Epson Unveils New 4K Home Theater Line
Today Epson announced four new 4K enhanced home theater projectors, two of which are priced below $3,000. The four models announced are these...
1. Home Cinema 5040UB ($2,999). Features include:
- 4K Enhancement, HDCP 2.2
- HDR Compatible
- Wide Gamut – full DCI color space
- Motorized Lens – Lens Memory for auto set of different aspect ratios
- 2500 lumens
- Up to 1,000,000 contrast
- 3D with glasses
- 2 Year Warranty
- White casework
2. Home Cinema 5040UBe ($3,299). The 5040UBe is the 5040UB with wireless HD 4K support added.
3. Pro Cinema 6040UB ($3,999). Other than being black instead of white, the 6040UB has the same features as 5040UB with the following extras:
- ISF Certification
- A third year of warranty
- Ceiling mount, cable cover, and extra replacement lamp included
- Available through CEDIA and specialty dealers only
4. Pro Cinema 4040 ($2,699). Same features and distribution as 6040UB, but with moderately reduced performance (2300 lumens instead of 2500, and 160,000:1 contrast)
A couple of points … first, compared to the current 5030UB and 6030UB which the new models will replace, these are all new projectors from the ground up. They have a new optical engine, new casework design, powered zoom, focus, and lens shift for lens memory capability, a higher precision all-glass lens, and of course 4K enhancement and HDR. So practically speaking, the Home Cinema 5040UB is a major advance on many fronts over the 5030UB. Don’t let the minor change in model number fool you into supposing this is just another modest upgrade of an established product.
Second, with 4K enhancement (pixel shift) dropping below $3,000, the debate over whether pixel shift technology is “real 4K” will be reignited. Hence, my two cents on the subject. Having seen the 6040UB set up side by side with a native 4K projector, I will say that the 6040UB's picture simply looks like native 4K when they are both fed a native 4K source. It is difficult to detect any difference at all in detail resolution between the two from a normal viewing distance. In fact if casual observers were shown this side by side demo and asked to guess which was the true native 4K projector, I have no doubt that half of them would guess wrong.
The purist will argue that there must be some difference in resolution, as the 4K images achieved through pixel shift cannot possibly match the exact reproduction from native 4K chips. While this is technically true, if 4K enhancement has improved to where you can't see any difference from a normal viewing distance, what is more important -- how the projector does it or how much it costs?
These new models announced today by Epson will begin shipping in August. They appear to represent a step forward in 4K enhancement precision. Videophiles everywhere will be anxious to set up side by side demos between the 5040UB and whichever native 4K projector they can get their hands on to see for themselves how far this technology has come. We will be doing the same when we get our review samples.