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Greetings Projector Fans!

Something different today – Instead of writing about projectors, I thought I’d take a few hundred words to address something most of us are concerned about – climate change.  And if you agree, please click the link and sign my Change.org petition to engage "the space billionaires."

Let’s make a difference. No politics today, just a potential major league solution.

No, don’t make faces… I have a plan. Or rather, others have a plan, we just need the team that can execute.

Here’s the scoop. There are an overwhelming number of things climate change affects – (whether humans are responsible or not) that we need to deal with. So let’s skip the debate (are humans causing it) and let's go directly to solving a very expensive problem, perhaps the most expensive problem in human history.

Sea Level Rise: It seems to me, (and many others) that there’s one area of climate change, that is, by itself, the single largest short term (next 50 years) threat. And yet, it is one that I think we can solve – relatively easily.  So instead of getting bogged down by all the many issues climate change brings that need addressing, let's fix the biggest threat first.

Miami after sea level rise
From The Guardian, a look at how Miami would fare if we have 2 degree Centigrade rise in temps by 2050. aka: "how long can you tread water?"

Nothing will cost more than the global sea-level rise. Most major cities in the world are located by oceans, and are therefore in a large part, just above sea level. London, NYC, LA, Tokyo, Mumbai, Shanghai, Lagos (Nigeria). Calcutta, and Buenos Aires, are the coastal 8 cities (of the 10 highest population cities on earth).  The only two (of the top 10) that aren’t coastal: Mexico City, and Sao Paulo.

The price tag for keeping these cities above water is estimated in the many Trillions of dollars.

Today it sounds like a problem that guys like Musk, Bezos and the other space billionaires can solve for us in the next 15-20 years before we need to spend trillions to keep us above water.  (btw, there’s more info in the actual petition):

Change.org petition: http://chng.it/qXZsCfyh

Yes this is about intelligently solving a major problem, in a relatively affordable way – so:

Let’s Stop sea levels from rising! In 2005, one variation on how to stop sea-level rise was featured as one of 7 major “Earth scale” engineering projects to deal with climate change. 14-15 years ago, it sounded pretty far-fetched. But since then, there’s now a fast-growing space industry, capable of tackling what was “sci-fy” just 15 years ago.

BBC Future

More recently the BBC also wrote about this idea, and thanks to more than a decade, it sounds way more doable in the near future, time to get started:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20160425-how-a-giant-space-umbrella-could-stop-global-warming

An excerpt:

“Space sunshades have support in high places, from the Royal Society to Nasa, to the European Union

…The concept may be increasingly mainstream, but how we’d do it sounds more far-fetched. To uniformly cool the planet in a system that’s always on the move, the shade would be installed in an area of outer space that’s balanced between the gravity of the Earth and the Sun – the L1 point – about a million miles away… “

Sunshade example in Forbes Magazine

Please check out (and sign) my Change.org petition, inviting the space billionaires to do what our governments lack the will to do.  Prevent most of the sea level rise that is predicted.

Let’s involve the “A” team, and then get out of the way.

My change.org page has a link to the original article about a space mirror. One variation is to effectively place sun shades between our arctic ice and the sun, and the same between Antarctic ice and the sun.

We can do this. Others can figure out other aspects caused by warming, change etc., such as bio-diversity, heat waves, rainfall patterns changing…but this one seems to be a solution that can be effective even if we are plodding along working on other aspects of our planet’s environment.

Thanks everyone! Let’s see if we can get folks fixing problems, not just arguing about them. -art

Art Feierman, editor of Projector Reviews, ventured to CES 2020 to give you a behind the scenes look at the home theater and home entertainment projectors being demoed at this year's trade show. CES takes place every year in the first week of January, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and features manufacterer appearances from all walks of technology. In addition to projectors, you can also find incredible advances in smart home automation, gaming, video, sound, and other technologies.

This blog post is meant to be a hub for our behind the scenes videos of CES 2020. It will be updated as more videos come available. If you want to be the first to know when a new projector video goes live, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Elite Screens at CES 2020

The ViewSonic booth at CES 2020 in Los Vegas featured the rather impressive X100-4K smart 4K UHD projector and the compact X10-4K. Check out our video for a behind the scenes look and features of these two projectors:

Click the image above to watch the video!
Click the image above to watch the video!

ViewSonic at CES 2020

The ViewSonic booth at CES 2020 in Los Vegas featured the rather impressive X100-4K smart 4K UHD projector and the compact X10-4K. Check out our video for a behind the scenes look and features of these two projectors:

Click the image above to watch the video!
Click the image above to watch the video!

On the lighter side, as long as I mentioned Screen Innovations – disclosure: On the previous page, I referred to our new digs as our Intersteller HQ. I pretty much stole that from Screen Innovations where when you call in you are greeted by a dynamic welcome to “Screen Innovations Galactic Headquarters.” Personally, “Galactic” works/sounds better than Interstellar, but I don’t want to steal SI’s thunder.

Speaking of Screen Innovations, I did stop by there briefly to chat, they are big not only on screens but also on motorized shades. Along with other screens, they were showing the Solo Pro. In the image just below you are seeing the Solo Pro working with the Epson L500.

Screen Innovations Solo Pro UST 100” diagonal motorized screen. This part of the Epson booth not nearly as bright as where the outside the booth projectors were, but still being hit with more ambient light than most folks have in their rooms.
Screen Innovations Solo Pro UST 100” diagonal motorized screen. This part of the Epson booth not nearly as bright as where the outside the booth projectors were, but still being hit with more ambient light than most folks have in their rooms.

Digital  Projection

Digital Projection was a brief stop, one to reacquaint me with the couple of marketing folks I have met there over the years. To date, I’ve never managed to talk them into letting me review some of their pretty high end and very high-end projectors (they are definitely a high-end company with most of their line well above $10K, and more than a few over $50K. I only briefly entered their large area. I did not sit in on any high-quality movie demos. But the meet went well, and I’m looking forward to our first Digital Projection review. They do commercial and home, so going forward we will be reviewing projectors from both categories.

Sony Projectors Were Next

I knew ahead of time that there would be no new models (not surprising as most home theater projectors are now on a 2-year replacement cycle). That started a few years ago, before that, most projectors were replaced by manufacturers just about every year.

