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4.3 out of 5 stars
Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 500 Silver Edition SVGA 2600 Lumens HDMI Projector (White)
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Price:$389.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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157 of 162 people found the following review helpful
Format: ElectronicsVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I’ve been using this projector for about a month now, and I found both ‘pros and cons,’ the term that applies to any kind of items. So here’s my review.
First, I will begin with the pros. This projector is very bright. It was too bright out of the box, so I had to reduce the brightness. I set this projector up in a small room and approximately 20 feet away from the screen; I could enjoy 60”~70” screen size (big enough for me for now, but I don’t see any problem making this bigger up to 300” considering how powerful the bulb is). The colors were overall accurate out of the box, but I needed to do some calibration (it was a bit saturated with high contrast, in my opinion, and this can be personal preference; I like soft and warm tones). This projector has 5 different input methods (S-Video, VGA, RCA, USB, and HDMI) and having an HDMI port is an excellent option. Using HDMI port, it’s just easy and simple to connect many kinds of devices. I tried Roku, Apple TV, mobile devices, and my computers (Mac, requires thunderbolt to HDMI cable or adapter), and they all worked great without any issues or going through complicated settings. I just plugged it, and it worked.
So I enjoyed TV shows and movies on a huge screen; now my 55” TV screen looks small. I was surprised how quickly human eyes can be spoiled and fooled by the bigger screen sizes.

Now here are some cons that can be, again, personal preferences.
The max resolution of this projector is not 720P. So this is not a ‘HD’ HD projector with 720P or 1080P resolution, but close to it. Because this is not a 720P, that doesn’t mean this is garbage. I actually think the outputted image quality is wonderful considering 800x600. The moving images on screen may not be as sharp as 720P, but I like smooth motion better. Also, this is still higher resolution than what regular DVD movie can produce (by vertical line,) the image quality still looks great on a big screen. And because this isn’t a 720P (or 1080P), that doesn’t mean I can’t connect my Roku box or Apple TV. Both devices work great with this projector, and I am really enjoying movies with the huge screen size.

One thing I really wished this projector had is audio out option. Missing an audio out is not the end of the world, but if it had one, movie watching life could have been easier. Luckily, Roku has audio/video out port; I can connect to an external speaker for better and louder sound, and for the Apple TV, I can airplay audio only to my airplay enabled speaker. Problem solved.
The rest is minor and universal cons for most of the home/office projector that this one is not excluded. The fan noise can be noisy if used in a small quiet room; for a backyard movie night, this not an issue. High power consumption: even though the Amazon description shows energy star, in my opinion, this device consumes too much power. For a regular setting, it was 250 watts/h, and for the eco setting, it was 200 watts/h. For an occasional movie night, it’s fine. But, here’s some numbers for a quick comparison. My 55” LED TV (eco mode) consumes less than 90 watts/h and a CFL bulb in my room consumes 17 watts/h. I personally think 200 watts/h is too much, but then again, my Dell DLP projector in the office consumes the same amount of electricity (it measured 250 watts/h at regular mode).

Overall, this is a great option for a budget home theater. The image quality is unexpectedly better and the overall built quality is solid (except the included carrying bag made with really cheap material). It is easy and simple to use including OSD menus. Having an HDMI port is a blessing because I can connect many different current digital devices. If you think the price of HD projectors doesn’t justify your hard earned money, then this one can be a good choice.
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
All their useless marketing aside ("colors 3x brighter with Epson!"), you just want to know one thing: is this the best projector for my money? Having tried a number of projectors in this price range, here's a rundown of your best options: (all prices at time of writing)

UPDATED 12/15/2014

$330: The Epson VS230. Amazing for the price. Bright enough for lit rooms. The only thing it lacks is resolution - it handles movies and PowerPoints pretty well, but if you plan on anything else (detailed diagrams, smaller text, etc), you should consider one of the $400 options, which are 1280x800 pixels, vs 800x600 pixels. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GMGDFPI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00GMGDFPI&linkCode=as2&tag=todmedblo-20

This, the $350 Epson PowerLite 500. "Contrast ratios" aside, movies look better on this than on the VS320. On the other hand, it is visibly dimmer. If you want an inexpensive home theater, go for this. If it's meant for presentations, I'd go for the VS320.

