Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K PRO-UHD HDR Projector Hands-On Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Epson Home Cinema 5050UB 4K PRO-UHD HDR Projector Hands-On Review

There's much to like about the impressive Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB HDR projector. It's got an amazing lens and plenty of brightness and adapts to your needs.|
Epson's Home Cinema 5050UB ($2999 on Amazon) Pro-UHD HDR projector has arrived! It's been three years since Epson debuted the popular and highly regarded Home Cinema 5040UB. The 5050UB is a dream machine for cinema lovers, it's designed to easily fit into most small and medium-size home theaters and deliver stunning image quality, especially when considering the price.

Features and Specifications

With the Home Cinema 5050UB, Epson took a good thing and made it even better. This model, and the Home Cinema 5050UBe (that adds wireless video to the mix) are able to output up to 2600 lumens, are designed to make the most of HDR10 content, and feature Epson UltraBlack 3-LCD technology for deep blacks and high overall contrast.

While there is a small bump in spec'd peak lumens (2600 versus 2500), the main upgrade in performance offered by the 5050UB is centered around the Pro-UHD technology, a refinement of the various image processing and resolution enhancement technologies employed by Epson in these 3-chip LCD projectors.

The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB and the otherwise identical but wireless 5050UBe ($3299) support 4K HDR content while relying on a new Pixel-Shift Processor to enhance the resolution of the native 1080p imaging chips, putting over 4 million discrete pixels on screen. While this is not fundamentally different from how the 5040UB handled 4K, Epson does say it has improved the performance of the pixel shifting.

For those wondering, the the 5050UB will not replicate a checkerboard single-pixel 4K test pattern. Technically the projector is putting just over 4 million pixels on the screen (2X HD, but  only ½ UHD), because the imaging chip shifts between two position to offer enhanced detail. You can also turn off the 4K enhancement and directly observe the difference it makes—there's more detail and furthermore, it eliminates the "screen door effect" that's visible when 4K enhancement is turned off. In other words, leave it on.

This projector is able to reproduce the P3 color gamut in its entirety when utilizing its cinema filter (with some loss of peak brightness) or else produce highly saturated color with full light output. Moreover, the company touts that it’s UltraBlack Contrast tech allows for a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 (in a lab or ideal room, typical real-life contrast numbers are lower).

Full-bandwidth HDMI 2.0 (18GHz) allows for 4K/60 playback, which is great for streaming 4K and gaming. The Home Cinema 5050UBe comes equipped with a Epson WirelessHD transmitter with 4K/30 support and four inputs. This review is of the wired 5050UB. Also, this projector has one HDMI input that's explicitly for optical HDMI that provides power to the cable.

Epson equipped the 5050UB with its high-performance and flexible powered lens. This allows 47% horizontal-axis adjustment and 96% vertical axis adjustment. Furthermore, the 15-element, 2.1X zoom lens features "zero light leakage" that contributes to the UltraBlack performance of this unit.


The "made in Japan" lens of the Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB projector contributes to its versatility. Photo by Mark Henninger

The motorized lens with memory is in nice feature, especially if you have a 2.40:1 aspect ratio screen. You can enjoy many widescreen Hollywood movies zoomed in, so that the image fills the screen; no anamorphic lens required. And when you watch 16:9 aspect films, TV, or play video games, you can have the projector zoom out and fully show the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Thoughtfully, Epson has included dedicated buttons for the first two lens memory positions (out of 10 total), so if you have implemented a 2.40:1 screen, switching between that and 16:9 ratios only requires a single button push.

Performance

Projection depends on more that just the projector to get a great image. When you have a projector that renders deep blacks, like the Pro Cinema 5050UB, it requires a dedicated space that has complete control over the lighting as well as walls and ceilings painted a dark color (okay, let’s face it, preferably matte black) in order to get the absolute maximum performance out of it.

Screen material choice is key, if you have a blacked-out home theater, then you can use a white screen. However, an ambient light rejecting screen can also be considered, not only because it helps with contrast by “rejecting” the reflected ambient light from a dark theater, but because it allows you to use the projector with the lights on to watch TV or sports or play video games.

While native 4K is great, and home theaters offer an opportunity to sit close enough to the screen where you will see the extra detail when it is present, I need to stress that with most content, the fact this is a pixel-shifter and not a full UHD projector is practically irrelevant. Most of what you want out of 4K HDR content, like DCI/P3 color, smooth gradations and well rendered details during busy action scenes, comes through thanks to higher bitrates. Pixel count is not the only determining factor for picture quality when you watch a movie, being able to ingest UHD is key to how great the image put out by this projector looks.

The behavior of the different picture modes of the 5050UB will not come as a huge surprise to Epson fans. Cinema and Digital Cinema provide true 100% P3 gamut coverage and a very accurate, neutral presentation, with Medium power being highly color accurate out the box (to use High power mode requires a calibration for color accuracy). Natural and Bright Cinema also exhibited good color and add a lot of extra lumens to the mix—more than double the previous two modes. Meanwhile, Dynamic mode is where you'll find the spec'd peak lumen output.

In Dynamic mode I was able to verify Epson's million-to-one dynamic contrast claim; yes it depends on dividing peak output by the all-black screen that comes courtesy of the dynamic iris. Dynamic contrast was not as high in other modes, but Cinema delivered a 150,000:1 reading. Native contrast, measured with the iris turned off, is considerably lower but still good enough to put a punchy picture on screen. I measured 6200:1 in Cinema Mode medium power and 8000:1 in Dynamic mode. The lowest native contrast measured was 5600:1 in Cinema Bright; this is about the same native contrast as modern LED-lit FALD VA LCD TVs achieve (viewed on-axis).

