Looking for a much bigger and better upgrade to the "big-screen" TV in your family room? The Epson Home Cinema 4000, announced and available today, is aimed squarely at you. This projector is easily bright enough to throw a ten-foot diagonal image in moderate ambient light. Epson is explicitly calling it "an alternative to TVs for today's connected living rooms."
The Epson HC 4000 projector has it all -- 4K UHD compatibility, Full HD 3D, HDR10, DCI-P3 ultra wide color gamut, and powered lens with automated Lens Memory for 2.4:1 Cinemascope constant image height operation. And the best part is an MSRP of $2,199 and expected street prices under $2000.
Epson Home Cinema 4000 key features:
The Epson Home Cinema 4000 is designed for either classic dark theater or lights-on family room entertainment. It is bright enough for a 120" diagonal screen with lights on in a family room. That is three times the square footage of a 70" TV, and the sheer size of the picture provides a much more immersive viewing experience -- making it feel like you are at the football game rather than watching it on TV.
The HC 4000 features 4K Enhancement technology (Epson's version of pixel shifting) to boost resolution of native 1920x1080 chips. It doesn't give you as many pixels as native 4K, but it adds enough that with a native 4K source it is often difficult to tell the difference between it and a native 4K projector at typical seating distances. Meanwhile, the HC 4000 also upscales 1080p material to make it far sharper, and the result is indistinguishable from the upscaling on a native 4K projector.
Also improving image quality is the wide color gamut, with 100% coverage of both Rec. 709 and the wider DCI-P3 color spaces. As with all Epson projectors, the 3LCD chip design guarantees there won't be any rainbow artifacts and delivers equal white and color brightness, so there's no difference between the two to affect color quality or lower the brightness of color images. The Home Cinema 4000 also supports 1080p full HD 3D.
If you're into traditional dark home theater, the HDR10 high dynamic range support and 140:000:1 contrast ratio will be of keen interest to you. HDR's full 10-bit color promises a wide dynamic range and smooth tonal transitions. But keep in mind that HDR tends to darken the overall image enough that you may not want to use it with ambient light. Similarly, ambient light tends to wash out the darker areas in an image, making the high contrast ratio less important by effectively lowering it dramatically.
Among the convenience features for setup and use are the motorized 2.1x zoom and focus, as well as motorized vertical and horizontal lens shift. The Epson HC4000 also offers automated lens memory that stores up to 10 combinations of focus, zoom, and lens shift. The lens memory makes it easy to take advantage of the full screen height when you shift between material with different aspect ratios.
The Epson HC 4000 is the first projector to bring this array of major features -- 4K enhancement, Full HD 3D, HDR, 2.1x zoom, H+V lens shift, and powered Lens Memory -- to market for an anticipated street price under $2000.
Also included in the price is a two-year warranty on the projector, 90 days on the lamp, and free next-day exchange.
Whether you consider the Epson Home Cinema 4000 as a more feature rich and cost effective alternative to native 4K projectors OR a bigger and better solution to the family room big-screen TV, it is a strong entry at a highly competitive price.