seeking new 4k/HDR projector - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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seeking new 4k/HDR projector

Almost 10 yrs ago I built a basement home theater with a Panasonic PT AE4000u projector. I've enjoyed the setup immensely, but was recently a bit dismayed with the resolution of Horizon Zero Dawn, Steep, Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands and others. I'm thinking I would really like a 4k projector with HDR but these seem rare and even non-existent below $5,000?

Is there a reason that projector manufacturers have been slow to move to 4k and HDR?

Is it worth holding out hope:? or should I consider an 80" or 90" LCD to replace the 135" projector screen?

{edit}
Also would I need a new AVR? currently I have a Yamaha RX-A1010

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post #2 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 07:39 AM
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You are likely several years early on true 4K/UHD products as the entire 4K thing is an infancy level product as is. The market hasn't figured out how to deliver it really, and while 4K TVs are everywhere, they usually are watered down versions of what people think they are getting.

Manufacturers, on the whole, seem to really be struggling with the capability to deliver true 4K chips. The only one out there at the residential level is the Sony models starting in the $5,000 range. Epson and JVC have fauxK products, and we will finally see DLP enter the fauxK market later this year under $3,000.

But, none of them are true 4K, and there is no rumored true 4K DLP chip coming to market this year, or an update from Epson on their product.

I think this comes down to putting 8 million pixels onto a chip that is less than an inch across and having it work properly. As easy as that sounds, it likely is a lot harder than people think it is, and much like asking for unicorns, it just doesn't work that way. They have to figure things out, and they have to figure out if it is even worth it.

IMO, Texas Instruments is really screwing this up. If they could deliver on a true 4K chip that could be used for consumer projectors and entry level business projectors, they would own the 4K market very quickly. I don't think their fauxK product will deliver the quality people are expecting and demanding.

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post #3 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks I sincerely appreciate your response, good to know I'm not the only one....I guess I can wait a few more years. I've been taken in by the proliferation of fauxK TVs at my local Sam's Club, despite finding nothing at Projector People. You're right that those of us with 100"+ screens would flock to a good 4k projector.

Thanks again, I'll keep my eyes and ears open
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
... I think this comes down to putting 8 million pixels onto a chip that is less than an inch across and having it work properly. As easy as that sounds, it likely is a lot harder than people think it is, and much like asking for unicorns, it just doesn't work that way. They have to figure things out, and they have to figure out if it is even worth it.

IMO, Texas Instruments is really screwing this up. If they could deliver on a true 4K chip that could be used for consumer projectors and entry level business projectors, they would own the 4K market very quickly. I don't think their fauxK product will deliver the quality people are expecting and demanding.
I don't know if you intended this, but these two paragraphs appear to be in direct contradiction. The first makes the valid point that engineering, manufacturing and selling at a reasonable cost a smaller than 1" chip with 8 million individual pixels is a challenging engineering feat, which I agree with.

The second paragraph appears to criticize TI for not doing something they would be doing if it wasn't such a challenging engineering feat. I don't know how a company can be criticized for not accomplishing what technology hasn't yet advanced far enough for them to be able to do at a reasonable cost to consumers.

I disagree with the notion that TI's new 4 million pixel chip won't deliver the quality most people are expecting and demanding. If the difference in image quality between the new TI chip and true 4k is barely perceptible at normal viewing distances the average projector shopper who doesn't spend half their lives on the AVS Forum will be just fine with it as long as the price is within reason.

Some hardcore projector enthusiasts will of course always be demanding something better than what's currently available. Some would demand more performance even if they couldn't see it with their own eyes just because they read a technical paper that said there was a microscopic difference. On the other hand we still have folks on this forum saying 1080p is no big deal and recommending 720p as "good enough."
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 08:48 AM
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Well there's the Epson 5040UB. It's a 'faux' K projector but it can accept and process a UHD/4K signal. This projector MSRPs for $3k but has been on sale for $2500 recently. A lot of people really like this model- it's got a ton of features and low input lag for gamers- and it would represent a big step up in terms of contrast and resolution over your current projector even if it isn't true 4K.

A number of projectors are about to hit the market using the new 4K DLP chip. These promise to offer true 4K resolution but likely won't have near the contrast performance of the higher end 3LCD or LCoS models. It's only a matter of time before these models hit cost competitive prices and, in fact, optima has promised a 4K model that will debut for less than 3 grand.

It should be stated that projectorcentral recently did an article about these new 4K DLP projectors and had some worthwhile insight. They found that despite consternation from critics and enthusiasts that these models are in fact 'true' 4K as they can resolve a 4K line pattern with zero artifacts. But they also found that in head to head comparison with competing 'faux'K projectors from JVC and the Epson mentioned above that the difference in perceived detail was slim to when viewing actual video content and some have stated that the 'faux'K projectors may still have an advantage owing to their better contrast performance.
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
You are likely several years early on true 4K/UHD products as the entire 4K thing is an infancy level product as is. The market hasn't figured out how to deliver it really, and while 4K TVs are everywhere, they usually are watered down versions of what people think they are getting.

Manufacturers, on the whole, seem to really be struggling with the capability to deliver true 4K chips. The only one out there at the residential level is the Sony models starting in the $5,000 range. Epson and JVC have fauxK products, and we will finally see DLP enter the fauxK market later this year under $3,000.

