Alas, the TK800 is a “home entertainment” projector while the HT2550 is a little bit closer to “home theater” projector. No matter, neither of them can produce really dark blacks on very dark scenes, where that ability is most needed.
It’s not BenQ, or these models, per say. With only one exception so far, of the more than 10 4K UHD DLP projectors to come through here, all are weak. The exception is a $3999 4K UHD laser projector from Acer, which does an adequate job using their laser engine as a dynamic iris on darker scenes.
Photo and Caption Player
Call the BenQ TK800’s black level performance pretty entry level, although there are some sub $1000 3LCD projectors that are slightly worse. Expect the $500 - $700, lower resolution 1080p DLP home projectors to be comparable to this BenQ.
In the player above you will find some comparison images from different projectors, using our Casino Royale – Bond: Night train scene, which we greyscale and overexpose for your viewing consideration. There are a few captions to explain what to look for. In addition, more good examples of black level handling, but with normal exposure are included.
Then there are a few images for looking at dark shadow detail. Again, use the train image, look for details in the shrubs behind the tracks on the right, and in the large dark area of the forest. Also, there’s the Hunger Games image (greyscale and overexposed) of Katniss and Rue sleeping. Look in the lower center and to the left for details in the darkest areas.
Most importantly you bought this projector because you don’t have a fully darken-able man cave/theater. Once there’s even a modest amount of ambient light, significant differences in black level performance become small differences.
Besides, I can’t recommend any other projector around the price that could do better in this regard. The least expensive projector that can, and is 4K capable is about $1000 more. Next:
Shadow detail is very good. I’ve spotted some flattening in the very dark ranges – not enough different color/brightness in an area, so what could be multiple shades has less, but I have mostly found that problem with streaming content, where there’s far more compression than say Blu-ray or Blu-ray UHD. It is also more noticeable in the brighter modes, which may have to do with how BenQ “pumps up” the dynamic look, for modes like Vivid TV, Sports, etc. Those are more worried about bright and average brightness content than very dark content.