Review: Epson PowerLite 5010 Home Theater Projector

Deep blacks and good processing make this a DIY favorite.


We seem to be hitting a lot of projectors this year, but it’s no surprise since most manufacturers are releasing new 3D models that can do justice to the newest 3D Blu-ray movies. The Home Cinema 5010 is Epson’s 1080p 3D projector that targets the enthusiast… make that the premier enthusiast. The 5010 is the highest model in Epson’s Home Cinema lineup and it’s designed to produce the richest blacks, the highest contrast ratios and the most detailed picture possible. We utilize the company’s 9700UB, which is the professional model of the 8700UB, which this projector replaces. If you didn’t catch all that just… rewind the video and hopefully it’ll all come together for you… The 5010 ups the output of its predecessor to 2400 lumens. Now while we don’t typically need that much light in home theaters, in 3D mode you lose a significant amount of the brightness due to the way the glasses are constantly closing and opening over each eye. With 2400 lumens and custom calibration options for 3D, Epson takes care of that and lets you calibrate the set for optimal 3D performance.

They’re not messing around. And for $3000 they probably shouldn’t. And look at it – the projector looks incredible. It even comes with an automatic retracting lens protector that slides in place when you power down, so the expensive glass stays protected from dust and dirt. Even the control panel has a sliding door. Inside, the Epson 5010 uses a high-end Fujinon lens assembly and has 100% horizontal and 50% vertical lens shift. Basically you put the projector anywhere in the room and you’re likely to hit the screen perfectly with no keystoning.

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The Epson menu system and remote are equally simple to use. All inputs are directly available and you have easy access to all of the settings and calibration options you’ll need. When we used CalMan software and calibration tools to set up this projector, however, we found that the Cinema Color mode was really close to our desired target and all it took was bumping up the color temperature a bit to get it more or less spot on. While we support having someone calibrate your projector for optimal picture quality, it’s also nice to know you don’t have to in order to get a pristine picture when you first plug it in.

Watching 2D content on this projector was incredible. Blacks were deep and rich and colors really popped. It really was indistinguishable from our reference 9700UB, particularly after calibration, except that it seemed to have even deeper blacks if that’s possible. We did also like Epson’s revised Frame Interpolation processing. While it doesn’t appeal to us on live acting film, it was fun to engage on animated features and some TV shows. There seemed to be less artifacting on this go-around than in past iterations of Epson’s 120Hz processing as well. Epson also has a feature called Super Resolution which is supposed to sharpen images. We didn’t see much effect until it was at its highest setting at which point the edges began to show halos and we turned it off. With Cinema mode engaged and all the fancy modes turned off, we watched

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