The Art of Home Theater Projectors

BenQ W6000 Home Theater Projector – Just Got Better!

Greetings all,

Another promised update for you!

I received another BenQ W6000 which I picked up at BenQ a few days ago.   Similar comments  about the BenQ W6000 projector have already been placed in the full review, noted in italics or italics/bold.

I just finished staring at it’s dynamic iris behavior for the last hour or so, side by side with the original pre-production W6000 I used for the review. I, (and I’m sure others) pointed out that while, overall, the W6000′s dynamic iris wasn’t bad, there were a few circumstances where it was too noticeable. The solution was for BenQ to take a look, and improve the iris’s performance.

Well, they did.  And they really did improve the  W6000′s dynamic iris.  The iris issue that was significant was when dark scenes change brightness very slowly.  As I stated in the orginal review, it’s like the iris didn’t want to make an adjustment until there is a significant change but slow changes often had it waiting, and waiting, and by the time it decides to react, it has to snap open or closed a good deal.  And often it would seem to overshoot, and then maybe a second later (under the same slow changes to the dark image), come back part way.

Not so, the new firmware.  The double snap I was seeing often in slow changing darker scenes, was absent from the same Red October underwater scenes with the new W6000.  You can definitely spot the iris opening and closing, if you are paying attention, as the scene brightness changes. That, however is inherently true of all dynamic irises.

Iris – Bottom line, BenQ has much improved the W6000′s dynamic iris.  I’m not sure it’s any better, or worse, than dynamic irises on the Epson’s, Panasonic, and Sony HW15, but it’s not in the same overall class.  (And, they all will behave slightly differently).  No longer is there that occasional, extremely visible snap, though, as I had to deal with on the pre-production unit.

To the engineers at BenQ – to quote Hancock:  “Good Job!  Good Job!”

I no longer have any doubt that of the under $3K DLP projectors I’ve seen so far, the W6000 now has to be considered the best.  Some of the others include the Samsung SP-A600, and the Optoma HD8200, and the Sharp XV-Z15000.  The BenQ also got a minor price drop to $2499 from $2799.  That, of course, always helps in terms of price/performance.

The BenQ W6000′s recent price drop, however, was probably a direct reaction to the launch of the Panasonic at $1999.   That would be a good move on BenQ’s part, and good for the consumer, although, of the ultra-high contrast projectors they are very different, with the BenQ being exceptionally bright in “best mode” and the Panasonic being slightly below average.  As a result, the BenQ has about twice the “best mode” lumens even with Brilliant Color off, and about 2.5x with Brilliant color on.

Keep the BenQ on your short list if the price is right, you like the rich, saturated look and feel of a good DLP projector, and will appreciate and know what to do with all those lumens!

OK, back to work for me.   I’ve also got a production Mitsubishi HC3800 here, and will be posting a blog (and review update).  That update will discuss the final color tables.  Our original review unit was an engineering sample, and while it calibrated very well, it’s not uncommon to see some changes by the time of full production.  I’ll have our new recommended calibration settings added to the review, for those owning or considering the HC3800

News And Comments

  • Steve Atkinson

    Have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving Art.

    3 cheers for BenQ!

    Now with these changes… will there be an update to the competitive analysis between the W6K and 8500?

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hi Steve, – an update to the comparison – probably not, as the fix simply eliminates a flaw that shouldn’t have been there, and my general assessment will remain unchanged as I pretty much wrote it with a the assumption that it would get better, and if not, that people knew the limited types of scenes where it’s a problem and could make a choice if that was important. The Epson still is the black level champ, it’s just that the W6000′s iris is no longer a sometimes visible weakness. Everything else remains the same, essentially, ie. the BenQ is much brighter in best mode… -art

  • Matthew

    Hi Art,

    Thanks for the update, from your review i ordered the benq w6000 shipped today, one question will benq release the update to download? the old Benq w5000
    had to be sent back to Benq for any firmware updates

    Regards
    Matt

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hi again Matt,

      Hopefully I’ll have those answers no later than Monday. Sooner if lucky. If anyone manages to talk to BenQ tomorrow and finds out something useful, please post a comment. -art

  • Jonathan Savage

    Do you know what firmware version contains the fix or when it was released? I’m trying to work out if I purchase a W6000 this weekend if I’ll have to ship it back to the factory immediately for a firmware upgrade, which seems rather sad.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Greetings!

