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Epson Home Cinema 5010 3D Projector Review

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Epson Home Cinema 5010 3D Projector

Epson Home Cinema 5010 3D Projector

Summary

  • Product Name: Home Cinema 5010 3D Projector
  • Manufacturer: Epson
  • Review Date: January 23, 2012 04:45
  • MSRP: $2999
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Brightness: 2400 ANSI lumens
  • Colors: 16.7 million
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Technology: D9 inorganic 480 Hz LCD panels
  • Contrast Ratio: 200,000:1
  • Compatibility: 1080p native
  • Dimensions: 0in W 0in H 0in D
  • Features: Full HD 3D
  • Warranty: 2 Years Limited Parts and Labor, 90 Days on Lamp, Epson HomeService Program and Epson PrivateLine Dedicated Toll-Free Support

Executive Overview

We seem to be hitting a lot of projectors this year, but it's no surprise since most manufacturers are releasing new 3D models that can do justice to the newest 3D Blu-ray movies. The Home Cinema 5010 is Epson's 1080p 3D projector that targets the enthusiast... make that the premier enthusiast. The 5010 is the highest model in Epson's Home Cinema lineup and it's designed to produce the richest blacks, the highest contrast ratios and the most detailed picture possible. We utilize the company's 9700UB, which is the professional model of the 8700UB, which this projector replaces. If you didn't catch all that just... rewind the video and hopefully it'll all come together for you... The 5010 ups the output of its predecessor to 2400 lumens. Now while we don't typically need that much light in home theaters, in 3D mode you lose a significant amount of the brightness due to the way the glasses are constantly closing and opening over each eye. With 2400 lumens and custom calibration options for 3D, Epson takes care of that and lets you calibrate the set for optimal 3D performance.

They're not messing around. And for $3000 they probably shouldn't. And look at it - the projector looks incredible. It even comes with an automatic retracting lens protector that slides in place when you power down, so the expensive glass stays protected from dust and dirt. Even the control panel has a sliding door. Inside, the Epson 5010 uses a high-end Fujinon lens assembly and has 100% horizontal and 50% vertical lens shift. Basically you put the projector anywhere in the room and you're likely to hit the screen perfectly with no keystoning.

lens protective cover

The Epson menu system and remote are equally simple to use. All inputs are directly available and you have easy access to all of the settings and calibration options you'll need. When we used CalMan software and calibration tools to set up this projector, however, we found that the Cinema Color mode was really close to our desired target and all it took was bumping up the color temperature a bit to get it more or less spot on. While we support having someone calibrate your projector for optimal picture quality, it's also nice to know you don't have to in order to get a pristine picture when you first plug it in.

inputs

The other thing we loved about this projector was the split screen mode where you could watch side-by-side images from two different sources. We tried this with Monday Night Football while our laptop fed some Fantasy Football stats via its VGA output. That is pretty cool and something we're not used to seeing. The only limitation is that you can't use both HDMI inputs at the same time as they share some video processing circuitry.

Watching 2D content on this projector was incredible. Blacks were deep and rich and colors really popped. It really was indistinguishable from our reference 9700UB, particularly after calibration, except that it seemed to have even deeper blacks if that's possible. We did also like Epson's revised Frame Interpolation processing. While it doesn't appeal to us on live acting film, it was fun to engage on animated features and some TV shows. There seemed to be less artifacting on this go-around than in past iterations of Epson's 120Hz processing as well. Epson also has a feature called Super Resolution which is supposed to sharpen images. We didn't see much effect until it was at its highest setting at which point the edges began to show halos and we turned it off. With Cinema mode engaged and all the fancy modes turned off, we watched

Of course, this is a 3D projector and so we wanted to give you a taste of how well it did in that arena. First off, 3D is only available on the HDMI inputs. The 5010 can't do 2D-3D conversion on component video, for example. On its digital inputs, however, there is support for all of the HDMI-approved 3D modes as well as the 2D-to-3D, which we thought was pretty nifty... but not something we'd use all that often. When you activate 3D, the projector operates in one of 2 new Color modes: 3D Dynamic and 3D Cinema. What's excellent is that these modes have their own color calibrations, so you can customize the projector to have more light output, for example, when watching a 3D movie. None of this affects your 2D Color mode settings. One thing to note is that since 3D processing uses the 120Hz engine, there is no frame interpolation or auto iris while in 3D mode.

projector beauty

I'm not sure what else we can say. The Epson 5010 actually appeals to us a little more than our reference 9700UB. The auto iris seems a bit faster, the blacks seem to come out deeper and the projector is beautifully quiet in its operation. There's not much to dislike, except maybe for the fact that Epson makes you buy the glasses separately. And if you dream of wireless HD, realize that you can pick up the 5010e that, for an additional $300, can transmit and receive HDMI 1.4 at up to 1080p wirelessly. That means that you can literally just supply power to the projector and you're all set. If this is the future of A/V equipment, sign me up.

