A higher-end projector worthy of the “home cinema” moniker.
The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB is a serious home theater projector for serious home theater enthusiasts. It features a motorized lens with horizontal and vertical lens shift, plus ample zoom. Its 4K enhancement technology offers lots of detail. Its biggest benefit over less expensive 4K projectors, however, is an excellent contrast ratio for deep, dark shadows and bright, popping highlights.
There are only a few disappointments, and they’re minor. It doesn’t quite have the color or razor-sharp detail of its direct competitor, the LG HU810P. That’s not to say the 5050 isn’t sharp and colorful. It is, just a bit less so — although I liked the Epson’s overall picture quality a lot more than that of the LG. The 5050UB is also an absolute unit, several times larger than most of the projectors I’ve reviewed in the last year (including the LG).
In sum, the Home Cinema 5050UB is an excellent all-around projector that looks fantastic with all content. It offers a significant step up in picture quality over less expensive projectors, like the Optoma UHD35, and costs a lot less than something like the Sony VPL-VW325ES. The Epson is my go-to choice for anyone with a dedicated home theater who wants a projector worthy of the space.
Editor’s note, Nov. 11, 2021: We’ve given this projector our Editors’ Choice award.
Specs 4(K) days
- Native resolution: 4K enhancement (1920×1080 x2)
- HDR-compatible: Yes
- 4K-compatible: Yes
- 3D-compatible: Yes
- Lumens spec: 2,600
- Zoom: Motorized (2.1x)
- Lens shift: Motorized H/V
- Lamp life (Medium mode): 4,000 hours
The 5050UB is a 4K- and HDR-compatible projector. As such, it can accept 4K and HDR signals, though keep in mind that no projector can do HDR very well.
Like all Epson projectors the 5050UB uses an LCD light engine, not the DLP that’s found in most other projectors. The ones used on the 5050UB are not technically 4K native resolution. Instead, they’re a technology called “4K enhancement” that “shifts each pixel diagonally to double Full HD resolution,” according to Epson. This is done very quickly, so it’s just a higher-resolution image to the eye. Here’s a deeper dive into the technology. The short version: It looked plenty sharp to me, if not quite as razor-like as the DLP-powered LG; see below for details.
One of the 5050’s most notable features that sets it apart from less expensive projectors is a motorized lens. This offers ±96.3% vertical and ±47.1% horizontal movement, which should be enough to let the 5050 fit in just about any home. There’s also a significant motorized zoom of 2.1x.
Epson claims the 5050UB can produce 2,600 lumens. I actually measured slightly more than that… in the less accurate Dynamic color mode. In the more accurate Bright Cinema mode I measured roughly 192 nits, or about 1,732 lumens. This puts it among the brightest projectors we’ve ever measured.
Lamp life is on the low side. Even in the Eco mode, Epson rates it at up to 5,000 hours. Some projectors of similar brightness we’ve reviewed in the last year were capable of upward of 15,000 hours in their most lamp-conserving modes. That said, 5,000 hours is still over three years of use at four hours a night.
- HDMI inputs: two HDMI 2.0
- PC input: Analog RGB
- USB ports: two
- Audio input and output: No
- Digital audio output: No
- Internet: LAN
- 12v trigger: Yes
- RS-232 remote port: Yes
- Remote: Backlit
Both HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.0 and can accept up to 4K60. As you might expect from its intended use as a projector for a dedicated theater, it lacks an audio out. Epson assumes, rightly in my opinion, that anyone getting a 5050 would have a traditional projector arrangement with either a receiver or at least a soundbar for audio.
Along the same lines, there are lots of control options for home automation systems, including a 12v trigger, RS-232 and a LAN port.
The remote is a big boy (just like the projector it controls) and has a pleasant amber backlight. If you have a 2.35:1 screen, as I do, you might reach for this remote for more than just on and off, since you can zoom the projector and fill the screen with 2.35:1 content without getting off the couch. That’s always a bonus.