I recently watched Bumblebee in UHD, streaming from Vudu, using the Cinema Mode and Medium power on the 2.40:1 StudioTek 130 (1.3 gain). However, since the movie is 16:9 aspect, I used the lens memory feature to zoom out and accommodate that. One benefit is it made the default Cinema Mode peak highlights bright enough to give 'em a bit of twinkle. While it did not have "HDR-like" highlights, every moment of every scene was unbelievably clean—no signs of artifacts or banding whatsoever. Colors were very rich and the details were as distinct as I'm used to seeing from 4K.

The main thing here is that even when fairly close to the screen (10 feet or so from the 96" diagonal-equivalent 16:9 screen), I can't make out individual pixels on the 5500UB, ergo you are seeing about as much detail as you are going to see. Anyhow, I say all that because I was impressed by the final product of the 5050UB, what it put up on screen does true justice to UHD movies.

Epson had suggested I check out The Greatest Showman, citing it as a great example of how this projector can handle color, contrast and motion. I own it, and I agree it's an exceptionally well produced (and entertaining) film... although if you are not a fan of musicals you might not agree. Anyhow, there's little more colorful than The Circus and the choreographed dance scenes were rendered with cinematic cadence and very clear motion.

I also has a chance to watch a couple of Sixers games streaming in 1080p on YouTube TV. It looked extremely good with the lights out, like a 96" TV was hanging on the wall... but a 96" TV with perfect uniformity and no off-axis viewing issues. It's glorious, and I can't with to try the same on my 110" ambient light rejecting screen.

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On a Stewart StudioTek 130 screen (110" wide, 2.40:1 ratio, 1.3 gain) I measured the following peak brightnesses (uncalibrated):

Auto Iris Off (16:9 = approx. 95" diagonal, 83" x 46")

Cinema Bright Medium Power - 208 nits
Cinema Bright High Power - 270 nits
Cinema High Power - 127 nits
Cinema Medium Power - 100 nits
Digital Cinema High Power - 134 nits
Digital Cinema Medium Power  - 105 nits
Natural, Medium Power - 224 nits
Natural, High Power - 290 nits
Dynamic (high) - 400 nits
Dynamic (medium) - 313 nits

Zoomed in (2.40:1 = 119" diagonal, 110"x 46" )

Cinema Bright Medium Power - 170 nits
Cinema Bright High Power - 131 nits
Cinema High Power - 77 nits
Cinema Medium Power - 61 nits
Digital Cinema High Power - 105 nits
Digital Cinema Medium Power - 65 nits
Natural, Medium Power - 138 nits
Natural, High Power - 179 nits
Dynamic (high) - 248 nits
Dynamic (medium) - 198 nits

Contrast Ratios

No Iris, In My Theater

Cinema Bright Mode Medium- 5500:1 contrast
Cinema Mode Medium - 6200:1 contrast
Digital Cinema Mode Medium - 6100:1 contrast
Natural Mode Medium - 5700:1 contrast
Dynamic Mode Medium - 7846:1 contrast

Iris On, High Speed, In My Theater

Cinema Bright Mode Medium- 65000:1 contrast
Cinema Mode Medium - 150,000:1 contrast
Digital Cinema Mode Medium - 125,000:1 contrast
Natural Mode Medium - 73,000:1 contrast
Dynamic Mode Medium - 620,000:1 contrast

Also...

Dynamic Mode High - 932,000:1 contrast (Here's where you find the measurable "up to million-to-one contrast" marketing spec)

Calibration Results...

I will be calibrating the Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB upon return from a 4-day trip and getting into using it with the Seymour-Screen Excellence Ambient Visionaire Black (0.9 gain) wide viewing angle ambient light rejecting screen. There are clearly plenty of lumens available to make the jump from 1.3-gain to 0.9 gain and filling a 119" diagonal screen with both SDR and HDR imagery that pops.

I expect to see over 100 nits in Natural, Medium Power and should even be able to eke out a DCI compliant 46 nits from Cinema Mode Medium, which is this projectors least bright mode but in reality it's very useful to be able to "dim" the projector to 46 nits, which is the DCI standard for non-HDR films. Add to that the wide color gamut and high bitrate of UHD content and what's on screen looks like it's playing in one of those premium commercial cinema auditoriums.

I'm optimistic this projector will offer even greater performance once it's fully calibrated.  So stay tuned for all that and more, coming next week.

Conclusion

The Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB is a solid choice for a home theater projector. You can pay a lot more money to get just a little bit more performance out of projectors from other brands, and in some cases you give up features or flexibility (lens memory, for example) as well. In that context, the Pro Cinema 5050UB is an easy pick and a Top Choice for 2019. If you want true 4K, you can pay more and go for it. If you want a projector that can fill multiple rolls, has solid performance right out of the box, and is particularly good at playing 4K UHD movies thanks to how nicely it handles HDR and wide color gamut, this Epson is simply awesome.

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Last edited by imagic; 04-15-2019 at 09:02 AM.
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post #2 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 08:17 AM
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Has there been a confirmed release date yet?
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post #3 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 09:12 AM
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Any comments on fan noise? My PJ sits right above my head.
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post #4 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 09:25 AM
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Any comments on fan noise? My PJ sits right above my head.
You'll find fan noise in medium and eco modes to be very pleasant. The massive size of the projector gives it a very hushed and consistent noise profile. However, on High mode, the fan noise is a magnitude noisier. When viewing loud amterial it is not objectionable but when the scene quiets down I can definitely hear it. Luckily the profile of the fan is still consisted and "whooshy". No whines and rattles.
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Quote:
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Any comments on fan noise? My PJ sits right above my head.
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Originally Posted by scottyroo View Post
You'll find fan noise in medium and eco modes to be very pleasant. The massive size of the projector gives it a very hushed and consistent noise profile. However, on High mode, the fan noise is a magnitude noisier. When viewing loud amterial it is not objectionable but when the scene quiets down I can definitely hear it. Luckily the profile of the fan is still consisted and "whooshy". No whines and rattles.
This here is an accurate take on the fan noise, thx!
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post #6 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 09:36 AM
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Man - I was ready to roll with a JVC NX5 or NX7 but the bang for the buck of this Epson has me reconsidering. Especially for the price difference. I'm 75% sports and gaming so this would fit the bill.