NEW $380 Optoma W311. It's a bit better than the old DW326e, and $40 cheaper. If you have the money, this is now my top recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N5TLA9I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00N5TLA9I&linkCode=as2&tag=todmedblo-20&linkId=LPPEAR4O4XDMADR6

$350: The ViewSonic PJD5134. It's a bit brighter than the Epson VS320, but that'll almost never matter - either is bright enough for daily use. This sacrifices some of the Epson's image quality for a lot of mostly unnecessary features like 120Hz refresh rate and 3D support (why would you watch a 3D BluRay on a low-res projector?). I recommend the Epson over this. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A9S3OOC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00A9S3OOC&linkCode=as2&tag=todmedblo-20

$420: The Optoma DW326e. My favorite projector for under $500, it's a tad brighter than the Epson VS230, but WAY sharper. It's basically the difference between SD and HD TV. Highly recommend: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GGM6G9A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00GGM6G9A&linkCode=as2&tag=todmedblo-20

$420: The ViewSonic PJD5533W. Basically the same as the Optoma, but not quite as sharp. However, the prices of the two projectors has varied by up to $100 in the past, so I'd recommend just going for whichever is cheaper: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00511ITEM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00511ITEM&linkCode=as2&tag=todmedblo-20

There you have it - a quick rundown of your best options. Hope you found this helpful!
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Format: ElectronicsVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This projector does well for its design, just be sure you understand what it actually offers as a "Home Cinema" projector.

It has an 800x600 resolution and is 4:3 native aspect ratio. So, for DVD's its fine, but not all that useful if you're looking for Hi-def. Additionally, since it's 4:3, although it's "widescreen compatible" it's resolution will be cut down and you'll have black bars at the top and bottom. In this day and age, you're hard pressed to find any newer content in "full screen" vs. "widescreen".

Additionally, most laptops and even tablets, phones and camcorders with HDMI out have a higher resolution than this projector. When I hooked up a Windows8 tablet, I couldn't open many of the apps or display content because the resolution was too low. This was a restriction coming from the tablet, but it was caused by the low resolution of the projector.

That said, hooking up a DVD player to it worked flawlessly, and the built in speaker, while not something I'd want to listen to for a whole movie, is a nice feature when you have no other options. I'd definitely plan on having some other source for audio if you plan to have "movie night", especially outside.

The colors are indeed great, owing to the 3LCD system and this also helps with the sharpness. It's very easy to focus, position, correct for vertical keystone and zoom to the correct size. The zoom doesn't appear to be optical - as you zoom the picture down in size, you're still left with the projector having unused area from the original projection size. I haven't really delved into this fully, but this is my initial observation.

For the time being, I got some Roc-lon Budget Blackout material from Joann's fabric store. This is often used for diy screens and is even sold here on Amazon, though it won't be called out by that exact name. My piece is 52" high, and I was able to get 3 yards for under $11 using sales and coupons. It really does make a nice screen for this projector.

In summary, this is a fine projector for non-critical uses such as DVD content and backyard movies, though for a true "home theater" experience, you may want to save and look for an HD projector. For business use, I'd also recommend something of higher resolution and native widescreen as that's how most computers are being designed. For this price, you'll get a fantastic picture with accurate colors, just a bit low on resolution.

Update:
A while back I used this at my son's Pinewood Derby. The event was in a gymnasium and we projected onto the "screen" I mentioned above. It was projecting a pretty good distance away (probably 20 feet or more) and it was sufficiently bright. We hooked it up to a camcorder via HDMI, then zoomed in to the last few feet of track and the finish line. It worked really well for spectators in the rear rows. So while this might not be great in a super bright room, for non critical uses in a gym or other indoor environment it should work fine. The lights from the gym are pretty far away from the screen and that helps prevent wash out.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
Our wantings were to have a low price projector that could make a huge picture and still have quality picture. This projector has fulfilled all of those( personally I just wanted a low price and a quality picture; gotem).
We actually had bought two projectors at the same time to test which one looked better. We liked the powerlite home cinema much better than the other projector (espon VS220) we bought. So we payed the shipping cost to send the projector we didn't like back to its dealer.
Great projector; use it for every movie, dance youtube videos, any type of broadcasts. Just a big screen with a quality picture- in my personal opinion
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I just set this projector up for a friend who purchased it from a retail establishment. He was looking for a decent unit for the family in his bonus room but did not want to spend a fortune such as on the Viewsonic Pro9000 (>$1700, I just installed and reviewed it). After setup and a few weeks of use, he (and I) are very happy with this unit and seriously rank it as a very good deal. In fact, I think you can label it as a best deal at the current price of $350 AND Amazon has a current deal of $40 in Amazon credit w/purchase of this unit.