      OK, I’m only going to answer Jonathan’s question since a number of you have asked the same question, which is how can we be sure we’re getting the new firmware (or I already got mine, how to get the new firmware).

      I’ve got emails into my 3 primary contacts at BenQ.

      We could get lucky, and get a good response before they reopen on Monday (I’m talking marketing and product management types – the folks who will make the various determinations – not basic sales or support).

      If I get a good answer before Monday, I’ll blog.

  • Andy Besselman

    Hey Art I have a few things to ask of you when you get the Mits 3800 back in. Can you see if you are having any of the shutoff problems with the projector that alot of people are having in the forums. Also I am coming from the original Epson Home 1080 and I am looking at the HC3800 or the Panasonic 4000. So I am very intrested to see if you have any of the shutoff problems with your HC3800 and was wondering which one would be a better improvment on the Epson 1080. Thank You

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hi Andy, I’m firing up the HC3800 later this evening. Haven’t even powered it up yet, so I obviously have nothing to report about it shutting down. I’m a little slammed here – so I won’t have time to go visit the forums. So, if you can summarize what’s been reported… Drop me another comment. -art

  • John Sokalski

    See the HC3800 blog for info on the shutdown problem.

  • Jeff Hurst

    Forums?

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      yes, places like http://www.avsforum.com and http://www.avforums.com Places where hobbyists and others hang out, swap info, solve problems, etc. For the “newbie” it can be a good place for assistance, but it can just as easily be seriously overwhelming, as many of the threads will cover topics in depth that may be way over the heads of most newbies. It would seem a significant percentage of members tend to be engineers, retired engineers, movie industry folks (the technical types, not the stars), etc. -a

  • Steve Atkinson

    My reason for asking about a possible update to the competition section of the 8500UB review… is that the 8500 vs. W6000 section is blank.

  • Pierre

    What’s the firmware version for updated benq w6000?

  • Steve Atkinson

    Art,

    Did you ever check to see what version of firmware your W6K was running?

    All of the folks on the forums seem to only have version 1.0 of the firmware.

    It seems strange that you would receive a projector whose IRIS works better than the original version you tested if yours also has version 1.0 of the firmware.

    That would lead one to the conclusion that you were originally sent a “pre-production” model with firmware that had not been finalized… maybe version .9???

    I was curious is you had any more info to share on this issue.

    Ps. We know you are slammed with all the projectors you are trying to review and want you to know we appreciate the effort you are expending in our behalf.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      It had gone back before the question arose. My bad. -a

  • Tom

    I never found an answer to the firmware up and version issues. I just bought a Benq 6000 and I find the dynamic iris often goes from bright scenes to almost completely blacked out when scene changes to bright to dark scenes.

    My firmware is 1.0 still….

    July 10 seems not many upgrades have happened.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hi, 1.0 was the firmware of the second unit I tested. When I wrote the original review, I had an engineering sample – pre-production unit to work with. I can’t recall the version number but it was down around 0.7. I don’t know if there’s an newer version of firmware. Since you just bought one, its likely 1.0 is the current as well. Generally manufacturers only come out with firmware updates, to fix problems. In BenQ’s case, the problems were essentially fixed before first formal shipments.

      As to the iris statement you made, you might want to be a bit clearer there. All dynamic irises can be seen “operating” on things like scene changes, etc. If you want a 100% perfectly smooth iris, the only solution I know of, is to not have a dynamic iris, although plan B, would be to make so little use of it, that it accomplishes very little improvement, but does it smoothly. “from bright scenes to almost completely blacked out…” Well, dark scenes are supposed to be dark. A dynamic iris, to some degree allows you to expand the overall dynamic range (its reflected in those almost meaningless contrast specs). That is, Not only are the blacks blacker on dark scenes, but so are the bright and mid-tone areas. In that regard, the iris gives you more total dynamic range, even though it really doesn’t change the dynamic range on individual frames. -art