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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBe Projector Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBe
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Street Price: n/a
3D: Full HD 3D
Weight: 18.0 lbs
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:3 LCD
Lens:2.1x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:4,000 Hrs
5,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:2 year
Connectors:  Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI (x5), USB, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p

Epson Home Cinema 5020 & 5020e
3D Home Theater Projectors

Bill Livolsi, November 1, 2012

Key Features

2D image quality. The 5020UBe has a smooth, refined 2D image that reflects Epson's long history in home theater projectors. The projected image is bright and vibrant. Colors pop, highlights sparkle, and black levels closely resemble interstellar space. Frame Interpolation helps to smooth out ugly judder in camera pans and fast action, while Super Resolution boosts the appearance of fine detail in both SD and HD content. This is not just a projector that looks good watching Blu-ray movies -- to a certain extent, every HD projector looks good watching Blu-ray movies. This is a projector that gives new life to your old DVD collection that I know you still have on a shelf or in a box somewhere.

3D image quality. Whereas we saw minor ghosting and crosstalk on the 5010, the 5020UBe reduces instances of these artifacts significantly. Brightness is still quite high, allowing for screen size parity with 2D images within reason. In addition, the new 3D glasses are thinner, lighter, and much more comfortable than last year's models. The use of radio frequency sync as opposed to infrared will also reduce interference with remote controls, most of which use IR.

RF glasses included. The 5010 did not include 3D glasses, but the 5020UB includes two pairs of glasses in the box. Each pair of glasses also includes a storage bag and a charging cable (the glasses charge over USB). These glasses fit well and do not cause any discomfort over the course of a two-hour movie. The lenses are fairly large as well.

Frame interpolation. Epson has been putting frame interpolation onto their home theater projectors for years now, and it has improved every year. Frame interpolation removes judder normally seen in fast camera pans and action sequences, allowing for a smoother, more artifact-free viewing experience. Frame Interpolation has three levels. Low offers the least amount of judder reduction but also appears the most "natural," while High eliminates all traces of judder but makes film look more like video. This "digital video effect" is something that many people don't enjoy, but the 5020UBe's FI settings help you avoid it if it bothers you. On the other hand, if you are viewing live-performance video rather than an original film source, the high FI setting tends to enhance the reality of the visual experience.

Split screen. Like last year, the 5020UB includes a split screen system. This allows for the simultaneous display of two signal sources, provided that both of those sources are not HDMI or Wireless. In other words, HDMI and Component works, HDMI and HDMI does not.

WirelessHD. The only difference between the 5020UB and the 5020UBe is the latter's inclusion of a WirelessHD transmitter box. WirelessHD is a relatively new technology that we saw on Epson's home theater models last year. While modular systems that can be added to any projector are available, the Epson Home Cinema models are unique in that the receiver is built-in to the projector itself. This means, should you opt for the wireless model, you only need to run power to the projector.

The transmitter box is identical to the one included with the 3020e, the home video projector Epson just released. The transmitter is about the size of a thick hardcover book and has its own power supply. The top panel features a trio of buttons - Input, Output, and Power. These same functions can also be accessed from the 5020UBe's remote control. The Input button cycles through the transmitter's five (!) HDMI inputs, while the output button switches between wireless display and wired HDMI out. This feature allows you to run the same set of equipment to both your television and your projector. Transmission range tops out at ten meters, but line-of-sight is not strictly required. We used the transmitter through a fairly thick interior wall without any issues, but try to test this functionality before drilling any holes or making anything permanent.

Video quality over WirelessHD is indistinguishable from HDMI. Moreover, we saw no increase in input lag over WirelessHD when compared to conventional HDMI, so gamers are no worse off using the wireless function than if they'd used a direct cable link.

Placement flexibility. Epson often makes home theater projectors with best-in-class lens shift and zoom range. The 5020UBe is no exception. The projector sports a 2.1:1 manual zoom lens that can put a 120" diagonal 16:9 image on the wall anywhere from 11' 8" to 25' of throw. There is a trade-off: using the telephoto end of the zoom lens reduces light output by up to 32%. It is important to keep that in mind while planning your projector installation.