Anybody have any experience regarding how much more blacker the blacks would be on one of the JVCs compared to this Epson. Would be in a room with darker walls, light ceiling, minimal ambient light (from the steps down to the basement).
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post #7 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 09:41 AM
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I need to stress that with most content, the fact this is a pixel-shifter and not a full UHD projector is practically irrelevant.
GREAT hands-on review! I just have one point that I was frustrated with...

Your comment quoted above IS relevant. I am also testing the 5050UB and I agree with most every point in this review. This is a fantastic projector but I wish notable reviewers would stop giving 1080x2 e-shift a pass and put some pressure on the leading consumer projector manufacturer. It's ok to critique one of the only drawbacks on what will undoubtedly will be one of the most popular projectors this year. The review acknowledges that 1080x2 e-shift is markedly better than 1080p content as a baseline. Agreed. But saying that "this not being a full UHD projector is practically irrelevant" discredits the review's comments about how much better the 4K Enhancement looks compared to off. 1080 is to 4Ke as 4Ke is to full UHD. Having 8.3M pixels on screen vs 4.15M pixels on screen IS relevant... if not for the deeper color space, what else is the push for 4K for? Especially for our massive projector screens?

The fact that this does 1080x2 is totally fine by the way. It's a great picture all things considered. My point here is that yes, PQ has so much more than just resolution... but with hat said, knocking it for not producing 8.3M discrete pixels is not a bad thing in an objective review.

Context: I am also testing the Epson 5050UB and went into this Epson with several assurances from folks "you won't notice in normal viewing". Sitting from 16 feet on my 160" 16:9 screen, I can absolutely notice the difference in resolution comparing this Epson to a sharp 1080x4 shifter.
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post #8 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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GREAT hand on review! I just have one point that I was frustrated with...

you comment quoted above IS relevant. I am also testing the 5050UB and I agree with most every point in this review. This is a fantastic projector but I wish notable reviewers would stop giving 1080x2 e-shift a pass and put some pressure on the leading consumer projector manufacturer. It's ok to critique one of the only drawbacks on what will undoubtedly will be one of the most popular projectors this year. The review acknowledges that 1080x2 e-shift is markedly better than 1080p content as a baseline. Agreed. But saying that "this not being a full UHD projector is practically irrelevant" discredits the review's comments about how much better the 4K Enhancement looks compared to off. 1080 is to 4Ke as 4Ke is to full UHD. Having 8.3M pixels on screen vs 4.15M pixels on screen IS relevant... if not for the deeper color space, what else is the push for 4K for? Especially for our massive projector screens?

The fact that this does 1080x2 is totally fine by the way. It's a great picture all things considered. My point here is that yes, PQ has so much more than just resolution... but with hat said, knocking it for not producing 8.3M discrete pixels is not a bad thing in an objective review.

Context: I am also testing the Epson 5050UB and went into this Epson with several assurances from folks "you won't notice in normal viewing". Sitting from 16 feet on my 160" 16:9 screen, I can absolutely notice the difference in resolution comparing this Epson to a sharp 1080x4 shifter.
But the reality is that most content is not 4K!!! That's really the point I was making, you can watch a regular Blu-ray on this thing, get everything you can out of it in terms of color and detail, and not have to suffer screen door effect.

I have a native 4K projector so I am using that to make these subjective observations.

You are sitting fairly close for a screen that size, you are in the zone where it's possible to see more detail with 4K. Well, at least when the projector is paused. Add motion to the equation and the gap in detail rendition shrinks.
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post #9 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 10:53 AM
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… You are sitting fairly close for a screen that size, you are in the zone where it's possible to see more detail with 4K. Well, at least when the projector is paused. Add motion to the equation and the gap in detail rendition shrinks.
Sitting 16' from a 160" screen produces the same FOV as 10' from a 100" screen, which is very mainstream these days according to every recent poll taken on AVS Forum about screen sizes and viewing distances, with many preferring even closer/larger.

One factor that influences perceived differences in sharpness between 2x and 4x pixel shifters is when the 2x shifter is 3LCD and the 4x shifter is DLP. It's always been accepted that DLP generally appears sharper than 3LCD because DLP doesn't have 3 image panels that need to be in perfect alignment for maximum perceived sharpness. Even with 1080p vs. 1080p many prefer the "look" of DLP to 3LCD, so this could influence someone's perception of 2x 3LCD vs. 4x DLP pixel shifters.

Anyway, there is certainly a difference in opinion about the relative sharpness of 2x 3LCD vs. 4x DLP. It seems that no matter how a professional reviewer describes this difference there will be disagreement among forum members about how that difference was stated.
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Sitting 16' from a 160" screen produces the same FOV as 10' from a 100" screen, which is very mainstream these days according to every recent poll taken on AVS Forum about screen sizes and viewing distances, with many preferring even closer/larger.

One factor that influences perceived differences in sharpness between 2x and 4x pixel shifters is when the 2x shifter is 3LCD and the 4x shifter is DLP. It's always been accepted that DLP generally appears sharper than 3LCD because DLP doesn't have 3 image panels that need to be in perfect alignment for maximum perceived sharpness. Even with 1080p vs. 1080p many prefer the "look" of DLP to 3LCD, so this could influence someone's perception of 2x 3LCD vs. 4x DLP pixel shifters.

Anyway, there is certainly a difference in opinion about the relative sharpness of 2x 3LCD vs. 4x DLP. It seems that no matter how a professional reviewer describes this difference there will be disagreement among forum members about how that difference was stated.
I am well past the point where I'm going to sweat semantics for a subjective sentiment such as that.

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post #11 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 11:09 AM
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But the reality is that most content is not 4K!!! That's really the point I was making, you can watch a regular Blu-ray on this thing, get everything you can out of it in terms of color and detail, and not have to suffer screen door effect.

