Considering the quality of HD and Blu-Ray videos along with how quickly new movies are released for purchase, there is very little reason to go to the traditional movie theater. However, we still have that itch to enjoy our entertainment on the big screen. Fortunately, there is something known as the home theater projector. Those who have a house with a relatively large sized room can install one of these devices and enjoy not only movies, but also games, TV, and anything else they can think to project. The Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8350 is a popular projector on the market today, and while we like that it is geared toward the average consumer, we wondered if it could really deliver. This Epson 8350 review will explore the good and bad of the projector, and if it can really recreate the experience of the theater in our own homes.
- 1080p video performance with a contrast ratio up to 50,000 to 1
- Features inorganic LCD panels — will prevent panel burnout
- Extended zoom and horizontal and vertical lens-shift (allows image to be shifted to an optimal position)
- 2000 lumens of color (What are Lumens?)
What We Liked
- Color and Details – We found very little loss of detail with the Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8350. Even in rooms with ambient light from windows we still found the color to be accurate and crisp.
- Flexibility – The Home Cinema 8350 has built-in settings for a variety of viewing choices. Whether you are using the projector in a basement, living room or in the day or night, you can choose from a list of options to best suit your location. Once you’ve chosen your preferred “mode” the machine calibrates itself for optimal display.
- Didn’t need much tinkering – We usually we spend hours with new home theater equipment; adjusting settings and experimenting with options until we are sure that the setup is perfect. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8350 worked just fine out of the box.
- Easy Placement – Since the projector comes with the extended zoom and the horizontal and vertical lens shift, you can pretty much place the unit wherever you like. It projects equally well from the ceiling, coffee table, bookcase, or anywhere else you can think to put it.
- Quiet – When we turned on the Home Cinema 8350 we were expecting to hear that typical humming sound that is present with most projectors. Instead, we heard basically nothing. It is virtually silent during operation and is not a distraction to anyone who it happens to be sitting beside.
- Lighted Remote – The included remote lights up in the dark making it much easier to use in a dark room.
- The Value – You can’t find better features on any other projector for the same price. (View current price)
What We Didn’t Like
- Size – Out of everything in this Epson 8350 review, there is one thing about this projector that truly baffles us — the enormity of this machine. When you buy this device don’t expect to receive something the size of home theater projectors that you are used to seeing. At nearly two feet wide and close to 23 pounds, it is not what you typically find mounted on ceilings in offices and schools. While something this size wouldn’t have seemed large a decade ago, today, when all gadgets seem to be shrinking, it seems huge.
- Ceiling Mount – Because the Epson 8350 is so large it probably won’t fit into any ceiling mount that you already have installed. Thus, you are forced to buy a compatible mount (We recommend this one) or you can drill a few holes and buy some hardware to rig up your own mount.
- 2 HDMI Ports – While some may consider two HDMI ports as a positive feature, most “tech” buffs will find this disappointing. Those with multiple game systems, Blu-ray players, etc may have to sacrifice hooking up one of their devices, or buy an HDMI switcher.
A few years ago no one could dream of having even a mediocre home theater system for less than $5,000. Now, with the Epson 8350, you can have a home theater for much less, and while it may not have the deep blacks found in more expensive projectors, the average viewer will be more than satisfied with the picture quality. Remember home theater projectors aren’t for everyone — you’ve got to have the space (unless you want to feel like the person sitting in the front row at the movie theater). However, those with the room will not find a better product for the price, and by combining the Epson 8350 with a Blu-Ray player and a good sound system, you can create a setup that will rival any traditional theater.
If you would like to check out other projectors, then consider these two comparable items:
ViewSonic PJD5123 SVGA DLP Projector – A budget priced model, this little projector isn’t for those who want to watch movies in HD quality, but it gets the job done and is easy to transport. It is ideal for displaying info during meetings or at school, and can even be used at home for casual viewing.
Epson Home Cinema 8700 Ub Projector - With a contrast ratio up to 200,000:1, this projector is a step up from the Epson 8350. Its high resolution provides a sharp image that will even make things in the background appear crisp and clear.