In addition, the manual horizontal and vertical lens shift can help place the image exactly where you want it. From dead center, the projector can shift the image up or down by 150% of the image height in each direction or shift it left or right by 50% of the image width in either direction. With regards to placement flexibility, this is about as good as it gets.

Light output. Normally we list light output under Performance, but it is also a key feature of the 5020UB. It's not just that the projector is bright; there are lots of bright projectors. More important is that the 5020UB's light output can be adjusted over a wide range, allowing for settings between 2432 lumens on the high end (slightly over the projector's specified maximum) and 391 lumens at the low end. That allows for a variety of installation options and image sizes without being too dim for the living room or too bright for the theater.

Color. Recently, there has been a trend towards home theater projectors with accurate color out of the box. The 5020UBe has a number of presets that fall very near the 6500K color temperature standard, and gamut is close enough to the desired values that adjustment isn't necessary. For those folks at home who don't want to get mixed up in extensive calibration, this is a feature of immeasurable value.

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The Viewing Experience
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Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
Comments (28) Post a Comment
Lahoree Posted Nov 1, 2012 3:19 PM PST
Great review but would love to see screenshot comparisons with other projectors in the same price range and how it compares to Panasonic's AE-8000 :)

Erik Posted Nov 1, 2012 3:43 PM PST
Will there be a comparison with the Panasonic PT-AE8000?
JNo Posted Nov 2, 2012 5:17 PM PST
Thanks for the input lag analysis - absolutely brilliant!

And it sets your reviews apart so keep 'em coming!

Silverfox Posted Nov 3, 2012 8:37 PM PST
Thanks very much for your informative review. Needing to upgrade from a Sanyo PLV-Z5 with a throw of 19` to a 120" 1.2 gain, 16:9, so it appears IMO that this Epson will be a huge upgrade in eye candy and specifically brightness. Glad i waited for the latest and passed on the 5010.

Silverfox Posted Nov 3, 2012 8:41 PM PST
Forgot to ask but could you please comment on the Fan noise in the brightest modes since it was not mentioned in your review ?

Jason Posted Nov 7, 2012 10:25 AM PST
Would love to see a comparison of the Epson 5020, Optoma HD33, Panasonic PT-AE8000, and Mistubishi HC-8000D. Would be very very helpful.

Thanks ProjectorCentral!! JD
russell mclaughlin Posted Nov 7, 2012 6:12 PM PST
Noone else has been able to reproduce your input lag time of 50 msec, and you provided no photo. Everyone else is getting 62msec. Please retest and post photo.
Siddhant Gupta Posted Nov 12, 2012 8:57 PM PST
I wanted to buy a short throw lens for this projector. So i wanted to know how much it would cost and where it would be available? Thank you
Siddhant Gupta Posted Nov 12, 2012 9:14 PM PST
Does epson 5020 have a ready feature supporting an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 Thanks
James Posted Nov 13, 2012 3:04 AM PST
Please make also a comparison between Panasonic PT AE8000 and Epson HC 5020. Which has better blacks? JVC HD1 or Epson HC 5020? Thanks
terraformer Posted Nov 21, 2012 1:35 PM PST
Just bought and installed this projector to replace my aging Panny AE900U. What a difference! Inky blacks, quiet fan in Eco mode, and amazing clarity. I've got it ceiling mounted @ 15ft onto a 104" screen. Very pleased so far. The wireless HDMI is really great, as when I bought this house the previous owner had only run component cables behind the walls and ceiling. I didn't need to buy a new receiver either as the optical out from the wireless box sends all HDMI sound from whatever is plugged into it to the receiver.
Hops Posted Dec 1, 2012 7:46 AM PST
I'm debating putting à projector in basement but not habijt dedicated theater room. I was looking Epson 3020 or 5020. There is à soffit above my screen, so i was concerned about the pack of lense shift on 3020. THE soffit is about 13 inches. If i don't want THE projector hanging down 15 inches off ceiling, is THE 5020 THE way too go?

I know the site has 5020 as home theater projector vs home video, any thoughts on how it handles ambient light.
Bill Livolsi Posted Dec 4, 2012 11:53 AM PST
Thanks to everyone for their comments.

