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native 4K projector has a native resolution of either 4096 x 2160 (8.8 million pixels) or 3840 x 2160 (8.3 million pixels). While the Epson projectors have a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 (2.1 million pixels), several of their projectors are equipped with pixel shifting giving them the ability to display 3840 x 2160 onscreen.

The latest version of Epson’s 4K PRO UHD (pixel-shifting) is noticeable better than the previous versions due to a new Precision Shift Glass Plate that is quicker and quieter. Every pixel’s image is rapidly shifted 1/4 pixel diagonally and horizontally, allowing each one to do the job of four pixels.

Epson LS12000 precision shifting glass plates
New Precision Shift Glass Plate is quicker and quieter, quadrupling the visible pixels onscreen to 8.3 million

This new version quadruples the visible pixels onscreen, whereas previous Epson pixel-shifting projectors like the 6050UB only doubled them. Newer Epson 4K PRO-UHD projectors can display 8.3 million pixels onscreen, whereas old Epson models like the 6050UB and LS10500 could only reproduce 4.1 million.

When it comes to pixel shift, faster is better. The pixel wobbling is done so fast that it fools your eyes into seeing four times the projector's actual native resolution. In fact, the new system is so quick that pixel shifting is supported at refresh rates as high as 120Hz. This is great news for gamers who own the latest gaming consoles like Playstation5 or Xbox Series X

Epson 4K Pro-UHD logo

I had the opportunity to compare several modern pixel-shifting 3LCD and DLP projectors to native 4K SXRD and DiLA projectors.

When viewed from a normal viewing distance, it is difficult to differentiate between a 4K pixel shift image produced by a 4K PRO UHD projector and an image projected on a native 4K projector.

Factors like higher native contrast and better optics normally have a bigger impact on image clarity than the native resolution of the projector’s imagers.

It is only when you do a side-by-side comparison between a true 4K projector versus a pixel-shifting projector using test patterns that the resolution difference is truly noticeable. In many situations, the content, including movies, lack the fine detail required, or the image is viewed so far away that the difference between 4K and pixel shifting cannot be perceived.

Epson LS12000 and LS11000
4K PRO UHD equipped Epson projectors like the LS12000 and LS11000 cost substantially less than a comparable native 4K projector

Also, native 4K projectors cost significantly more than their pixel-shifting HD counterparts. For example, the new JVC NZ7 ($6,999 SRP), which is a very good 1,900-lumen lamp-based native 4K projector, retails for about two thousand dollars more than the brighter laser light source equipped Epson LS12000 ($4,999 SRP). For many customers, the higher brightest and years of maintenance-free operation provided by the laser source are a bigger benefit than native 4K resolution.

Combined with good image processing, A 4K PRO UHD projector does a very nice job emulating the original 4K content. In addition, these projectors utilize a high-quality 12-element lens to deliver a sharp, crisp picture.

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