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About the author:

Andrew Gash was the online personality for Audioholics' video reviews back in 2010. He's an accomplished video editor and scriptwriter and enjoys masochistic events such as entering 48 hour film festivals each year, for which his last several attempts have placed in various nominations and awards.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Rob Friedrichs posts on March 05, 2015 10:48
I have had my 5010 for less than three years, and in that time Epson has replaced it twice due to catastrophic failure. After the second replacement unit, I knew the original warranty was about to expire so I begged Epson to extend the warranty given the problems we had already experienced. They refused, but assured me that this was a quality product and that I had just experienced “a run of bad luck”. Well, that bad luck streak has continued since the projector malfunctioned again this weekend. For those keeping up with the story, that is now 3 separate units of this “quality product” that have gone out in less than three years. And since the original warranty has expired, Epson is unwilling to do anything to make it right. Almost $3,000 and three years after purchase, I now have a very expensive paperweight hanging from my ceiling. DO NOT BUY THIS PROJECTOR!!! It is obviously a lemon, and Epson will not make it right.
Jerod81 posts on February 26, 2012 15:23
Savage40, post: 859635
I just bought the Epson 6010, basically the same projector, but it is black, comes with an extra bulb, mount, 3 year warranty and the auto lens shutter when powered off. I have not even hooked it up yet, but for the price point, I think it will be an acceptable gaming video source. :-)
How do you like it after a month of use? Pro's/Con's? I am very curious as I am putting together a HT in my basement, and am 99% sure I am going with the Epson 5010.
icu4biz posts on February 24, 2012 07:43
This is my first projector and I bought the Epson 5010 2 weeks ago.
I have been researching projectors for about 8 years and finally the quality of the projectors merged with my budget.
Totally impressed with this projector! The picture is as clear as my 60“ Samsung plasma. It's playing on a 100” diag screen and very impressive. It is bright enought that some back lighting is ok.
The setup was easy, Epson cust support was helpful in answering a few questions such as mounting height and distance.
I had a pro consult with me a few days ago for speakers and accoustical treatments. Keep in mind he only sells the more expensive projectors. After the demo his first comment was that I have to brightness levels way too high. I take that as a compliment since you can always turn it down. He did not make many comments other than his body language. He was pleasanty surprised. Again, I have not made any calibrations yet on the unit.
Savage40 posts on January 24, 2012 08:05
Impelled, post: 859613
Looks like a nice projector but there is something that wasnt made clear.

HDMI doesnt expose the mode 1080p at 120Hz, even though HDMI has the bandwidth to do it with 24bit colour.
The projector cannot be used for stereo gaming at 1080p 120Hz, it will most likely use 720p at 120Hz.
1080p 3D is for movies (notably Blu Ray) at 24Hz -> 30Hz doubled up for stereo viewing to use a max of 60Hz refresh.

Bit of a shame, I'm keeping my eye out for decent large 120Hz displays at 1080p.

I just bought the Epson 6010, basically the same projector, but it is black, comes with an extra bulb, mount, 3 year warranty and the auto lens shutter when powered off. I have not even hooked it up yet, but for the price point, I think it will be an acceptable gaming video source. :-)

I think we are on the cusp of a major change in home projectors for movies and games, give it a bit more time and I think we will have the projectors we have all dreamed of.
Impelled posts on January 24, 2012 01:24
Looks like a nice projector but there is something that wasnt made clear.

HDMI doesnt expose the mode 1080p at 120Hz, even though HDMI has the bandwidth to do it with 24bit colour.
The projector cannot be used for stereo gaming at 1080p 120Hz, it will most likely use 720p at 120Hz.
1080p 3D is for movies (notably Blu Ray) at 24Hz -> 30Hz doubled up for stereo viewing to use a max of 60Hz refresh.

Bit of a shame, I'm keeping my eye out for decent large 120Hz displays at 1080p.
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