Fun with 4K Capable Projectors – the Upcoming 4K and Faux-K Reviews

Greetings projector fans.  The 4K – and Faux-K projectors are coming, no, a number of them are here now to be reviewed!

BenQ HT8050 projector
The 4K UHD BenQ HT8050 set up in our home theater room

I’ve been basically slammed the past couple of months, between writing projector reviews,planning an update to the site, and also growing our newer site: smarterhomeautomation.com, so sorry for not writing sooner.

Those pesky 4K UHD DLP projectors that were first promised in the 2nd half of last year, then earlier this year, and finally starting to arrive on the scene, and we can’t wait.  Two are in house! First, though, I have to finish up one business interactive projector, and our annual Best Education Projector Report, before heading for Infocomm in two weeks (6/14/17).

But I’ve got some fun reviews of 4K capable projectors in the works, and discussions on the issues with 4K, and HDR.

Here’s the scoop:

In house here, until next Monday, I’ve got a great, and most interesting projector that few of us can afford – that would be Sony’s VPL-VZ1000ES – your basic $25,000 true 4K projector with 2500 lumens, ultra short throw design, and a laser light engine!  I’m pretty much loving that projector.  The VZ1000ES supports HDR, and I believe, hybrid log gamma (for streaming).  I’ve taken all pictures, including those to compare with the other 4K capable projectors.  I’ve logged about 100 hours on the VZ1000ES, so basically I’m about ready to write up the review, after this other pesky items on my agenda are fulfilled.

And I still have the Epson LS10500 laser projector here (review posted a few weeks ago), a 1080p pixel shifting projector that handles 4K content including HDR and expanded color palette.   The $8K Epson is pretty impressive – until I power it down and switch to the Sony – definitely a real step up in picture.

The 4K UHD projectorss are coming.  Well, more of “they’re here!” than coming.  Sorry folks, I still like to call these new DLP projectors “Faux-K” as they have 4 million pixels plus pixel shifting to double to 8 megapixels – thus meeting the 4K UHD standard – but that’s still working with pixel sizes  twice the area of true 4K pixels, as long as it pixel shifts to double the count.  I’ve also have been calling 1080p pixel shifters that can handle 4K content, the same FauxK.  Examples include the Epson 5040UB, their LS10500 laser projector (just reviewed), or any of the JVCs but their top of the line $35,000 model.

BenQ HT8050 - 4K UHD DLP projector with native 2716x1528
BenQ HT8050 – 4K UHD DLP projector with native 2716×1528 resolution, pixel shifting and 2200 lumens

And I mean they are here or coming:   The BenQ HT8050 arrived last week, it shipped into Eric, who  calibrated it and brought it down here when done.  Typical for these new 2716 x 1528 native resolution pixel shifting DLP projectors, the BenQ accepts 4K content, but does not support HDR.  That said, I’m enjoying the HT8050, and comparing it to the Sony, the Epson laser, and even the Epson 5040UB I have mounted and keep here as a general reference to help me compare two projectors that I don’t get to play with at the same time, but if one “has better black level performance than the 5040UB, and the next model reviewed, isn’t quite as good, that makes it easy for me to determine that the first one has better blacks than the 2nd one…

But I digress.  The fun’s only beginning.

Tracking info from Fedex shows that Eric is receiving another 4K UHD DLP projector today!  That’s the Optoma UHD65!  Eric will have that down to me in a few days after calibrating.  Interesting – the UHD65 is far less expensive than the BenQ, but offers HDR (and 2200 lumens), at $2495.  A more Home Entertainment version, the UHD60 lacks the HDR, but has 3000 lumens and a $1995 price.  By comparison the BenQ’s list price is $7999!  The Vivitek HK2288, a third 4K UHD DLP projector is supposed to ship to us this week.  There are two variations with that one, but I’m not quite up on the details yet.

So, ultimately, I’m going to have 3 of them here at one time.  Fun.  Or if the Vivitek gets delayed, I’ll at least first have the BenQ and the Optoma, then the Optoma and the Vivitek.

Even more FUN:  It looks like I have some Sony folks coming by this coming Monday, to help me play with the multiple projectors and compare.  And later next week, if it works out, I’ll have some product management types dropping in from BenQ to see how their HT8050 performs against the other DLP 4K UHD projectors as well as the less expensive 1080p pixel shifters, and of course the big 4K Sony!

The Sony VZ1000ES is an ultra short throw, true 4K projector with HDR, laser light engine and HDR!
The Sony VZ1000ES is an ultra short throw, true 4K projector with HDR, laser light engine and HDR! Pair it with a “light rejecting” ALR type screen for living room use!

Because of everything else going on first, the first of the three DLP UHD reviews is probably a full three weeks or so out.

Therefore, I’ve decided to start with short “First Look” Reviews, with initial impressions of each one as I get to it.  I’ll have the first of those, the BenQ’s up by the end of next week, at the latest.   My “First Look” reviews (which started out as blogs) may not have the measurements, the calibration settings or the usual 50-100 photos, but it should give you a great idea of my take on each projector, while we all wait for me to find the time to catch up on the full reviews.

VPL-VZ1000ES_4K-HDR_ghostbusters_city_blue
Sony VPL-VZ1000ES true 4K projector handling a Ghostbusters scene in 4K with HDR

 

There will be an extensive section on my take on how the DLP’s stack up – in performance, and value, against each other,  and compared to the 1080p pixel shifters, and, of course, the true 4K projectors, in our upcoming annual Best Home Theater Projectors Report.

BenQ-HT8050_ghostbusters_lobby
BenQ HT8050 UHD projector handling the lobby/vortex scene from Ghostbusters – no HDR

 

Will one of the DLP UHD projectors prove to be superior overall to the others?  Can one of them without HDR compete with true 4K projectors and 1080p pixel shifters that do support HDR?  And so on.  Is a lamp based DLP UHD projector that lacks HDR a better or worse choice, than say the similarly priced Epson Laser projector which is a bit lower res, but still 4K capable and a pixel shifter, but does support HDR.  And so on.

Epson-5040UB_ghostbusters_lobby
Epson Home Cinema 5040UB – one of the least expensive 1080p pixel shifting projectors capable of handling 4K with HDR. Ghostbusters lobby/vortex scene HDR1

 

So stay tuned, it’s going to be a fun summer, and then will come CEDIA and we’ll see if we get additional DLP UHD projectors, including more with HDR support.  It would also be great if an “affordable” true 4K projector (or more than one).  Sony dropped the price of the VPL365ES to $7999.  Progress!  Perhaps we’ll even see, a manufacturer other than Sony offering true 4K projectors that cost less than $25,000!

 

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