BenQ doesn’t call it a P3 Color filter, but that is essentially what it is. It slides into the light path when using D Cinema mode. The most obvious effect is a loss of about half of the brightness. The less obvious effect – and the real benefit is that with the filter in place to better “even out” the color space, the HT3550 can now produce the noticeably superior P3 color (same as movie theaters).
Well, they claim 95% of P3. And that’s pretty great. With the HT3550 this allows you an interesting choice. You can watch HDR content with P3 color, in D. Cinema (which becomes HDR10), or watch HDR in Cinema - which doesn't use the cinema (P3) filter, providing more brightness, but the lesser REC709 color space.
The new, production HT3550 tackles a vivid Ghostbusters 2016 scene. 4K HDR with P3 color!
Pre-production HT3550 tackling a color-rich scene from Journey to the South Pacific, in 4K HDR/P3. Reds and oranges, are "over the top", especially oversaturated. Still, it looks pretty darn good here with overall saturation control reduced.
Despite my complaints about the pre-production unit's P3 color, it did a fine job on skin tones in 1080 with REC 709 color. This is an HDTV image from the Victoria Secret swimsuit special.
Use Cinema mode instead – no color filter, and the picture brightens but the color space is reduced back to 97% of REC709, the multi-decade standard we have long been used to for HDTV and Blu-ray disc.
You get to choose! HDR and P3 Color for Darkened Rooms, HDR and REC709 for rooms with ambient light. Interesting is those are similar to the choices the more expensive Epsons (models starting at $2K), get because they have long relied on a color filter for the best possible color. They too deliver P3 with filter in place and REC709 in modes without the filter.
Note: The two images above are 4K UHD / P3 images, here for your viewing pleasure.
I think both companies have come up with a very practical approach, allowing for a little less color precision in exchange for a real boost in brightness, for dealing with ambient light. And when I say less color precision, I’m talking about still the same level (or really, the size of the color space) we’ve been used to (REC709) as the best available prior to 4K with P3.
The best part of this is that as the owner of the BenQ HT3550, is in control, time of day, what you are watching, how much light you want on in your room when you are watching -- it's your choice - more brightness and REC709, or less brightness and P3. Power to the people! Nice to have the choice.