The Epson Home Cinema 2250 is an equal parts 1080p home cinema projector and streaming projector, with built-in Android TV and a bright, color accurate picture.
- Good color accuracy, contrast, shadow detail and black level for the price
- Three-chip LCD engine (3LCD) delivers white brightness that matches the color and no rainbow artifacts
- Integrated Android TV
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Unusually bright 3D mode
- Only one HDMI port
- Does not support HDR or 4K input
The Epson Home Cinema 2250 doesn’t have a Streaming Projector in its name, but Epson includes it as one, and for good reason. As with our Editors’ Choice for streaming projection, the Epson Epiq Vision Mini EF12 Smart Streaming Laser Projector comes with built-in Android TV, Wi-Fi and dedicated remote buttons for streaming functions. The two even offer the same price. But the HC 2250 swaps the EF12’s laser light source for a standard bulb, has poorer onboard audio, and doesn’t support 4K and HDR input. These drawbacks are mitigated by a zoom lens, additional advanced video processing, and an increase in brightness and image quality.
A Little Bit of Everything
The HC 2250 has a native resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels), thanks to three LCD chips of 1920 x 1080. The 3LCD design ensures that you do not see rainbow artifacts and that the brightness of the color matches the brightness of white . so color images are as bright as you’d expect from the white brightness of 2700 lumens.
A clear and beautiful image is the hallmark of the HC 2250.
Physical installation consists of little more than pointing the HC 2250 at the screen, plugging in the power cord, optionally connecting a video source with an HDMI cable and adjusting manual zoom, focus and vertical lens shift. At just 8.4 pounds and 4.8 by 12.4 by 12.2 inches (HWD), the HC 2250 is small enough to fit anywhere. The 1.6x zoom adds flexibility to the distance from the screen, and the vertical lens shift, at 15% of the image height, allows you to adjust the vertical position of the image on the screen without tilting the projector and digital keystone correction to use.
The first time you turn on the HC 2250, it goes through the same setup routine detailed in our EF12 review to make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network and set up Android TV. Both the Quick Setup Guide and the projector’s home screens tell you to follow this setup routine and connect to a network before you can use the projector, and Epson told me there’s no way around it, which is a problem. if you don’t have a network connection right away. However, I’ve discovered a neat trick: press the Input button on the remote at any point during setup and choose HDMI. Then you can use the projector with an HDMI source. When you are ready to configure Android TV, press the Enter button and choose Home to return to the settings screen.
The HC 2250’s configuration allows you to connect via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi, but you can’t connect via Ethernet, so don’t waste time looking for a port. Epson says it plans to update the HC 2250 firmware to work around that option and avoid confusion.
This broadcast ready projector has only one HDMI port as it is designed to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
During the installation, you can also download some startup apps from the Google Play Store, including YouTube and Netflix, and there are links to download more apps and games. My Bodnar meter measured the HC 2250’s input lag at 27ms for 1080p at 60Hz, which makes it fast enough for most people, although serious gamers generally prefer a projector with a lag of less than 17 ms. Gamers will also appreciate the support for the 21:9 aspect ratio.
On the home theater side of the HC 2250’s personality, a standout feature is its frame interpolation (FI), with low, medium and high settings for smooth movement. It’s enabled by default, but if you’re among the majority who don’t like the digital video effect (aka soap opera) that FI adds to filmed footage, it’s pretty easy to disable. Many people find it desirable for video, if not film.
A color management system allows you to adjust the hue, saturation, and brightness of each primary (blue, green, red) and secondary (cyan, magenta, yellow) color. In addition, you can store up to 10 sets of custom picture settings in memory, easily save profiles for different levels of ambient light or create one profile for games and one for movies.
As with almost any projector, you will want to use an external audio system for the best sound quality. However, the built-in 10-watt speaker provides enough loud volume to fill a large family room and good enough sound quality to be usable.
Accurate Color Even at Max Brightness
The four preset picture modes (Cinema Bright, Cinema, Dynamic and Natural) provide color accuracy that most people find more than acceptable. Since the brightest mode on many projectors has switched to green to be acceptable at best, it’s a pleasant surprise.
The brightest mode, Dynamic, shows a green drift, but is so light it’s hard to see. In most of the scenes in our test set, the skin tones were a little too yellow (as adding green to red produces yellow), but they were still within a realistic range. I only noticed the change because I’m very familiar with the test scenes and I know exactly what the color should be. While dynamic mode isn’t my preferred mode for the HC 2250, it’s good enough to use without hesitation if you need some extra brightness.
All other modes offer a more neutral color, with only minor differences from one to another. Anyone is acceptable for watching movies or videos, but my pick for watching in a dark room or low light is Cinema, which offers the darkest black level of all modes, along with good shadow detail and the best 3D feel in dark scenes. If the ambient light levels are high enough to eliminate differences in black levels between modes, I choose Bright Cinema, which offers the most accurate colors along with good shadow detail. Both modes have good contrast.
See How We Test Projectors
The HC 2250 does not accept 4K UHD (3840 by 2160) input to convert to its native 1080p and does not support HDR. However, it supports Full HD 3D and Epson’s own glasses. I saw no crosstalk in my tests and only saw a hint of 3D related motion artifacts. Most notably, it offers one of the clearest 3D images I’ve ever seen relative to 2D brightness, making the HC 2250 the best choice if you want to watch 3D movies in ambient light.
Manual settings allow you to adjust the projection until it is exactly the way you want it.
Even for 2D, the HC 2250 is a light cannon, especially considering that the brightest mode is quite color accurate. At 2700 lumens, according to the recommendations of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), it is bright enough to fill a 235-inch diagonal 1.0-gain 16:9 screen in a darkroom, and is sufficient for a 130-inch screen in moderate ambient light. Even with the Eco power setting, the lowest brightness Cinema mode was bright enough to illuminate my 90-inch screen in a dark room. During the day, in my living room, the Bright Cinema mode at full power gave a great picture on an 80-inch screen.
A Capable Generalist
What sets the HC 2250 apart is that it combines integrated transmission with a high-quality image right out of the box and features that will appeal to videophiles who want to adjust their projectors to get the best possible image. If you like that combination, be sure to take a look at the Epson Home Cinema 2200; it’s less expensive and has similar specs, the main difference being a lower-rated contrast. Check out Epson’s other streaming models, including the EF12, which is smaller and lighter, supports 4K and has a long-lasting laser light source.
Adding a Roku or Apple TV dongle to a cheaper projector like the BenQ HT2150ST gives you a similar experience in a different streaming ecosystem. But if you’re happy with Android TV, the Epson Home Cinema 2250 makes your life easier with a fully integrated suite of features and impressive picture quality for the price.