A TV or a projector? Well, this can be a hard decision for some of us. If we compare the price of a 65+ inch TV with a projector we will see there is a huge price difference between them. A TV will be a lot more expensive compared to a projector. A projector will give you a lot of bang for a buck if you need a huge screen. Die hard movie lovers will always pick a projector over a TV, I’m pretty sure about that. But buying a projector is never an easy job and it is more difficult if you are buying for the first time.
There are some factors which we need to consider before spending our hard earn money. A projector should have some qualities: it should be bright, should offer good picture quality, should have all connectivity options and the lamp should last a few thousand hours. There are mainly two different types of projectors available in the market: DLP and 3LCD. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
I recently got my hands on the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1040 which is a 3LCD based Full HD projector. There are some notable advantages of this kind of 3LCD projectors over DLP projectors. Firstly, there is no distracting rainbow effect which is the main issue with single chip DLP projectors. If you are sensitive to rainbow effect you should consider a 3LCD projector. Unlike DLP projectors 3LCD projectors offer more color brightness. So the images will be more vibrant compared to a DLP which has a same brightness rating. Lastly, the price of replacing the bulbs is a lot cheaper on 3LCD projector.
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1040 projector:
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1040 packs plenty of high-end features at an affordable price. It is a very bright projector with 3000 Lumens of both white and color brightness. This projector can be used in rooms with moderate ambient light. It has a native resolution of 1920×1200 (WUXGA) which is more than Full HD. The aspect ratio is 16:10, so there will be little black bars on top and bottom when playing Full HD videos. However, if you are planning to use this projector with computer, it will be a great choice, thanks to the extra vertical resolution. It also has a split screen feature where two different sources can be projected at the same time.
The dynamic contrast ratio is 15,000:1 which is good in this price range. There is automatic vertical and manual horizontal keystone adjustment which gives the freedom to place the projector at any angle from the screen. It has manual focus and 1.2x zoom adjustments. You can achieve up to 300” display from around 36 ft.
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1040 is equipped with multiple connectivity options. It has two HDMI connections; one of them is MHL compatible. So you can just plug-in a streaming stick like Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick directly without additional power supply. There is one VGA connector for computer and RCA video and audio connector for DVD or VCD players.
Surprisingly, there is no audio output port. There is no way to connect to external speakers to the projector. You have to connect speakers directly to a computer or any other source. When Epson’s other home theatre projectors like PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 has it, I don’t know why they decided to remove an important connector like this. It can be a deal breaker for many who are planning to use streaming sticks with the projector. While the built-in 2W mono speaker is good enough for presentations, it is not an ideal solution for movies or videos.
If you want to use a streaming stick with it, then the only workaround will be a HDMI audio splitter which can be found for around $30. Or if your streaming stick has Bluetooth connectivity like Amazon Fire TV Stick, then you can use a Bluetooth speaker with the projector. If you don’t have Bluetooth speakers, you can get a Bluetooth audio receiver and connect to your existing speakers.
The projector comes with a remote control which is very easy to use.
Picture and video quality:
Let’s talk about the most important thing about this projector which is the picture quality. The reason why you will be buying a projector. On paper, it has an impressive feature set with high brightness and contrast. But how does it translate in the real world?
I’m happy to report that PowerLite Home Cinema 1040 excels in all tests except one thing. This projector is very bright in normal mode. I never had any issues using this projector in a moderately lit room. The ECO mode brings down the brightness, but it is still pretty bright. Most of the time I kept it in ECO mode.
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1040 projects beautiful and vivid images. The video quality is excellent. It is a joy to watch movies and videos on such a big screen. There are four color modes: Dynamic, Bright Cinema, Cinema, and Game. I preferred the Dynamic and Bright Cinema modes to watch videos. Each of the color modes can be further customized for better color calibration. You can manually tweak contrast, brightness, color saturation and temperature, tint, sharpness etc. There is Auto Iris feature to enhance the black level. When it is set to high-speed it helps to create darker black, but still it is somewhat gray. I wish it had better black levels. This is the only complaint about the picture quality.
The noise level is low when the projector is running in ECO mode. In normal mode, you can hear the fan noise, but it will not spoil the movie watching experience if you are using external speakers. When the Auto Iris is set to high-speed there is audible noise when the video is transitioning from bright scene to dark or vice versa. You can disable Auto Iris if you find this sound distracting.
The retail price of this projector is $799.99. However, you can find it for around $600 in many stores.
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1040 is an excellent projector in this price range. It is suitable for both business presentations and movies. It is bright and offers great picture quality. The lamp last 5000 hours in normal mode and 10,000 hours in ECO mode. The replacement lamp is just $79 which is very cheap compared to DLP projectors. The cost of ownership is very low for this projector. To sweeten the deal Epson is also providing 2 year warranty which is great. I would recommend this projector to anyone who is looking for an affordable Full HD home theatre projector.
- WUXGA resolution.
- Excellent picture quality.
- Two HDMI ports with MHL connectivity.
- Long lamp life and cheap replacement lamps.
- 2 year warranty.
- The black level is not that good.
- No audio output.