Building on a foundation that’s almost identical to the Editors’ Choice Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 710HD, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD adds one key feature: 3D with full support for video sources like Blu-ray players and FiOS. That easily makes it worth the higher price, especially when you consider that $99 of the difference covers the cost of the one pair of 3D glasses it comes with. It also makes the 750HD Editors’ Choice for an inexpensive 3D projector for home use.
Like the 710HD, despite the home cinema in the name, the 750HD is actually meant as a home entertainment, rather than home theater, projector. The giveaway is the 3,000-lumen brightness rating. Home theater projectors, like the Editors’ Choice Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UBe, are meant for theater-dark lighting. With the typical size screen for home theaters, however, 3,000 lumens would be far too bright for comfortable viewing in the dark.
Home entertainment projectors have a different role. They’re meant to supplement or substitute for a TV in a family room or living room. In that situation, you need a far brighter image to stand up to the ambient light. It also helps for a home entertainment projector to be small and light enough so if you don’t install it permanently, you can store it easily when you’re not using it or can carry it easily to another room or, for that matter, a friend’s house. The 6-pound 750HD fits that requirement too.
Basics and Setup
The connections for image sources on the 750HD’s back panel are more typical for a data projector than a home entertainment projector, with only one HDMI port plus the usual VGA, composite video, and S-Video ports. The VGA port also supports component video, which will let you connect to a second HD video source if you have an appropriate adaptor cable. In addition, there’s a USB A port, which will let you read files directly from a USB memory key, and a USB B port for direct USB display and for controlling your computer’s mouse with the projector’s remote.
Setup is standard, with a 1.2x manual zoom offering some flexibility in how far you can put the projector from the screen for a given size image. Simply plug in the appropriate cables, adjust the zoom, and focus.
Brightness, Image Quality, and Rainbows
As I’ve already suggested, the 750HD is bright enough to throw an appropriately large image even with the typical ambient light in a family room. However, the maximum image size for comfortable viewing will depend on how the bright the room is. I found the projector suitable for the 90-inch diagonal image I used in most of my testing even with the lights on, and even with daylight streaming through the windows. For smaller image sizes or lower light levels, you can adjust the projector brightness by switching to Eco mode or choosing one of the preset modes with lower brightness.
Switching between 2D and 3D can be a problem for projectors, because the 3D glasses cut out a substantial portion of the light going to each eye. I was able to use the same 90-inch image size for both modes, however, by picking the brightest 3D preset for 3D and lower brightness presets for 2D.
For 2D image quality, the 750HD is roughly a match for the 710HD, which translates to being better quality overall than many TVs offer, but not in the same league as a good-quality 1080p home entertainment projector.
The 750HD did a good job with skin tones and with shadow detail (details based on shading in dark areas), although it lost a little detail in scenes that are hard to handle well. Also on the plus side, I didn’t see any motion artifacts or posterization (shading changing suddenly where it should change gradually), even in scenes that tend to cause that problem.
I saw some moderately obvious noise with DVDs, but that’s not surprising for a sub-$1000 projector. Noise was far less obvious with Blu-Ray discs and with a FiOS connection. It also helps a lot that, as a three-chip LCD projector, the 750HD is guaranteed to be free of rainbow artifacts.
Image quality for 3D is another strong point. I didn’t see any crosstalk, and saw only a hint of 3D-related motion artifacts.
Audio and Other Issues
The built-in audio system in the 750HD, with a 2-watt mono speaker, is good enough to be usable, with acceptably high quality and adequate volume for a small room. However, that assumes little to no ambient noise. If you want stereo, or more volume, you’ll need an external sound system. And since there’s no audio-out port on the projector, you’ll have to bypass the projector entirely, rather than control the sound through the projector menus.
One last important feature is a long lamp life, at 4,000 hours in Normal mode or 5,000 hours in Eco mode. That’s long enough to run the projector more than 3.5 hours per day every day for three years in the brightest mode or four years in Eco mode. Also helping to keep the cost of ownership down is the replacement lamp cost of only $200.
Keep in mind that you have to add the cost of additional 3D glasses at $99 each if you get them from Epson, although Epson points out that less expensive alternatives are available from other manufacturers. In any case, you’ll almost certainly need more than the one pair that comes with the projector.
No 720p projector can match an otherwise equivalent 1080p projector for sharp resolution, but if don’t want to spend the money for 1080p, a good-quality 720p projector comes in at a close second. Among 720p models, if you’re not interested in 3D, you can save money by getting the 2D Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 710HD. You can also save by choosing a 3D DLP-based model instead. But if you want good image quality in both 2D and 3D, and you also want to avoid any possibility of rainbow artifacts, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD is the obvious choice. That makes it the clear pick for Editors’ Choice as well.
|Native Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Video Inputs||Component, Composite, HDMI, S-Video|
|Computer Interfaces||Analog VGA|
|Rated Contrast Ratio||5000|
|Rated Brightness||3000 ANSI lumens|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc