Epson Home Cinema 5030UB 1080P 3LCD Projector
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  • Performance
  • 5
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$2,299 MSRP Discontinued

This year's CEDIA trade show in Denver saw Epson refresh its entire home theater projector line. The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB is this year's upgrade to the Home Cinema 5020UB, one of last year's hottest projectors. While the 5030UB is in many ways an incremental improvement over its predecessor, it is an impressive machine in its own right.

The Home Cinema 5030UB is one of three new home theater projectors released at this year's CEDIA show. The others, the Pro Cinema 4030 and Pro Cinema 6030UB, are restricted-distribution products sold through specialized dealers and custom installers. The Home Cinema 5030UB, on the other hand, is in open distribution -- meaning you can find it at a number of authorized resellers online. Currently priced at $2,599 from authorized sellers, the Home Cinema 5030UB is an excellent value in today's market.

The Viewing Experience

While the projector is laden with features that make it easy to install and use, the primary draw of the Home Cinema 5030UB is image quality. The 5030UB's image in both 2D and 3D is the best we've ever seen from Epson, and the picture on screen makes it clear where every single dollar of the projector's purchase price went. In other words, it looks more expensive than it actually is.

The Home Cinema 5030UB is built primarily for use in a light-controlled home theater environment, and it is tailored to deliver maximum impact in such a situation. The "UB" in the projector's name stands for Ultra Black, a designation that does not disappoint once you have the projector properly configured. For part of this review we set up the 5030UB on one of Stewart's new screens, the Cima by Stewart Filmscreen using the 1.1-gain Neve white fabric. This screen is a superb complement to the 5030B for dedicated home theater, and it costs less than the Studiotek 130. The 5030UB already has very deep black levels and light output is highly adjustable, so this neutral white screen with low gain and a very wide 80-degree half-gain angle is ideal for dark theater installations.

The Epson Home Cinema 5030UB

In 2D, the 5030UB's image is smooth and life-like. Highlights are bright, but not blown out, while shadow detail is excellent and overall dynamic range makes the image appear three-dimensional. Black level, which has long been the strong point of Epson's home theater projectors, is as deep as it has ever been once the projector's automatic iris is turned on. The Home Cinema 5030UB shares the color performance of its predecessors, with good color saturation and comprehensive color adjustment controls. The projector's factory configurations need a little bit of fine-tuning, but this isn't unusual in home theater projectors.

The 5030UB produces a bright, engaging 3D image that makes large-screen 3D display attainable. The projector has three dedicated 3D color modes that can be fine-tuned independently of their 2D counterparts. Bright, well-saturated colors and good shadow detail make 3D viewing a pleasant experience, even for this jaded reviewer.

If you still watch a lot of standard-definition content, technologies like Frame Interpolation and Super Resolution improve image quality and give new life to your DVD collection. And while no amount of image processing can turn SD into HD, the Home Cinema 5030UB can clean up standard-definition material enough to make it easier on your eyes, now that you're used to high definition.

Setup and Configuration

The Home Cinema 5030UB is one of the most flexible projectors on the market when it comes to installation and placement, featuring a 2.1:1 manual zoom lens with horizontal and vertical lens shift, both of which have extensive range. This opens up a variety of placement options.

For the do-it-yourselfer, the 5030UB's lens configuration screams "rear shelf mount." Rear shelf mounting is popular because it requires no special equipment or mounting hardware, except for a shelf. You can place the projector in an optimum location to minimize lens shift and achieve the best possible brightness uniformity. The projector can be placed near the rest of your equipment, so you won't need long-run HDMI cables. It is a simple, effective way to position your projector that requires minimal cash outlay and zero time spent on a ladder, though it often requires using the telephoto end of the zoom lens, which can reduce light output by up to 44%.

On the other hand, a ceiling mount can look more professional. In a white-ceilinged room, the 5030UB's white case blends in quite well. The projector's extensive zoom and lens shift range makes it easy to target a pre-existing screen. And if you've already had a projector ceiling mounted, the concerns about the cost of cabling and ceiling mounts are reduced or eliminated. Combined with a retractable screen, a ceiling mount can create a "disappearing theater" which may be an advantage if you are installing in a multi-purpose room.

Table placement is an option as well. The 5030UB can display a 100" diagonal 16:9 image from 9' 9", so even mid-sized rooms can accommodate large screen sizes. Placement on or below a table keeps the projector out of the way but accessible, while providing the same cable length benefits as a rear shelf mount.

The Home Cinema 5030UB's ideal operation mode for home theater is called THX. After calibration, with the lens at its widest angle setting, our test unit produced 645 lumens with the lamp set to full power and 479 lumens at low power. In a darkened theater room, this is enough light for a 120" diagonal 1.3-gain 16:9 screen at full power, or more than enough for a 100" diagonal screen at low power. Larger screen sizes are easily attainable using the 5030UB's Cinema, Natural, or Living Room image modes, or a color-adjusted Dynamic mode.

While the 5030UB is great for home theater on screens of 120" diagonal and above, there is a case to be made for a 100" diagonal screen of about 1.1 gain. In THX mode, even accounting for 20-30% light loss from using the center of the projector's zoom range, the picture is bright and enticing at 100 inches. Then, when switching to 3D, the 5030UB's 3D Dynamic mode is bright enough to give you a 3D picture that actually gets 16 foot-Lamberts to your eyes. This is something that few other home theater projectors can accomplish, and it means you get 2D and 3D pictures of almost equivalent brightness.

Common Core - Epson's Home Theater Projectors

The following items are common to all three of Epson's new home theater projectors, and so represent the common core of Epson's projector technology. Unsurprisingly, these features are more or less a list of reasons why many people buy Epson home theater projectors.

Placement flexibility. Epson's projectors feature a 2.1:1 manual zoom/focus lens with horizontal and vertical lens shift, which is also manually controlled. The zoom lens can create a 120" diagonal 16:9 image from throw distances between 11'9" to 25' 1". The lens shift has a total range of 3 image heights and 2 image widths, with the middle position putting the center of the lens at the center of the screen. The range of the lens shift is roughly oval-shaped, so you cannot reach maximum horizontal and maximum vertical shift simultaneously.

