There are 4K projectors, and then there are 4K Projectors – to paraphrase James Bond in Casino Royale. Sony’s VPL-VW285ES is the first true 4K projector under $5000 That is, some projectors have true 4K resolution while others can accept 4K content, and use techniques to get improved results out of lower resolution projectors This section’s list of projectors includes both types, that is projectors with true 4K panels/chips therefore have either 4096×2160 or 3840×2160 resolution without any of that “pixel shifting”, and those accepting 4K content that are 1080p projectors, or 4K UHD projectors (which aren’t true 4K as I keep saying) Both put content on the screen that is higher resolution than 2K or 1080p. That means we are including projectors using pixel shifting, such as currently shipping JVC home theater projectors and Epson home theater, and business projectors. And including the new class of projectors using the “above 2K” DLP chip, like those from Optoma and BenQ, referred to as 4K UHD – 2716x1528x2 resolution, but those use a 4.3 megapixel chip with pixel shifting, that meets the 4K UHD standard. True 4K is at least 8.3 megapixels with no pixel overlapping. These 4K UHD chips are 4.15 megapixels but fire twice with the pixel shifting to deliver 8 megapixels. We reviewers would have been a lot happier, and consumers less confused if they weren’t called 4K UHD, but merely UHD projectors, as it’s definitely a bit misleading. By comparison, pixel shifting 1080p projectors like the JVCs and Epsons only deliver 4.15 megapixels of data not 8.3, when pixel shifting, so they are 1920x1080x2 resolution. I previewed one in the 4K UHD DLP prototype projectors in the DLP suite at the CES show, while Optoma showed one on the show floor, and BenQ announced one. See my blog regarding the new chip. The era of 4K projectors is really just getting going. At the moment there are a few true 4K projectors and a number of other ones that can accept and process 4K content. The numbers may be few now, but by 2018, projectors accepting 4K content or doing pure 4K will be far more common, and prices will fall dramatically. At this time (1/2016) there are four different classes – types of projectors claiming something of being 4K. True 4K Projectors! There are a few true 4K projectors, there will shortly be “3K” projectors claiming to be 4K, using pixel shifting techniques, and there are already 2K (1080p) projectors using pixel shifting that can accept 4K content. True 4K projectors are pretty rare. As of this time, only Sony is offering true 4K projectors for home, while Sony and Canon have models shipping for business/education. Note, both are LCoS technologyThose would be true 4K projectors – they essentially use 8 megapixel devices (whether DLP, 3LCD or LCoS). They have the smallest sized pixels thus can provide maximum resolution. Reviews of 4K Projectors Dell S718QL – A 4K UHD, Ultra Short Throw, Laser Projector Review The Dell S718QL is pretty impressive! I have already blogged that this Dell projector represents one…Read More March 13, 2018 Vivitek HK2288 4K UHD Home Theater Projector Review The Vivitek HK2288 – as far as our review of this 4K UHD, $1999 list price projector is concerned –…Read More February 9, 2018 BenQ HT2550 – At $1499, The Most Affordable 4K UHD Projector Yet – First Look Intro to the BenQ HT2550 Home Projector BenQ shipped us an engineering sample HT2550 last Thursday e…Read More January 10, 2018 Optoma UHD60 Projector Review and Comparison to UHD65 This is a slightly shorter than usual review of Optoma’s UHD60 home entertainment / home theater pro…Read More December 12, 2017 Two Holiday Guides, Ten Great Home Projectors ‘Tis the season to be shopping – for home theater projectors! We have created two Holiday Gift Guide…Read More November 28, 2017 Acer V7850 4K UHD DLP Projector Review The V7850 is one of three new 4K/UHD projectors that Acer has introduced this year. The features an…Read More November 11, 2017 Sony VPL-VW285ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review Meet the Sony VPL-VW285ES – a real 4K projector, and the first under $5000. Bingo! The affordable 4K…Read More October 26, 2017 BenQ HT9050 Home Theater Projector Review I started on this HT9050 LED home theater projector review shortly after determining that it would m…Read More October 23, 2017 Casio XJ-L8300HN 4K UHD Business/Education Projector Review The Casio XJ-L8300HN is a 4K UHD, commercial-grade large venue projector claiming 5,000 lumens. The…Read More October 19, 2017 The Astonishing Epson Pro Cinema 4040 Home Theater Projector – Review The Epson Pro Cinema 4040 is perhaps the most overlooked “breakthrough” home theater projector avail…Read More March 16, 2017 Reviews of 4K Projectors REVIEWS Image Review Dell S718QL – A 4K UHD, Ultra Short Throw, Laser Projector Review Review Date: March 13, 2018 MSRP: $5999 Technology: DLP (1) Vivitek HK2288 4K UHD Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: February 9, 2018 MSRP: $1999.00 Technology: DLP BenQ HT2550 – At $1499, The Most Affordable 4K UHD Projector Yet – First Look Review Date: January 10, 2018 MSRP: N/A Technology: Optoma UHD60 Projector Review and Comparison to UHD65 Review Date: December 12, 2017 MSRP: $3799 Technology: DLP Two Holiday Guides, Ten Great Home Projectors Review Date: November 28, 2017 MSRP: N/A Technology: 0 Acer V7850 4K UHD DLP Projector Review Review Date: November 11, 2017 MSRP: $2499 Technology: DLP Sony VPL-VW285ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: October 26, 2017 MSRP: $4999 Technology: SXRD (3) BenQ HT9050 Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: October 23, 2017 MSRP: $8995 Technology: DLP with LED light source Casio XJ-L8300HN 4K UHD Business/Education