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Epson EMP-50 Display Device Review

Epson EMP-50 LCD projector review

| Epson EMP-50 LCD projector in Display Devices

Epson have gained something of a reputation for producing good value projectors. The EMP-50 certainly sounded promising when we first heard of the features it offers. If you weren't aware how expensive projectors are, this is actually one of the cheapest available at around 1800.


  • 3 x polysilicon TFT Extended High Aperture 0.7 LCD panels
  • 4:3 aspect ratio
  • SVGA (800 x 600) resolution
  • 1000 ANSI Lumens brightness
  • 100% Illumination Uniformity
  • 150W Short Arc Ultra High Efficiency UHP Lamp
  • Projection Distance 1.0 to 11.0m
  • Projected Image Size 23' to 300'
  • Zoom ratio 1:1.2
  • Focus Manual adjustment
  • Contrast Ratio 400:1
  • Digital Keystone Correction -15 to +15
  • VGA/SVGA/XGA display Digital Active Resizing (DAR) Technology
  • Audio output 1 built-in 1W mono speaker
  • Supports NTSC, PAL, SECAM, NTSC 4.43, M-PAL, N-PAL, PAL60
  • Dimensions (WxDxH) 300 mm x 220 mm x 80mm (Excluding Lens & Foot)
  • Weight 3.1 Kg
  • Power Consumption 220 W
  • Noise Level 42dB
  • Free bag
  • Warranty Standard: 2 years Replacement or Repair

Views and connections

Epson EMP-50 Display Device Review: Epson EMP-50 LCD projector
The feet on the projector allow fine adjustment and quick basic adjustment. The lens only has manual focus.
Epson EMP-50 Display Device Review: Epson EMP-50 LCD projector The power connection is on the side which is a little annoying as it looks messy having cables coming out of both the rear and side of the projector.
Epson EMP-50 Display Device Review: Epson EMP-50 LCD projector
On top of the projector is a useful warning not to look into the projector lens when the device is on. This warning really should be heeded as 1000 ANSI lumens of brightness is not something to be trifled with. Also provided on top is a power button which you must press twice to turn off the projector, useful for preventing accidental turning off in the dark. There is also a source selection button, help button, keystone correction (also available on the onscreen menu via the remote) and lastly wide/tele zoom buttons.
Epson EMP-50 Display Device Review: Epson EMP-50 LCD projector
This is the main connection point for the projector, with all the connections listed below.
  • Connectivity for external speakers
  • Computer Input Native 800x600 (Supports 1024x768, 640x480)
  • 1 x HD-15pin
  • Computer Audio Input 3.5mm Stereo Mini Jack
  • S-Video Input 4 pin Mini DIN
  • Composite Video Input RCA Jack
  • Video Audio Input 2 x RCA Jacks
  • Audio Line Output 3.5mm Stereo Mini Jack
  • Mouse Input 1 x Din 9 pin
  • 1 x USB port type B
Epson EMP-50 Display Device Review: Epson EMP-50 LCD projector
Despite their white appearance these buttons are not backlit. The remote works well with a good range and the projector picks up the beam from most angles.

Overall the EMP-50 has been quite well designed, both from an ergonomics and a style point of view. All the controls were easy to use, and reading the manual may not be essential for some people.

Screen size and projection distance
To give you an idea of the screen size you will be able to achieve in the room you would put this projector in, please consult the table below.

Screen size Approximate projection distance (m)
28' 1.0-1.1
60' 2.2-2.6
100' 3.7-4.3
150' 5.5-6.5
300' 11.0-13.1

Extra functionality
Epson have provided some useful extras on this projector. If you're connecting the projector to a computer for a presentation or slide-show you can connect the projector to the computers mouse input. This then allows you to use the projector remote as wireless mouse, useful when using Microsoft Powerpoint for example. In addition to the wireless mouse support you can leave a cursor stamp in the shape of a small hand on the screen, useful for pointing out particular details on a photograph. Less useful is the ability to leave a pink horizontal line across the screen. The onscreen help facility isn't so useful as the excellent manual that is also provided.

If you find the image projected is too large or small for the size of screen you are using the electronic zoom allows the screen size to be shrunk or enlarged to fit the screen. This can be really useful if you are limited to places the projector can be installed. When watching a film you may want to freeze a particular frame, the remote includes a button to do this and it works quite well with very little delay.

Image quality
Epson are leaders in the printing field, and it appears they well on their way to being leaders in the projector field too. The 1000 ANSI brightness allows this projector to be usable in an averagely lit room. If the room uses bright lights however you would be best turning the lights off as this is detrimental to the quality seen on the screen. Contrast levels were excellent with Epson's quoted contrast ratio of 400:1 showing the projector more than capable of presenting images pleasing to the eye. Colour reproduction was also excellent, with the added bonus of adjustment via the on-screen menu.

In addition to colour adjustment you can also change horizontal and vertical positioning, brightness, contrast, tint, sharpness and gamma. These settings provide more than enough Configurability for most situations and it's great Epson have included them on their cheapest projector.

Vertical keystone correction is provided, which allows the projector to be used at an angle. For example pointing down from being attached to the ceiling the projected image would normally be narrower at the top than at the bottom. Keystoning allows you to correct this, but only vertically, unlike higher-priced projectors no support for horizontal keystoning is provided.

Text reproduction is not up to the same high standard of the video and still picture capabilities for this projector. We still managed to use the projector as a replacement computer monitor with no eyestrain and text only occasionally appearing soft.

Lamp life on this projector is an average 1400-1500 hours, and the cost of a replacement lamp is around 350. Lamps can be replaced easily, and providing you have a small degree of technical confidence you can do it yourself.

Projectors have come a long way in the last few years. LCD projectors particularly used to have a fair few problems that made them unattractive purchases. Now things are looking a lot better, we were very impressed with the performance from this budget model, and you really do get a lot of value for money. Consider how much the alternative large screen technologies cost today, a plasma screen will set you back around 5000 or more, for a smaller screen size.

The EMP-50 does have its drawbacks however, it's not as quiet as some projectors. The noise isn't enough to be distracting when giving a presentation or showing some photographs, but those of you who may want to use this for watching films or TV on as well could find it unacceptably noisy. The lowest dB rating we've seen a projector given is around 35dB which is still not silent, so the Epson's 42dB isn't too bad. It also doesn't offer some of the more advanced features like picture in picture that some other models do.

For those that can afford to buy a projector like this, but don't want to spend as much as the higher specification models cost this projector is great. It offers impressive features, connections and image quality and is great value for money.

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