Those of you on the fence, act now.
First, hats off to Epson. I called them yesterday morning around 10am my time, and my replacement projector showed up just before 11am today. So in little more than 24 hours I'm here with my new projector. Took half an hour to get it up and running enough to test.
NOW we're talking.
My previous unit was obviously used, scratches on the plastic housing, the lamp clearly wasn't new even though it said 0 hours, dust on the bulb/lens, etc. I also know now that whoever had it first had taken the various stickers off of it... My new unit has several Epson stickers on it that the previous one did not. No visible blemishes of any kind, anywhere. I don't think this was ever purchased by a consumer. I could find no fault with it at all physically, it looks brand new.
Popped in the 4k disc of Captain Marvel again. Immediately I see an absence of dust motes and the menu screens are not showing jagged lines anywhere. After playing a few scenes I'm impressed with the sharpness and brightness in Bright Cinema mode. It will still need some calibrating to be sure, but from what I've read, Bright Cinema gives very accurate color right out of the box and I would say I would agree, though I am no expert.
Then I like to go back to one of my old mainstays, Avatar. This is the 1080P version, but putting it in was more to compare against the 1080p PQ of the Epson 8350 that this 5040 is replacing. Extremely vivid color, no artifacts, and I haven't had time to play with 4k enhancement at all yet.
I got a good one. I do believe this unit is new, though it of course came in a refurb box. Those of you who are on the fence, if you get a good one, you'll be very pleased. I suggest you place your order quickly... before Epson receives this first unit back and ships it out to one of you LOL.