Projector Reviews

BenQ HT9060 4K UHD Home Theater Projector- Picture Quality 2

HT9060 Projector – Picture Quality:  Watching Sports, General Non-HDR viewing, Picture Quality – The Bottom Line

HT9060 Sports Viewing

Before I get into the picture itself, note that the HT9060 lacks CFI (creative frame interpolation) aka “smooth motion.”  While I am not a fan of CFI on movies and most content, I do find it to be a plus on most sports viewing.  Fortunately sports coming too you is likely to be at least 30fps.  And if you are getting 60fps sports, well, CFI brings very little to the party – your content is already really smooth.

HT9050 handles ambient light on sports
Rich vibrant colors on this Vivid mode sports image, despite window shades partially open letting in light.

I did most of my sports viewing in Vivid mode – uncalibrated. I used the projector in my theater with its very dark walls, floor, and ceiling, but with either a small light on at night, or with the blackout shades covering each of the bay windows, and the side window, open slightly to let in the daylight. The HT9600 has no problem in Vivid. If I darkened the room a lot, then Vivid starts looking a bit over the top. Either switch to the calibrated User 1 mode (our settings), or perhaps stick with Vivid, but dial back the saturation slightly, with less ambient light.

The teams – and the football fields, and the player’s faces, all looked really good, so there were no visual distractions from enjoying the football and basketball (and even a bit of golf).

The very sharp optics make for a really crisp picture. My only complaint – I don’t yet have 4K sports to view, but that will be addressed in my new theater, in the upcoming months.

Bottom line on sports viewing: The HT9060 puts up a very sharp image, with vibrant colors, and reasonable accuracy for sports. There are brighter projectors, and plenty with CFI, but assuming you are a “movies first” type person – if you were sports first, this BenQ probably wouldn’t be your first choice. In that case, there are plenty of less expensive projectors that could provide a better value, some with a lot more brightness, if needed.

General Non-HDR Content (General HDTV, movies)

Using our User 1 calibrated mode, on non-HDR content, first of all, looked really excellent, in terms of color accuracy. RGB were nicely in balance in terms of a proper grayscale.

That translates into skin tones that look right, blue skies that look right…While a lot of the non-HDR content I watched was 1080 res off of Infinity (Comcast) cable, I also watched a fair amount of 4K from Netflix, notably The Blacklist and some Marvel episodes.

Overall picture brightness on non-HDR was very good, the gamma Jason setup with his calibration was close to the movie 2.4. I prefer a slightly brighter gamma closer to 2.2, which was an easy adjustment. I preferred that on essentially all of the non-HDR content I viewed.

Black level performance, even with Smart Economic slightly behaving as a dynamic iris, was still lacking. I didn’t find it to be noticably better (just slightly), best I can tell, than BenQ’s more affordable HT5500. On non-HDR content, the Epson 5050UB our low cost reference for black level performance, does slightly best this BenQ HT9060, the same for the JVC’s in the price range. Dark shadow detail was excellent.

Blacklist close-up
A close-up of a Blacklist (4K, SDR) image in the player above. Very sharp. Note the text on the floor emblem

The 4K picture from Blacklist, for example, was exceptionally sharp. Remember, the better 4K UHD projectors with the 2716x1528x2 DLP chip can often appear sharper than native 4K projectors that have to align their red, green, and blue panels. This BenQ will certainly give similarly priced Sonys and JVCs that are native 4K, a run for the money when it comes to perceived sharpness.

Overall Picture Quality

My primary complaint with picture quality has to be when viewing 4K content with HDR.  Jason found that while overall color accuracy “out of the box” in terms of the HDR mode, are reasonably good, the picture is a touch cool, and sometimes, to me, noticeable.   Mind you, this is not something that people who never have adjusted their TVs are likely to notice.  

As you can see from the numbers on the Performance and Calibration page, the miss in color accuracy isn’t great at all. But! Non HDR modes like User 1 and 2, also offer full color controls, and allow for a visibly and precisely more accurate image.

IMAX 4K image
Journey to the South Pacific – 4K HDR, IMAX. Vibrant, sharp, in HDR10 mode. (HT9060)

 

I should also mention that there is a large faint horizontal band in the lower 20% of the screen, which has a reddish caste visible (just barely) on very, very dark scenes. You can see it in some of the images. Please note that a) shooting low light images, tends to magnify things like the reddish caste, which is barely noticeable during normal viewing, and b) This is more likely the result of this being an early production model that has been shipped a few times… I would be surprised if this band something found on most units.

Black Panther challenge
BenQ HT9060 - The Black Panther - The BenQ produces rich saturated colors on this 4K HDR content.

The very bottom line: The HT9060 offers a large color gamut for a richer color experience, even if a bit on the cool side with HDR. Overall, the HT9060 is right on the money for everything not HDR. It’s very easy to like this projector, especially thanks to the obviously very good optics.

When it comes to overall picture quality, the HT9060 is definitely a contender in the not far under $10,000 price range.  The processing seems very good.  I should note that everything looked especially clean when I was feeding content from the Kaleidescape Strato S movie server that I am also reviewing.  The Kaleidescape content is comparable, or in some cases, slightly cleaner on 4K UHD content compared to the same content coming from my Sony UBP-1000ES player.

If you like that “DLP look and feel” which I sometimes describe as the ability to produce appropriately rich colors in very dark areas, without looking over the top, then definitely count this BenQ as worth serious consideration if you don’t need a feature it lacks, such as lens memory.  But that’s not about Picture Quality…

Next up – Performance – including measured brightness, and color balance, sharpness, and more