Super Resolution. Epson's smart sharpening system, called Super Resolution, can increase the appearance of fine detail. The system identifies blurred portions of the source image and selectively applies sharpening to these areas, then compares the sharpened image to the original and attempts to minimize the differences in order to reduce artifacts. Super Resolution shows improvement compared to last year's implementation, leading to an increased perception of detail with fewer artifacts overall. When taken too far, it can still cause mild ringing or artificiality, but a setting of 2 or 3 (out of 5) is effective while still being subtle.

Full HD 3D. Epson's 3D system is as hassle-free as it gets. The system uses radio-frequency glasses synchronization to eliminate interference with remote control signals. The projectors have multiple dedicated 3D viewing presets which can be calibrated independently, allowing you to save more than one calibration for 3D viewing. This makes it easy to have a bright setting for television and animation and a more subtle, reserved setting for film.

The 3D Glasses (model ELP-GS03) are lightweight and comfortable, and their batteries are rechargeable over USB (a cable is included with each pair). Each projector comes with two pairs of 3D glasses, and additional eyewear costs $99 from Epson.

3D brightness can be adjusted to one of three levels, which allows the user to trade between image brightness and crosstalk elimination based on the content being viewed. The default setting is Medium, which allows 25% total light transmission. Medium brightness effectively eliminates crosstalk in all but the most difficult content, and was our preferred setting throughout testing. Low brightness, at 18.5% light transmission, removes any trace of crosstalk whatsoever, but also restricts screen size due to less light making it to your eyes. High brightness, at 29.5% transmission, is great for 3D content where crosstalk is less of a concern. While we did not switch away from Medium very often, we appreciated having the option available for those times when the content demanded a different approach.

B&W Cinema. Black and white movies look their best at around 5500K color temperature, which is close to the color temperature of the commercial projection systems in use back in the 1940's and 50's. When you try to watch them in a mode that has been optimized for color films, they end up looking cold and uninteresting. The Epson 4030, 5030UB, and 6030UB all include the "B&W Cinema" image preset which is intended to display classic black and white films as they were originally seen in theaters. It's a big help when you're a fan of the classics but don't want to adjust your Cinema calibration every time you watch a black and white film.

Picture in Picture. As the name implies, Picture in Picture (PIP) displays a small secondary image from a separate source in a corner of the larger main image. Epson's home theater projectors have had PIP capability for years, but this year the system is able to use HDMI inputs for both images. This is a big deal -- in the past, projectors typically had one set of HDMI circuitry, and could not use digital sources for both inputs. The use of two digital sources for PIP is a first for Epson home theater projectors and may in fact be unique in the market today.

Lamp. All three projectors use the same 230-watt E-TORL lamp, which is rated for 4,000 hours of use at full power and 5,000 hours in Eco-mode. Replacement lamps cost $299 each.

Low to moderate fan noise. Perhaps due to the use of a relatively low-wattage lamp in a large chassis, none of Epson's new home theater models creates much audible noise in eco-mode. Eco-mode is nearly silent, and sitting any farther than a foot away from the projector means you won't hear it running. In full lamp power mode the fan noise can be noticeable during quiet interludes in a film, but it is low in pitch and not overly distracting.

Warranty. Each projector has, at minimum, a two-year warranty which includes 90 days of lamp coverage. The Pro Cinema 6030 and 4030 extend this warranty to three years. Up to two years of additional warranty coverage is available for purchase on the 5030, if desired.

Automatic iris. Epson has perfected the automatic iris by creating a system that is both effective and unobtrusive. The iris deepens black levels in scenes with low illumination. It has two settings, Normal and High Speed, with High Speed being the more aggressive of the two -- the iris in High Speed appears to react more quickly than in Normal mode.

5030UB rear panel including connections

Connectivity. All three projectors have two HDMI ports, 3-RCA component input, a 12V trigger, and an RS-232C port for external command and control. The Home Cinema 5030 has a wireless model, the 5030UBe, which also include a WirelessHD transmitter with 5 additional HDMI inputs and MHL compatibility.

Calibration and customization. The menu system gives the user total control over color, contrast, and gamma. Each projector features full RGB Gain/Bias controls for grayscale adjustment as well as a full color management system for fine-tuning gamut. Each projector also has at least some amount of control over gamma. Ten user memory locations allow you to save different calibrations for the same image mode without overwriting your previous settings, and these memory slots can be renamed as well.

Panel alignment. The panel alignment system can correct for convergence errors, which are almost an inevitability in a three-chip light engine. As the projector is used and components age, there may be some tiny shifts in the positioning of the LCD panels used to create the image. Using the panel alignment system, you can correct for these shifts without sending the projector out for service, thereby reducing downtime and expense.

Key Features of the Epson 5030UB

2D picture quality. The best reason to purchase the 5030UB, hands down, is image quality. The 2D picture from the 5030UB is high in contrast, impressively three-dimensional, and after calibration has spot-on accurate color. Thanks to an aggressive and effective automatic iris, the 5030UB offers the best black level performance found in any projector in its price range, period. Detail is sharp and clear even without the use of Super Resolution, though that technology can make detail pop even more than it already does. Frame interpolation is very effective at reducing judder in 24p material, and shows few artifacts.

3D picture quality. If you care about 3D theater, the 5030UB delivers a compelling experience. The 3D image from the 5030UB has no noticeable flicker, almost zero crosstalk, and is bright enough to display on large screens. That last point is crucial; insufficient brightness is a major cause of headaches and eye strain when watching 3D movies and video. The 5030UB's 3D Dynamic mode is bright enough to power a 100" diagonal 1.3 gain screen at 16 fL. That measurement was obtained using the Low 3D brightness setting and already accounts for light loss from the 3D glasses. Using those same settings, the Medium brightness setting is just about bright enough for a 120" diagonal screen. To top things off, Frame Interpolation is available in all 3D image modes.

Frame interpolation. Frame Interpolation is a technology that reduces the appearance of judder and motion blur by adding interstitial frames to a source video signal. Frame Interpolation has three settings as well as an Off switch (it starts out disabled). Low, the most conservative setting, does not eliminate judder but also has the least noticeable digital video effect. Normal, the next setting, drastically reduces judder but can increase the appearance of DVE in some content. We found the appearance of digital video effect to be highly content-specific. Some films show DVE on Low, while others do not show much DVE even with Frame Interpolation set to High. Low is a safe all-purpose setting for reducing judder in most film and video, though, so we left FI set to Low for the majority of our testing.


