I will say that I've decided to go with the HW40 over the Epson. I had decided upon on an Epson for over a year now, but Sony won out by releasing this projector and discounting it at the moment that I'm ready to buy. I personally resist Sony a bit in my purchases although I do have some of their more expensive products. Digital camera, LCD TV, PS3.
I resist them because I'm well aware of them wanting to set a standard and charging a premium once they have you locked in. My wife feels the same way. It reminds us of Apple a bit except Sony hasn't been able to get folks hooked on their products as much as Apple. However, you have to give them credit where credit is due. They won big with Bluray. That was part of the reason I bought a PS3 early on. As for the TV, their panel was the same quality as Samsung's at the time, but they offered a version with a matte finish. I wanted the quality and needed the matte finish for the room that it was going in. So Sony won again and I shelled out the money. For the camera, they made one of the smallest, fastest cameras, and it had awesome 1080p video capture too. Again, it fit exactly what I wanted and I waited for a reasonable sale price and made the purchase. By no means do I consider myself a 'fan boy' of any corporation, but I also try not to let emotions get in the way of my logic. I long ago had determined logically that the Sony HW50/55 would probably be the best projector for me, but the price was more than I was willing to pay. It wasn't insanely expensive, but still too much for me to feel reasonably good about shelling out for a video device. So I essentially put it out of my head as an option.
To answer your question as to why anyone would consider the Epson, it is because you get as good a picture and features as the HW55 for a reasonable price. The trade off is you have to be comfortable with a few possible negatives.
- Game Lag
- Screen Door Effect (I've heard it is still a bit noticeable on large screens)
- High possibility of Dust Blobs
- Fan noise (mainly in 3D, but still louder than Sony overall)
I had pretty much decided that I could with all of those for the price. Although the dust blob thing became a big worry at the end. Still with no other options I'd deal with them and use the 2 year exchange program as necessary. Then Sony came out with the HW40. I never looked at until a month ago because I had take Sony off the list already. However, when I did, I saw that it is 90% the same as the HW55 (which I had previously already determined to be a number 1 choice if it cheaper). It has none of the negatives I listed for the Epson and only comes up short to the HW55 and Epson 5030 in the black level (due to the lack of dynamic iris). I also would prefer the white one, if I could get it but for some reason Sony doesn't sell it in the US. So for me, it came down to Sony black level vs the 4 Epson negatives above and, of course, price. Comparing on sale, they are both still comparable price wise. The Sony is a bit cheaper, but the Epson comes with RF/RF glasses/and the dynamic iris. But still, the sale prices for both make me comfortable with the price for each. So that left just the 1 Sony negative vs the 4 Epson negatives for me personally. I chose the Sony because unless the blacks look grey or washed out, I don't think I'll be disappointed. However, I wouldn't fault anyone for wanting to stick with Epson for the blacks either especially if they were already used to seeing that level of black from a prior Epson.
There are also other smaller things for each like:
Epson's perceived 3D advantage due to RF and higher brightness level
Sony's extra year of warranty (a consideration for waiting for prices to fall for 4K upgrade)
Epson's quick exchange warranty program (although I'd be concerned if I were having issues often enough to be able to appreciate the quickness of the warranty service)
Sony's out of box perfect color calibration
Epson's mostly white color
(I'd prefer the white housing and in fact it kind of irks me that Sony offers a 100% white version of their projectors every where, but in the US. So once again, even though I may make the purchase, I definitely wouldn't consider me a fan boy of the corporation.
Those were all things I considered too. It was noticing the HW40 existed and becoming more aware of the dust blob thing that made me investigate again about a month ago. I even made an Excel sheet to list various aspects of the Epson 5020-R, Epson 5030, Sony HW40, Sony HW55. So I could compare them logically against each other. After looking at it objectively, I realized that I was kind of trying to justify the Epson purchase as I listed a lot of what I deemed to be negatives and most of them applied only to the Epson and only 1 real negative for the Sony (from my personal list). In the end, I followed my logic and chose the one that I felt was closer to the HW55 for most features, but my priorities aren't the same as other people's. So I wouldn't fault anyone for choosing the Epson. I'm sure that I'd be happy with either one and in fact was certain for over a year that I would be buying an Epson as it was the clear leader in 'the best for an acceptable price' category to me at the time.
Originally Posted by BDUB619
For those deciding between this Sony or the Epson 5030, I would ask why you are interested in the 5030? What features do you prefer in it that the Sony cannot match? I've seen a lot of supporters of the 5030 say it has excellent black levels. I would argue the Sony's blacks are just as good (to the naked eye). I was deciding between the two also, had an Epson 2000 and was ready to upgrade. I like Epson but my reasons for choosing the Sony were because I primarily use it for gaming, sports and movies and the lag of the Epson was a deal breaker. Add in audible fan noise of the Epson (zero fan noise with Sony), screen door effect with Epson and potential for dust problems in the lens and the Sony was the better choice for me. I also like the Motion Enhance features of the Sony and I didn't see a similar feature on the 5030.
Good read from someone who chose the 5030 and wishes they got this Sony.