Epson Home Cinema 2045 Projector Review

01
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Introduction To The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector

Epson Home Cinema 2045 video projector with Included Accessories
Epson Home Cinema 2045 video projector with Included Accessories. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 is a video projector that features both 2D and 3D display capability. It also features an MHL-enabled HDMI input that can be used to connect compatible portable devices, including the Roku Streaming Stick. It also features built-in Wifi, as well as Miracast/WiDi support. On the audio side, the 2045 also features a 5-watt single speaker audio system.

Shown in the photo above is a look at the items that come in the PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Projector package.

In the center of the photo is the projector, with the detachable power cord, remote control, and batteries. For consumers, a CD ROM contains the user manual is also provided but was not packaged with my review sample.

The basic features of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 include:

  • 3LCD video projector with (1980x1080) 1080p native display resolution, 16x9, 4x3, and 2.35:1 aspect ratio compatible.
  • Light output: Maximum 2200 Lumens (both color and b&w - standard mode), Contrast Ratio: up to 35,000:1 (2D - standard mode), Lamp life: Up to 4,000 hours (normal mode) - 7,500 hours (ECO mode).
  • Keystone Correction: Horizontal and Vertical - 30 degrees on either side of the center point (via slider control), 30 degrees above and below the center point (Auto - detects projector tilt). Adjusts the angle of the horizontal and vertical sides of a projected image.
  • Projected Image Size Range: 30 to 300 inches.
  • Fan Noise: 35 dB db in Normal mode and 24 dB in ECO mode.
  • 3D display capability (Active Shutter system (glass require additional purchase)
  • Unit dimensions: (W)11.69 x (D)9.80 x (H) 4.69 inches; Weight: 6.9 lb lbs.
02
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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 - Connection Options

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Front/Rear
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Front and Rear Views. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Shown above is a photo that shows both the front and rear view of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector.

Starting with top image, on the left side is the air exhaust vent.

Moving left, past the Epson logo (hard to see in this photo as it is white), is the Lens. Above, and behind, the lenses are the sliding lens cover, zoom, focus, and horizontal keystone slider controls.

On the right side of the lens is the front remote control sensor. On the bottom front left and right sides are the adjust feet that can raise the front angle of the projector.

Moving to the bottom image is the rear view of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 video projector.

Starting on the top left are standard USB (can be used access compatible media files from a flash drive, external hard drive, or digital camera) and mini-USB (for service only) ports.

Moving right there is PC (VGA) monitor input, and a set (arranged vertically) of Composite Video (yellow) and analog stereo inputs.

Continuing to the right are 2 HDMI inputs. These inputs allow the connection of an HDMI or DVI source. Sources with DVI outputs can be connected to an HDMI input of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 via a DVI-HDMI adapter cable.

Also, as an added bonus, the HDMI 1 input is MHL-enabled, which means that you can connect MHL-compatible devices, such as some smartphones, tablets, and Roku Streaming Stick.

Moving down to the bottom left is AC power receptacle (detachable power cord provided), as well as a rear-mounted remote control sensor and a 3.5mm audio output for connection to an external audio system.

On the far right is a "grill" behind which is the included speaker.

03
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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Lens Controls

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Lens Controls
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Lens Controls. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Pictured on this page is a closer view of the lens controls of the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 video projector.

Starting at the top of the photo is the lens cover slider.

The large assembly in the center of the image consists of the Zoom and Focus controls.

Finally, on the bottom, is horizontal keystone slider which also includes diagrams on image positioning.

04
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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Onboard Controls

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Onboard Controls
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Onboard Controls. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Pictured on this page are the on-board controls for the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045. These controls are also duplicated on the wireless remote control, which is shown later in this profile.

Starting on the left are WLAN (Wifi) and Screen Mirroring (Miracast status indicators.

Moving right are the power button, along with lamp and temperature status indicators.

Continuing to the right are the Home Screen and Source Selection buttons - every push of this buttons accesses another input source.

Moving to the right are the menu access and navigation controls. It is also important to note that the two vertical buttons also do double duty as a vertical Keystone Correction control, while the left and right buttons function both as volume controls for the built-in speaker system, and horizontal keystone correction buttons.

05
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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Remote Control

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Remote Control
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - Remote Control. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The Remote Control for the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 allows control of most of the functions of the projector via onscreen menus.

This remote easily fits in the palm of the palm of any hand and features self-explanatory buttons.

Beginning across the top (area in black) is a power button, the input select buttons, and the LAN access button.

Moving down, first there are the playback transport controls (used with devices connected via HDMI link), as well as HDMI (HDMI-CEC) access, and Volume Controls.

The circular area in the center of the remote control contains the Menu access and navigation buttons.

Next is a row that includes the 2D/3D conversion, Color Mode, Settings Memory button.

The next row consists of 3D Format, Image Enhance, and Frame Interpolation setting buttons.

Moving to the bottom row, the rest of the buttons Slideshow, Pattern (displays projection test patterns), and AV Mute (mute both picture and sound).

Finally, on the bottom right is the home screen access button.