Light output. When it comes to light output, the Home Cinema 5030UB is exceptionally flexible. On the high end of the scale is Dynamic, which on our projector measured 2230 lumens with the lens at its widest angle setting. Before adjustments, Dynamic has a greenish cast, but is useful whenever maximum light output is needed. On our projector, we were able to reduce the green tint to a tolerable level using the RGB Gain/Bias controls for the cost of about 200 lumens, but the end result is a much more balanced picture that is useful in a greater number of situations.

Living Room mode, measuring 1735 lumens on our projector, has a bluish tint that pushes color temperature up to around 8000K. This cooler tone actually helps to fight ambient light, which is predominantly yellow, when the projector is used in a living room or other non-theater environment. However, Living Room is also a great mode to use if you want a bright, engaging picture that does not require a lot of fiddling with the controls. By taking the Color Temperature slider from +3 to +1, you'll end up with a picture that measures 6300K to 6500K across the grayscale with no effort on your part. Making this color temperature adjustment lowers light output slightly to 1550 lumens, an 11% decrease.

Natural and Cinema mode, at 871 and 805 lumens, are quite similar, with only some differences in gamma and color gamut separating them from each other. Both Natural and Cinema default to low power lamp mode, though the measurements above were taken with the lamp at full power.

The 5030UB includes a preset called B&W Cinema that is tailored for the display of black and white movies. Coming in at 740 lumens with the lamp at full power, B&W Cinema has a color temperature around 5500K, which is ideal for old black and white films.

When it comes to pure home theater image quality, THX mode is hard to beat. It has more accurate color than the 5030UB's other image modes, which calibration improves even further, and the best contrast performance as well. THX mode at its factory settings measures 690 lumens with the lamp at full power and 512 lumens at low power. Our calibration, which improved both white balance and color gamut, resulted in a final light output of 479 lumens.

Most projectors' low lamp modes reduce light output by a consistent percentage in all image modes, but this is not the case on the 5030UB. Switching from "Normal" to "ECO" lamp in Dynamic mode reduces output by 21%, but making the same adjustment in Living Room mode results in a 28.5% reduction. Cinema, Natural, and THX modes all lose 26% when dropping to low power lamp mode. Please note that in THX mode, the low power lamp setting is called "Normal" while full power is called "Extra Bright." In all other image modes, low power is "ECO" and full power is "Normal." That can get a touch confusing, and is why we've opted to use the terms "full power" and "low power" in this section.

The 5030UB's 2.1:1 zoom lens allows different amounts of light to pass depending on zoom position. The lens's wide angle position passes the maximum amount of light, which is reflected in our lumen readings above. But the maximum telephoto setting, which produces the smallest image size at a given throw distance, restricts light output by 44%. As an example, THX mode drops from 512 lumens to 287 lumens with the lamp at low power -- a significant reduction that could affect your choice of screen size. This is important to keep in mind when mounting your projector.

Contrast. The UB on the end of the 5030UB's name stands for Ultra Black, and if anything that's a modest assessment. The 5030UB has an automatic iris that effectively combines aggressive performance with unnoticeable operation, leading to the best black levels available in a home theater projector in this price range. When combined with the projector's sparkling highlights and well-defined shadow detail, the end result is a projector that can handle the most difficult Blu-ray content without breaking a sweat. The dynamic range of the 5030UB's image gives it a three-dimensional quality that makes it a real pleasure to watch.

If you want to fine-tune the 5030UB's handling of shadow detail, the projector has very good controls for gamma adjustment, allowing you to individually adjust ten points along the gamma curve. If you are more visually-minded or lack the required hardware to do a full calibration, the system will also allow you to pick a point in the image and then make adjustments from there. That can be especially helpful when you can see what's wrong in the image and want to fix it right away.

Color. When evaluating color on a home theater projector, we are looking for two things. The first is good, if not great, color performance straight out of the box. The second is the ability to fine-tune the projector until it looks even better. The Home Cinema 5030UB delivers both.

Straight out of the box, the 5030UB defaults to THX mode. On our test unit, factory-preset THX mode has a consistent grayscale that measures around 6000K. If you don't own the equipment needed to calibrate your projector and don't want to pay someone else to take a crack at it, you can adjust the color temperature slider upwards by a point or two and call it a day.

THX mode, factory settings

The only problem with this quick calibration is that it lacks green, so while the red/blue balance is almost right where it should be, the picture still looks wrong. On our projector, we corrected for this by adding green and then decreasing red by a few points. The result is a smooth, consistent grayscale that's right around 6500K across the board, aside from a tiny spike at 100% illumination.

Epson 5030UB, THX mode
Color Temperature: 7500K

THX mode, calibrated

The 5030UB has a full color management system, and while the gamut in THX mode wasn't far from the Rec. 709 color space to begin with, we found the system exceptionally easy to use. We ended up making a significant improvement to the 5030UB's color gamut with just a few minutes' work using our color meter.

Color gamut after calibration

Living Room, at its default settings, measures right around 8000K, but as stated earlier it can be corrected with a quick nudge to the Color Temperature slider. The end result isn't nearly as precise as the THX calibration above, but it is definitely serviceable.

Living Room mode with quick adjustments applied

Cinema mode can be every bit as accurate as THX mode, given a little bit of work. The factory settings of our projector give Cinema too much green and a color temperature that ranges between 5900K on the low end and 6400K on the high end.

Cinema mode, factory settings

After reducing red and increasing green a bit, our final Cinema calibration actually measured brighter than the factory setting thanks to the extra green, and grayscale tracking was much improved as well.

Cinema mode, calibrated

What's impressive about the 5030UB isn't that it can be calibrated, because all modern home theater projectors can be calibrated if you have enough time and patience. What is impressive is how easy it is to calibrate the projector, given a color meter and an hour's time. By the end of our adjustments, we were left with three accurately-calibrated image presets that wrung out every drop of the 5030UB's potential.

Input lag. If you're into gaming, you'll want the least input lag possible. That is achieved by switching from "Fine" Image Processing to "Fast." This setting is designed specifically to reduce input lag, and resulted in only 37 milliseconds of lag, a touch over two frames. While this isn't the fastest home theater projector on the market, it is certainly a marked improvement over last year's 5020UB at 50 milliseconds. Note that "Fast" processing has a softening effect on the picture that reduces the appearance of fine detail, and this reduction in apparent resolution is most visible when there is a lot of small text or other detail on the screen. Depending on what kind of game you're playing, that softness could be invisible, obvious, or anywhere in between.

