the small percentage of Epson's PR department. For me it looks rather like a design flaw (underperforming chips, heat flow, etc.)
mike Posted Dec 23, 2019 1:57 PM PST
I have owned my Epson 5040ub now for almost 18 months. I have about 900 hours on it. the picture looks great with most content. I switched from a Epson 8350 to a sony 45 ES to this. I have to say i did not like the Sony. I do agree the fan noise is louder than i would like but i have a loud 9.2 set up. If i could get my Samsung 8500 4k player to stop dropping the signal. switched cable hard reset. I believe the problem is the player not the projector. I have a new Sony player coming so that will remove this issue. I agree the lumens being higher than listed i was watching the guardian of the galaxy 2 my daughter asked to turn the brightness down. I will be doing the software update tonight so i would give this projector a 4.5/5 one of the best i have owned.
Frank Posted Feb 10, 2020 8:24 AM PST
When I shut off the projector via remote "standby button" the blue LED blinks a couple of times then the lamp and fan turn off. This all happen rather quickly, like 10 seconds. My Sony HW45 would take several minutes to cool down and shut off. Is this quick shut down normal? Thanks....FP
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Feb 10, 2020 8:29 AM PST
Frank, I don’t recall shutdown being that rapid with the 5040 unless the projector hadn’t been on very long and the lamp wasn’t terribly hot. But it’s possible there’s a menu setting to facilitate quick shut off I am not aware of. Maybe one of our 5040 owners can comment on these conditions you describe.
Phillip Posted Mar 28, 2020 9:24 PM PST
Love your site! I last left a comment in March of 2007 (it's still there) when I bought an Epson MovieMate25 because of your reviews. In October of 2013 I upgraded to an Epson 5030ub, again, because of your reviews. ( which I bought brand-new at a mistake price of $2050). My original bulb blew 2.5 years and 2200 hours into its life and now the non-OEM bulb gave up the ghost after 3000+ hours. The decision is to buy a refurbished 5040ub, or spend $150 for a new bulb. I only stream movies and other online content - no gaming or DVDs. My projection is about 10 feet on a wall and I sit back about 15 feet with the projector on a shelf over my head. I have a Denon AVR 2313 using Chromecast. I'm usually viewing with ambient light coming from one source or another. Overall I am very happy with the 5030, though brightness is sometimes an issue (perhaps fixed with a new bulb) and I loathe the increased fan noise when I try to bring more light to the issue. The 5040ub power problems do scare me. Having written this out I should probably by a bulb and invest in a screen! However, I will value your advice as much as your reviews - and thank you for those gems!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Mar 29, 2020 1:40 PM PST
Phillip, the only justification in stepping up to a refurb 5040 would be if the performance is notably superior to the 5030UB. I'm assuming it's probably a noticeable upgrade on black level (in a dark room), but more critically the 5040 is a 4k-compatible projector with quite respectable HDR performance. I'd definitely recommend going to 4K/HDR when your budget permits; whether you do with taking whatever chance is involved with the 5040 refurb or sit tight for now and wait for prices to drop on the 5050 at some point, is up to you. So no real easy answer for this one...
Scott Posted Sep 29, 2020 12:07 PM PST
The refurb 5040ub comes with a two year warranty just like from new, FYI. My 5040 refurb has been great so far, aside from a faint green baseball size dot that shows up when the screen is mostly black. Been working with Epson warranty support to get this sorted...

Post a comment

Enter the numbers as they appear to the left