I have been a home cinema enthusiast for years and am always looking for the next upgrade. I enjoy making things and buying shiny new kit!
The Epson HC 6050UB Projector, Also Known as the TW9400
This is a review of the Home Cinema 5050UB, also known across Europe as the TW9400.
I have been a home cinema nerd and projector owner for about 14 years now and have been through quite a few different projectors and lots of other hardware. I thought I'd share my opinions and some settings for this model in case you're thinking of upgrading your existing projector, or have bought this one already and want to get the best out of the picture.
First of all, there is the name. I don't really know why Epson has different names depending on where you are in the world, but they all refer to the same machine. I’ve written this article for users worldwide (hopefully!) which is why I’ve included both names.
There is also a wireless version of the same projector, white in colour, known as the 5050UBe or TW9400W. This is basically the same model, but with a wireless transmitter, so you don’t need to run an HDMI lead to the projector. Pretty good but you have to be aware that it is only a 10.2Gbps wireless connection unlike the 18Gbps wired connection so you won’t be able to use it for 4K 60hz connections. Something to bear in mind.
There is also another model called the 6050UB. This model has a black case instead of white, comes with an extra lamp, has a longer warranty and apparently the lenses are checked by Epson to make sure that they are all premium quality. That model is only available through dealers, so if you want a black case and the other bits and bobs, then you will need to go through dealers for that one. The 5050UB model is available online.
New Model vs the Old
This projector is the successor to the very popular and well-reviewed 5040UB, also known as the TW9300. That projector has been regarded as one of the best projectors under $3k by the majority of home cinema enthusiasts. They're LCD projectors, so those people that suffer from the rainbow effect when watching DLP projectors don't need to worry. Of course, that also means they have good lens shift abilities for flexible room placement.
The new one has a few improvements which make it a good upgrade over its predecessor such as:
- Improved contrast ratio: This is now 12000000:1 instead of the predecessors 1000000:1. This means there is now a bigger difference between the darkest and lightest parts of the image. A higher contrast ratio means better black levels, which is definitely a good thing.
- Improved 4K enhancement: The 4K mechanism works a little faster than the last model to give a more accurate image.
- Increased brightness: A small bump from 2500 to 2600 lumens. This isn't a massive difference but the brighter the image the projector can display, the more the image pops so another improvement which is welcome.
- 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 compatibility: This is the biggest difference, the HDMI bandwidth has been increased. This means that the Epson 5050UB can now receive a full 4K 60hz signal, which means that you can play console games in 4K HDR at 60hz without needing to reduce the image quality at all.
The colour depth the Epson 5050UB now supports includes 4:4:4 in 8-bit, 4:2:2 in 8/10/12 bit, and 4:2:0 in 8/10/12 bit at 60Hz. In 24Hz it supports both 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 in 8/10/12 bit resolution.
This projector has the ability to receive and display a 4K image, but it isn't a native 4K projector. It has a pixel shifting device which basically displays the image then shifts the image diagonally to double the resolution. It isn't true 4K, but it still gives an extremely sharp and vivid image which is an improvement on 1080p. To be honest, unless you had your nose pressed to the screen, I seriously can’t see how you could see any difference between this and a native 4K projector. It throws a very detailed and sharp image. You can see individual hairs and pores in faces. What more could you need?!
At this end of the market, all of the 4K models from the different manufacturers employ a version of 4K enhancement. If you want to get genuine 4K, you have to spend quite a lot more on either a JVC or Sony machine. They're good machines but are thousands more expensive. At this price point, the Epson gives an exceptional image quality.
The Epson 5050UB has a number of features that set it apart from a lot of other projectors at this price range. These include:
- Motorised lens shift, zoom and focus: A great feature as you can go up to the screen to focus it and use the remote control to make small changes rather than having to keep running back and forth across the room. Lens shift allows good flexibility of placement. It is always best to have the projector centred with the screen if possible but if you cant do that you can move the image in all directions with ease.
- High dynamic range (HDR): HDR means there is now a greater range in both colour and brightness when you have the right kind of movie or film over standard. The idea is that it makes for a more dynamic and lifelike image. Projectors generally can’t get as bright as TVs, so HDR is somewhat compromised compared to them, but it still looks really good and can look a lot better than a non-HDR image.
- 5000 hr lamp life: Lamps last a long time on this projector. When you do replace them it is easy, you open a flap and the lamp pretty much just slides out. Piece of cake. The lamp will only get 5000 hrs if ran on eco mode, the higher brightness modes burn through it quicker. Personally I’ve found that eco is more than bright enough at a size of 126 inches, you might not depending on your screen size.
- Rec 2020 colour gamut: This means that UHD movies and games display correctly and they really look superb. The Epson has a filter which moves across the lens when you select cinema or digital cinema mode. All color modes can display rec 2020 and rec 709. When the digital cinema mode is used the filter is then engaged and comes closest to achieving 100% of the DCI P3 color space which is the ideal for rec 2020.
- Motorised lens cover: This is automatic when you turn the projector on or off. This is a great feature which stops the lens from getting covered in dust between viewings. Its a lot better having an auto cover as you don’t defocus the projector by manually taking a cap off. It’s also just pretty cool when it opens up when you power the projector on.