Lahoree - Screenshots aren't a helpful measure of relative performance, so we don't include them. In many cases, either due to camera settings or a user's monitor settings, they can actually be misleading. Never base your purchasing decisions on screenshots. As for the comparison, I hope you've read our comparison piece, available from the homepage.

Erik - Yes, it is available from the homepage.

JNo - thanks, we will!

Silverfox - You're right, the 5020UB is a massive upgrade from the Sanyo Z5. Hope you enjoy it. Fan noise kicks up quite a bit in 3D, but overall we didn't find it objectionable.

Jason - We wrote up a comparison with the AE8000; go check it out!

Siddhant - I'm not sure what you mean. Any short-throw add-on lens would be a third-party product and therefore not projector-specific. And no, anamorphic stretch mode is not supported; for that feature you need to upgrade to the 6020UB.

James - Having not tested the 5020UB against the HD1, I can't say.

terraformer - Glad you enjoy the projector, and glad you found our review helpful!

Hops - Living Room mode is great in ambient light, and lens shift will make your life much easier. I'd recommend the 5020UB.
David Collister Posted Dec 7, 2012 5:39 AM PST
Hi, advice please, my Mitsubishi hc2000 bulb has gone and I have had the projector for 6 years anyway, so a new piece of kit is required. However I have a 100" diagonal screen and the projector housing is 5.5 mtrs away(19ft) also it is set horizontal with the top of the screen. I want 3d as I have upgraded all my kit to 3d, but 6 months ago I was told by a retailer there are no 3d projectors that throw out 19ft thus I have held off buying, does the new Epson do the job or do I understand correctly that I will lose all the brightness because of the distance in throw. My room is total blackout if required. Thx for any advice
Tommykaroutsos Posted Dec 11, 2012 6:22 PM PST
Hi,I'm looking to buy a new projector and I am looking at this one and the sony Val-hw30es.Which one in your opinion is better and why? Thank you.
Chris Posted Dec 12, 2012 5:47 AM PST
In your review you are very positive about the wireless capabilities (you say performance/quality are almost similar to hdmi).

Does this also go for a fullHD 3d movie streamed over wireless hdmi?

In your review you don't clearly specify this.
Bin Posted Dec 13, 2012 8:54 PM PST

I have got a Epson TW9000 – equivalent model of 5010e. Does anyone know if I can get the new 5 in 1 wireless transmitter designed for 5020ube somewhere so that I can use it on mine?

Clark Posted Dec 29, 2012 5:23 PM PST
Could this fit a 150 inch Diagonal with 1080p picture?
bbobbo Posted Jan 2, 2013 1:44 PM PST
chris asked:

"Does this also go for a fullHD 3d movie streamed over wireless hdmi?"

according to the epson's specs, the 5020ube supports version 1.0b of the wirelesshd standard:

however, streaming of 3d content doesn't seem to be supported until version 1.1 of the standard:

therefore, it seems that the 5020ube doesn't support streaming of 3d content.
roger Posted Jan 9, 2013 3:37 AM PST
Chris' question was never addressed. Many people are dying to know more about the 5020e and its wireless capabilities but nobody will comment. WILL the wireless (replacing HDMI) provide as good a signal as Epson claims when we're talking FULL HD and 3D??? I need to know if I need to make swiss cheese out of my ceiling or not. Has anyone really tested to see if the wireless picture is equally as good?
Clif Brittain Posted Jan 11, 2013 3:22 PM PST
I find the wireless transmission to be very difficult to use. I must have two separate inputs, one for cable, the other for DVD. There is no easy way to switch between them. It requires at least a minute and in one direction, five separate manual inputs. I have been unable to program the protocol into a universal remote. The result is that I am the only person in the household that knows how to use this device.
Han Solo Posted Jan 15, 2013 1:17 PM PST
regarding Wireless HD 3D streaming. I was reading the Owner manual for 5020Ube and the closest thing I found that talks about wireless 3D connectivity is on Page 81 which talks about "3D CONTENT ISSUES" Here is the text: "If your video device is connected to the WirelessHD Transmitter (PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBe only), see page 85. " Then I went to page 85 and there is nothing there that talks about 3D streaming. Basically there is no direct disclosure that it cant support HD 3D wireless streaming. But again standard rev 1.0 does not support it and 5020e is 1.0 standard. Can the Epson Wireless Transmitter be software updated with the 1.1 standard or that a hardware thing.