I have a native 4K projector so I am using that to make these subjective observations.

You are sitting fairly close for a screen that size, you are in the zone where it's possible to see more detail with 4K. Well, at least when the projector is paused. Add motion to the equation and the gap in detail rendition shrinks.
You make some good points.

I think you are right... Your "full UHD not relevant" sentiment makes sense based on the context that most content is not 4K. My concern (not with you, just most reviewers of these 1080x2 shifters) is that an assumption is being made on behalf of the readers that the majority of content they will consume is not 4K.

As a not so unique example, every input source I run is 4K (Shield TV, Xbox One X, Sony x700). In addition, >80% of the content I watch these days is 4K HDR. The result of my concern is that some readers will experience exactly what happened to me when they go hands on with the Epson 5050. My experience was this: I have read from pretty much every outlet reviewing the 4010 and 5040 that "you can't tell". When I, in fact, could tell the difference to a full UHD projector, it was a little bit of a let down. You are also correct that when motion is going on it is hard to tell but the same could be said for native 1080p vs native 4k when motion is on the screen. Motion always makes it better. But that, IMHO, is giving the tech a pass since most people are in the market for 4K and will be viewing 4K in varying ways.

At the end of the day, my point is this: I wish projector reviewers would start referencing resolution performance relative to their 4K capabilities that they are marketing and not giving them a pass if they fall somewhere in the middle ground between 1080p and 4K. An example of how to do this.... I would recommend qualifying the "not relevant" statement with the additional context you provided about the amount of 4K content people view. Maybe the sentence (or overall sentiment) should read as, "the fact this is a pixel-shifter and not a full UHD projector is practically irrelevant [since most content is not 4K]!"

Re: my seating distance, I also don't think I am sitting too close. 16' is actually my second row and I fully enjoy my front row at 11' for certain content. Long story short is I went through an exhaustive process to find my ideal seating distance when building my theater. This included laser measurers and an empty matinee showtime at my local theater. Getting to the point, I think more and more people are gravitating towards the THX recommended viewing distance of screen width/.84. I know that is what I prefer. That seating distance recommendation would get me to a seating distance of 13'10". The reason my second row (most used) seating distance is 16' is because I didn't want there to be a bad seat in the house so I split the difference and did my over the top tests at the movie theater to confirm the front row would be ok seating distance-wise.

Alright! I'm done! This is me just getting out all my feelings I've had on the 1080x2 reviews so don't take it personal. haha Keep up the good work and can't wait for the full review when you are back in town.
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Quote:
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But the reality is that most content is not 4K!!! That's really the point I was making, you can watch a regular Blu-ray on this thing, get everything you can out of it in terms of color and detail, and not have to suffer screen door effect.

I have a native 4K projector so I am using that to make these subjective observations.

You are sitting fairly close for a screen that size, you are in the zone where it's possible to see more detail with 4K. Well, at least when the projector is paused. Add motion to the equation and the gap in detail rendition shrinks.
Mark, I'm anxiously awaiting this one. I'm glad the Scottyroo brought this up, because by reading your review, I didn't pick up that your caveat was based on non-4K material....the reason being is that 90% of the content I watch IS at least 4K, if not HDR. So would it be accurate to say that if I'm looking for a 4K projector for watching 4K, HDR content, that I might want to look elsewhere?
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Mark, I'm anxiously awaiting this one. I'm glad the Scottyroo brought this up, because by reading your review, I didn't pick up that your caveat was based on non-4K material....the reason being is that 90% of the content I watch IS at least 4K, if not HDR. So would it be accurate to say that if I'm looking for a 4K projector for watching 4K, HDR content, that I might want to look elsewhere?

I’m sure you’d appreciate multiple data points. I’m interested what Mark thinks with that context as well.

My answer to that based on my 20+ hours with the 5050 is that you shouldn’t base your decision to look elsewhere based on the resolution alone. The image really is fantastic and combined with good brightness, input, and contrast it should definitely be toward the top of the list for people in this price range with the caveat that it isn’t as sharp and doesn’t have the resolution that some other DLPs have in this price range. But that begs a whole new discussion about the trade offs going that route I won’t get into here.

The resolution and HDR mode not auto engaging are the top two things I would want changed on this projector. The mode change could be changed with firmware so hopefully Epson does that on the 5050.

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Testing: BenQ HT5550 | Epson 5050UB | 160" Dragonfly™ Fixed AT Screen
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post #14 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 12:55 PM
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GREAT hands-on review! I just have one point that I was frustrated with...

Your comment quoted above IS relevant. I am also testing the 5050UB and I agree with most every point in this review. This is a fantastic projector but I wish notable reviewers would stop giving 1080x2 e-shift a pass and put some pressure on the leading consumer projector manufacturer. It's ok to critique one of the only drawbacks on what will undoubtedly will be one of the most popular projectors this year. The review acknowledges that 1080x2 e-shift is markedly better than 1080p content as a baseline. Agreed. But saying that "this not being a full UHD projector is practically irrelevant" discredits the review's comments about how much better the 4K Enhancement looks compared to off. 1080 is to 4Ke as 4Ke is to full UHD. Having 8.3M pixels on screen vs 4.15M pixels on screen IS relevant... if not for the deeper color space, what else is the push for 4K for? Especially for our massive projector screens?

The fact that this does 1080x2 is totally fine by the way. It's a great picture all things considered. My point here is that yes, PQ has so much more than just resolution... but with hat said, knocking it for not producing 8.3M discrete pixels is not a bad thing in an objective review.