But, I also knew Sony was upgrading two models: Their true top of the line but now rather old VPL-VW5000ES – a $60,000 5000 lumen native 4K unit - a rather a magnificent projector, but it did need an update. The other is the VPL-VW885ES – which was launched in the last cycle.

They are now both upgraded to improve several aspects, but in particular, better black levels thanks to using the laser engine to double as a dynamic iris, and an improvement to the focus adding the Digital Focus Optimizer that was first used with their VPL-VW995ES introduced last year. Hard to argue with sharper focus, and deeper black level performance. (good job Sony). I got a look in their black box theater, but I can’t make a good, real assessment, in a different room than mine, with different content. Still, the VW995ES offered truly impressive black levels, which the VW885ES and VW5000ES should now match. Good news existing owners, older units are upgradable!

cinematic 4k projectors

I mentioned shopping for audio gear above. I plan to blog about my efforts to find some great speakers, and more, without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that the first projector I ever sold, over 40 years ago, was an original Advent TV (projector). I sold those when I was selling some very high-end audio, at various stores in Phila, Delaware, California, and Reading PA. Back in the mid-70’s in a couple of those stores, I could have sold you a $50K stereo back when 911S Porches were $6995!

I will listen to a lot of gear and report back in a couple of months when both rooms are finished.

Kaleidescape Movie Servers

I mentioned Kaleidescape before. I stopped by their booth. Their high-end movie servers have been around serving movies in high-end home theaters/viewing rooms for, I think at least 15 years. Originally the base unit, if I recall was about $50K or more. Great news, they now have two models – the base model the Kaleidescape starts at only $5500 (“only” because compared to $50K, $5500 is a massively more affordable solution – a veritable bargain). You download high-quality 4K content (less compressed than 4K Blu-ray UHD discs, and of course full HDR and P3 color. That base model (with 6 terabytes) will store about 100 4K movies, and there’s an option to go with 12 Terabytes for twice as many movies.

Kaleidescape at CEDIA

The Kaleidescape Strato S Movie Player gets hooked up to one system. If you want the capabilities in more than one room, you need their $3500 add-on unit (no storage), the Strata C, for an additional room. (The units have to be hard-wired to each other.) Now you have a two-room system.

I captured part of the Kaleidescape titles menu, note the easy to access summaries.
I captured part of the Kaleidescape titles menu, note the easy to access summaries.

Note, this isn’t Netflix, Prime etc., in that it is not streaming. Today’s streaming services use a lot more compression than, say, 4K discs, which use more than the Kaleidescape. The picture quality this device provides is a cut (or two) above. The bandwidth needed to immediately stream, thanks to the limited compression, is not practical. Download the movies and then watch! There also isn’t enough WiFi bandwidth in people’s homes, to wirelessly move the content to the satellite Strata C, thus the hard wiring requirement.

Kaleidescape has a more expensive model, call it their flagship: The Terra Movie Server, which can support multiple Strata C satellite units, and is available with 24 or 48 Terabytes.

I’m excited, Kaleidescape will be sending me a Strata S unit for review. (outstanding) I hope it comes loaded with lots of great flicks.

JVC - The New LX-NZ3

– Last year JVC rolled out multiple native 4K projectors using LCoS chipsets. We recently reviewed the middle of that line, the DLA-NX7, a rather awesome projector with great black levels. This year, JVC added a second DLP projector to their lineup, one priced under $4000, and – get this, it uses an LED light engine, that can use the fast dimming of LED to essentially emulate a dynamic iris if I got that all right, from talking with the JVC team.

The LX-NZ38 mounted in the truss work in their black box  room, at CEDIA 2019.  Impressive!
The LX-NZ38 mounted in the truss work in their black box room, at CEDIA 2019. Impressive!

The JVC LX-NZ3 is a 3000 lumen 4K UHD pixel shifter, with 3000 lumens, and has a surprising amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift for a mid-priced DLP projector. The lens is a 1.6:1 zoom. The lens shift, and the zoom range, as it turns out are similar to the BenQ HT5050 (reviewed this past summer), which is another 4K UHD pixel shifting DLP. The NZ38 was demoed in the usual blacked surfaced room (except for one opening), so pretty dark. It looked pretty impressive, but, as always hard to judge at a show, in a special room on content that I don’t use for evaluation.

I’m hoping for one of these JVCs to review. These NZ3's are not available yet, and neither are review units.

LX-NZ38

The LX-NZ3 comes in priced over $1000 less than their 4K capable 1080p pixel shifting RS540. That RS540 is lamp based, while the LX-NZ3 uses a long life LED light engine. My take is that the RS540 is still going to be a step up, overall in picture quality, and has more zoom, lens shift, with its 2:1 lens being motorized. And, it has Lens Memory for working with Cinemascope like wide screens. That said, this new JVC looks to be a quality competitor, if more expensive than the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB,  This 4K UHD projector comes as either the LX-NZ3B (black  finish) or as the LX-NZ3W  (white finish).

That pretty much covers everything I did on day 2, at least, which relates to Projector Reviews.

Stay tuned for forthcoming reviews of a number of the mentioned projectors, the Kaleidescape, and the EPV products I’ve mentioned in our blogs. Thanks! -art

Day 2 at CEDIA included stops at EPV – Elite Screens professional line, Screen Innovations, Digital Projection (high end commercial and home theater projectors), several home automation stops including Lutron Google/Nest, and Brilliant. My last stop was at Kaleidescape. I also spent about two hours checking out the speakers in multiple sound rooms and talking to speaker companies at their booths.

I’ve taken multiple short videos today, including at JVC, Kaleidescape, and Elite’s newest Dark Star ALR screen which is a motorized "roll-up screen for working with UST projectors/laser TVs.

As some of you know we are moving Projector Reviews interstellar HQ from San Clemente California to the town of Osprey Florida (next to Sarasota, south of Tampa/St Pete.) Almost all of my old home theater gear stayed with our former house/HQ, so I’m shopping audio for both a living room “home theater” (going with a UST projector), and a small testing room/home theater (converted bedroom). Both rooms now need proper sound systems.