If you use the standard default settings, which include "Fine" Image Processing, the 5030UB measures 91 milliseconds of input lag, equivalent to five and a half frames of a 60fps signal. That's slower than last year's Home Cinema 5020UB (67 ms) and equal to the Home Cinema 5010 (92ms).

Several features increase input lag even more when activated. Frame Interpolation is the worst offender at 183 milliseconds, or about 11 frames. It did not matter which level of Frame Interpolation was applied; all three settings result in the same increase. Super Resolution, on the other hand, only increases input lag to 102 milliseconds or six frames, a half-frame increase over the baseline.

The end result is that the 5030UB is faster in "Fast" mode but slower in other modes than the 5020UB was last year. Since gamers who care about input lag are unlikely to use anything but the fastest setting available, this comes out as a win for the new model.


No anamorphic stretch. An anamorphic stretch mode enables the projector to vertically scale a 2.4:1 movie to fill the projector's 16:9 pixel matrix, This signal can then be horizontally stretched using an anamorphic lens to create a 2.4:1 Cinemascope format picture. With this type of set up, all 2:4 movies as well as all16:9 and 4:3 content are displayed at the same picture height, so the rig is commonly referred to as Constant Image Height (CIH). Since the 5030UB lacks an anamorphic stretch mode, you cannot use it with an anamorphic lens without adding an external video processor. Another option is stepping up to the Pro Cinema 6030UB, which includes anamorphic stretch.

Manual lens controls. The 5030UB has some of the best placement flexibility of any projector thanks to its 2.1:1 zoom lens and H/V lens shift. However, all of the projector's lens adjustments are manually operated rather than powered. This can make it more difficult to initially adjust the projector's focus, since adjustments must be made from the projector itself. When a projector has powered focus, you can make your adjustments while standing near the screen, making it easier to see what you're doing.

Manual adjustments also make it more difficult to use the projector's zoom to simulate an anamorphic lens and CIH setup. You can do it if the unit is shelf or table mounted, and you want to reset the zoom position when you change the aspect ratio of your subject matter. But some projectors with powered zoom lenses incorporate a feature that automatically zooms the image to a number of pre-set positions, allowing you to use the projector on a 2.4:1 screen without the cost or bother of an anamorphic lens, and without the need to manually reset the zoom when switching from 2.4 to 16:9.

No ISF certification. Epson's new Pro Cinema projectors include ISF certification, but the Home Cinema 5030UB does not. Note that the ISF-certified models do not include any additional calibration controls, as is the case on some other manufacturers' home theater projectors.

Grayscale adjustments shared. The 5030UB has excellent color controls, but there is one limitation: the projector's RGB Gain/Bias adjustments are shared between image modes. In other words, if you adjust grayscale tracking in Cinema mode and then switch to Living Room mode, the RGB Gain/Bias controls will still be set to the values you added in Cinema. If you want to save independent calibrations for each mode, you'll have to use the projector's Memory settings. Luckily, there are ten of them.


The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB is, on its face, an incremental improvement to last year's 5020UB. The specifications are similar enough, despite a significant increase in contrast, and there are no groundbreaking new features to differentiate this model from last year's version.

However, the small, incremental changes made to the 5030UB come together to create an image that is smoother, more film-like, more three-dimensional, and overall more polished than the image created by last year's projector. And that is saying quite a bit, especially since last year's model was already a compelling, polished home theater projector.

The bottom line is this: the Epson Home Cinema 5030UB's strengths are its stellar picture quality and abundance of features that make the projector a pleasure to use. While it has some weaknesses, they tend to be related to anamorphic video or the finer points of calibration. If you're looking for a powerful home theater projector that is great for both 2D and 3D video, it's hard to go wrong with this one.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Epson Home Cinema 5030UB projector page.

Comments (70) Post a Comment
Tony Posted Nov 6, 2013 3:55 PM PST
Nice review. Only concern is blur in game mode. Would love to see a shootout vs the Panasonic PT AE8000U.
Geoff Posted Nov 6, 2013 6:41 PM PST
Well, there are plenty of 5020 vs. AE8000u reviews out there, and the 5030 is essentially a more refined 5020 with even better blacks, so there's that.

As mentioned in the review, this does have a "game mode" of sorts (fast image processing instead of fine) that brings lag down to 37ms, which is lower than the 50ms the 5020u managed at it's best and slightly lower/on par with the AE8000u, which manages 41ms in game mode.

I played a couple hours of COD on my 360 earlier tonight on my 5030ub, which I set up yesterday, and it seemed fine to me. I'm usually pretty sensitive to lag like old LCD TV's and such used to have.
Craig Posted Nov 7, 2013 3:21 AM PST
So it seems there's very little to differentiate between the 5020 and 5030. That's a shame, as I was hoping Epson would bring some of the features that the Panasonic holds over them with this model - namely the auto zoom/focus and lens memory. I feel they've missed an opportunity here to make it a no-brainer over which to choose, particularly as it seems Panasonic are not releasing a new model this year.
Elio Posted Nov 7, 2013 8:43 AM PST
Great review, Bill. By any chance did you calibrate any of the 3D modes? I have a 5030 and I'd love a launching point for the 3D calibration.


Eddie Posted Nov 7, 2013 1:26 PM PST
I downloaded the 5030UB manual from Epson's website, and on page 50, one of the display modes is "Anamorphic Wide" described as "Displays images that have a 2.40:1 aspect ratio when using a commercially available anamorphic lens". This was not listed in the manuals for the 5020UB or 5010UB.

Is Epson's manual wrong, or has this been overlooked?
Maarten Posted Nov 8, 2013 3:00 AM PST
Hey guys,

quick question concerning european line-up.

What are the corresponding numbers here?

3030 = eh-tw7200 4030 = eh-tw8200 5030 = eh-tw9200

some help is much appreciated so i read the right reviews and dont get mixed up and make the wrong decision.

Thanks in advance
Bill Livolsi Posted Nov 8, 2013 9:03 AM PST
Thanks for reading, folks.

Tony - A shootout is coming very soon. Stay tuned!

Geoff - Actually, the AE8000 measured 34ms. The AE7000 was 41ms.

