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Hands On: Epson Brings High Value, High Quality to Projectors with Pro Cinema 4040 & 6040UB

Epson’s Pro Cinema 4040 and Pro Cinema 6040UB projectors offer integrators a choice of reasonably priced 4K-friendly projectors.

Hands On: Epson Brings High Value, High Quality to Projectors with Pro Cinema 4040 & 6040UB
At $2,700 and $3,999, respectively, the Epson Pro Cinema 4040 and 6040UB (pictured here) projectors bring a new level of value and performance to the home-theater category.

Robert Archer · November 10, 2017

The new Epson Pro Cinema 4040 and 6040UB video projectors, featuring 4K-like image quality and HDR support, have received wide acclaim for their high performance and value pricing - a hallmark of Epson products.

At $2,700 and $4,000 (MSRP), respectively, the pricing could push Ultra HD projection into a broader market.

Projector Set-up

Out of the box, the 4040 and 6040UB were easy to set up. Starting with the 4040, after plugging in the HDMI cables I turned the projector on and entered the set-up menu, first ensuring the image was aligned with my screen -- in this case a 100-inch Screen Innovations (SI) Slate -- and then adjusting basic color, contrast and image processing settings.

After about a week of casual TV watching, I dug into the menu to fine-tune the projector and to run some tests for processing, pixel mapping and grayscale.

The 6040 set-up was similar with a couple of differences. Since I was using Stewart’s new Phantom HALR ambient light-rejecting screen (review is coming), I had to run a firmware update to ensure the latest software for improved HDR performance.

From Epson’s website, I located the appropriate firmware update, downloaded it to a thumb drive, and followed Epson’s directions to turn the projector off and power it back on.

One other subtle set-up difference involves a removable rear panel that covers the connections on the 6040UB, adding style and protection not available on the 4040.

It's just a little thing, but the panel constricts the cable at the connection points, potentially inhibiting movement of the projector. In my case, a light adjustment to the projector knocked the power cord out of its IEC port.

Epson 4040 Performance

I would like to emphasize this right up front: I would be more than elated if either of these projectors were permanently installed in my home theater.

Starting with the 4040 I watched the full gamut of video content: HD broadcasts of Boston Bruins hockey games, AMC’s Into the Badlands, 4K HDR test content from Netflix, Dish’s 4K broadcast of the Earth II documentary, and Star Wars: Rogue One on Blu-ray.

I found the projector to consistently produce rich-looking, nois- free images with good detail and color accuracy.

AMC’s Into the Bandlands is pure eye candy. The cinematography of this show is amazing, and the 4040 allowed me to see the vivid imagery of its grand backdrops, colorful costumes, and fast-paced martial arts action.     

Rogue One also looked excellent, with the combination of my Oppo Blu-ray disc player, SI screen and the 4040 delivering broad image dynamics that include inky rich colors.

My only real criticism of the 4040 is that I think if it were brighter it would handle HDR content better.

After trying each of the HDR settings on the projector, I found that HDR1 was the least aggressive of the HDR options—each setting progressively darkened the screen image—to bring me to the conclusion that I would run the 4040 in an SDR mode or the HDR1 mode to maintain some level of what I felt was good image brightness.

Other than the HDR brightness, I found the 4040 to be more than capable of delivering everything I would want from a 4K projector. Even though some purists would claim the projector is not true 4K, Epson implements a pixel-shifting technology -- they call it 4K Enhancement -- that makes a native 1080p chip produce 4K-quality images at a lower cost than their "true" 4K counterparts.

Epson 6040UB Performance

Moving to the 6040UB, I noticed instantly that it was brighter than the 4040, straight out of the box.

Opening the projector’s menu I started set-up by switching out the “bright” mode. I set the color space for DCI, turned off the imaging processing and went through the projector’s contrast, color, black level and other settings.

After completing my set-up I concluded that my adjustments improved on what was already a good image, but I did sacrifice a little bit of brightness in order to make those improvements.

CE PRO VERDICT

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Value priced for quality product
  • Set-up is fast and easy

Cons

  • A nice feature would be laser-phosphor versions for long-term consumer value
  • Projectors support HDR, but the HDR options may darken images

Even though I sacrificed some of the 6040’s brightness I still felt it was brighter than the 4040.

Watching content similar to my 4040 tests, I tried out HD content, including Game of Thrones, 4K content from Netflix, and upscaled 4K content from a new Apple TV.

Besides the brightness differences between the 4040 and 6040, I felt the 6040 produced increased resolution without adding noise to the picture.

The increased resolution may be a result of the 6040’s higher-end 3LCD chipset and light engine when compared to the 4040.

For example watching the second episode of Game of Thrones’ seventh season “Stormborn,” I thought there was a high level of detail in Daenerys’ gown, including the slight variations of color shade that ran through the top of her attire. Queen Cersei’s black gown also looked impressive through the fine detail of her gown’s slightly inset pattern. This would not have been visible without fine grayscale tracking and the ability to resolve the necessary image depth.  

Using the 6040 with Stewart’s Phantom HALR screen provided a nice image for a multipurpose room with ambient light, without sacrificing contrast or color accuracy.

The best I can say about the 6040 is that it was the first product I’ve had in a while that I didn't want to return. It would be challenging to find a projector that rivals the 6040’s brightness, color capabilities, noise-free images and 4K quality ... all for less than $4,000.

Regardless of whether someone chooses the 4040 or the 6040, both products deliver high value for a quality picture. The 6040 is a clear step up in performance, but dealers will appreciate that Epson created a defined sales path for dealers to sell to different price points without sacrificing 4K quality.  


Epson 4040 and 6040UB Projector Specs

Pro Cinema 6040UB

  • Meets ISF specifications
  • Up to 2,500 lumens of color and white brightness
  • Dynamic contrast ratios up to 1,000,000:1
  • Frame interpolation, audio iris and super resolution processing
  • Centered lens design
  • Price: $3,999 (MSRP)

Pro Cinema 4040

  • Up to 2,300 lumens of color and white brightness
  • Contrast ratios up to 140,000:1
  • Frame interpolation, audio iris and super resolution processing
  • Centered lens design
  • Price: $2,700 (MSRP)


  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]

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  Article Topics


Home Theater · Projectors & Screens · Products · 4K · Epson · Hands On · HDR · Home Theater · Projectors · All Topics
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