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Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 720 Home Theater Video Projector Review

LCD Home Theater Projector Review & Buying Guide

By Anthony Marsh – June 23, 2008

Manufacturer: www.epson.com

Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 720 LCD Projector

When it comes to price, performance, and ease of set-up in the 720p projector class, there’s perhaps no finer machine than the Powerlite Home Cinema 720 LCD projector by Epson. Offering crisp and punchy images, lightweight and stylish design, along with a superb two-year quick exchange warranty, the Epson 720 is your full-proof and ultra-affordable home theater solution.

Overview / First Impressions / Performance / Final Thoughts / Detailed Specifications

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use menu controls
  • Set up is a breeze, with both vertical and horizontal lens shift
  • Rich, vibrant colors
  • Deep and intense blacks
  • Great zoom lens affords a short throw distance so you can place it in virtually any setting for maximum image size
  • Backlit remote control that strikes the perfect, easy-on-the-eyes balance
  • Sleek and stylish design make for great furniture-value
  • Ease of set-up and lightweight-nature make it a very portable unit
  • Tremendous bang-for-buck value
  • Connections a little sparse: only one HDMI and Component video port (but that’s just me being picky, as you’ll likely be connected through a home theater receiver or switcher)


Epson 720 Projector Highlights:

  • Native 720P (1280 x 720) resolution
  • 1600 ANSI lumens (Dynamic Mode)
  • 10,000:1 advertised contrast ratio (Dynamic mode)
  • Includes HDMI and Component inputs
  • 3-chip optical engine poly-silicon TFT active matrix
  • Horizontal and vertical lens shift
  • Backlit remote control
  • Ultra-lightweight (11.5 lbs. / 5.2 kgs.)
  • Lamp life of up to 3000 hours
  • Two-year quick exchange warranty (includes priority, toll-free technical support), plus 90-day lamp warranty

MSRP: $1,299.99 (USD)

In life, if you only get one chance to make a first impression, then it stands to reason that you’d better make it count. So, whether it’s impressing your date’s parents, nailing that big job interview, or in this case, delivering a memorable and enjoyable home theater-viewing experience, Epson has put its best foot forward, and in the process, has come out smelling like roses (or insert whatever other sweet-smelling metaphor you like) with their Home Cinema 720 home theater projector.


Style & Appearance

The very first thing you’ll notice out of the box with the Powerlite 720 home theater projector is just what a looker it is: sleek, with rounded contours that perfectly compliment the light-gray-meets-pearl-white color case scheme. The second thing you’ll notice is just how light it is (11.5 pounds or 5.2 kilos, to be precise). It’s also very unassuming and doesn’t demand acres of room space during set up: with modest dimensions of: W-16” x H-4.9” x D-12.2” (406 x 124 x 309 mm), the Epson 720 offers exceptional placement versatility.

Getting Connected

The Home Cinema 720 offers the jack-pack connections that you’ll need to maximize your home theater experience. All of the usual suspects show up here: HDMI (one), Component video (one), Composite (one), S-Video (one), and Analog RGB (one). While additional HDMI and component inputs would’ve been nice, as it stands, you’ll very likely be connected through a home theatre receiver or a video switcher anyway, so it’s not too much of a factor. Now, let’s discuss the remote control for this unit under a new heading I’m ingeniously calling... Remote Control.

Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 720 LCD Projector Rear Inputs

Remote Control

The remote control for the Epson 720 projector repeats the color and general styling of the unit itself. It offers a clear, uncluttered layout, giving you all the standard controls you’ve come to expect from a home theater projector remote. Additionally, it allows you to also control the image’s gamma and color temperature with the simple touch of a button. If that wasn’t enough, the remote features an easy-on-the-eyes backlight. And lest you worry about burning the remote’s battery out a little quicker should you forget to shut off the backlight: the light goes off automatically after about nine steamboats. Epson really has though of everything.

Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 720 LCD Projector Remote Control

PERFORMANCE – Epson LCD Projector


A quick check of the top of this projector brings an immediate smile to my face: this unit offers both vertical (100%) and horizontal (50%) lens shift. This means that when it comes to setting up, this projector doesn’t ask you to devote hours and hours of your time, agonizing and stumbling 20 different ways to get the full image up on your screen. Instead, it’s engineered so you can enjoy hours and hours of great gaming, movies, or sporting events. If you still can’t manage to get the image projected just the way you like it, the Epson 720 home theatre LCD video projector also comes with two fully (height) adjustable front legs to seal the deal.
Further, this unit brings a 2.1:1 zoom on the lens. This allows you to throw a very large image to the screen from a relatively short distance. I was able to view a 100-inch image on the screen with the projector sitting just under 11 feet back. Alternately, you can throw the same-sized image from as far back as 22 feet, all without skipping a beat. This dynamic range of throw allows you to place the Epson 720 virtually anywhere in your room, without being constricted by any of your room’s limitations. That’s what you call great range, versatility, and convenience.

Out-Of-Box Picture

For my out-of-box picture testing, I connected via HDMI, using a PS3 for Blue-Ray HD movie playback, featuring BBC’s revered fave, Planet Earth. With most video projectors, you’re used to the fact that out-of-box picture quality will be less-than stellar. With the Epson 720 home theatre projector, they’ve done their best to reverse this all-too common trend. Offering seven out-of-box, preset picture modes, it’s simply a matter of tinkering around with the various presets until you find the one that works just right for you and your particular room. I settled on Theater Black 1 as it offered the best blend of dark blacks, and rich, nicely saturated colors. Color banding was virtually non-existent, as the subtle color shifts within the various images were rendered with great care and attention to detail. The pictures from a great many wonders of the world popped with ample vibrance and urgency.

Here are some of the settings I used:

Color Mode Theater Black 1
Brightness -3
Contrast +2
Color Saturation +3
Tint +3
Color Temperature 6500K

If this unit was performing so well out of the box, what would be in store for my eyes after some hardware calibration?


Much like the out-of-box picture quality, calibrating this projector proved to be quite a treat – and a veritable breeze compared to the difficulties encountered with some other units. Calibration adjustments yielded images that displayed a bit more stable color tracking, with slight improvements in overall image contrast. A gamma of 2.4 seems to be a terrific starting point, as I ended up with the ideal color temperature of6500K. These settings, of course, will vary depending on the room you’re in and the lighting scheme being used. Out-of-box picture with the Epson 720 was a little light on red offset, and a little heavy on red and blue gain. As such, some elementary image tweaks via the menu are sure to afford you the image that your eyes desire.

While calibration did yield some modest improvements in picture quality, I can say with great confidence: if you want to essentially plug and play, with only minor image adjustments via the easy-to-use and powerful menu options, you’ll no doubt be enjoying a home theater experience that can rival the very best of them in the 720P projector class.

FINAL THOUGHTS – Epson LCD Projector

In a world which places an absolute premium on first impressions, the Epson Powerlite 720 home theater projector cuts an overwhelming and striking image. Harnessing the full power of its 3LCD engine, and offering tremendous out-of-box value with seven picture preset modes, Epson has thrown down the gauntlet in the ever-crowded landscape of home theater projectors, separating itself from much of the competition. If you’re on the look out for an LCD projector in the 720P class that’s below the $1,500.00 price tag, the Epson Home Cinema 720 is highly recommended.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS – Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 720

Projection System Epson 3LCD technology
Projection Method Front / rear / ceiling mount
LCD 3-chip optical engine poly-silicon TFT active matrix

Native 720p (1280 x 720)

Aspect Ratio
Native 16:9 (4:3 resize)
Projection Lens F-number
2.0 – 3.17
Lamp 170 W UHE lamp

Lamp Life
Up to 3000 Hours
Screen Size (Projected Distance) - 16:9 Image
100" (wide: 10.5' – tele: 22')
Lens Shift Range Vertical
± 50%
Brightness Up to 1600 lumens (in Dynamic Mode)
Contrast Ratio Up to 10,000:1 (in Dynamic Mode)
Video I/O HDMI
3 RCA (component)
1 RCA (composite)
1 Mini Din (S-video)
1 Mini D-Sub 15 pin (analog RGB)
Control I/O 1 trigger out port
1 Mini D-Sub 9 pin (RS-232c)
Dimensions Height: 4.9 inches (124 mm); not including adjustable feet
Width: 16 inches (406 mm)
Depth: 12.2 inches (309 mm); not including lens protrusion
Weight 11.5 lbs (5.2 kgs.)

Verdict recommendations are ranked from best to worst as follows:

Highly Recommended                      
Moderate Recommendation            
Take A Pass
Avoid Like The Plague  

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