Epson L500: A rather spectacular image considering this is under full trade show lighting, on a 120” screen! There’s even good detail in the dark areas in the upper right. Wow!

Before I get into the various stops I made on day 2, I wanted to cover one company I saw at the end of day 1, and that was SIM2 the Italian high-end projector company. They set up inside one of the Sound Rooms at CEDIA. Their demo rocked sonically, but the picture is the story. They had a double stack of native 4K DLP projectors – the Dual Nero 4. One of those projectors – is a mere $35K, but purchase the stacked pair, and you’ve found a bargain “only” $60K. I’ve seen a lot of incredible demos over the years, of course prior to a few years ago none were 4K, and none were HDR.

They put on about five minutes of scenes from the movie Lucy – 4K content. The source, was a Kaleidescape, server, so I believe the content has a good deal less compression than 4K UHD Blu-ray discs. The screen was a 169” diagonal Vutec, if I recall correctly. Simply stated, this was single best looking projector demo I have ever seen. I’m not even sure if anything else I’ve seen comes reasonably close. It was shown in a black box room, all black surfaces, so, was essentially completely blacked out, but I view a lot of projectors in my home theater which gets very close in terms of getting that totally dark when I want it to.

Outside the SIM2 viewing room

I thought about whipping out my iPhone X, to take some pictures, but that thought lasted about a second, as there was no way that camera could even begin to capture the range of the Nero 4’s picture in those scenes. I guess you’ll have to buy a pair to see if I’m bullshitting you. (I’m not!) SIM2 also announced their new Laser TV, the 4K XTV. (It is a 4K UHD pixel shifter), not native-like the Dual Nero 4. They showed it more briefly, I’ll reserve judgment.

Here’s an update, I learned at the Epson booth: Yesterday I reported the pricing of the L500 package which included either a 100” or 120” diagonal ALR UST screen, at $4999 and $5999. Today I learned that you can buy it without the screen, and get a $1000 credit towards a different screen if you want. That’s great for the folks like me, who want a motorized, not a fixed wall screen. OK, enough, let’s talk about today’s products – projectors, screens and a 4K movie server like no other.

Day 2: My first new meeting was with Elite Screens in their EPV booth.

First I had to revisit LG, and Epson, to take a few more pictures. After that, I arrived at EPV, With my old online projector company, I was one of their first and largest dealers, in the early 2000s. I still own one Elite screen - an ancient “insta-theatre” portable 80” screen that was once very popular with presenters who were road warriors, carrying around 10-pound projectors plus portable screens.

I mention that because those “insta-theatre” screens pull up out of a base you set on the floor... This new hot product I looked at in the Elite EPV booth, the Power Max Dark Star UST-FR, is also a screen that rises up from the floor – except that in this case, it is a high quality motorized, and tension-tabbed (to keep the screen flat), ALR (light rejecting) screen – suitable for living rooms and other “common” rooms that can’t be fully darkened. When the screen is loosened up, it looks very much like that old manual screen but much longer. We’ve posted a video I took at the EPV booth, showing the screen opening and closing.

A distant shot of the EPV Dark Star UST-FR, to show how bright the trade show floor is.  There’s a closer look at the screen itself, below.

The screen on display was 120” diagonal, and as you can see from these images, it had a little problem handling brighter content, like sports, on the trade show floor, with full lighting. In a normal family room, you’ll enjoy sports all day long with a fair amount of ambient light, or at night turn off most of the lights and enjoy great movies, with good dark scene handling.

In the both these images, the projector paired with the Dark Star, is the LG HU85LA. The combination looks great, which also makes me wonder how the Epson L500 will do since it should be significantly brighter than the LG.

The 120” diagonal Dark Star UST-FR is being projected on by the LG HU85LA UST projector.  You can see the base that the screen retracts into, at the bottom.

This 120” screen looks to be the hottest new thing for this new category of Ultra Short Throw home theater projectors that use laser light engines. These projectors -- usually referred to as Laser TVs – are letting folks finally enjoy 100” and larger screens in those regular, non-home theater rooms. At this time, the Elite is one of two screens I’m looking closely at for our new “living room theater, aka “media room.”

When they start shipping in Q4 2019, the anticipated prices are $3999 for the 100” diagonal and $5999 for the 120”. Elite is shipping one of the pre-production screens for me to review. BTW I think it’s black case that opens for the screen to rise up, needs a little cosmetic work, but then, it’s pre-production and they took a suggestion or two to heart. (we’ll see). The reason for the “cosmetic work” is that people spending for a motorized screen instead of a fixed wall one often choose it because of what should be called the “partner effect” in the old politically incorrect days, it was called the “wife effect.” Well, my partner/wife, agrees, she doesn’t want a large “black hole on the wall of our new living room when the projector is turned off. So the screen case has to be reasonably clean looking.

I can definitely see pairing this screen with the new laser TVs including the LG HU85LA, the just announced Epson L500 (shipping Q1 2020), or the brand new Optoma P1 (arriving for review this coming week). Or, for that matter, any of the other new UST 4K capable projectors hitting the market shortly. Stay tuned for my review of the Dark Star UST-FR. Looks like I will have at least 2 UST projectors in house when the screen arrives. Sounds like fun for me. BTW the other screen I’m considering is the SI Solo Pro screen a motorized UST ALR screen that is the typical mount to ceiling or high on your wall. Rise-up, lower down – doesn’t matter where the screen enclosure is, as long as the screen performs.. I’ll pick what I conclude is the better suited screen for my room.

Greetings From CEDIA in Denver. I’ll be heading to the convention center for Day 2, soon as I finish this quick blog.

The first day had me meeting with LG and Epson, also Stewart Filmscreen, and the Legrand booth. Legrand, for those not familiar, is a company that owns a lot of AV and home automation brands, for yesterday, I was talking to their Da-Lite screen company, about some of the new products. More on that post-show.

Let’s start with LG. As many of you know we just posted our review of the LG HU85LA, which I have to say, is hands down the best overall ultra short throw (UST), laser TV, as the projectors in the category are now being called.

The LG HU85LA was of course on display and being demoed no surprise there at all.