Craig - I agree that powered lens adjustments would be a welcome addition, and we discuss the impact of manual adjustments in our review. However, such a feature would very likely make the projector cost more than it does now.

Elio - I did not calibrate the 3D modes, but 3D THX is already pretty close to 6500K. Unfortunately it is also the dimmest of the three 3D modes.

Eddie - The manual is incorrect. The 5030UB definitely does not have anamorphic stretch, though the 6030UB does. I will inform Epson of the mis-print.

Maarten - I'm checking with Epson and will get back to you.
Nikko Posted Nov 8, 2013 9:29 AM PST
My opinion:

4030 = eh-tw7200 5030 = eh-tw8200 6030 = eh-tw9200
Kelvin Posted Nov 8, 2013 11:23 AM PST
Excellent review as always on what looks to be an great projector!

Question regarding this part of the review as far as setup goes:

"using the telephoto end of the zoom lens, which can reduce light output by up to 44%"

At what distance in feet does this come into play? The calculator in you site recommends 14 feet (10 - 22 range) for a 105 inch screen.

Thanks in advance!
Praeses Posted Nov 8, 2013 4:57 PM PST
Input lag is still est too high. They are going to pose a lot of customers to BenQ ans others over something that should be very easy (either bypass processing or faster processor) to implement
Michael Smith Posted Nov 9, 2013 1:52 PM PST
I would have to agree, there have been plenty of Shootouts between the Panasonic AE8000 and the Epson 5020ub and pretty much the only advantage to the Panasonic was the motorized lens with it's memory. I would actually of loved to see a comparison to Sony's Sony VPLHW50ES or 55 to see how close the Epson has come.
GeoffB Posted Nov 10, 2013 4:36 AM PST
I wonder if they have sorted the awful discrepancy in panel alignment. I bought a TW9000 (5010) which was almost unwatchable for text and subtitles. When I sent it back for warranty, they tried to align it electronically and the result was even worse when it was returned.

When I complained, Epson said it was within spec for manufacturing and I would have to live with it.

I ended up selling it for an $800 loss. So much for warranties. Never again Epson!
Josh Posted Nov 10, 2013 7:30 AM PST
Hi Bill, quick question: What method do you use to test lag? Do you have an actual HDMI lag tester (such as the one made by Bodnar) or are you using a CRT, or something else?

Chris Posted Nov 11, 2013 9:48 PM PST
Could you please explain or elaborate on this: But the maximum telephoto setting, which produces the smallest image size at a given throw distance, restricts light output by 44%. As an example, THX mode drops from 512 lumens to 287 lumens with the lamp at low power -- a significant reduction that could affect your choice of screen size. This is important to keep in mind when mounting your projector.

For a given screen size, is closer better?

I have an Epson 8350 w/ a 106" VApex screen in a light controlled theater. How much am I going to love the 5030UB???
Bill Livolsi Posted Nov 15, 2013 9:52 AM PST
Maarten, I've received an official response from Epson regarding European model numbers and it looks like Nikko was correct. Here they are.

Home Cinema 2030 = EH-TW5200;

Pro Cinema 4030 = EH-TW7200;

Home Cinema 5030UB(e) = EH-TW8200(W);

Pro Cinema 6030UB = EH-TW9200

Kelvin, the drop in light output is linear. In other words, using the midpoint of the zoom, you lose roughly 22% of the projector's max light output.

Michael, the Sony HW55 should be on its way to us now, and we will certainly do a comparison.

GeoffTB, that's unfortunate. We did not run into any major alignment problems, though our 5030UB was slightly mis-aligned on arrival. We fixed it with the Panel Alignment feature.

Josh, right now we use the dual-display method, but our Bodnar lag tester is on its way. When it arrives, we will re-check the projectors we have on hand to find out what the differences are.

Chris, not necessarily. Placing the projector closer to the screen increases light output, but light output is not the be-all and end-all of image quality. Using the maximum wide angle setting also increases light scatter and makes screen illumination more uneven. Optically speaking, the ideal is using the mid-point of the zoom lens, but 1080p is nowhere near enough resolution to tax most projector lenses from an optical standpoint. I know you were looking for a quick answer, but it's not an easy question. We will be addressing this topic more thoroughly in the near future, so stay tuned.
Felipe Rueda Posted Nov 17, 2013 8:41 AM PST
Bill, what an excellent review! I was thinking on buying this epson model after reading cnet's review but had my doubts/questions until now that I read your article, twice! Congratulations on such detailed and comprenhensive writting. I can see you have a kind-of "direct line" with epson so I would like to know when this 5030UB and the 5030 UBe will be really available? I called epson and the customer service rep didn't have a possible date of availability... I will deeply appreciate any info you can find on this matter. Cheers, Felipe.
Josh Posted Nov 17, 2013 9:38 AM PST
Bill, thanks for the reply. I got my Bodnar tester a few weeks back. Takes a while to arrive from England, but it's totally worth it. Makes testing lag down to a tenth of a millisecond as easy as pressing a button.
Bill Livolsi Posted Nov 18, 2013 12:10 PM PST
Felipe - the projector is available now and in stock at many authorized Epson resellers. You can see some of those resellers from our Epson 5030UB specifications page

Josh - we actually received ours about an hour after I posted my comment and I'm working with it today. Expect results later this week.
Chris Posted Nov 23, 2013 10:36 AM PST
Bill, thanks for your previous answer-

I see the 5020UB fac refurb is $1899 now and I am tempted to save $700 over the new model. This would be an upgrade from the 8350 I've had for 3yrs- and I'm really interested in better black levels and possibly upsizing from 106" to 120" screen. Help! Which one!!
GCK Posted Dec 4, 2013 9:33 AM PST
Have you heard anything yet on when the UBE model is shipping? It seems that the date keeps slipping and not sure about the stock that is out there on eBay and other places for way more that the $2899.


Qaz Posted Dec 10, 2013 10:06 PM PST
"For the do-it-yourselfer, the 5030UB's lens configuration screams "rear shelf mount.""

Hope you have a big shelf because this thing is pretty massive! My current projector BARELY fits on my shelf as is and this one is 7cm deeper. Yikes, might buy this one but I seriously gotta buy a new shelf first!
Chuck Blakeman Posted Dec 15, 2013 6:18 PM PST
We have a Sanyo PLC-XP21N that is finally giving up the ghost after 10 years. Great for all those years. 2400 lumens (a lot for back then).