Context: I am also testing the Epson 5050UB and went into this Epson with several assurances from folks "you won't notice in normal viewing". Sitting from 16 feet on my 160" 16:9 screen, I can absolutely notice the difference in resolution comparing this Epson to a sharp 1080x4 shifter.
What one sees and how they feel about it are quite subjective. Given the 96" size of his screen, it's likely not going to be as much of an issue than someone with a 150" or greater screen size, ergo, it will be "practically irrelevant" for them. All things considered (from recommended seating distances), I'd say that 1080x2 will be quite acceptable for 120" and smaller screens, whereas those with screens larger than that will begin to notice the lack of a full 8.3 million pixels on screen. Even then, however, not all of them will consider this a deal-breaker when the value proposition is as high as it is with the 5050UB.
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post #15 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 01:21 PM
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Review seems pretty similar to the 5040 review - great picture, great value. Queue the thousands of "will the 5050 be a worthwhile upgrade from my current projector?" posts.
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post #16 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 01:22 PM
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There's much to like about the impressive Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB HDR projector. It's got an amazing lens and plenty of brightness and adapts to your needs.|
Epson's Home Cinema 5050UB ($2999) Pro-UHD HDR projector has arrived! It's been three years since Epson debuted the popular and highly regarded Home Cinema 5040UB. The 5050UB is a dream machine for cinema lovers, it's designed to easily fit into most small and medium-size home theaters and deliver stunning image quality, especially when considering the price.

Features and Specifications

With the Home Cinema 5050UB, Epson took a good thing and made it even better. This model, and the Home Cinema 5050UBe (that adds wireless video to the mix) are able to output up to 2600 lumens, are designed to make the most of HDR10 content, and feature Epson UltraBlack 3-LCD technology for deep blacks and high overall contrast.

While there is a small bump in spec'd peak lumens (2600 versus 2500), the main upgrade in performance offered by the 5050UB is centered around the Pro-UHD technology, a refinement of the various image processing and resolution enhancement technologies employed by Epson in these 3-chip LCD projectors.

The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB and the otherwise identical but wireless 5050UBe ($3299) support 4K HDR content while relying on a new Pixel-Shift Processor to enhance the resolution of the native 1080p imaging chips, putting over 4 million discrete pixels on screen. While this is not fundamentally different from how the 5040UB handled 4K, Epson does say it has improved the performance of the pixel shifting.

For those wondering, the the 5050UB will not replicate a checkerboard single-pixel 4K test pattern. Technically the projector is putting just over 4 million pixels on the screen (2X HD, but  only ½ UHD), because the imaging chip shifts between two position to offer enhanced detail. You can also turn off the 4K enhancement and directly observe the difference it makes—there's more detail and furthermore, it eliminates the "screen door effect" that's visible when 4K enhancement is turned off. In other words, leave it on.

This projector is able to reproduce the P3 color gamut in its entirety when utilizing its cinema filter (with some loss of peak brightness) or else produce highly saturated color with full light output. Moreover, the company touts that it’s UltraBlack Contrast tech allows for a dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 (in a lab or ideal room, typical real-life contrast numbers are lower).

Full-bandwidth HDMI 2.0 (18GHz) allows for 4K/60 playback, which is great for streaming 4K and gaming. The Home Cinema 5050UBe comes equipped with a Epson WirelessHD transmitter with 4K/30 support and four inputs. This review is of the wired 5050UB. Also, this projector has one HDMI input that's explicitly for optical HDMI that provides power to the cable.

Epson equipped the 5050UB with its high-performance and flexible powered lens. This allows 47% horizontal-axis adjustment and 96% vertical axis adjustment. Furthermore, the 15-element, 2.1X zoom lens features "zero light leakage" that contributes to the UltraBlack performance of this unit.


The "made in Japan" lens of the Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB projector contributes to its versatility. Photo by Mark Henninger

The motorized lens with memory is in nice feature, especially if you have a 2.40:1 aspect ratio screen. You can enjoy many widescreen Hollywood movies zoomed in, so that the image fills the screen; no anamorphic lens required. And when you watch 16:9 aspect films, TV, or play video games, you can have the projector zoom out and fully show the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Thoughtfully, Epson has included dedicated buttons for the first two lens memory positions (out of 10 total), so if you have implemented a 2.40:1 screen, switching between that and 16:9 ratios only requires a single button push.

Performance

Projection depends on more that just the projector to get a great image. When you have a projector that renders deep blacks, like the Pro Cinema 5050UB, it requires a dedicated space that has complete control over the lighting as well as walls and ceilings painted a dark color (okay, let’s face it, preferably matte black) in order to get the absolute maximum performance out of it.

Screen material choice is key, if you have a blacked-out home theater, then you can use a white screen. However, an ambient light rejecting screen can also be considered, not only because it helps with contrast by “rejecting” the reflected ambient light from a dark theater, but because it allows you to use the projector with the lights on to watch TV or sports or play video games.

While native 4K is great, and home theaters offer an opportunity to sit close enough to the screen where you will see the extra detail when it is present, I need to stress that with most content, the fact this is a pixel-shifter and not a full UHD projector is practically irrelevant. Most of what you want out of 4K HDR content, like DCI/P3 color, smooth gradations and well rendered details during busy action scenes, comes through thanks to higher bitrates. Pixel count is not the only determining factor for picture quality when you watch a movie, being able to ingest UHD is key to how great the image put out by this projector looks.

The behavior of the different picture modes of the 5050UB will not come as a huge surprise to Epson fans. Cinema and Digital Cinema provide true 100% P3 gamut coverage and a very accurate, neutral presentation, with Medium power being highly color accurate out the box (to use High power mode requires a calibration for color accuracy). Natural and Bright Cinema also exhibited good color and add a lot of extra lumens to the mix—more than double the previous two modes. Meanwhile, Dynamic mode is where you'll find the spec'd peak lumen output.

In Dynamic mode I was able to verify Epson's million-to-one dynamic contrast claim; yes it depends on dividing peak output by the all-black screen that comes courtesy of the dynamic iris. Dynamic contrast was not as high in other modes, but Cinema delivered a 150,000:1 reading. Native contrast, measured with the iris turned off, is considerably lower but still good enough to put a punchy picture on screen. I measured 6200:1 in Cinema Mode medium power and 8000:1 in Dynamic mode. The lowest native contrast measured was 5600:1 in Cinema Bright; this is about the same native contrast as modern LED-lit FALD VA LCD TVs achieve (viewed on-axis).