[sam_pro id=1_38 codes=“true"]

Instead of a show floor photo, I thought I’d show you this LG created image, because, well, it’s pretty cool looking.
Instead of a show floor photo, I thought I’d show you this LG created image, because, well, it’s pretty cool looking.

But to my surprise, LG launched another 4K UHD projector at the show. That is the HU70LA. It is a compact DLP projector boasting 1500 lumens, for a list price of $1799. This new HU70LA puts LG squarely in direct competition with a host of other 4K UHD projectors from the likes of BenQ, Optoma, Viewsonic… Unlike most of those, however, it offers voice control, which so far, only Optoma is providing on some of their 4K UHDs. LG, though has a well established “smart TV” capability that most projector companies have to catch up to.

HU70LA

If I recall correctly the HU70LA will be shipping next month. I will double-check, and update if I’m wrong on that. LG will be shipping us a HU70LA review unit when they first become available.

Epson has three new projectors at CEDIA. I already put up an article on their Laser TV, the LS500 based on the provided press release and fact sheets. Yesterday I got to see it in action. First, the L500 is a $4999 MSRP projector including a 100 inch light rejecting screen (ALR). This is a 4000 lumen Laser TV, a 4K capable pixel shifter, and a smart one with the Android TV op system to support smart features, and voice control.

This LG has a LED light engine. Right now, that means its primary competitor is the Optoma UHL55 (see our review posting the week after CEDIA) which is also smart, and also LED-based. The rest of the serious competition is still lamp-based!

Ok, that’s the basics check the full blog for more details. (BTW, missing from that blog – two 10 watt speakers in the front, facing the audience.)

That’s all great, but what does it look like in action? I have to say, my first impression both surprised me, and impressed me.

My first look was while approaching the booth. There were two L500s on the outside of the booth – under full trade show floor lighting. One was running sports (four football games at once, so probably DirectTV GameMix/Sunday ticket?) The thing is, the games looked spectacular on the 120” screen that is one of the screen choices. I never expected it to look that bright and dynamic under that much light.

[sam_pro id=1_68 codes=“true"]

Professional edited image provided by Epson.

The second one was rotating between gaming, smart functions and movie clips. Only on the few pretty dark scenes, did the image take any serious hit due to the ambient light. When I consider how much brighter that show floor is than most people’s living, family and other rooms, I was truly heartened that there is a UST 4K capable projector that really has the horsepower to do great in most rooms, thanks to the 4000 lumens combined with 3LCD (which tends to look brighter – at best color – than similarly bright DLP projectors. (in fairness, on a lumen basis, DLP projectors generally are less expensive. That means I’m not talking necessarily more brightness for the money, just more brightness. And compared to some of the others, a lot brighter. The LG I just reviewed, is great, but definitely not near as bright. The Optoma P1 which is arriving for review next week is another 3000 lumen or less DLP based Laser TV.

The laser TV market is heating up. We just learned we’ll be receiving the new VAVA, another DLP based laser TV for review arriving early October. I’m going to be busy!

Epson’s two other projectors being launched are their Home Cinema 3200 and 3800 replacing their last 3000 series projectors.

The big news – the new 3000 series is now 4K capable (with HDR, of course). Like all of Epson’s other 4K capable projectors including their legendary UB series, the Home Cinema 3200 (HC3200), and Home Cinema 3800 (HC3800) are pixel shifters will be doing a separate blog on these two in the next few days, going into more detail. I didn’t see those in action at the show, but stopping back today, when I have more time.

Wow, even on these, there’s full HDMI 18ghz speed, allowing 4K HDR 60fps support for high res gaming. I expect the same roughly 27ms input lag, which will make these two projectors serious gaming projectors. Not the fastest, but “close enough” to satisfy just about every serious gamer.

Image of Home Cinema 3800 w/caption: 3000 lumens 4K capable pixel shifting projector with 20 watts of sound, with a list price of $1699, shipping October.

Epson has upgraded the lens for these two 3000 lumen projectors, which makes sense, since the older models didn’t have to tackle 4K content. Both have Bluetooth support for audio, while the HC3800 has a pair of 10 watt rear facing speakers, at a list price of $1699 The HC3200 will list for $1499, essentially identical but without the built in sound system, so should be a better deal for those planning to hook it up to an external surround sound system. On the downside, without speakers, you can’t just take it outside for a summer movie night – at least without taking out a speaker system to connect.

[sam_pro id=1_38 codes=“true"]

3000 lumens 4K capable pixel shifting projector with 20 watts of sound, with a list price of $1699, shipping October.
3000 lumens 4K capable pixel shifting projector with 20 watts of sound, with a list price of $1699, shipping October.

Essentially Epson is now pretty price competitive with all the 4K UHD DLP projectors out there.

One thing of note, unlike all of Epson’s more expensive 4K capable projectors, these only tackle the usual REC709 color while the others support full P3 color. Now some of the DLP projectors in the price claim P3 color, not one has come close to achieving it when we’ve calibrated them, so I don’t see either these two Epsons, or any of the 4K UHDs doing P3.

We will review one of the two, since both are so similar, most likely the HC3800 so we can comment on the sound quality.

OK that’s probably too much info on those two.

I’m off to the show now, will be stopping at Sony (they have some updates but not new models), missing from the show this year – BenQ and Optoma. Optoma is demoing their P1 in a partner booth I’ll be seeing that there.

I’ll try to surprise you with some other interesting tidbits and products from the show. Stay tuned, and thanks for “stopping by.” -art

Laser TVs are the big game-changer for enjoying the large screen, immersive experience, without demanding a dedicated theater or cave, and Epson, with their new LS500, shipping early next year, promises a brighter, richer image than the competition thanks to 4000 laser-powered lumens, combined with 3LCD technology.

It’s time to enjoy a 100” to 120” immersive picture in your favorite room of the house. The LS500 will turn your “common” room, into a truly uncommon experience. And that should be true whether your “thing” is movies, sports, music videos, general HDTV, gaming, or all of the above.

As a Laser TV, the Epson has an Ultra Short Throw design (UST) that places it just inches in front of, and inches below the bottom of your screen. It has built-in sound, and smarts. The smarts are Android TV-based as is common in other smart TVs, including OLED and LCD TVs. Run major apps like Netflix. HBO, ESPN, Disney, and other streaming providers.

