Posted on February 15, 2020 By Art Feierman
The HT9060, is a serious home theater projector from BenQ. How serious? Pretty serious – this is a $8999 list price projector, one that uses the higher resolution 4K UHD chip set – with native resolution of 2716 x 1528 x 2. That is, it is a pixel shifter, firing each pixel twice, shifted, for more detail.
The HT9060 claims 2200 lumens. It not only easily beat claim, but managed a bright 1380 lumens calibrated for SDR, and almost 1800 lumens in HDR! This proves you can build a very nicely bright high quality home theater projector with an LED light engine. That provides the HT9060 with a healthy amount of brightness for projecting especially vibrant 4K HDR content, in a properly darkened room, and also the ability to handle some modest to moderate ambient light. The BenQ HT9060 also looks very sharp! While we found a “rough edge” or two, it is certainly a high quality performer, and easily earned one of our Special Interest awards!
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The HT9060 sports excellent optics, with plenty of zoom range, and extensive amounts of lens shift for easy placement. We reviewed it’s predecessor, the HT9050 and were very impressed by the quality of the optics, compared to much less expensive 4K UHD DLP projectors.
You won’t find “glass” anywhere near this good (nor this much zoom, nor lens shift) in the typical under $2500 4K UHD DLP projectors. If anything, of the 4K UHD DLP projectors, BenQ’s $2499 HT5550 (full review) which uses the lower res chip set, but may be the next best DLP in terms of placement flexibility.
This HT9060 review, to me will seem like a good bit of déjà vu. Over two years ago, we reviewed its predecessor, the HT9050. The two look almost identical, but are very different in certain areas of compatibility.
The HT9060, like its predecessor, used an LED light source. That’s a bit unusual at this price point, as others are mostly using laser light engines. That’s fine though. Most of the benefits of LED light engines are similar to Laser ones, such as how long the laser or LED will last, how they slowly lose brightness, and shift color very slowly over time, compared to lamp based projectors, as well as other advantages.
Generally, though, LED light engines have had a tougher time being very bright. But this BenQ delivers plenty of brightness for the home.
Although the HT9060 is 4K UHD, not native 4K, please note, that if you want a laser light engine based native 4K projector, you are looking at more than double the price!
There are, of course, far less expensive LED based home theater projectors, although, most of them are definitely “home entertainment”, not serious “home theater!” We’ve recently reviewed a few 4K capable DLP projectors with LED engines from under $1500. Believe me, though, those low cost projectors are no match – on many levels, with this BenQ! The old saying “you get what you pay for” applies here.
Overall, feature wise, the BenQ is well endowed. I’ll just mention here, the one “missing” feature we like to see on home theater projectors – motorized lens features to support Lens Memory. That lets you go “wide screen” aka a “Cinemascope” shaped movie aspect ratio.
There is a solution – an anamorphic lens on a motorized sled, but I’m loathe to recommend because of the extra thousands of dollars.
As a result, like 90+% of everyone buying home projectors, you’ll use this HT9060 with a 16:9 aspect ratio screen. What that means to you: The size of those wide screen movies will be smaller than when watching other content. On the plus side, your usual 16:9 sports and HDTV will be even larger than the movies. And let’s not forget that a lot of the movie and streaming content coming out of folks like Amazon, Netflix, Disney, etc, will also be 16:9, rather than the Cinemascope wide screen aspect ratios.
I’ve logged a whole lot of hours on the BenQ so far. The first, obvious thing I can tell you is that it is a far superior projector to the HT9050 it follows, from a practical standpoint.
Now much of that, isn’t BenQ’s fault. The HT9050 was a very early 4K UHD projector – call it first generation. It wasn’t that long ago, but, there are two massive improvements. The older model did not support HDR! I really had a hard time with that aspect. Further, we were talking 1st gen HDR, which few projectors did much more than a decent job handling. Today, most 4K capable projectors have far superior HDR abilities to just 2 years ago. Back with the first generation models, most projectors doing HDR put up a very “dim” looking image. By comparison, HDR on this BenQ “really rocks”, which is a huge step up from “dimness doesn’t cut it!”
OK, let’s get this show on the road. On the next page I’ll cover a number of “special features.” Sure, for some of you, especially those on your 2nd or 3rd projector, these aren’t such “special” features, in that we’re familiar with them, such as CFI (creative frame interpolation) for “smooth motion.” Others like an anamorphic lens ability we don’t write about often, as Lens Memory has become popular for those projectors in this class that have motorized zoom lenses. This feature gives you the option to go with a wide “cinemascope” type screen that matches most movies.
But I digress, check out the next page.
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