OK, some very quick, very initial first thoughts on the Epson 5030UB based on about four hours of viewing last night:
- Really, really easy setup. (I remember this also being true with my previous projector years ago, an Epson Powerlite Home 20 SD/16x9 projector.) We don't have the exact final position of the projector decided yet, but that was in no way an obstacle to getting started with it -- I just put it on top a table against the back wall of the room, fiddled with the lens shift and zoom for no more than 30 seconds, and I was all set. It's really cool to be able to check it out with so little fuss.
- 2D viewing mode, not calibrated of course, just on "Cinema" and "THX" modes - in limited viewing, gorgeous. We watched the first ten minutes of "The Avengers" and then all of "Mary Poppins" (the new Blu-ray), and both look incredible. I saw "Avengers" quite a few times in theaters, and what I was seeing at home looked to my eye to be pretty darn close to what I saw in theaters.
- 3D viewing mode, also in "Cinema" and "THX" modes (can't decide which looks "better", they're pretty close) - the BD3D menu pages on a few discs showed some mild crosstalk, but the movies themselves, I saw not an instance of crosstalk or ghosting. I tried out a few discs that always looked very ghosty on my LG plasma TV, like "Dial M For Murder" and "House Of Wax" and I didn't see a hint of that on the Epson. The opening five minutes of "Avatar" also looked stunning. The opening ten minutes of "Gravity" was equally stunning. Popped in "Star Trek Into Darkness" to watch the opening sequence and ended up watching the entire movie -- I got sucked into it in a way I hadn't since seeing it in IMAX last summer.
- The screen is 106" diagonal (16x9 aspect ratio), and I tend to like to sit "too close" - I don't remember what the exact measurement of my seating distance was, but I don't think I'm much further than eight feet away, maybe ten. Even at that close distance, there's no pixel grid visible, it's a surprisingly and pleasingly film-like image. (At one point, I noticed a single hair at the bottom of the frame, and was impressed at how well the projector and Blu-ray captured that tiny imperfection.. and then I realized it was a strand of my own hair from me being slightly in the way of the lens.)
- The projector was a lot quieter than I anticipated. At the moment, it's about four feet behind where I was sitting, and with the speakers on a low volume for nighttime listening, I still couldn't hear it.
- Physically, the projector is a lot larger than my older Powerlite Home 20, although I expected that, so it wasn't a big surprise. Makes sense, my old projector was SD only, and was on the lower-end. But reading the measurements on paper vs actually seeing it, it still seemed larger. I'm glad we didn't pre-buy a shelf or piece of furniture for it before it arrived.
Basically, if I didn't have to work today, I would still be in front of the thing. As it is, I stayed up until 4am checking it out knowing I had to be at work at 11am, and as tired as I am, I don't regret it.
If anyone out there is considering one of these projectors, based on a very limited viewing, I'm absolutely loving it. Happy to answer any questions that anyone has, and looking forward to spending more time with it and sharing future thoughts on it.