I recently watched Bumblebee in UHD, streaming from Vudu, using the Cinema Mode and Medium power on the 2.40:1 StudioTek 130 (1.3 gain). However, since the movie is 16:9 aspect, I used the lens memory feature to zoom out and accommodate that. One benefit is it made the default Cinema Mode peak highlights bright enough to give 'em a bit of twinkle. While it did not have "HDR-like" highlights, every moment of every scene was unbelievably clean—no signs of artifacts or banding whatsoever. Colors were very rich and the details were as distinct as I'm used to seeing from 4K.

The main thing here is that even when fairly close to the screen (10 feet or so from the 96" diagonal-equivalent 16:9 screen), I can't make out individual pixels on the 5500UB, ergo you are seeing about as much detail as you are going to see. Anyhow, I say all that because I was impressed by the final product of the 5050UB, what it put up on screen does true justice to UHD movies.

Epson had suggested I check out The Greatest Showman, citing it as a great example of how this projector can handle color, contrast and motion. I own it, and I agree it's an exceptionally well produced (and entertaining) film... although if you are not a fan of musicals you might not agree. Anyhow, there's little more colorful than The Circus and the choreographed dance scenes were rendered with cinematic cadence and very clear motion.

I also has a chance to watch a couple of Sixers games streaming in 1080p on YouTube TV. It looked extremely good with the lights out, like a 96" TV was hanging on the wall... but a 96" TV with perfect uniformity and no off-axis viewing issues. It's glorious, and I can't with to try the same on my 110" ambient light rejecting screen.

-----

On a Stewart StudioTek 130 screen (110" wide, 2.40:1 ratio, 1.3 gain) I measured the following peak brightnesses (uncalibrated):

Auto Iris Off (16:9 = approx. 95" diagonal, 83" x 46")

Cinema Bright Medium Power - 208 nits
Cinema Bright High Power - 270 nits
Cinema High Power - 127 nits
Cinema Medium Power - 100 nits
Digital Cinema High Power - 134 nits
Digital Cinema Medium Power  - 105 nits
Natural, Medium Power - 224 nits
Natural, High Power - 290 nits
Dynamic (high) - 400 nits
Dynamic (medium) - 313 nits

Zoomed in (2.40:1 = 119" diagonal, 110"x 46" )

Cinema Bright Medium Power - 170 nits
Cinema Bright High Power - 131 nits
Cinema High Power - 77 nits
Cinema Medium Power - 61 nits
Digital Cinema High Power - 105 nits
Digital Cinema Medium Power - 65 nits
Natural, Medium Power - 138 nits
Natural, High Power - 179 nits
Dynamic (high) - 248 nits
Dynamic (medium) - 198 nits

Contrast Ratios

No Iris, In My Theater

Cinema Bright Mode Medium- 5500:1 contrast
Cinema Mode Medium - 6200:1 contrast
Digital Cinema Mode Medium - 6100:1 contrast
Natural Mode Medium - 5700:1 contrast
Dynamic Mode Medium - 7846:1 contrast

Iris On, High Speed, In My Theater

Cinema Bright Mode Medium- 65000:1 contrast
Cinema Mode Medium - 150,000:1 contrast
Digital Cinema Mode Medium - 125,000:1 contrast
Natural Mode Medium - 73,000:1 contrast
Dynamic Mode Medium - 620,000:1 contrast

Also...

Dynamic Mode High - 932,000:1 contrast (Here's where you find the measurable "up to million-to-one contrast" marketing spec)

Calibration Results...

I will be calibrating the Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB upon return from a 4-day trip and getting into using it with the Seymour-Screen Excellence Ambient Visionaire Black (0.9 gain) wide viewing angle ambient light rejecting screen. There are clearly plenty of lumens available to make the jump from 1.3-gain to 0.9 gain and filling a 119" diagonal screen with both SDR and HDR imagery that pops.

I expect to see over 100 nits in Natural, Medium Power and should even be able to eke out a DCI compliant 46 nits from Cinema Mode Medium, which is this projectors least bright mode but in reality it's very useful to be able to "dim" the projector to 46 nits, which is the DCI standard for non-HDR films. Add to that the wide color gamut and high bitrate of UHD content and what's on screen looks like it's playing in one of those premium commercial cinema auditoriums.

I'm optimistic this projector will offer even greater performance once it's fully calibrated.  So stay tuned for all that and more, coming next week.

Conclusion

The Epson Pro Cinema 5050UB is a solid choice for a home theater projector. You can pay a lot more money to get just a little bit more performance out of projectors from other brands, and in some cases you give up features or flexibility (lens memory, for example) as well. In that context, the Pro Cinema 5050UB is an easy pick and a Top Choice for 2019. If you want true 4K, you can pay more and go for it. If you want a projector that can fill multiple rolls, has solid performance right out of the box, and is particularly good at playing 4K UHD movies thanks to how nicely it handles HDR and wide color gamut, this Epson is simply awesome.

Hi I magic, would you be able to test input lag @ 1080p 120hz. I'm looking for a projector with great contrast and low input lag for PC gaming on a large screen. In addition, would the response time be acceptable compared to a lcd. I currently own a vizio pq65 but would like a larger screen without paying upwards of 7 to 8,000 dollars. I've never owned a projector so forgive my ignorance.
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post #17 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 01:37 PM
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What one sees and how they feel about it are quite subjective. Given the 96" size of his screen, it's likely not going to be as much of an issue than someone with a 150" or greater screen size, ergo, it will be "practically irrelevant" for them. All things considered (from recommended seating distances), I'd say that 1080x2 will be quite acceptable for 120" and smaller screens, whereas those with screens larger than that will begin to notice the lack of a full 8.3 million pixels on screen. Even then, however, not all of them will consider this a deal-breaker when the value proposition is as high as it is with the 5050UB.
THIS. Yes I agree 100%. Even with a 160" screen the value prop of the 5050ub is good. It isn't a deal breaker. Mark was coming from the context of low 4K content and small screen. My situation is the inverse on both points. Big screen. Lots of 4K content.