- Adjustable iris: This reduces the amount of light the projector throws. If it is too bright in your room and that is a real possibility as even in eco mode it really throws out some light, you can reduce the light by closing the iris. It has 20 steps. As well as reducing the overall light output by closing it to your preference, the iris also automatically opens and closes to increase black levels on a scene by scene basis. It is fast in operation, and when you have a black screen in a movie, the iris closes right down to really make the image black. It’s another nice feature.
Size and Noise Level
The Epson 5050UB/TW9400 is a large projector. I think the only realistic and practical way to have this projector in your room is to ceiling mount it. I have a flush mount bracket for mine, so it sits nicely on the ceiling. It is pretty heavy at approx 24lbs/11kg, so make sure you get a decent mount if you’re going to do this and fasten it into a joist with some decent size screws.
It is pretty quiet at 30db in eco mode. Not as quiet as my last Sony projector but not offensive. I have never needed more than eco as it really throws out some light even in that mode. In fact, I’ve had to reduce light output as it was just too bright out of the box even in eco on my 126-inch screen. If you have a colossal room and screen, then it will be louder in medium or high lamp mode if you do need those, but then you’re going to be further away from it anyway so it shouldn't really matter.
The most important factor is the quality of the image. The good news is that it really does throw a superb image. If you're serious about your home cinema room, you’re going to want to black your room out as much as possible. If you have done that, then you can expect a colourful, bright image, nice and sharp with decent black levels and lots of detail.
I have included some images to demonstrate a little clearer as words only say so much.
The pictures above don't really do the projector justice to be fair as the quality has been downscaled, in the flesh the picture is great and I have found the Epson 5050UB/TW9400 to be a big upgrade on my previous Sony HW40ES projector. Black levels and colour are considerably better on this model as well as the 4K HDR compatibility. The picture really does make me smile every time I turn it on. I demoed the Optoma UHD65 before seeing the Epson which frankly didn’t come close. I then compared it directly to the JVC N5 model which is nearly three times the cost, and the margin was much smaller between them than I was expecting. The Epson really is a bargain for the money, and I can definitely recommend it.
I hope you’ve found this article useful, I have included a link to the projector below in case you want to check the current price on Amazon, direct from the official Epson store.
I've included some settings below from a calibrated projector. I can't take full credit for taking measurements, but a helpful chap shared them on AVForums after calibrating his so I have shared them here for you to try.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!
These are settings from a calibrated projector.
© 2019 Rain Defence
Rob on September 10, 2020:
You mentioned using a flush mount for the 5050ub. And it looks great in the image. What kind did you purchase and from where?
David on August 18, 2020:
The way you have described Motorised lens shift, zoom and focus and High Dynamic Range (HDR) is really much impressive. I have been using Epson Home Cinema 5050UB but I wasn't familiar with such settings. Thanks for the share.
dropthatphone on December 11, 2019:
I have owned the Epson Home Cinema 5025UB 1080p Home Theater Projector since November 2015, and have been very happy with it. Video looks great, but could be better, especially in dark scenes. Would the 5050 be a significant upgrade in picture quality? If so, what factors would be most noticeable?
Nick on December 11, 2019:
I have owned the Epson Home Cinema 5025UB 1080p Home Theater Projector since November 2015, and have been very happy with it. Video looks great, but could be better especially in dark scenes. Would the 5050UB be a significant upgrade in picture quality? If so, what factors would be most noticeable?
Rain Defence (author) from UK on September 22, 2019:
Hi David, to be honest I haven't tried 3d on mine. That wasn't something I used on my last projector or on my TV so I can't really comment on that aspect. However one thing that is undeniable is that the Epson is much brighter than the Sony, which is important for 3d.
I demoed the JVC N7 at the same time as the Epson. If budget wasn't an option I would have the JVC right now as I know they're technically better, but I tell you what in the flesh they were much closer than I was expecting them to be. The Epson produces a brilliant picture for the money.
Davidro on September 20, 2019:
Hi, interesting review thank you - particularly as I currently own the HW40ES and considering what to upgrade to.
I am a keen fan of 3D and continue to watch a lot of 3D blu rays on my 40ES.
I’ve heard the Epsons are not renowned for good 3D. Did you try this?
I am weighing up if this could be a deal breaker for upgrading to a 9400 and I should up my budget and get a JVC or Sony 4K model. I know the Sony’s upscale 3D 1080 to 4K whereas the pixel shifters don’t. But perhaps I’d still see a good improvement due to the higher brightness of the epson?
Biggy on July 29, 2019:
The TW9400 is not the 5050UB but the 6050UB. The TW9400 has a 1.200.000:1 contrast ratio and also has a 3 year warranty. Where the 5050UB only has 2 year warranty and 1.000.000:1 contrast ration.
Petri Keskitalo on June 04, 2019:
How about them settings?
John on May 27, 2019:
Looking forward to seeing your picture settings please.
Paul on May 23, 2019:
Could you post your calibration settings?
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona USA on April 29, 2019:
Enjoyed the article. This information will be forwarded to a friend who wants an indoor theatre. I too like to fix and make things. Keep up the good work.