So... idecided toemailed Epson and they responded same day:

Here is the response from Epson rep Matt S. @ Epson: Thank you for contacting Epson regarding your Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBe.

The wireless HD supports 3D or I may say when watching 3D movies and running through the wireless HD. The projector supports Frame packing, Side by side and top and bottom 3D format. As long you are streaming these type of 3D format to the wireless HD to the projector should not have any issue.
Abe Posted Jan 16, 2013 9:36 AM PST
I read one buyer review noting that wireless HDMI will only work if transmitter is front/forward of the projector; his transmitter is on the side and is not working out for him-he is upset about that. anyone buying the wireless model should review the wireless beam path Epson pointed out in the spec. to make sure they are ok with it first. the high frequency that these transmitters operates on (60 GHZ) is much more selective.
Jon Posted Feb 28, 2013 10:10 AM PST
I have to thank Projector Central for bringing this model to my attention. After waiting a month and a half my 5020 was finally delivered yesterday and I have to say it was definitely worth the wait. I haven't had the chance to run any level of calibration on the unit yet but it has a very impressive picture right out of the box, especially considering that I cheaped out on the screen (Elite Screens - Manual - 100").

The only negative thing I have to say about it so far is the wireless can be finicky. It took a few minutes to get it setup initially and it seems to work fine now. That said, it will drop the connection when transitioning from the PS3 menu to the bluray menu and even sometimes going between menus on the disc. If you get impatient and start playing around with the buttons and trying to force it to reconnect it'll only take more time. As it is, these little episodes only last about 10-15 seconds if you leave it alone. I think I've avoided some of the issues others have had as I have all of sources using HDMI that's routed through my receiver (Marantz NR 1603) so I don't need to switch inputs on the wireless.

Any hint of buyers remorse ($2900 for a projector is a bit of a stretch for some (many) of us) was quickly eliminated after watching the first 30 minutes of Prometheus.
Dodgey Posted Mar 30, 2013 3:37 PM PST
I'm very interested in purchasing this projector for my home theater. Having never bought a projector before, I was curious about ceiling mounting. Can anyone confirm this projector mounts upside down or right side up? What's the setting to flip the image if it's an upside down mount?

Also, can anyone recommend a good ceiling mount that's still somewhat inexpensive?

gprangers Posted Jul 7, 2013 2:47 PM PST
Not Happy Just bought this projector after reading all the rave reviews on different web site and Home Theather Mag. SO DISAPOINTED On sharpness and clarity my old Mits HC 5000 blew it away on my old dvds. They looked very good on the mits HC 5000 and very clear. The new Epson is grainy on the old dvds. Yes it is more bright and the colors pop, but all the reviews said it really shines on STANDARD 2D. Both look great on Blue Ray, what does'nt now days. But on standard dvd its is a step backwards for sure. Not sure if its because the HQV in the Mits was that much better. Again the Mits was RAZOR SHARP and this EPSON is clearly lacking in that department. Longing for my Mits HC 5000 back, but I sold it. Not Happy
Mike Posted Sep 26, 2013 10:58 PM PST
All projectors that I know of including this one now have a setting to allow for inversion of the image to allow for ceiling mount.
Jon Posted Oct 30, 2013 7:06 PM PST
After 500 hours everything seems to be going great. Swapped out the Marantz for a Yamaha and the wireless connection lag has all but disapeared. Havent had any issues with image quality from DVDs like one gentleman had mentioned. I'd venture a guess that either his DVD player isn't upconverting or he got a bad unit.

I ran one optimization disc but not terribly impressed with the results over the standard settings. Currently debating whether it's worth having it professionally calibrated. For the most part I watch movies and video games in Cinema/Eco.

Still very happy with the.purchase.

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