More importantly, the HT2550 may not meet my definition of true 4K, but as I just said, it really does produce a very nicely sharp image. It can appreciate 4K content, and do more with it, than with good old 1080p (Blu-ray), or 1080i (most HDTV) content.
Color, right out of the box, proved extremely good. I won’t be able to tell you how accurate the colors are until we calibrate a production version, but I had no complaints watching it. All these images in this First Look Review were taken in various modes, without any adjustment. If you think some of these images look great here, you should see the HT2550 putting out the content on a screen, not a photo of that, compressed and viewed on your little display.
For $1499, and 4K content capabilities, it is truly impressive. It’s going to make it difficult for those looking to spend $1500 or less, to find a standard 1080p projector that can rival the value.
The HT2550 supports HDR - high dynamic range that is touted and found on most 4K content including just about all Blu-ray UHD movies. Like just about all projectors and most LCD TVs, it isn't bright enough to fully implement HDR, so like everyone else they have come up with their idea of the best compromise. The other part of enhanced picture quality that is available on a lot of 4K content is support for the wider color space known as P3 and typically referred to as BT.2020. In theory, P3 (as close as anyone gets to BT.2020), has more intense and more color range than the standard REC709 which we've been used to for all our HDTV and Blu-ray the past 15+ years.
Unfortunately, like all other lamp based projectors, about 80% or so of P3 is about all lamp based projectors can achieve, and that isn't that much greater than the old standard. It is interesting therefore, that while all the 4K UHD projectors (and the true 4K Sonys and the 4K content capable pixel shifting 1080p JVC and Epson projectors) support HDR (well, all but one), Most of the 4K UHD projectors are not supporting P3/BT.2020.
Again, this does not reflect badly on this BenQ, rather, its a limitation primarily of using conventional lamps. Laser based projectors (and possibly many LED light engine projectors,) do much better. So, while the HT2550 doesn't try to do P3, there's nothing else around the price that does. And when I took a close look at Optoma's $2499 UHD65, there was no obvious superior color result when comparing the color with P3, and then viewing the same content with REC 709.
Black level performance is fairly entry level. None of the under $5K, 4K UHD projectors we’ve seen yet, do great blacks, or even really good black performance. That’s an area BenQ and other DLP manufacturers need to work on. Most of them have some history with dynamic irises. To make this a truly serious home theater projector – rather than “home entertainment”, better black levels are called for. Those better black levels on very dark scenes, are what separate the lower end projectors from the really “serious” home theater models. BTW like other DLPs, the HT2550 has more native contrast than 3LCD, but that doesn't solve the problem of blacks on very dark scenes looking gray. Dynamic irises cheat in some ways, but the end result is it improves the handling of those dark scenes.