The unit is packaged very well and we received all the components the product literature indicated we should receive. The build quality is well above “good” and comparable, in my opinion, to projectors costing much more. The design is very good, following the same general design as other Epsons. The controls are very easy to operate and intuitive enough as well as easily discernible enough to operate in low ambient light. Epson provides batteries, component cable, a remote, BUT NO HDMI cable- so keep that in mind for setup.

As with all projection units, there are both pros and cons no matter how much you spend. While we found this unit a great deal, certain performance aspects may represent minor issues, but nothing, in our opinion, that is a deal breaker. For example, while the brightness of the unit is fantastic (2600 lumens), picture clarity is merely decent (not exceptional). People really into video quality (videophiles?), will need to move to a higher price range, such as the Viewsonic Pro9000 LED unit to obtain a resolution and clarity level quality level they are happy with. The Epson unit is not HD by any measure (viewing or specs), but more than sufficient (better than DVD quality), even great, for family room use, and best described But, even in a bright room, the unit performs exceptionally well. The projection size up to 300 inches is great. The built in speakers are inadequate, as are the built in speakers of $1,700 units by the way. You will need a sound system. However, for portable travel use (like on vacation), the built in speakers will work so you can avoid a sound system (the unit is sufficiently compact for travel). Note that the projector lacks a 3.5mm port, so you will need to purchase an RCA to 3.5mm adapter to gain broad adaptability for speakers. Operationally, many have labeled the product as getting “hot” during use. This is true. However, no hotter than other projectors that use a lamp (as opposed to LED). During our use, the unit never became abnormally hot based on our past experiences with projectors that use lamps.

Overall, if you are looking to enter the world of projection TV, especially for family use, I highly recommend this unit. Hands down, most people will be very happy with this product.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2014
I live in a dorm with 5 other people and a common area where we have this set up to watch movies and play video games. This was exactly what we wanted and looks great for the price point. The only thing that holds this back from being a 5 star rating is that the built in speaker is pretty bad and on the side of the projector. The simple solution is to use your own speakers, but the projector lacks a 3.5mm port on the back, which seems like a ridiculous oversight. You can buy an rca-3.5mm adapter for $2 to get around this issue but it's still a bit of a headache if you realize this only after purchasing it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2015
It's great. I just set it up today and am very happy with the picture. It is not HD but it is a great picture that is awesome for watching movies on the living room wall. The speaker is absolute junk but its easy to hook up to surround (no optical output unfortunately). im planning on using it to play movies on the house during the holidays too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2014
We use this for watching movies in the backyard. The picture is great.I connect a Roku to it. I use the Red/White/Yellow cables out of the Roku. The Yellow goes to the projector and I run the red/white audio cables to a set of speakers. I had to use adapter cables for the audio.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2014
I've read some complaints about the projector, from how it's like watching a movie through a screen door, to the fact that it's only 4:3 and not 16:9. I just watched a couple movies on it, and it's unbelievably gorgeous. It's much better than my other 46 inch TV. I've heard that projectors are better able to display movies than regular TV's, better motion or something, and it shows. The large size is also definitely a plus. It definitely was worth the money, but I feel I will want a true 16:9 projector in the future. I will probably keep this for a year or so and then get a new one. To be honest with you, I'm very happy with everything about this projector. The native size is 800x600, but it fits the 16:9 movie image in the screen. I think the quality is much better than my HDTV, hands down. When I see a deal, I will probably spring for a better projector, or just use it up until the bulb goes. I couldn't recommend this product any more highly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2014
Bought this after a run-in with a cheap-o projector. This was FAR better than that. We used it for an outdoor movie party and were able to start the movie at 8:00 (August in Minnesota- sun set but not yet dark)- at this time you could see the image but it was fairly light. As it got darker the image got much clearer. The only criticism is that speakers on the projector were a little quiet for this setting (would be fine indoors). I hooked up my external speakers to my laptop but (in my limited technical wisdom) I couldn't transfer the sound to the external speakers. The movie night went off without a hitch though and we plan on using this little baby much more. Oh yeah- and the screen can potentially get HUGE! We made a 10'X10' screen and the projector was about 15 feet away. Move it further and it could fill a 25' span!
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