Control the LS500 and your viewing experience with voice control!

This newest 4K capable projector from Epson is in one major way, similar to their 4000, 5000 and 6000 series models in that it is a pixel shifting projector. Epson calls their pixel shifting (and image processing) 4K UHD-PRO2. Epson hits the screen twice with each pixel shifting it’s location by ½ diameter to all for more detail than without. Although DLP UHD projectors pixel shift up to 3 times (hitting the screen 4 times), Epson has consistently demonstrated that their solution can look as sharp or sharper than the competition, thanks to excellent image processing.

Epson boasts full REC709 color, and support for HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), (the latter being a somewhat newer HDR geared for broadcast). A broadcast TV tuner is optional.

Epson LS500 Laser TV

4000 Lumens requires additional comment. First, most of the home laser projectors, including the UST laser TVs aren’t as bright – typically 3000 lumens on the laser projectors. Add to that the 3LCD ability to produce excellent color without sacrificing many lumens, and the end result should be the brightest viewing experience found in this class of projectors (exception – a $25,000 laser projector).

We anticipate that the LS500 will be an outstanding gaming computer. Epson’s other 4K capable projectors offer 27ms input lag, not the very fastest, but considered to be very good gaming performance, and much faster than most. Add to that the rich HDR picture on 4K 60fps games, and you should be enjoying a gaming experience like no other!

The LS500 will be available in black or white finishes. The package with 100” ALR (light rejecting) screen is announced to be $4999, while the LS500 with the 120” ALR screen is $5999.

The Bottom Line: We’re big fans of these new Laser TVs (aka ultra-short throw projectors + sound + screen). Note, the LS500 also has stereo audio out to feed a larger sound system. They are generally pretty smart, starting to rival most smart LCD TVs.

The Epson LS500 though should prove to be a stand out performer, for several reasons, including our expectation for more calibrated lumens than the competition (and more lumens right out of the box, too), full REC709 color, and lots of smarts, and a two-year warranty.

One additional point I didn’t mention above. These UST laser TVs simplify owning a projector. Finally, no more ceiling mounts, running wires from your “gear” in the front of the room to a projector in the back, etc. Owning the LS500 is really no more complicated than owning a 65” LCD TV mounted to your wall. So why not enjoy an image 2X to 3X the size! Wow.

The only downside: We will all have to wait for Q1 2020, for the first shipments. -art

Greetings Projector fans, our BenQ HT5550 projector for review finally arrives right after Memorial Day so just days away.  To do battle with this new BenQ - a 4K UHD DLP with dynamic iris and claimed great color, right out of the box - is the combination of the Epson Pro Cinema 6050UB, and Home Cinema 5050UB (the full HC5050UB review has been up for weeks) launched in April and should currently, easily be the most popular home projector in its price range.  But if any under $3000 projector can give them a run for the money, it should be the HT5550!

angle shot of HT5550
Along with impressive performance, the HT5550 looks good with the lights on!

We're going to put more focus on these two major projector competitors, with a direct comparison review that I will write when we are done with the projectors.   Here are our plans for the related reviews:

PC6050UB and HC5050UB
The $3999 list PC6050UB is $1000 more than the HC5050UB. That gets you better QC'd lens other parts, etc. Bundled lamp, mount, etc. and an extra year warranty.

Scott has already had a good long look at the BenQ HT5550, which he no longer has access to.  On the other hand, our HT5550 review unit is in transit to us. Eric will calibrate, I will play with it for a few days (shoot a few of my favorite images), and then ship it to Scott who will handle the full review.

Thor movie
Thor and Loki 4K/HDR/P3 - BenQ HT5550

I've also have inbound to me, Epson's Pro Cinema 6050UB, which Eric will also work with.  It may simply work great with the HC5050UB calibration numbers or might require minor tweaking, but both the HC5050UB and PC6050UB should calibrate identically, give or take minor variations in color from lamp to lamp.  Eric will drop in the HC5050UB calibration settings into the 6050UB, run measurements and see if any adjustments are necessary.

Black panther photo
Epson's HC5050UB tackle's the Black Panther's army - 4K / HDR / P3 content

I will write up a review of the Pro Cinema 6050UB - a shorter review focusing mostly on the subtle differences between the two UB models, and referencing the HC5050UB review whenever appropriate.  Once that is done, I will tackle the BenQ HT5550 vs Epson UB comparison.  It should be very interesting. My goal is to have the comparison posted before the end of June.  (that gives me just over 4 weeks). Considering we're selling our house in California (in escrow), and also having an engagement party end of June for Lisa, it will be a challenge to complete by then, but doable.  I'll give it my best.

BenQ vs Epson - A Historic Home Theater Projector Rivalry

There is historical significance to directly comparing the two near-identical variations of the Epson UB with the BenQ HT5550!

BenQ W6000
The vintage BenQ W6000, now 10 years old, was one of the first best 1080p projectors under $5K.

For several years, in the general $2000 - $4000 range over the last decade, we reviewed previous Epson UB projectors which were also the logical predecessors to the HT5550.  Our shoot-outs go back to the original BenQ W6000 vs. the Home Cinema 1080UB, back in late 2009/early 2010. The $2799 W6000 was the first of its series, while the Home Cinema 1080UB was the first in the UB series, priced at $2999, but almost identical to its predecessor, the HC1080 (no UB).

Epson Home Cinema 1080UB
I miss the rather impressive styling of Epson's first UB projector - the Home Cinema 1080UB. The HC5050UB is the 8th generattion!

The key difference for the Epson models - new organic 3LCD panels with much better native contrast went into the newer HC1080UB, offering black levels that were at least the equal to anything from the DLP manufacturers. Epson's aggressive iris design, combined with the new LCD panels allowed the Epson to easily beat out virtually every DLP projector on those very dark scenes. Up until that point, when it came to black levels, the DLP's were the kings of the hill.

At the same time, the W6000, with its DLP chip, improved its black level performance with a dynamic iris as well. BenQ had been using dynamic irises on their top of the line older 720p projectors as well.