So my point isn't with the tech itself, that horse has been beaten enough already. I guess when boiled down, I'm just frustrated the last few days that my expectations of resolution clarity weren't met. Those expectations were based on the countless reviews I've read of the 5040ub/4010 saying that the 4Ke is really good and you can't tell.

I'm ready to move on though

"The Bunker" | Dedicated Theater Build Under Suspended Slab Garage
Testing: BenQ HT5550 | Epson 5050UB | 160" Dragonfly™ Fixed AT Screen
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post #18 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 01:45 PM
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Has there been a confirmed release date yet?
The 5050 thread is saying April 9th.

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I have a dumb question, I am days away from putting up the first wall in my basement/theater build. I plan to place the projector high up on a shelf inside a media closet projecting through a cutout about the size of the projector to prevent ceiling mounting and fan noise. It will be around 20' away from the screen if that matters. Is it possible to place a pane of glass over the hole in the wall without the projected image getting effected? If I could cover that cutout I'm sure I could reduce sound even more. I'm so excited to get the 5050 in the coming months!
In short, yes, you can use glass to fully isolate the projector from the theater room. I recommend Edmund Optics AR high efficiency glass, either the 1mm or 3mm thick glass. It is expensive but not prohibitively expensive and will not affect your image. You should place it at an angle from the lens so it doesn't reflect back any light onto the lens and cause problems (even though it is antireflective, it will reflect some light backward).

However, keep in mind the Epson has both the intake and exhaust vents at the front of the projector, so you will need to make sure you have clear pathways for air to get in and out of those vents, and to make sure that the hot air has somewhere to go.

Finally, the screen size will determine your min and max throw for positioning the projector. For a 120" 16:9 screen, 20' will work, but the further you go back from the minimum throw, the more light you lose. You can pick up some extra nits if you put the projector at the minimum throw distance, and for HDR every nit counts. I would either talk to a dealer about your screen size and throw distance before purchase, or use one of the online calculators that will calculate both the throw ratio and the amount of impact it has on the brightness of the image before making any final decisions. 20' is nearing the longest throw for a 120", and you couldn't go much smaller than 110" at that length.
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post #19 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Friendlys View Post
Hi I magic, would you be able to test input lag @ 1080p 120hz. I'm looking for a projector with great contrast and low input lag for PC gaming on a large screen. In addition, would the response time be acceptable compared to a lcd. I currently own a vizio pq65 but would like a larger screen without paying upwards of 7 to 8,000 dollars. I've never owned a projector so forgive my ignorance.
You are in the right spot.

The Epson 5050UB is going to have the fastest input lag of any projector that can display more than 2 million pixels and accept a 4K input. However, this projector does not support 1080p at 120hz. At 1080p 60hz the input lag I measured is 26ms.

If you are looking for a full 4K UHD 8.3M discrete pixel projector, the BenQ TK800M has the fastest input lag among those projectors. I measured 42ms. At 4k60hz in HDR expect 42ms. I have tested 1080p120hz and the higher refresh rate shaves 8ms off the draw time. So 34ms.

If you are looking for a 1080p only projector that can do 120hz, look at the BenQ HT2150ST, 2050a, or TH671ST. All of those project at a relatively low throw ratio and have 8ms input lag at 1080p120hz and 16ms input lag at 108060hz.

If you are looking for a 1080p projector capable of accepting a 4k HDR signal but still projecting a 1080p signal (can also do HDR), the Optoma HD27HDR has 8ms input lag at 1080p120hz and 16ms input lag at 108060hz.

Re: you question on whether or not it would be acceptable compared to an LCD, it totally depends. The PQ65 has measured input lag of 15ms. You would be hard pressed to tell a difference between the Vizio and the Epson 5050 at 26ms. The TK800M you may feel a difference but the TK800M is still very fast as far as 4K projectors go.

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Testing: BenQ HT5550 | Epson 5050UB | 160" Dragonfly™ Fixed AT Screen
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post #20 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 01:52 PM
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Is it real 4k or the lens shift scheme?...

LG OLED C8 65 2018 BR . HT: JVC RS2000, S Studio Tek 130 1.3 Gain screen, Apple TV4k, Def Tech 9080/C 9080/9040 Dolby Atmos Speakers, Denon X6500H , Panasonic UB820 and a nagging wife.
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Man - I was ready to roll with a JVC NX5 or NX7 but the bang for the buck of this Epson has me reconsidering. Especially for the price difference. I'm 75% sports and gaming so this would fit the bill.

Anybody have any experience regarding how much more blacker the blacks would be on one of the JVCs compared to this Epson. Would be in a room with darker walls, light ceiling, minimal ambient light (from the steps down to the basement).
In that price range, you might want to consider JVC X790R/RS540. With street price now under $4k, it costs only slightly more than the $3k 5050UB, but has a much better contrast and black level than pretty much anything else. Even the NX5 doesn't come close, although with NX5 you get native 4K resolution.
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Originally Posted by wookiegr View Post
I have a dumb question, I am days away from putting up the first wall in my basement/theater build. I plan to place the projector high up on a shelf inside a media closet projecting through a cutout about the size of the projector to prevent ceiling mounting and fan noise. It will be around 20' away from the screen if that matters. Is it possible to place a pane of glass over the hole in the wall without the projected image getting effected? If I could cover that cutout I'm sure I could reduce sound even more. I'm so excited to get the 5050 in the coming months!
Yes you can use glass to cover the cutout, but you'd need some high quality glass (preferably with anti-reflection coatings) to reduce reflection and optical and chromatic distortion.

