Projector Reviews

BenQ TK800 4K UHD Home Entertainment Projector Review-Special Features 1

BenQ TK800 4K UHD Home Entertainment Projector Review-Special Features 1: 

Silence Mode, Audible Noise from DLP Chip, 4K UHD Resolution Explained, 3D, Brilliant Color, CFI (not) 

4K UHD Resolution Explained

It’s barely the end of year one of 4K UHD projectors, so I try to provide a quick understanding of how the two different resolutions of 4K UHD projectors compare, and also how they compare to other 4K capable projectors including true 4K projectors.

4K UHD:  So far, they are all DLP, using one of two Texas Instruments DLP chips.  The lower resolution 4K UHD, which first starting shipping in a BenQ projector in January (2018) has a resolution of 1920x1080x4.

Let’s start with what a True 4K projector is:  It has panels or chips that produce at least 3840×2160 pixels all neatly in a matrix, no pixels overlapping other ones.  That can provide direct 1 to 1-pixel mapping with the source.  No fudging.  Ideal.  (Unless of course there’s sufficient misalignment of the three different color panels.)

4K image from Netflix - Jessica Jones
4K image from Netflix - Jessica Jones

Do the math – multiply 3840×2160 and you get about 8.3 million pixels.  The CEA organization which produces the CES show, defines 4K UHD as any device that can display 8.3 million essentially non-identical pixels, even if the pixels are far larger than on a true 4K projector.  But good old 1080p is 1920×1080, which is only 2 million and change, so these UHD projectors fire each pixel four times, while slightly moving pixel, each time to that in the case of projectors, they hit the screen with 8.3 million bigger pixels.  In between the two are the projectors we call 1080p pixel shifters – 1920x1080x2 – so only 4.15 million pixels not enough to make the cut as “4K UHD” even though pixel size is the same.

The important point is that there is no night and day difference in sharpness between these resolutions.  For example, if you are sitting 25 feet back from a 80” image, it is unlikely you could tell the difference between the sharpness/detail between these four types.  But at 5 feet away you will be able to see a difference, but it still won’t be dramatic.  Hey, the sharper, the better, but there’s always a cost consideration.

And keep this in mind:  There is little difference at all if not watching 4K content, at least as far as detail/sharpness goes.  Rather, the significant differences between projectors will be in other areas, brightness, color handling, certain features…

These 4K UHD DLP projectors can’t produce as fine or detailed an image as a true 4K projector, all else being equal.  In the middle between those two resolution classes, are the 2716x1528x2 4K UHD projectors.  Smaller pixels, and theoretically a bit more expensive, than the other UHDs they fall in between the others in detail and sharpness.  On the bottom of the pile are the 1920x1080x2 projectors.  Call those 4K Capable.  They only hit the screen with half of the 8.3 million pixels, so they aren’t 4K UHD. Still, their pixel size is the same as the lower end 4K UHD DLPs.  Sharpness differences between those and the BenQ are more likely related to single-chip DLP vs. 3 chip 3LCD.

Silence Mode

Silence mode is important. And essential to understand what it does.  First, yes the projector is quieter, but…

…Silence mode turns off the pixel shifting, turning the TK800 into a true 1080p projector (1920×1080). The thing is, first time you engage Silence mode you discover that the rather significant hum-like sound coming from the projector, decreases dramatically (about 10db would be my guess).  You are probably mostly watching 1080p content so far, so enjoy the quieter mode for that content, to enjoy the extra quiet. 

Audible Noise from DLP chip

This hum type sound is a full step louder than I’m finding on the higher resolution 4K UHD projectors I have here, so I conclude from this, that pixel shifting only one time adds far less to the projector’s overall noise level that pixel shifting 3x.   The other two 4K UHDs here at the moment that are using the same chip as the TK800 have very similar humming sound levels.

All considered, that makes this TK800, as well as other 4K UHD projectors using this chip, a bit noisier than most would like in a dark home theater, but no one’s going to care watching sports, or a sitcom, in a room with some light – it’s a different viewing world.  As a fun home entertainment projector, I can live with the hum and fan noise, but a bit quieter on the hum I would appreciate if watching a movie with soft spots.  Not the best, but not a deal breaker.  If this bothers you, the more expensive 2716x1528x2 res 4K UHDs are much quieter in terms of his hum-like sound.


YES! BenQ has been producing good 3D for many years now.  If there’s any noticeable ghosting its almost certainly the content, not the TK800.  I’m just glad it has 3D.  I watched some I, Robot in 3D, and some interplanetary scenes from Jupiter Rising.  Excellent, fun, and major league immersive.  I was projecting as large as 115” diagonal wide screen, sitting about 10 feet back for 3D.  

These days, for us fans of 3D, we should be happy BenQ provides us with 3D. Many of the 4K UHD projectors do not offer 3D anymore.  Too bad. Note, the non-DLP crowd – 3LCD and LCoS projectors still almost all support 3D.  Look, I get it, 3D outside the theater, died on cable/satellite because it never caught on with owners of LCD TVs because it deserved to die in that market.  

3D is about being immersed in the content, being even better able to “suspend disbelief.”  The more of your view is occupied by the content’s entire image, the more immersive.  3D is incredible on the big screen – whether downtown or upstairs.  3D just doesn’t cut it on the small screen.  It’s mostly that simple.  

It doesn’t cut it on the average home LCD TV because even 65” LCD TVs are on the “tiny” side.

Brilliant Color

Brilliant Color is a feature that most DLP projectors offer.  I understand that the basics are provided by TI, to their DLP customers. The manufacturers can make some choices. Some companies have as many as 10 steps in this “image enhancing” control, which mostly brightens and ups the dynamic look of the image.  Non-DLP projectors all have their own multi-controls too.  In the case of this (and other) BenQs, they offer a simple off and on options. That’s fine. 

There’s definitely a bit more pop to the On, but there’s always a small amount of price to pay, which I’ll cover in the Picture Quality section.  Brilliant Color you would typically want on for sports and most non-movies, but depending on the projector, it often doesn’t provide as natural looking image for serious movie viewing.  

Eric our calibrator makes the decisions based on measuring, in this case, whether to leave Brilliant Color on or off when he calibrated this TK800.


CFI is MIA – missing in action!   Smooth motion is what we’re talking about. Lacking Creative Frame Interpolation is a mild bummer for some sports fans, but I’ve always said, a nice feature for sports, not so much for other HDTV, and usually a bad idea for movies. Most sports on TV other than movies are shot at 30fps or more, so doesn’t provide that much benefit, but it adds a nice touch.  As a brighter room projector, one that should appeal to sports fans, the lack of CFI is a mild disappointment to me.  That could have been another characteristic to differentiate the TK800 from its darkroom twin.