The bottom line was that the two projectors (both simple 1080p resolution) represented the best serious home theater projectors without spending far more money. (The next step up, at the time, in my opinion, was the JVC RS10 projector at $4995, a huge increase in investment.

More history: The W6000 (in the US) was replaced by the W7000, then the W7500 and that seemed the end of the series. But the HT5550 is the logical continuation - 4K UHD, iris, the lens with good zoom range, and a respectable amount of lens shift. Those (except the 4K UHD) were all features that made those earlier BenQs stand out compared to the other DLP competition and let it be a serious competitor for the Epson of the day.

cityscape image
The HT5550 tackles a cityscape. The dynamic iris helps.

BTW in the old days, the W6000 was a bit larger than the Epson 1080UB. Today, the new BenQ is larger than the W6000, but the Epson projectors are a little larger still. They got larger when Epson went to offering motorized lens features and lens memory.

Disclosure: Now that I've mentioned 3 major brands; BenQ, Epson, JVC, should also note that those are the only three brands of projectors I have personally owned over the years (I stopped buying projectors for myself in 2010). By that time, since 2003, I had owned three BenQs 1 Epson and 2 JVCs. In 2011 I decided instead of spending my own money, to try to borrow for extended periods, a good reference projector. Most of those, over the years, have been Epsons, but I've also had a couple of Sony's here for extended periods of up to 6 months at a clip.
Perhaps even more significant than the fact that I have owned projectors from those three brands is that every projector I have owned has been one of those three brands. (Not that there aren't other great projectors, but I always chose what I felt was the best projector I could afford at the time.

Hey, I certainly would love to own the $40K Sony VW995ES, but I still have a problem with the “$40,000” price tag.
I always ask for "reference loaner" projectors from a short list of my favorites.

What To Look For in the Projector Comparison

Both Epson and BenQ are generally known for particularly good color and picture quality "right out of the box." Not necessarily really close to being “on the money D65 color”, but well balanced - generally if a projector or OLED TV looks great on a variety of skin tones and shades in different lighting, then the color is at least well balanced, even if a little cool or warm.

I don't know which brand will be closest to "dead on the money" color, but both should look great. I'm basing that on Scott's previous work with the HT5550, and on the pre-calibration performance of the HC5050UB which I used for my projector review.

cityscape
HC5050UB handles a night cityscape from The Black Panther: 4K HDR P3 content.

BTW if the timing works out, I will have both projectors set up in my theater at the same time, if only for a few days.

What do I expect? Good black level performance from the HT5550, but the Epson HC5050UB/PC6050UB should win that war. Still, the BenQ will probably have visibly better blacks than any other sub $5000 DLP projector.

Both claim the ability to do P3 color with HDR. Interestingly the BenQ doesn't use a "cinema" filter (something the less expensive, but impressive HT3550 uses to attempt P3 color), yet claims P3 abilities. We shall see - Eric will let us know how close it gets to P3.

Because BenQ tackles P3 without a cinema filter, and Epson tackles P3 by inserting a cinema filter in the path, that creates a dichotomy in terms of brightness. That's because the Epson essentially gives you a choice - do 4K content with HDR, with P3 color, at a lower brightness level, or be almost twice as bright without the filter, and doing 4K HDR with REC709 color.
Important Note: the differences between REC709 and P3 color are relatively subtle compared to the differences between HDR and no HDR.

What I am saying is that you'll end up with choices like this:

If you want P3 color, with your 4K UDR content, the BenQ will be a bit brighter. But if you need significantly more brightness still, the Epson can provide that by using REC709 color. I don't have measurements yet on the BenQ, but I've been hearing around 1400+ lumens calibrated (that would be P3 color - or as close as it gets).
The HC5050 by comparison, clocks in just over 1200 lumens calibrated (full power, wide angle on the zoom) with P3 color, but over 2100 lumens calibrated with REC709 color.

I do like that the Epson gives you real choice - a lot more brightness, with REC709 color, or slightly less brightness than the BenQ when both are doing P3 color.

Of course, that also indicates that for content other than 4K, with the Epson you have the same choice more muscle or slightly better color, but with 1080 content, the difference in color will be more subtle, since with, or without, the cinema filter you are doing REC709 - no P3 attempt.

The BenQ's key strengths compared are likely to be: inherently a sharper projector (by virtue of a "single-chip" design (so no panel misalignment) and being a 4X pixel shifter while the Epson (also using 1920x1080 panels,is a 2X pixel shifter). The BenQ is also likely to be a little quieter running in full power (I'm not sure about that, just a guess)

While the BenQ relies on a 1.6:1 zoom - which is pretty good range, and a healthy amount of lens shift, it may not have enough for rear shelf placement (high up), whereas the Epson with its 2.1:1 zoom and even more lens shift should have little trouble in most rooms.

The Epson provides power lens features which allows for lens memory for working with "Cinemascope" shaped wide screens. The BenQ doesn't so the widescreen option is only an option for the Epson.

The Epsons are also free of the rainbow effect which a very small percentage of people see (including me) on almost all single chip DLP projectors. I’m curious to see how fast the BenQ’s color wheel is, and the amount of rainbow effect I will see.The BenQ should also exhibit that "famous" DLP "look and feel" which I've always felt - all else being equal, made a typical DLP projector do a bit better on dark but rich colors. Finally, I expect more discounting on the BenQ than the Epson, so there is long term, likely to be at least a $500 price difference favoring the HT5550!

Another Great Projector Coming To Be Reviewed - From JVC

Enough! In other news, JVC has confirmed again, that they will definitely be able to deliver one of their DLA-NX7 home theater projectors (native 4K, $9999), by our drop-dead date of June 15th. This will be our first chance to review one of JVC's native 4K projectors.

JVC NX7 home theater projector
JVC's $9999 DLA-NX7, one of JVC's first generation of native 4K projectors (excluding their old $30K model). Should prove to be awesome.

I will likely write the first look review of the JVC, but let Phil tackle the full review. That should be most interesting as Phil spent much of the past decade as a key AV engineer for Sony projectors. He's provided expert support for years to Sony's internal teams, dealers, distributors, and those of us who review their projectors. (Getting him to review for me has been a real find.) Ron, who some of you remember, retired 18 months ago, another expert AV engineer, but Phil's street cred and knowledge goes way beyond even Ron's expertise. (If you ever attended one of the major trade shows and managed to get into a technical presentation, in booth or in a suite, it was probably Phil who was presenting.

