So, What’s with 4K? And What is “Pixel Shifting”?
If you are paying attention – online, or at Best Buy, or Costco, you’ve almost certainly noticed that the big thing this year is 4K resolution.
You'll have to strain your brain to figure out why you need 4K if you are sitting 10 or 12 feet from a 50” LCDTV display, because you probably can’t detect any difference at all between 2K (1080p) and 4K at that distance. But if you want to sit 7-10 feet from a 120” screen, so you are immersed with a huge image, (like sitting in a good movie theater), it's easy to see how superior 4K is.
Sadly, as we enter the 2014 holiday shopping season, the lowest cost true 4K projector sold in the US has a list price of $14,999.
But there’s a technology that basically splits the difference. It’s called pixel shifting. At this time, in price ranges not reserved only for the top 1%ers, only two companies are offering pixel shifting – JVC including the RS4910 featured next, and the Epson LS10000, also featured in this holiday guide. With pixel shifting you can take the content, upscale to 4K, but since the projector panels are still only 1080p, you address them twice, but shift the second pass by 1/3 or ½ of a pixel. This gives a smoother more continuous image. There’s some real benefit there, as our demonstrations in reviews have shown.
A well implemented pixel shifting design will allow a 1080p projector to seem almost as detailed and sharp as a true 4K projector when both are displaying standard 1080p, especially off of a Blu-ray disc. In fairness, once true 4K content starts becoming readily available (almost a year out), there will be a more noticeable difference on 4K content, but pixel shifting done right is the way to get the sharpest image today, without the expense of a true 4K projector.