Wondering if the 5030UB is a good replacement. Key fact - we've been using it in a family room configuration with french doors to the outside, pool table, etc. The PLC picture always held up well in daylight without direct sun coming in the windows. Of course it was always better at night.

I see the 5030UB is also 2400 lumens like the Sanyo. I know the lumens rating is always a moving target - anybody know if the 5030UB would do okay in such an application? Thanks for any help.
Maarten Posted Dec 25, 2013 2:43 AM PST

sorry for my late response but thank you very, very much indeed for sorting out the differences concerning the european and US numbers!!!

you have been very helpful, thank you

greetings from the other side off the ocean!

Jim A. Posted Dec 25, 2013 7:24 PM PST
I've been looking at the Epson 5030ub, and have one main question. I am just starting to build a new theatre room in basement. It will be dark, I have a 12 foot ceiling and 20 feet of wall space along the front of the room, and 32 feet from the front to back walls. I want to mount this camera from the ceiling, and basically need to decide the size of the screen and how far back to mount the camera. Although there is lots of info out there, I haven't been able to find anything on ideal distances from the screen to locate this camera...and how that ties to screen size. Any suggestions? Thanks
Miguel Posted Jan 6, 2014 12:15 PM PST
Bill, thanks to your great review i finally decided to buy the epson 5030ub. you are right it is a great projector, kind of big. I had to built a rear shelf mounting to place it, it is heavy! it works nice even with some light. my only issue is that I could not place it exactly perpendicularly in front of my screen, it is around 4 feets off left, with lens shift i moved the picture to fit into my screen, however as a problem I do not get a perfect rectangular picture. it is not bad and i can correct with keystone, however I saw picture loses some quality with keystone adjustment, do you have any good tip for getting a perfect rectangular picture mithout moving the projector exactly to the front of my screen (my room doesnt allowed me to do that)? thanks again for your review, it helped me a lot to make my decision for what projector to buy.
Kelvin Posted Jan 8, 2014 10:50 AM PST

I purchased the projector based on you review and I couldn't be happier!!!

I noticed that the Dynamic Iris defaults to "OFF" for most color modes (except Dynamic).

Do you guys recommend leaving it off for the "Living Room" and "THX" modes or would you set it to high for those color modes as well?

Thanks again for all your help!

John Posted Jan 24, 2014 7:26 PM PST
Great review! Just a quick question I have the option of the two following projectors.Sharp XV-Z17000 DLP Projector and the epson 5030ub. I'm running a dreamy right now by dream vision. I know I've had it for a while, time to upgrade. I'm at a throwing distance of 15' on a 120" screen. I can't seem to make a decision on which projector would be better. Saw a review that the sharp does better when it comes to fast moving screens and the epson is not up to par when it comes to jidder ness. Mostly for 3d movies to get the movie feeling .... Please what do you recommend. Thank you
G. M. Posted Jan 25, 2014 11:15 PM PST
The Epson web site has good screen size and distance calculators for you to use to figure out size and distance for your room. They are easy to use. Check out their web site. G.
gzah Posted Jan 27, 2014 4:54 AM PST
hi bill,

have you done already some more input lag tests?

My favorite projector is the EPSON TW7200.

Is the TW9200 really faster than the TW7200?

Is the TW7200 fast enough for gaming?

What happens when we use other input ports? Is it faster with the PC- or Component-input-port..?


rm123 Posted Feb 3, 2014 7:40 PM PST
Hi guys,

Something to share with you all regarding the projector's matching up with different screen... i have been using Kikuchi MTSR 90" HDAM screen for years and have no problem with my other Panasonic & Sanyo projectors. When I installed my Epson TW8200 (HK model no. which is equal to 5030UB), the image revealed a large area of light grey strips that looked like water mark.

The technical advice from Epson's professional was: it's the mismatch of my screen vs high lumens projector... thus this sort of optical "Newton Ring" occured. there's nothing I can do except changing a matching screen. Of course I was upset and asked for other possible alternatives, and the answer was no...

What I did figure was to try applying:

1) Polarizing filter that may help eliminating such optical effect, or

2) Readjust the Len Shift angles (vertically & horizontally) to see if it may help...

To my great surprise, I just merely reduced the zoom range from its widest 100% to 95% (i.e., screen width from 90" to 86"), the water mark disappeared!

Now I really understood why so many AV pals are fury about the so-called technical service from dealers...
thejasvi Posted Feb 10, 2014 4:39 PM PST
Does using the lens shift and full zoom reduce the picture quality. Thinking of epson 5030ub to get 120 inch diagnol from 135 inches throw distance placed at 1 feet down the ceiling(shelf). This will be possible only if I use the full zoom out and vertical lense shift

Please advise
Rm123 Posted Feb 14, 2014 3:49 AM PST
to me, it didnt need len shift but only reducing the image size a bit. thus i can keep the maximum no of pixels and wont have any adverse effect at all!
James Posted Feb 23, 2014 8:09 PM PST
I put off moving to a projector for a long, long time. When the 5030UB came out, I debated between going with a high-end 60-inch Panasonic plasma and this projector with a 100-inch diagonal screen. My old Panasonic Tau large screen tube TV was starting to fade, and it was time to make a decision. I decided on the Epson.