Therefore: Expect (unless JVC doesn't deliver on time), a full review of the JVC NX7 to publish in July, so that it, like the BenQ HT5550 (and HT3550), as well as the Pro Cinema 6050UB and Home Cinema 5050UB, will all be included - along with others, in our 2019 Best Home Theater Projectors Report, which will publish first half of August. At that time you will learn which projectors will be winners of our prestigious Best In Class awards.

That's all for now! Lots more coming. PS also waiting for the Optoma P1 and other UST 4K UHD projectors that should start shipping in the next 2-3 months. -art

Today the Pro Cinema 6050UB is officially Epson's most advanced home theater projector.  It joins the Home Cinema 5050UB, giving us a pair of a nearly identical set of choices.  To claim its bona-fides as a projector built to properly handle today's 4K content, with HDR and P3 color, Epson calls their solution 4K PRO-UHD.

PC6050UB
The Pro Cinema 6050UB - 2600 white and color lumens, lens memory, and full 4K capabilities!

Overall the 2600 lumen, $3995 Pro Cinema 6050UB, is a projector capable of being at home in a wide range of rooms from the proverbial dedicated home theater (aka "man-cave" - or better "people-cave"), to family rooms and dens, media rooms, and spare bedrooms.  For your home theater investment, Epson includes with the 6050UB a spare lamp, a ceiling mount, and a cable cover, those goodies are not included with the HC5050UB.  The Pro Cinema 6050UB also gets an upgraded warranty - three years parts and labor with a rapid replacement program for all three years!  Epson ExtraCare Road Service.

The PC6050UB is loaded with features and performance.  Features start with tremendous flexibility thanks to its 15 elements, all glass 2.1:1 zoom lens and almost 100% vertical lens shift.  Wow!.  Yes, there's plenty horizontal lens shift too.

But, the really great stuff is about the picture.  Epson's UB series projectors have long offered the best handling of really dark scenes of any projectors without spending more and handling those very dark scenes far better than the competition.

4K Capabilities

Then there's 4K content - with HDR - the Pro Cinema 6050UB provides support for both HDR10 used by Blu-ray UHD and HLG for 4K broadcast and streaming.

New 18 GHz HDMI provides full HDMI 2.0 capabilities - 4K at 60fps with HDR and P3 color.  New Tone mapping with real-time HDR curve adjustment provides a brighter and better-balanced image with HDR than previous Epsons and many other projectors.

ghostbusters photo
Dark scenes are a specialty of the UB series. This Ghostbusters image was projected with an HC5050UB, using a Canon 60D

This PC6050UB is another evolutionary step in what is now the over 10 years old and still highly acclaimed UB projector series.  Thanks to some real strides, especially in handling HDR, but also image processing and pixel shifting, the 6050UB should feel like a real step up from those models that came before. Epson is touting some new hardware based processing in three areas, to enhance speed, improving performance.

Speaking of pixel shifting, this Epson uses 1080p LCD panels 1920x1080 x 2, because Epson fires each pixel twice to create a sharper more detailed image. This is similar to most 4K UHD DLP projectors, which are also 1920x1080 but the DLPs do more pixel shifting.

Taken with the similar HC5050UB, the image appears to have a certain clarity not found on many projectors.

The PC6050UB's got game!  Break out your X-Box Playstation or other fav, or maybe a gaming PC. We haven't tested input lag yet, but expect, based on the other recent Epson projector launches, that the PC6050UB will measure less than 30ms input lag.  That should easily satisfy most serious players (but it's still not as fast as a specialized gaming monitor).

We are looking forward to reviewing the Pro Cinema 6050UB.  One is expected shortly.  But, reviews take time.  The day after this announcement blog publishes, we will provide a lot more information and insights on the projector.  Stop back to our homepage.

Here's some background on Epson. They are by far the largest seller of projectors in North America.  Epson is part of Seiko Epson (yes Seiko watches), which in turn is part of the larger Epson Group an approximately $10 Billion US company operating worldwide.  One more thing.  Your author - and site editor, was an employee of Epson for four years, but that was long before projectors when Epson dot matrix printers ruled the world. -art

Coming off the exhilaration of March Madness and moving into a long season of NBA and NHL playoffs, MLB games and Champions League Futbol matches, watching sports is a daily occurrence in my home right now. While we can only hope that the next few months are filled with buzzer beaters and shootouts, triple plays and hat tricks, we can make sure that our viewing experience is a close second to sitting courtside regardless of the score.

A few weeks ago, I was at a local Brooklyn sports bar, watching the epic ending to the Auburn vs. UVA Final Four matchup, and I noticed that I was more engaged in the game than ever before. I was holding my breath, on the edge of my seat, watching those last few seconds anxiously peeking through my fingers covering my eyes. I have no real connection to Auburn or UVA, and my bracket was already busted. So what was it about this viewing experience that had me so deeply captivated? An incredible projector.

When I watch sports, I want to feel like I’m part of the action. I want to see the emotion on the athletes’ faces and the sweat on their brows. I want the picture to be so sharp and the screen to be so large that I can make the calls that instant replay is meant for. I also want to have this experience at the neighborhood bar or in my own home. That’s where a great projector comes in.

Projectors put you on the field, right up against the ice, above the dugout, without shelling out hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars multiple times a year for those can’t-beat seats. They give you the opportunity to watch the game on a huge 100 inch plus screen, with 4k resolution and no need to pay $12 for a beer. And as technology has advanced, it's possible to purchase a 4k projector without breaking the bank. But here’s the thing; not all 4k projectors are created equal when it comes to building the sports-watching experience of your dreams, and it can be overwhelming and time consuming to search through the countless options available.

