The New BenQ HT9050 Raises the Bar for 4K UHD Home Theater Projectors

BenQ_HT9050_LED_projector_top-front

I’m looking forward to the review of the just formally announced BenQ HT9050 4K UHD home theater projector.

The HT9050 is their new flagship, with list price of $8999.

BenQ_HT9050_LED_projector_top-frontIn many ways similar to the HT8050, the HT9050 offers much more for the extra $1000, including a long life LED light engine, and the addition of support for the larger BT2020 color space offered with 4K UHD content such as Blu-ray UHD.

Let’s start with the LED light engine.  BenQ rates it as having a 20,000 hour life.
The press release didn’t specify brightness, but I believe it will be the same 2200 lumens claimed as the the lamp based 8050.  Thanks to the solid state light LED engine, though, it’s likely to seem brighter, and definitely will stay brighter longer.

This BenQ claims 50,000:1 contrast.  It uses a dynamic iris to get there.  Based on my looks at the HT8050, the black levels should be very respectable on the HT9050, with the added ability to turn off when black frames are present.  The screen photos below were taken with the older HT8050, they look really good, but remember, this new BenQ will have the benefit of BT2020 color intensity, and the LED light source, that it’s little brother lacks. 
HT8050_ghostbusters-4K_manhattan
The HT9050 will do an even better job on scenes like this from Ghostbusters (taken using the 8050), thanks to the extended color space it offers.
There’s a healthy amount of lens shift to work with the manual 1.5:1 zoom.  That makes for pretty good placement flexibility overall, and a lot better than most of the other 4K UHD projectors hitting the market.
 This BenQ projector is a pixel shifter – a DLP projector that uses a 2716×1528 matrix, firing once at the screen and then firing a second time shifting a half pixel diagonally.  Combined, that’s 8.3 million pixels, which meets the standard for 4K UHD (which is lower than what we call true 4K, which relies on much smaller pixels that don’t overlap, and therefore can resolve more detail).
That said, these new 4K UHD projectors look very sharp, even if they can’t produce quite as fine detail.
Extremely sharp image!
Extremely sharp image! Definitely click to enlarge
The base warranty is 3 years parts and labor.  The release did not mention what additional coverage might be on the LED light engine. We will, of course, note that in the upcoming review of the HT9050.

A History with BenQ

BenQ for those of you not familiar, has long been a major player in “projector space”  In my days as an online dealer we moved a lot of their  business/education projectors and early home projectors.  At peak, we probably sold close to 200 a month, if I recall correctly, and that was about 15 years ago.
HT8050 projector showing James Bond
BenQ HT8050 projector handling skin tones: Bond, from Casino Royale, using 1080p resolution Blu-ray.
Long after those days, I owned two different BenQ home theater projectors, back in the early days of Blu-ray discs.  I’ve come used to some “traits” of BenQs:  They tend to have faster color wheels than much of their competition, in most price ranges.  As a person who is rainbow sensitive, I always counted that as a very good thing!
They tend to also have better than typical optics at the appropriate price points, and I found their projectors to be / feel solid.
At the end, though, for home theater, picture comes first.  Did I mention that the HT9050 is ISF certified, which simply means all the controls are there and functional to do a really good calibration – the ISF is the Imaging Science Foundation – an organization that trains and certifies professional calibrators.
I am definitely looking forward to the arrival and my doing the review of the 4K UHD BenQ HT9060 LED Projector.  -art

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