Of course, the true test of any purchase of this kind is having it pass the "Wife Test". When I finally got the system set up in the basement, I asked my wife for a review after watching some of the Sochi Olympics. Her comment was, "Well, it's okay, but you know I'm not into all the multimedia stuff". So I decided to switch gears a little, and next evening dropped in a DVD of "Winged Migration". That was all it took. She was sold. Watching that flick with the picture quality thrown onto the screen by the 5030 almost makes you feel you are flying along with the rest of the flock. My hyperactive 5-year-old was rapt with attention. I am sold, and am extremely satisfied, as is the wife. Thank you Epson for an exceptional product.
Hotrodguy Posted Feb 25, 2014 3:44 PM PST
Hi Bill and everyone, first thanks for such a great and detailed review, as are all of your reviews. Even with the details, I still have some questions that I can't seem to find the answer to. Using your projector calculator, if I mount the projector with a throw distance of 13'3", that provides a 100" screen size, which are perfect measurements for my set up. If I understand this correctly, I wouldn't have to adjust the lens at all since I already have the desired screen size, correct? In which case, what position is the zoom lens in at any given throw distance for a given screen size according to the projector calculator? Is this a starting point and then one can use the zoom to create a smaller or bigger picture since they may be limited to throw distance but want or need a smaller or bigger picture? This detail I believe would help many people understand the light output at their distance. Thank you in advance.
Michael Posted Apr 1, 2014 11:12 PM PST
I just purchased this projector. It is a big upgrade from my Benq PE7700. I currently have a Dalite 106 inch fixed screen with a HCCV screen. This screen has always looked to sparkly on the whites during viewing. It is even worse with this new projector. Would you suggest a white screen or a grey screen. I am looking to get away from the sparkly view on bright scenes.
John Posted Apr 5, 2014 9:03 AM PST
First. Thanks for the detailed reviews. They helped me in making my choice when selecting the Epson 5030UB. We put in a addition and matched this with a SI 120" Screen 1.1 Gain We have people come over and state the picture quality and specifacally resolution is better that their flat panel TV. Again. Thanks
gullipalli Posted Apr 26, 2014 8:24 PM PST
I am wondering if someone could help me find a anamorphic lens for TW9200. I am trying to Google the part number and could not able to find anything relevant to this model. Any help is much appreciated.
andre Posted Jun 3, 2014 7:51 AM PST
Qualite VS Prix.

Tres tres tres Bon
Jason Posted Oct 20, 2014 11:27 AM PST
Always a fan of the site, bought my first projector long time ago after reading reviews. Epson 6500UB and have been super happy with it. It's 1080p, my use turned from movies to every day. Video games, movies, tv, sports, all are good with the 6500. Wondering though, is it time for an upgrade to the 5030. Not big on 3d so thats not a major feature for me. But how much different is a 6500 as still 1080? I have blackout blinds so light not really an issue. Suggestions? Buy a $300 replacement bulb or upgrade?
Caroline Bennet Posted Nov 7, 2014 7:31 AM PST
I was wondering if you could tell me your opinions. We had a Sanyo C4 projector for nine years that I loved and that recently stopped working. We bought an Epson 5030 and it is too bright. I find myself blinking the whole time while watching it. We had it set to low for the bulb, and THX mode. My husband said he tried lowering the brightness but then the image was bad. I can't stand watching it! He called the place where we bought it and they said it will be a $300 stocking fee to return it and that all the projectors nowadays are just as bright. Is that true? Are there others that aren't so bright and harsh on the eyes, or that can be adjusted? We do all our watching at night so we don't need daytime brightness.
Bill Livolsi Posted Nov 7, 2014 10:37 AM PST

The dealer was correct. Most projectors these days are quite bright.

I can’t find a Sanyo C4 in our database. I will assume you meant Sanyo Z4, since that came out about nine years ago. Our favorite settings on that projector measured about 300 lumens with a fresh lamp. Since you’ve had it for a long time, I’m going to assume that the lamp was not new, and was probably only producing 50% of its starting light output. So as an estimate, let’s say you were getting 150 lumens onto your screen before the projector stopped working.

The Home Cinema 5030’s THX mode measured roughly 500 lumens in low lamp after calibration — over three times as much light as you were getting from the Z4. No wonder it looks so bright!

The Brightness control sets the projector’s handling of black, but it has no effect on the actual light output. That’s why it looked bad.

My recommendations for you are as follows:

If the projector is placed on a rear shelf, go out and purchase a high-quality Neutral Density filter. These are used for photography. They reduce light transmission without affecting color balance. An ND2 filter will only transmit 50% of the projector’s light, or 250 lumens. An ND4 filter will only pass 25% (125 lumens).

If you have ceiling-mounted your projector, you can still mount an ND filter, but you’ll probably have to build yourself a bracket. That can be difficult if you’re not a handy person.

You don’t mention what kind of screen you’re using, but low-gain screens will reduce apparent brightness, so that is also an option.

If you have any flexibility in mounting, the Epson 5030UB’s lens transmits less light when it’s farthest from the screen, so you could reduce light output by up to 40% by placing it as far from the screen as possible.

I hope this helps, and good luck!
Ron Ferrer Posted Dec 3, 2014 5:44 AM PST
Could someone comment on the difference between the new Epson model 3500 (released in 2014 and is a bit cheaper) and the 5030UB? Is it worth to pay more for the 5030UB? What is the 5030UBE difference? Thank you!
Emil Posted Dec 24, 2014 6:46 AM PST
I am looking at 5030ub for my dedicated theater room. I have a 138 inch screen 2.35:1. Will 5030 be able to handle this aspect ratio ?
Jeff Posted Dec 25, 2014 6:11 AM PST
The difference between the two 5030ub and the 5030ube is the 5030ube has wireless hdmi transmitter built in. You would only need to run power to the unit.
Corey Posted Jan 16, 2015 3:35 AM PST
I'm looking for an opinion on whether I should buy the Epson5030 or Epson6030 Pro Home Cinema for my home theater. Other than one being black/white and coming in a bundle, is there really a difference?.
tony Posted Feb 27, 2015 6:59 PM PST
im getting the 5030ub....the wall where the screen is going is 7'6" tall and 22' long....the room is 35' long...ok....the problem is, what size getting the cine grey only comes in 120" and 150"....the throw is no problem since the room is 35" long...does the screen size affect the picture quality??? 3D ??? do I need certain amount of head room....any advice will help...thanks
Frank Posted Mar 19, 2015 11:55 PM PST
You should use Projection Calculator Pro to figure out the correct distance.I would install the 5030UB at 19.7"for a 120" Don't use the full zoom on the projector. For 35' room bring the projector closer to the screen. Full potential out of the 5030Ub install it at 16.4feet. 150" won't work.
Andy Posted Mar 27, 2015 12:20 PM PST
I am thinking on buying Epson 5030ub. Anybody has any issues reading the lamp/bulb life?