That’s why we did the work for you and came up with this list of high-quality 4k projectors, all at an incredibly reasonable price that are ideal for watching sports:

Flexible Budget

For when your pricepoint is flexible, and you’re looking for something special:

Sony VPL-VW295ES: This projector is native 4k, which is even better than the typical 4k projectors on the market. Native 4k offers the most clarity out there at 8.8 million pixels. That’s the same resolution that you get in movie theater projectors, and now you can bring that same clarity into your home. Sony offers a variety of native 4K projectors, and this is the entry level of the bunch, at the most affordable price point. With the ability to watch IMAX movies on this projector, you’ll have little reason to ever pay for entertainment again!

Dark Room

Epson Home Cinema 5050UB

For those with dark rooms perfect for an in-home theater:

Epson Home Cinema 5050UB:  Brand new on the market, this projector is perfect as a dual movie and sports projector. Everything you watch on this projector will put you right in the middle of the action. At $2,999 it doesn’t come cheap, but the investment is worth it for years of epic entertainment. With 2600 lumens, it’s brightness, color and picture accuracy are astonishing in dark rooms, and also offers a solid sports viewing experience in brighter rooms, ensuring you get the perfect viewing experience no matter what or where you’re watching.

Great Quality On A Budget

Epson Home Cinema 4010: At $1,999 this projector offers the same 4k clarity and fantastic color as the previous Epson mentioned, but with 2400 lumens instead of 2600. This slightly affects the contrast but isn’t too noticeable. A great choice for sports fans looking to watch on a large screen in their dark or lightly lit home theaters.

Sports Viewing

BenQ TK800 Front

BenQ TK800: This projector is the perfect choice as it has specific settings for football and other sports, as well as modes for numerous other types of content. At 3,000 lumens it’s very bright, and tends to work best in rooms that don’t have perfect light control. With this brightness, you can get a massive screen, larger than 100 inches without sacrificing much in terms of color. At $1,099 the price is incredibly fair for the quality achieved. For the best viewing experience, we recommend using an ALR (ambient light rejecting) screen with this projector.

Paired with a giant screen for a life size viewing experience, these projectors set you up for an immersive experience made for the best time of year in sports. Stock up on popcorn on crackerjacks, beer and lemonade, and hurry up and get shopping for the perfect sports projector.

So you finally finished reading all of the blog posts, advice and reviews for help deciding what kind of projector to get. You’ve ordered the projector, and now it’s been sitting in your living room in its box for the past few weeks. Why? Because you forgot that you need a screen to go with it!

Unless you’ve decided to use a blank wall for your projector, you’re going to need a screen to project onto. Similar to projectors, there are myriad types of screens and you could spend months researching the different screen types, colors, materials, tensions, ratios, sizes, etc. If you’re the kind of person who has enough time and interest for that, go for it - you’ll definitely end up with the right screen for you.

I recommend an alternative approach for most home entertainment projector users. It will save you some time, and you’ll still end up with a quality projector screen that fits your needs. First, read this blog post that reviews the most frequently seen types of screens and the most important elements to consider (I’m only going to talk about screens that are sold as is, not custom). After you’ve decided on the type of screen, go to your favorite online store for tech purchases and search for that type of screen. Then, read the reviews for the screens in your price range and choose the one that works best for you.

Portable screens and permanent screens are the two primary types of screens on the market, and each has various subtypes - if you know which one you prefer, feel free to skip to the section relevant to you.

Permanent Screens

Fixed Wall Screens: This type of screen is exactly what it sounds like. It’s fixed in place, and attached to the wall kind of like a wall mounted TV except flatter and bigger. They come in many different sizes, with various widths and colored borders so you can ensure the screen fits its room. Fixed wall screens can be great for rooms that will be used specifically for viewing - think home theaters, family rooms, etc. They can serve as the focal point of a room, and the rest of the design can work around it. Because these screens are fixed, they often last longer than other screens as you aren’t fiddling with them, and the picture tends to be a bit better.

Manual Screens: These are similar to the maps in elementary school classrooms - the ones that snap up and spin around if you pull down too hard - except better quality. Manual screens can be attached to the ceiling or wall and allow the screen to be hidden when not in use. Manual screens are some of the least expensive screens on the market and also come in a variety of sizes and screen types. Because of the constant up and down, they often need to be replaced sooner than other types of permanent screens.

Motorized Screens: The same as manual screens but you don’t have to do the work! Most motorized screens come with a remote. Motorized screens can be attached to the wall or ceiling, or if you want to get really fancy, can even be inserted into the ceiling or hidden in a piece of furniture. They tend to be significantly more expensive than other types of screens.

Portable Screens

Floor Screens: These types of screens retract into a base a little wider than the screen, making them portable. They are heavier than other types of portable screens but are more solid and are very easy and quick to set up. Most are manual though there are some electric options on the market.

Tripod Screen: Like its name, this is a retractable screen on top of a tripod. The tripod itself can be folded down and the screen is in a base similar to a floor screen. They come in multiple sizes, but not quite as many as other types of screens.

Folding Screen: Folding screens are the most portable option as the frame fold into itself and the screen isn’t attached to it’s frame. They are similar to tripod screens except they have two legs instead of one tripod. They are often more expensive than tripod screens and a bit more difficult to set up, but they are more flexible and allow you to switch out the screen fabrics easily.

Inflatable Screen: These screens are typically used outdoors as they are inflatable and often waterproof. They are easy to set up - most of them inflate and deflate themselves without a manual pump - and are easy to store. They also come in extremely large sizes and are usually pretty affordable. The picture quality isn’t quite as good as with other screens, but they do the trick, especially for outdoor movie nights!

There are a few other types of screens on the market, but these are the ones with the most options that are most frequently used for home entertainment purposes.

After selecting the type of screen that’s best for you, there are a couple of other things you need to know/decide before reading specific reviews.

First, what’s the aspect ratio of your projector and do you want it to match the aspect ratio of the screen? If they aren’t the same, your image will either be too large for the screen or smaller than the screen.

You must choose where your projector is going to be set up. Then, you can figure out screen size based on the distance between screen and projector - that’s called the throw ratio. Usually, there will be some kind of guide that came with your projector, or you can easily search for an online calculator to help you out.

You should also think about how much ambient light will be reflecting onto your projector. Some screens do better than others in dealing with ambient lights.

Combing through the options can be daunting, but narrowing down your choices and making a few decisions beforehand will ensure you end up with the right screen for you.

© 2023 Projector Reviews

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