06
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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - iProjector App

Epson Home Cinema 2045 - Remote App and Miracast
Epson Home Cinema 2045 - Remote App and Miracast. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

In addition to the controls and settings options available via the Home Cinema 2045's onboard and remote controls, Epson also provides the iProjection App for both compatible iOS and Android devices.

The iProjection App allows users to not only use their mobile phone or tablet to control the projector but also allows users to wirelessly share photos, documents, web pages, and more stored on those devices, as well as compatible laptops and PCs, with the projector via built-in Miracast or WiDi capability.

Examples of the main and remote control app menus are shown in the above photo, as well as examples of Miracast Screen Mirroring/Sharing of an Android Phone App menu display, as well as photo that was shared between an Android phone and the projector. The Android device used with the app in this review was an HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition Smartphone.

07
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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Video Projector - How To Set It Up

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Home Screen
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 Home Screen. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

As with most projectors these days, setting up and using the basic features of the Epson Home Cinema 2045 is fairly straightforward. Here are the key steps that can get you up and running.

Step 1: Install a screen (size of your choosing) or find a white wall to project on.

Step 2: Place the projector on a table/rack or on the ceiling, either in front or rear of the screen at the distance from the screen you desire. Epson's screen distance calculator is a great help. For review purposes, I placed the projector on a mobile rack in front of the screen for easier use for this review.

Step 3: Connect your source (Blu-ray Disc player, etc...)

Step 4: Turn on the source device, and then turn on the projector. The 2045 will automatically search for the active input source. You can also access the source manually via the remote control, or use the onboard controls located on the projector.

Step 5: Once you turn everything on, the first image you will see is the Epson logo, followed by a message that the projector is searching an active input source.

Step 6: Once the projector finds your active source, adjust the projected image. In addition to your selected source, you can also take advantage of either the built white or grid test patterns that are accessible via the projector's onscreen menu.

To place the image on the screen at the proper angle, raise or lower the front of the projector using the adjustable feet located on the bottom left/right of the projector (there are also adjustable feet located on the left and right corners of the rear of the projector as well). You can further adjust the image placement by using the horizontal and vertical Keystone adjustments.

Next, use the manual Zoom control located above and behind the lens to get the image to fill the screen properly. Once all the above procedures have been done, use the manual Focus control to fine tune the image appearance. The Zoom and Focus controls are located behind the lens assembly and can be accessed from the top of the projector. Lastly, select the Aspect Ratio you desire.

08
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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 - Performance and Final Take

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 - Image Settings Menu
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 - Image Settings Menu. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

2D Video Performance

Getting down to performance, I found that the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 projected images from HD sources, such as Blu-ray Discs or from an HD cable box very well. In 2D, color, including flesh tones, were consistent, and both black level and shadow detail were very good, although the black levels could still use some improvement. Also, when you use the brighter light output settings, black levels are not as deep.

The Epson 2045 can project a viewable image in a room with some degree of ambient light present, which is often encountered in a typical living room. However, in order to provide the sufficiently bright image, there is a compromise in contrast and black level. However, the projected images hold up well, and do not look as washed out as they would on many other projectors.

Also, for those that are energy conscious, in a traditionally dark home theater room set-up, the 2045 's ECO mode (especially for 2D) projects plenty of light for a good viewing experience.

Deinterlacing and Upscaling of Standard Definition Sources

To further check the 2045 's video processing performance for both lower resolution and interlaced video sources, I conducted a series of tests using standardized DVD and Blu-ray test discs.

Here the 2045 passed most of the tests, but did have trouble with some. Overall deinterlacing and scaling was good, but frame cadence detection was poor. Also, although detail enhancement looked good from standard definition sources connected via HDMI, the 2045 did not enhance detail as well with sources connected via the composite video input.

For further explanation and illustrations of the video performance tests I ran on the Epson 2045, refer to my Video Performance Report.

3D Video Performance

To evaluate 3D performance, I used an OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Disc player, in conjunction with a pair of RF-based Active Shutter 3D Glasses that were provided specifically for this review. 3D Glasses do not come packaged with the projector, but can be ordered directly from Epson. The glasses are rechargeable (no batteries required). To charge them, you can either plug them into the USB port on the back of the projector or a PC, or use an optional USB-to-AC Adapter.

I found that the 3D glasses were comfortable and 3D viewing experience was very good, with very little instances of crosstalk and glare. Also, although the optimum 3D viewing angle usually + or - 45 degrees off center - I was able to get a pretty good 3D viewing experience at wider viewing angles.

In addition, the Epson 2045 projects a lot of light - which makes for a better 3D viewing experience. As a result, the brightness loss when viewing through 3D glasses is actually not too bad.

The projector automatically detects 3D source signals, and switches to the 3D Dynamic picture mode setting which provides maximum brightness and contrast for better 3D viewing (you can also make manual 3D viewing adjustments). In fact, the 2045 provides two 3D brightness modes: 3D Dynamic (for viewing 3D in rooms with ambient light), and 3D Cinema (for viewing 3D in darkened rooms). You also have the option of making your own manual brightness/contrast/color adjustments. However, when moving to either 3D viewing mode, the projector's fan does become louder, which may be distracted for some.