frank Posted Apr 17, 2015 10:28 AM PST
No issue. Use the menu button and scroll on the column of the left hand side. I'm away from my Epson 5030ub but its easy to find.
Robert Posted Jun 9, 2015 9:06 AM PST
I'm comparing the Epson 5030UB ($2,299.) and the Panasonic PT-AE8000U ($1,499. Both specs are almost identical. Why should I get the Epson for $1000 more? I wish Bill Livolsi could give me his input.
Bill Livolsi Posted Jun 9, 2015 1:12 PM PST
Robert - the extra $1000 for the Epson 5030UB gets you a panel alignment system, deeper blacks, RF 3D glasses, better detail enhancement, and lower input lag in the projector's fastest mode. You give up powered lens adjustments, a slightly quieter fan, anamorphic stretch capability, and a third HDMI port. Those are the major differences.
robert Posted Jun 9, 2015 9:59 PM PST
Thanks Bill. I'm convinced. Epson for me!
Robert Posted Jun 12, 2015 4:39 PM PST
I purchased the Epson 5030UB. I'm trying to understand "Tele" vs "Wide screen". My screen is 100" diagonal. My previous mount is 132" from the screen. Would this require that I use more or less of the tele side of the zoom feature.
Frank Posted Jun 28, 2015 12:23 PM PST
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB has surpassed all my expectations for the perfect projector. After several months with 5030ub I'm enjoying my own best movie collection all over again.It's surprising what i was missing before. Note:Epson sent my free bulb.
kevin Posted Jul 3, 2015 1:37 AM PST
Note:Epson sent my free bulb. --------------------- How?
Patrick Moynihan Posted Aug 14, 2015 12:58 AM PST
The free bulb is a limited time offer. More details here:
Nicholai Posted Aug 20, 2015 12:24 PM PST
I'm planning to buy this projector, with the 158" Silver Ticket GREY screen. The room is mostly dim but white ceiling and walls and plantation shutters. Is this an appropriate setup or should I go with something else?

Walter Dias Posted Nov 2, 2015 6:29 PM PST
I bought the 5030UB, which seems to be a great projector, standing an amazing capacity of projecting in a clear room. However, I'm facing a problem, since it is not fitting my 120" 16:9 screen (when I adjust the zoom lens to fit the whole vertical/height, the width exceeds the screen 3 inch in each side.

Otherwise, if I fit the width, the projector is unable to fit the whole height of the screen.

I have already adjusted keystone to maximum height/minimum distortion, and I believe the projector is well mounted and aligned.

I did not find a set up item to deal with this issue. Since it is set to HDMI, I'm also unable to change the image aspect.

Changing the setting in cable box does not produce any changes.

Any clues?


Walter Dias
Alan Cole Posted Nov 6, 2015 10:05 PM PST
The 5030ub we bought last summer is getting to be an expensive proposition already. The lamp fried with way less than 100 hours on it. We haven't watched it as much as I hoped we would and I'm highly aggravated that the lamp has so far cost over $2.00 an hour to run. I call BS on any 4,000-hour lamp life claim.

Great image, but at what price? Be ready to spend a ton of cash on lamps. And I have it on a a high-end Furman F1000 UPS to make sure the power doesn't drop with a hot lamp.
Paul Posted Nov 23, 2015 8:09 AM PST
Bill said "Robert - the extra $1000 for the Epson 5030UB gets you ......., and a third HDMI port. Those are the major differences." I have one for about a year now and very happy with it but there is only 2 HDMI Not 3.
JLB Posted Dec 15, 2015 9:13 AM PST
Walter - I have the same question as to playing old movies in their original (at least for DVD) aspect ratio...want to play them in 4:3 but although the 5030UB indicates compatability a few footnotes cause me concern as to how to do 4:3 if it can't be done through HD or on this question, Bill L?
Mike M Posted Dec 29, 2015 10:00 PM PST
I have a 5030 ube. can someone tell me how to make it smaller? the keystone adj. makes it smaller but puts a keystone shape to it. Thanks
Ethan m Posted Feb 2, 2016 10:10 AM PST
Walter, I have the exact same setup and the exact same problem. Have you found a solution yet?
Mike Posted Feb 14, 2016 10:08 AM PST
I too am experiencing the same issue as Ethan and Walter. (5030ub nut filling entirety of a 16:9 120" screen.) Please let me know if you find a solution.
Luc Posted Mar 8, 2016 2:32 PM PST
Did you level the projector? Keystone I believe only works for lens shift.
Paul Posted Mar 10, 2016 9:21 AM PST
I hope people realised by now that they can zoom-in and ZOOM-out using one of the 2 dial around the lens before tempering with the keystone and make sure that the projector is perpendicular with the screen is as important as level. I have 120 in screen at 14ft distance no problem filling-in the screen. Good luck.
jay Posted Nov 4, 2016 5:56 AM PST

I have had the projector since summer of 2015. The issue about the spilling over of the 16:9 image is something I grappled with also. I have a 104" screen (Carada) with a black felt bezel. The PJ is mounted 13' back. I always use the built-in pattern to adjust the image. This is my set up pretty much (and after talking to Epson support, they concurred) I use an Epson (ELPH80 or something like as a mount). Once you have mounted it to ceiling (assuming that is how you are set up) -

1. Level it (roll and pitch using a torpedo level). 2. Start the pattern from the remote. 3.Fill screen using zoom ring to match the while borders of the pattern to the edge of your screen. Starting from the 0 position of lens shift (hor and ver) center the image. 3. This usually gets the job done. Even if there is a slight spill over, it is not noticeable at the viewing distance of about 9.5'. The dials are a bit clunky and it is hard to move them without shaking the PJ but do the best you can. I could post some images but there doesn't seem to be a way of doing that here.
Rich Posted Dec 19, 2016 8:33 PM PST
I did my own shootout with the ae8000u vs the 5030ub and so far I am keeping the 5030ub.

The biggest flaw I see with the 5030ub is that the fan is loud when in full power mode and ceiling mounted. I have now found several forum accounts of the fan noise being increased when ceiling mounted. I normally use ECO mode so this isn't an issue with 2D viewing but....

Epson forces the projector into full power mode in 3D and with full power mode comes a significant fan noise. It is enough to where the projector is easily audible on quiet movie scenes with the projector 3ft behind me and 4ft above me. The picture looks great but it is significantly louder than the epson Home Cinema 3500 (which is significantly cheaper).

I may have to bring in a Sony hw45es before making my final verdict of which to keep.
Dale Allsopp Posted Jan 3, 2018 11:10 AM PST
I would go with Sony for when i need a new Projector. Input lag and poor service being my concerns. The unit i bought was faulty and it was replaced with a refurbished unit.
Thud Posted Apr 30, 2018 9:54 PM PST
Maximum screen size is a function of projection distance and zoom. If you want responses about either, post both.

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