Projector Reviews

BenQ HT4050 Home Theater Projector Review – Picture Quality 2

BENQ HT4050 PROJECTOR – PICTURE QUALITY:   HDTV and Sports Viewing, Shadow Detail, Overall Picture Quality

Sports and General HDTV Viewing with the HT4050 Projector

My first day watching sports on the HT4050 was a Sunday, which for me is a lot of football, typically with a friend or two over.  Not only do we watch typical football (American) filling the screen, but I also get GameMix which in the first round of games for the day means 8 games on a single screen.  With 124″ diagonal to work with that’s more than 30 inches diagonal per game.  At that size, each game is watchable.

I spent the whole day with the the HT4050 starting with 8 games at once.  The sharpness of the projector was very good, no issue at all.  For some of the day I had CFI on – smooth motion.  No issue there, although I have more comments on Performance page 2.  I had my window shutters partially open for the day time games, and rear lights on for Sunday Night Football.  There was never a shortage of brightness, although, of course the more lumens, the more I can open the shutters.  In a proper theater therefore, sports viewing with some ambient lighting is not a challenge.  In a more of a living, family room, where conditions aren’t as good, with the right screen the HT4050 will look great, with a good screen the picture might wash out a bit more, but let’s face it, 1800 lumens is a healthy amount.  But, it’s not enough for large screens in those rooms without the right screen, or in rooms with ridiculous amounts of ambient light (check out our video of the G6550 and SI Slate screen in our bright, sun-drenched living room).

I really like the Vivid mode, colors did not get to the point of being really over the top, so football fields, uniforms and skin tones all looked really good despite some ambient light impacting.  Since I have been running the HT4050 in a home theater, for the rest of my HDTV viewing, I ran the less bright “best” mode, which is based on the REC 709 mode.  For HDTV and sports you’ve got two really good modes to choose from, one with extra pop and brightness to deal with more than a little ambient light, and the other ideal for low light to fully darkened environments.

Dark Shadow Detail

Once the Brightness was properly adjusted (a slight adjustment), dark shadow detail handling proved to be very good.  It performed better than  most on the Casino Royale night train scene, with good detail in the shrubs behind the tracks and the darkest part of the woods on the right. Remember our photo of that image has been converted to grayscale and it is tremendously over-exposed so you can see the darkest detail.

Overall Picture Quality

I’ve got nothing to complain about, when it comes to the picture quality considering the price of this BenQ projector.  It just looks good,  with really good skin tones and accurate colors.  The overall image seems “clean” in terms of colors looking right with proper gamma.  Bright scenes are darn good, while dark, and very dark scenes do suffer from less than stellar black level performance.  But that’s OK, as great black level performance projectors typically start at about 50% higher, and even many projectors at that price won’t really outperform the HT4050 at black levels.  Of course in a home entertainment environment with even a little ambient light the differences between a projector like this, and one with truly great black levels will be minor even if it can be huge in a fully darkened room.  So, obviously how you watch has a lot to do whether the HT4050 works for you, or you have a deep need to spend more for a next level up projector.  Overall, picture quality proves to be a real strength when considering this projector’s value at its price point.