Projector Review Review Date: October 19, 2017 MSRP: $11,999 Technology: DLP The Astonishing Epson Pro Cinema 4040 Home Theater Projector – Review Review Date: March 16, 2017 MSRP: $2699 Technology: 3LCD Sony VPL-VW5000ES Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: January 29, 2017 MSRP: $60,000 Technology: SXRD (3) Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: November 26, 2016 MSRP: $9999 Technology: SXRD (3) Epson Home Cinema 5040UB, Pro Cinema 6040UB Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: August 11, 2016 MSRP: $2699 Technology: 3LCD Epson Pro G7905U Large Venue Projector Review Review Date: August 1, 2016 MSRP: $6499 Technology: 3LCD Epson Powerlite Pro L1500, L1505 Laser Projector Review Review Date: July 8, 2016 MSRP: $21999 Technology: 3LCD JVC DLA-RS600U, X950R Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: January 25, 2016 MSRP: $9995 Technology: D-ILA-3 Sony VPL-VW665ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: December 18, 2015 MSRP: $14999 Technology: SXRD (3) Epson LS10000 vs JVC DLA-RS6710 – Two Awesome HT Projectors Review Date: September 9, 2015 MSRP: N/A Technology: JVC DLA-RS6710U, RS67U, X900R, 4K Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: April 22, 2015 MSRP: $12495 Technology: D-ILA Sony VPL-VW350ES Home Theater Projector Review Review Date: February 17, 2015 MSRP: $9999 Technology: SXRD (3) Epson Pro Cinema LS10000 Projector Review: Update Review Date: February 2, 2015 MSRP: N/A Technology: Sony VPL-VW1100ES 4K Projector – A Review Review Date: November 22, 2014 MSRP: $27999 Technology: SXRD (3) Epson Pro Cinema LS10000 Laser Home Theater Projector – Review Review Date: September 9, 2014 MSRP: $7999 Technology: 3LCD on Quartz (LCoQ) Sony VPL-VW600ES 4K Home Theater Projector Review Date: March 4, 2014 MSRP: $14999 Technology: LCOS 3 Panel About 4K Projectors Sony’s flagship 4K Laser projector: The VPL-VW5000 2K Pixel shifting projectors using 1080p or other 2 megapixel devices (panels/chips). The pixel structure is far larger – that is, each pixel is 4X the size of a true 4K. The each pixel fires twice, after shifting diagonally by half a pixel, so it can resolve a bit more detail from 4K content that without pixel shifting, but due to the pixel size, I don’t see them as true 4K devices. They can market it that way, but with 4K content if you have fine lines in your image – big difference. Those pixel shifting projectors’ claim to “4K space” is in their ability to accept 4K content, not their ability to fully resolve it. 3K Pixel Shifting Projectors: Next – this third class is higher resolution than the “2K pixel shifters”. I’m talking about those using TI’s new 4 megapixel DLP chip. Read that carefully – we’re talking 4 megapixels, not 4K resolution. 4K resolution is 8 megapixels (3840×2160 or similar). The resolution is I don’t have the spec yet – which works out to really being a 3K projector. TI’s new chip will have pixel shifting capabilities so that will place their new projectors that use it, almost exactly half way between the 2K pixel shifters, and the true 4K projectors when it comes to resolution. The thing is that the UHD 4K standard counts the TI chip as being 4K. The argument is based on addressability, though not resolution. Since the chip has 4 million pixels, and each one fires once, then shifts and fires again, with possibly different data, that’s 8 million addressable, which is the same number has having a true 4K chip with each pixel firing only once. OK, I get it, but the pixels are still twice the size, and they are overlapping, that means they just can’t resolve near as much detail Finally the 4th type of “4K” projector doesn’t exist yet. Basically those will be some additional projectors using 1080p or WUXGA chip sets (but no pixel shifting), but add the ability to take in 4K content, deal with it and project it best it can, just like 720p projectors can accept 1080p content. Save Save Save Save Save 4K Projector PricingAs of January of 2016, there are few 4K projectors shipping. The least expensive on the home theater side, has a list price of $9999, the most expensive (short of a true commercial movie theater projector) is $60,000 On the commercial/education/business side, prices are even higher to start. For example Canon’s only 4K projector is $54,990. Sony’s got a few models so prices come down into the $20K range. Of course over the next couple of years we should see far more 4K projectors shipping, and that will drive prices down considerably. “Pixel shifting 4K projectors” for the home market start at $4000 for the least expensive JVC and $8K for the Epson LS10000 laser projector. No pricing at the time of this writing for the first of those 4 Megapixel projectors, the first to ship is likely to be an Optoma, which is expected to ship Q1 2016. ConclusionPerhaps the most important message was the first one. If you need the absolute best resolution, you are talking about a true 4K projector – one with about 8 million separate pixels, that will hit your screen with light without any overlap. There will be plenty of 1080p and WUXGA resolution projectors coming that will be able to accept 4K content, but no matter what the image processing, it all comes down to the most important thing being relative pixel size. A 2K (1080p, etc.) pixel is still huge by comparison, and a 3K DLP chip is still using pixels that are 2X that of a true 4K projector. There is need for 4K. For home, with a true 4K projector you can finally sit close enough to a screen to get really immersed and still have a razor sharp image. For other uses, the resolution aids in presenting anything requiring great detail, renderings, engineering, satellite photos… 4K Projectors – It’s about time!