Some quick background. Vivitek visited end of June (yep, 2017), bringing me an early engineering sample of the HK2299 (black case), there was confusion back then as to whether there would be an HK2299 and an HK2288 (there are), and what the differences would be. As it turns out, the projectors are basically the same, but the HK2299 comes finished in black and will tend to be sold primarily by local, installing-type dealers, while the HK2288 will be more internet-sales based. This is a common strategy in the US, with others, notably Epson, for example, marketing the same way (their black 6040UB and white 5040UB are almost identical, but have different pricing and distribution channels).
So, with that in mind, that first HK2299 that they dropped off: Well, it was iffy at best, and they said so – promising a more advanced version in a few weeks. That first one even came with two spare lamps because it was blowing lamps (I did not encounter a lamp failure while playing with it). Sure enough, a few weeks later, a replacement came in. It was better, and Eric calibrated it.
Alas, this was still 3+ months before first shipments, and still not ready for prime time. Post calibration colors were great… but (there’s usually a “but”), the projector measured less than 1,300 lumens at its brightest – disappointing for a projector claiming 2,000 lumens!
Four football games at once: GameMix from DirecTV at 1080i resolution
Sports images look great on the HK2288 projector! Colors vibrant. 1080i content from satellite.
1080p image from Bond's Casino Royale, on Blu-ray disc.
4K content with HDR, from the movie Valerian with it's stunning visuals - a must see. Color handling is REC 709
4K content from Ghostbusters 2016. The HK2288 keeps the image overall fairly bright, in its take on HDR - high dynamic range - content.
Great looking colors on photo of scene from The Great Wall. Colors are dazzling, however, would be even richer, wider gamut, if the HK2288 could support P3/BT.2020. That said, none of the lamp based 4K UHD projectors really can achieve P3 or close to it.
A few emails and conversations later with Vivitek, we mutually agreed that because of the low lumen counts, and that further changes to the color tables were expected before first shipments, I should hold off on the review until a full production version was available.
That didn’t happen until early December. What with other projectors in the queue, the holidays, and CES in early January, it is easy to see why it has taken 6 months from first look to this finished review. That’s a record I do hope will not get broken.
As we get into the full review, I will say, there has been a substantial improvement in the HK2288 since we started this process. The current unit here, for example, still didn’t hit its 2,000 lumen claim, but it was very close – over 1,900 lumens a big jump from under 1,300. We calibrated this one, too. I must confess, I extorted some money from Vivitek to help cover Eric’s fees for the second calibration. It’s something we just don’t normally do. I gave Vivitek the choice – we could do the review without calibrating, and therefore also not having our settings to publish for our subscribers nor the projector at its very best, or they could help out. They chose wisely, even if what they kicked in only paid part of the cost (we didn't ask for the full cost.)
Valerian has stunning effects. This rather impressive image (it was way better projected on my screen) is Blu-ray UHD content.
The first two units were black – so they were HK2299s, while this one is white – an HK2288. When we received the first one last summer, even Vivitek couldn’t tell us what the differences would be, as they were still working on the marketing strategy. Seems they sell through different distribution channels, and with that, the more expensive HK2299 gets a 5 year warranty vs the HK2288's 3 year - which is still longer than most projectors around its price range.