Since I've benefited so much from the great information shared on this forum I'd like to share my perspectives and experiences regarding the HT9060 -- all at the risk of being ridiculed for my taste, ignorance, and particular eye-brain perceptual abilities.
We've had an HT9060 for about two months now and love it. That said, I should shed some light on my path to this purchase: I got into HT in the early 2000's with an LCD Sanyo/Boxlight 768p projector. It threw a bright picture but with poor contrast, so I paired it with a Stewart GrayHawk screen. Even bought a Lumagen to scale content for the pj's native resolution. However, it did not have sealed light path, so dust blobs were a persistent problem. Along came the Sony Ruby, promising high contrast 1080p in all its glory. It was expensive at $10k, but I figured it would be a good long-term investment. The first unit arrived with its panels off by over 2 pixels. Had to fight with Sony for a replacement since they were claiming 2 pixels is within spec. Finally won with the help of my (AVS) dealer. The replacement was "only" off by 1 pixel, so I had to live with it. (The Ruby had no "convergence correction" function, FWIW.) On top of that, the unit broke down 3 or 4 times and had to be boxed up and shipped off to Laredo, TX each time for repair, on my dime. After that experience I vowed never to buy a big ticket item from Sony again. But some years later I jumped at a Sony HW30 that could be obtained for $3k and had been set up and verified by an AVS salesperson. The HW30, although throwing a fairly dim, soft image served me well until now. To somewhat boost its brightness and punch I matched it with a DA-LITE 2.4 gain HP screen. Fast forward to CEDIA 2018 and the 4K JVC announcements. Watching JVC's rollout issues, not to mention being disappointed that even their relatively expensive NX9 is lamp based, and then hearing good things about the various solid state BenQ models, I decided to take a serious look at them. But with a 110" diagonal 16:9 screen and no way to go bigger, the LKs seemed overkill.
For my screen size the HT9060 seemed an obvious choice among the BenQ models, and I got it for a great price, so I decided to take a chance on it sight unseen (there was little chance I'd get to see one in person anytime soon). So far, I have to say we are delighted with it. Remember, I'm coming from a fairly ancient HW30. Also note that we average about one movie per week and otherwise watch shows streamed in 1080p, upscaled by our devices:
- Panasonic UB820
- Roku Ultra
The output of all of all these goes into an HDFury Integral 2, where chroma is upsampled to 4:4:4 (as necessary for the source input), per recommendations to avoid banding. That's the objective, at least.
I run the projector in Cinema mode w/SmartEco and have not gotten it calibrated yet as I'm still undecided as to whether I want to change the screen material.
At the moment I'm also not sure which device I prefer for streaming. It may be the ATV4K since it has the option to output 24p content at native rate. I may change my mind on that, though.
My room is light controlled but not a bat cave by any stretch. The walls are painted pomegranate red and the ceiling/doors/trim a very dark grey. There's no black velvet anywhere, and the flooring is light bamboo. Seating is a little less than 1.2 screen-width away.
We use the UB820 for HDR content, of course. On the Panny I enable the HDR Optimizer with Dynamic Range Conversion Adj. set to -5. I eyeballed the setting using some dark scenes to determine which setting revealed the most detail and had the least amount of haze. Presumably, anyone with lower screen gain would use a higher value or leave it at 0. Thanks to Kris Deering for this suggestion. Compared to the projector's handing of HDR, colors seem more natural, and overall picture quality appears improved by letting the Panasonic do the tone mapping and output SDR. With this setting, 4K 24p content on the Panasonic arrives at the projector as 4K 24p 4:4:4 BT2020 12bit SDR @ 445MHz. How do I know this for sure? The HDFury tells me. Note that, with this input the HDFury operates as passthrough. (As an aside, the UB820 outputting BT2020 for SDR raises the question as to why it's a problem for the projector to not allow a gamut change in this mode. Wouldn't this involve an undesirable conversion at the projector when we have sources that provide this flexibility?)
With this projector I definitely recommend the UB820 for its inexpensive tone mapping and HDFury for its Swiss army knife programmability (the green info text it outputs prompted my kids to comment that I had hacked the signal, which is kind of what it does). I got the two for $700 combined.
Pros of the HT9060:
1. Brightness and punch. The image thrown by my previous projector, and most commercial theaters, for that matter, is lifeless and dull by comparison. I'm still using the HP screen. It can be a bit too bright for some SDR content, but I'm on the fence about replacing it since it has such great pop on most content. That, combined with the color range & sharpness, produces an addicting palpability in the image and to the cinematic experience.
2. Sharpness. While my Sony projected a painting-like image the BenQ throws something much more photo realistic. It really draws you into the content. Using the ATV4K for slide shows of photos is quite an experience and really shows off the sharpness (and color rendition).
3. Color. Even uncalibrated, with the current settings I can't point to anything that seems off about its colors. In fact, that's another aspect that makes this projector so compelling and realistic in its rendering of an image. The colors are simply beautiful and must be seen first hand -- miles away from what my Sony produced.
4. Price. For me, being solid state and throwing such a fine image provides great value. There is indeed competition in its price range, of course, but for me the BenQ won out, especially given its reputation for unit-to-unit consistency. From my experiences with 3-panel technology and compromised optics I was very reluctant to take another risk at having to live with a sub-par sample. As I've said before, the BenQ is razor sharp edge to edge. The QBF pattern confirms this.
Cons of the HT9060, and they are minor:
1. It's louder than the Sony. That said, the Sony is whisper quiet. With the projector about 6 feet behind us it can be heard when no content is playing. But once a movie or show starts I don't notice it.
2. Under certain conditions I can see RBE. Here's what I wrote previously: Sounds like most people don’t see any at all, but I must be super sensitive because I see some RBE when my eyes move quickly across the screen and there’s very high contrast white-on-black, like with the progress bar on some players when the image is paused. I never see it when viewing content normally, only as in my example where the movie is paused and I turn to speak to my wife or kids. So, I’m fairly certain a color wheel DLP is out of the question for me. That said, the minor RBE I experience in these instances does not bother me at all.
3. The lens cap fits very snugly, so care must be taken when removing it and putting it back on. This is compounded by the fact that a very slight turn of the lens changes focus significantly. The Sony had plastic tabs around its dust cap for a snug fit, which were easy to snap off for a loose fit. The HT9060 dust cover provides no such option, so care is required -- and the occasional re-focus.
That's it. FYI, I have not seen the JVCs for comparison, nor have I viewed that scene from Interstellar on this projector. I watched it once on the Sony. Not my cup of tea: kind of like if Terrence Malick did Sci-Fi. But I do own both Blade Runner films in 4K, and while they don't show as well as Oblivion, which looks amazing with this projector, I don't notice anything objectionable with those films, either. I'm sure the JVCs do much better with them, but I'm holding out for a solid state pj with JVC contrast and a comparably good lens, all in the BenQ's price range. At this rate it looks like I'll be happy with the BenQ for five years or more.