Should I get a television or a projector? If you’re looking for the biggest screen possible, that’s a question you’re asking yourself
A quick search on Best Buy suggests the price of TVs and projectors are now comparable. Both categories have models in different price points to fit different budgets. So many choices, so many options. What is one to do? You’ve come to the right place.
I’m reviewing the Epson Home Cinema 3200 4K UHD Home Theatre Projector. I feel qualified for this review because I use the Epson Home Cinema 1080p. This would be a step up with a 4K image.
I also have the perfect place to test it, inside my high-tech themed Airbnb suite. It has a dedicated projector wall for a 137” screen. My Epson Home Cinema 1080 is currently mounted on the ceiling. I’ll use the Home Cinema 3200 right underneath it for comparison.
Let’s begin with a quick look at the design.
Design of the Home Cinema 3200 projector
The Home Cinema 3200 is a beast. It’s incredibly large and heavy, weighing approximately 14lbs. Needles to say, I’m expecting a steller image to justify its size. With my tape measure, it measures approximately 16” wide, 6.5” tall, and 13” deep.
Above the lens on top are two dials that adjust the vertical and horizontal orientation. Behind those dials are menu buttons to control the projector without the remote. Speaking of the remote, it’s incredibly large and easy to operate with big, clear buttons.
On the back, you’ll find all the available inputs and outputs. There are two HDMI ports, USB-A power, audio out, mini USB service port, and the power port.
There is no built-in speaker. It’s assumed that consumers are going to set it up with a home theatre sound system. Bluetooth is available onboard for wireless connection to soundbars, and other speakers. On the bottom are screw ports to mount the projector onto a ceiling.
The front has the main feature, the projector lens. It can produce a maximum brightness of 2900 lumens and 4K Ultra HD resolution. The lamp life is approximately 5000 hours. If you were to use it for 4 hours a day, it would last approximately 3.5 years.
Before we get into the setup of the Home Cinema 3200, it’s worthwhile to briefly discuss throw distance and positioning. These are two important concepts that help determine if a projector will work in a particular space.
Throw distance and positioning
A term often used with projectors is throw distance. This is the distance between the projector and the image on the screen. To understand throw distance, imagine a projector throwing the image on the screen.
Depending on your room configuration, you can have a long throw, a short throw, or an ultra-short throw. Long throws provide large images and the projector is usually installed in the center of the ceiling in a large room. The distance between projector and screen is 8 feet or more. My room is configured for a long throw.
Short throws come from projectors placed closer to the wall and generally refer to a distance of 3 to 8 feet away from the projector to screen. Ultra-short throws refer to distances 1 to 4 feet away.
Projector throw distances vary. It can be hard to guess how a particular projector would work in your space. Thankfully, Epson has a Throw Distance Simulator to calculate the distance for each model.
Setting up the Home Cinema 3200
For this review, I’m looking for a long throw to get an image 100” or more. I placed the Home Cinema 3200 on a coffee table and used a wooden shoe rack to have it set higher. I tried different distances and used the front dials to perfectly frame the image onto the entire wall. Finally, I adjusted the lens to get the image in focus.
To get a 137” diagonal screen size, the throw distance was approximately 160” from the wall. That’s a little over 13’. From there, I attached a Google Chromecast Ultra and Roku Streaming Stick to the back. In all, the setup took about 10-15 minutes.
If I were keeping this projector, I would install it onto the ceiling like I did with the Home Cinema 1080. The size of the Home Cinema 3200 wouldn’t be much of a problem if it was mounted on the ceiling.
The nighttime picture quality of the Home Cinema 3200
I first tested the 3200 at night with the Google Chromecast Ultra. The wall lit up with fantastic images. I must have spent about 30 minutes just staring at the wall in pure amazement. Images were incredibly bright with great colour details. Even up close, the detail and image crispness was a sight to behold.
I played Netflix on the Roku streaming stick and watched “Our Planet”. Again, the picture quality was absolutely amazing. It’s an incredible experience to see 4K projector footage on a 137” screen. Things got even better after I found footage on YouTube shot in 8K macro.
Daytime picture quality of the Home Cinema 3200
The following day, the big test was the image quality and brightness in daytime. If a projector is replacing a large TV, it needs to work just as well in the day.
The 3200 has four quick settings – Bright Cinema, Cinema, Natural and Dynamic. Projector light brightness can also be adjusted with ECO, Medium, and High modes. For daytime viewing, I kept it at medium.
I opened all the blinds and watched sports with my DAZN subscription cast from my phone to the Google Chromecast Ultra. Even in a bright room, the image popped out. The only colour that seemed to be affected by the brightness was white. It looked a little washed out but all the other colours stood out. As a sports fan, this trumps any TV for watching the big game, even during the daytime.
Sleep mode on the Home Cinema 3200
The one issue I found with this projector is the Sleep Mode. It’s the same issue I have with the Home Cinema 1080. I’m the type of person who falls asleep easily while watching Netflix at night. I want the ability to set a shut-off timer. The Sleep Mode doesn’t seem to do that. To be honest I don’t know what Sleep Mode actually does.
I also wish it was smart plug compatible. By that I mean, having the ability to control when it goes on and off by connecting it to a smart switch.
I enjoy the Google Chromecast Ultra images on the projector. It’s like alternating wall art. I wish I could automatically turn it on every morning with a Smart Plug. However, the current design requires you to physically press the power button on the projector or controller. A dedicated, physical on/off switch would fix this problem.
As a tech reviewer, I’m a hard guy to impress. I love new tech products and gadgets but rarely do they change your life and day-to-day life experiences. The Epson Home Cinema 3200 4K projector is one of those products. It will fundamentally change your viewing experience of Netflix, YouTube, and watching sports. The 4K image quality is absolutely stunning and affordable. I’m almost lost for words in describing it.
That said, you will need the right space to take advantage of it. The larger space available, the better 4K experience you can expect. I happen to have a short-term rental suite designed around a projector wall. It would be perfect for someone like myself. As for the best 4K image size, I think the sweet spot is somewhere between 100-200”. That means you will need a large throw distance, at least 8 feet.
If you want the biggest screen possible and have space, the Epson Home Cinema 3200 4K UHD Home Theatre Projector will not disappoint. In fact, I learned something during this review. Once you go 4K on a projector, you’ll never want to go back.
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