The Epson 710HD is an economical choice for a multi-purpose home entertainment video projector. It is bright, sharp and, although it lacks a some of the features of more expensive projectors, it produces a very nice image for a wide variety of media.
Epson has been making business and home theater projectors about as long as any manufacturer and this one is a sort of hybrid between being for business presentations and a darkened, dedicated home cinema setup. In fact, it fits a category of all-around home media projector -- equally good for video gaming or television viewing as well as watching the latest blockbuster DVD movie.
With its rated output of 2800 lumens, it is bright enough to use in even moderately lit living rooms or media rooms. That means you won't have to watch in a darkened/light controlled environment due to it's terrific light output. Its 200w lamp is rated at 5000 hours in economy mode which helps with the low ownership cost and if/when you should need a replacement lamp they are available for under $200. Although economy mode is not as bright as full-power mode, it still pumps enough brightness so you or your friends and family won't have to stumble around in a dark room.
Despite its bright light output the 710's image features rich color saturation and has the usual, wide variety of user-adjustable image controls. With a contrast ratio (blackness of blacks) listed as 3000 to 1 -- blacks indeed look black rather than dark gray.
Another feature usually not found on a projector in this price range is its 3-LCD panels instead of a DLP chip. That is a nice feature for anyone susceptible to the dreaded "rainbow effect" that is sometimes seen on low-end DLP model projectors.
The Epson 710HD offers one HDMI, a VGA for computer or component (with included component adapter), composite analog video, S-video and two USB ports for thumb drives or PC connectivity. It also has two stereo speakers (although I don't know why anyone would use them at home - other than kids with video games) which are useful if you want to take it on a business presentation.
The few knocks on this model are fairly innocuous but to be expected for a projector in its price range. First and foremost -- it's not 1080p but at 1280x800 it still produces a very sharp, well-detailed image. It only has manual zoom, focus and keystone controls (which could be an issue for some ceiling-mount users) and has no lens shift features. Fan noise is negligible but noticeable at full-power (37db) but in eco-mode it shouldn't be a problem at only 29db.
If you're looking for an economical video projector that throws a very fine image, has a long lived lamp, is equally at home for watching HDTV, movies, playing video games or making a business presentation and is bright enough so you won't have to stumble around in the dark -- the Epson 710HD will fit the bill very nicely. As always -- the best place to buy is online -- check the pricing at under $600 here at Amazon.