However, you have to remember that your PJ needs adequate ventilation and failure to do this will have dire consequences.
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post #23 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Is it real 4k or the lens shift scheme?...
Sensor shift, not lens shift, fwiw. "Real" 4K is native 4K which none of the pixel-shifters are, FWIW.
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How does this Epson compare to the Sony VPL-vw695es?

I was planning to go with this Sony projector, but it retails for 4x the price ($12,999 US) compared to this Epson. I am not sure what the Sony offers for its huge price premium aside from True 4K performance, which seems to be marginally discernible when compared to the Epson's sensor shift technology. Furthermore, the Sony is only 1800 lumens, compared to 2600 lumens for this Epson! Sony lists dynamic contrast 350,000:1 but Epson lists 1 million:1 (not sure how the Sony real world values compare to what Mark measured with this Epson). Both have lens memory.

The Epson sounds like a great projector. What does the Sony offer that the Epson cannot match?

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What one sees and how they feel about it are quite subjective. Given the 96" size of his screen, it's likely not going to be as much of an issue than someone with a 150" or greater screen size, ergo, it will be "practically irrelevant" for them. All things considered (from recommended seating distances), I'd say that 1080x2 will be quite acceptable for 120" and smaller screens, whereas those with screens larger than that will begin to notice the lack of a full 8.3 million pixels on screen. Even then, however, not all of them will consider this a deal-breaker when the value proposition is as high as it is with the 5050UB.
Comparing how much fine detail one will see on two different size screens is only relevant when the exact viewing distance for each screen size is factored in. Screen size divided by viewing distance defines field of view. Those sitting 15' from a 150" screen will be no more likely to notice the lack of a full 8.3 million pixels on screen than those sitting 12' from a 120" screen because they will have the same FOV -- 39.9 degrees, to be exact. Beyond that it certainly does become quite subjective about how anyone may feel about it as evidenced by the daily back and forth on this forum.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chi_hawks_23 View Post
Man - I was ready to roll with a JVC NX5 or NX7 but the bang for the buck of this Epson has me reconsidering. Especially for the price difference. I'm 75% sports and gaming so this would fit the bill.

Anybody have any experience regarding how much more blacker the blacks would be on one of the JVCs compared to this Epson. Would be in a room with darker walls, light ceiling, minimal ambient light (from the steps down to the basement).
In that price range, you might want to consider JVC X790R/RS540. With street price now under $4k, it costs only slightly more than the $3k 5050UB, but has a much better contrast and black level than pretty much anything else. Even the NX5 doesn't come close, although with NX5 you get native 4K resolution.
I saw that it was 4 grand on Best Buy. Wonder how it’s black level and contrast compare to nx7? Time to do some 540 vs nx7 comparison googling tonight I suppose. Part of me just wants to get the nx7 or 695 and skip any chance of buyers remorse.
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Originally Posted by scottyroo View Post
THIS. Yes I agree 100%. Even with a 160" screen the value prop of the 5050ub is good. It isn't a deal breaker. Mark was coming from the context of low 4K content and small screen. My situation is the inverse on both points. Big screen. Lots of 4K content.



So my point isn't with the tech itself, that horse has been beaten enough already. I guess when boiled down, I'm just frustrated the last few days that my expectations of resolution clarity weren't met. Those expectations were based on the countless reviews I've read of the 5040ub/4010 saying that the 4Ke is really good and you can't tell.



I'm ready to move on though
Ok. So the big question is? 3550 or 5550 or 5050?

Also, is it worth, on PQ alone, to get a 5040 or 5050? Taking the 4k60 out of it.

Thanks

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post #28 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 05:00 PM
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Confused.
Saw a new Epson 4050 listed on Ebay.
Does anyone know how the 4050 differs from the 5050?
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post #29 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilmonstertruk View Post
Ok. So the big question is? 3550 or 5550 or 5050?

Also, is it worth, on PQ alone, to get a 5040 or 5050? Taking the 4k60 out of it.

Thanks

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I have spent a lot of time with all 3... man that's a tough one. This is all subject to change but here's a dumbed down version of my mental flow chart if I personally had to decide which one to get.

#1 make or break in this flow-chart of a decision is the viewing environment. If it's a bright room with ambient light and you can afford it... Epson 5050.

#2 make or break; if gaming and sports are really at the top of your list and you can afford it... Epson 5050.

#3 if neither 1 or 2 and viewing in darkened or low ambient light I will most often recommend the BenQ as I feel they represent the better value in for this viewing type. Especially the HT3550.

Things to consider....and this is really really high level so glossing over stuff here....

If movie watching is primary content and 4K HDR content makes up the bulk of and movie watching is at the top of your list, I personally prefer the auto HDR tone mapping of the HT3550 and HT550.

Then there is the cost. HT3550 is $1,499. HT5550 is $2,499. 5050UB is $2,999. So if you can afford the $3k, the Epson is the best all-rounder. But if you are in a darker environment and viewing is mostly movies, tv shows, etc.... I'd recommend saving some buxx and getting an arguably better no-fuss HDR image with the HT3550. The HT5550 is incrementally better in almost every than the HT3550. If you have an extra grand you'll get better placement flexibility, color, and marginally better contrast with the HT5550.

Hope that helps... other things to consider is the placement requirements of each and usually design doesn't go into decision making but I've known some to return the Epsons due to the behemoth chassis alone. But that shouldn't dissuade most people.

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post #30 of 397 Old 04-08-2019, 05:44 PM
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How does the HDR brightness compare between the 5550 and 5050? Since I saw on the other thread the 5550 has some new filter that only takes like 10-20% light hit for full coverage, but Id assume the 5050 still has one that takes a lot more light hit, but then again the 5050 also has the extra 800 lumens. So just wondering if it comes out in a wash or one seems better than the other
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