The 2045 provides both native-3D and 2D-to-3D conversion viewing options - However, the 2D-to-3D viewing option is not as consistent as sometimes you will notice mis-layered objects and some object folding.

MHL

The Epson Home Cinema 2045 also incorporates MHL compatibility on one of its two HDMI inputs. This feature enables MHL-compatible devices, including many smartphones, tablets, swell as the MHL version of the Roku Streaming Stick to be plugged directly to the projector.

Using the capabilities of the MHL/HDMI port,  you can view content from your compatible device directly on the projection screen, and, in the case of the Roku Streaming Stick, turn your projector into a Media Streamer (Netflix, Vudu, Crackle, HuluPlus, etc...) without connecting an external box and cable.

USB

In addition to HMDI/MHL, a USB port is also included, which also allows the display of still images, video, and other content from compatible USB devices, such as a flash drive or digital still camera. Also, to add more flexibility, you can use the USB port to provide power for streaming stick devices that require HDMI connectivity for content access, but need external power via USB or AC adapter, such as Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and the non-MHL version of the Roku Streaming stick. Being able to use USB as the power source makes connection of these devices to the projector more convenient.

Miracast/Screen Mirroring

An additional feature provided on the Epson Home Cinema 2045 is the inclusion of wireless connectivity in the from Wifi-supported Miracast and WiDi. Miracast allows direct wireless streaming or screen mirroring/sharing from compatible iOS or Android devices, while WiDi accesses the same capability from compatible laptops and PCs.

This is a great feature to have on a video projector, but, for me, I found it tricky to activate and sync my Miracast-capable Android phone to the projector.

However, when the 2045 and my phone were able to synch up, the pairing provided more content access capability. I was able to display and navigate my phone's apps menu, share photos, and video from my HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition Smartphone and display it all on the projection screen via the projector.

Audio Performance

The Epson 2045 comes equipped a 5-watt mono amplifier with a rear-mounted speaker. However, I found its sound quality to be anemic. On the one hand, the speaker is loud enough for a small room, but actually hearing any sound detail in addition to vocals or dialog was challenging. Also, there is no high or low end to speak of.

Built-in speakers are becoming a more common option in entry-level, and mid-range, business and home entertainment projectors, which definitely adds to the flexibility for a variety of uses, but, for the full home theater experience, forgo the built-in speaker system and connect your audio sources directly to a home theater receiver, amplifier, or, if you want something more basic, you can even use an Under-TV Audio System.

What I Liked

  • Very good image quality for HD sources out of the box. Very good color and detail with high definition material.
  • Bright images in both 2D and 3D mode. Acceptable viewing of both 2D and 3D when some ambient light is present.
  • Very good 3D Performance - minimal crosstalk, and very little evidence of motion blur effects. However, 3D images are generally softer than their 2D counterparts.
  •  Inclusion of one MHL-enabled HDMI input (works with Roku Streaming Stick and other MHL-compatible devices).
  • Inclusion of Miracast and WiDi wireless connectivity.
  • The start-up time is about 30 seconds and the cooldown time is only about 1-3 seconds.
  • Projector can be controlled via onboard keypad, provided wireless remote, or via iOS or Android smartphone or table (free downloadable app).
  • The Home Screen display option provides quick access to source selection most commonly used setting options.
  • The projector can be operated via onboard controls, wireless remote, or smartphone via free downloadable app.

What I Didn't Like

  • No Optical Lens Shift setting options.
  • No Motorized Zoom or Focus Function - must be done manually at lens.
  • Noisy when shifting between picture modes and when switching between 2D and 3D operation.
  • Some video processing inconsistencies with standard definition sources.
  • Wireless LAN set-up and MHL/WiDi device pairing can be difficult at times.
  • Built-in speaker is underpowered and has limited frequency response.
  • Remote control is not backlit.

Final Take

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2045 is a good performer - especially for a less-$1,000 price tag. Its strong light output provides a great 2D or 3D home theater viewing experience in rooms that are dark or have some ambient light.

In addition, the inclusion of an MHL-enabled HDMI input turns the projector into a media streamer with the addition of plug-in devices, such as the MHL version of the Roku Streaming Stick. In addition to MHL, the Epson 2045 also features wireless connectivity (Miracast/WiDi) that not only provides addition content access flexibility, but you can use your compatible smartphone or tablet as the projector's remote control.

However, along with the positives, there are some negatives, such as some difficulty setting the wireless connectivity features to sync in, as well as some inconsistencies with video processing of lower-resolution sources, an anemic built-in speaker system, and noticeable fan noise when viewing in 3D or high-brightness modes.

On the other hand, balancing out both the positives and the negatives, the Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 2045 is a very good value that is definitely worth consideration.

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Home Theater Components Used In This Review

Blu-ray Disc Player: OPPO BDP-103.

Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705 (used in 5.1 channel mode)

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System (5.1 channels): EMP Tek Speaker System - E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

Projection Screens: SMX Cine-Weave 100² screen and Epson Accolade Duet ELPSC80 Portable Screen.