But, none of them are true 4K, and there is no rumored true 4K DLP chip coming to market this year, or an update from Epson on their product.

I think this comes down to putting 8 million pixels onto a chip that is less than an inch across and having it work properly. As easy as that sounds, it likely is a lot harder than people think it is, and much like asking for unicorns, it just doesn't work that way. They have to figure things out, and they have to figure out if it is even worth it.

IMO, Texas Instruments is really screwing this up. If they could deliver on a true 4K chip that could be used for consumer projectors and entry level business projectors, they would own the 4K market very quickly. I don't think their fauxK product will deliver the quality people are expecting and demanding.

There's also that little issue of the cost and quality of the lens that needs to be good enough to resolve all that extra detail.


I disagree with the assertion that the 4K DLP chip is 'faux' K. If it can resolve a 4K line test then it's 4K. This reminds me a little bit of the argument back in the day that 1080i was somehow not full HD resolution. It was.

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post #7 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 01:36 PM
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There's also that little issue of the cost and quality of the lens that needs to be good enough to resolve all that extra detail.
Current lenses, on cheap projectors, can show the interpixel gap clearly, quite often, with 1080p projectors. Actually getting the detail of 4K won't require a whole new design in this regard. For that matter, Panasonic didn't come out with any new lenses with the introduction of 3-chip 4K projectors. They use the same lenses which were used with the 3-chip 1080p projectors.

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I disagree with the assertion that the 4K DLP chip is 'faux' K. If it can resolve a 4K line test then it's 4K. This reminds me a little bit of the argument back in the day that 1080i was somehow not full HD resolution. It was.
It has been determined that the TI chip can't resolve individual on/off pixel lines because they are overlapping pixels and the shift they are doing doesn't actually pass the on/off line test. It shows up grey instead of black/white.

1080i was certainly HD, as was 720p. In fact, by the original definition of 'high definition', which predates current marketing by decades, high definition is the resolution to distance ratio wherein adding one more line of resolution doesn't improve image quality at all. So, a 19" TV from 20 feet away was considered 'HD' way, way, way back when. But, most didn't know that. 720p and 1080i were marketed as HD (marketing definition) and 1080p was marketed as 'Full HD'. So, while both 720p and 1080i were 'HD', they didn't fit the marketing term 'Full HD'. These two arguments aren't really the same though because a 4K chip needs to pass individual on/off line tests cleanly to be 4K. A grey muddling isn't the same.

When I spoke with TI a couple of years ago, they gave no indication that they were interested in, or working on, a 4K consumer chip. Yet, even from the commercial side, the push for 4K is tremendous. People want 4K in offices, and they want it at home, and much like 1080p was a buzzword long before there was any 1080p content, we now have the same with 4K and a industry that isn't prepared for it. I don't fault the engineers for getting this product to market, based upon their Pico technology, but we will have to see how these deliver. It also needs to be questioned why they haven't even offered a single chip full array 4K chip when they do have them already in their 3-chip models. I actually have no idea why this is as it should have allowed for some models in the $10,000 - $20,000 range at the very least.

Yes, I know it's difficult, and I'm not faulting any single company really. But, the Sony HW45ES may still be the best looking model out there in terms of overall image quality for quite a while based upon budget and currently available content.

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post #8 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 01:58 PM
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Well it certainly isn't promising that the reviews of the new BenQ 8050 peg it's contrast as decidedly entry level.

I'm sticking with DLP for the time being because of it's motion handling, durability and 3D performance. I really REALLY want a Sony 45ES but the panel degradation scares me. I used to own a Panasonic plasma that was affected by black rise and that experience had made me wary of the types of reports I'm seeing about the Sonys. I've decided to be happy and wait to see what happens in the coming year or two.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 02:04 PM
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Also: this isn't what projectorcentral found in their time with the new DLP chips: "The ultimate test of this is the display of a 4K resolution 1-pixel line test pattern which contains alternating black and white lines that are each one pixel wide. When viewing this test pattern on a projector using the 4K DLP chip, each line is clean and clearly defined, and you see distinct pixel definition when examining it up close. It is not possible to achieve this level of precision using the pixel shift technology with standard HD 1080p chips."

http://www.projectorcentral.com/4k-dlp-projectors.htm
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-29-2017, 02:17 PM
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Also: this isn't what projectorcentral found in their time with the new DLP chips: "The ultimate test of this is the display of a 4K resolution 1-pixel line test pattern which contains alternating black and white lines that are each one pixel wide. When viewing this test pattern on a projector using the 4K DLP chip, each line is clean and clearly defined, and you see distinct pixel definition when examining it up close. It is not possible to achieve this level of precision using the pixel shift technology with standard HD 1080p chips."

http://www.projectorcentral.com/4k-dlp-projectors.htm
There are some photos in one of the other 4K threads which discusses it. I didn't bookmark it unfortunately. I'm certainly (VERY!) interested in how this actually ends up looking because it seems like so much speculation at this point. I'm not in any rush down this path myself. I like my projector, and my basement is still a year or two out from me finishing it. So, I really am open to whatever comes along. I like that the TI chip was built from the ground up for 4K, I'm a bit distressed that TI has done such a cruddy job implementing real improvements into their chips over the past half of a decade. But, that's just me, and I use my DLP projector all the time, so I'm clearly a hypocrite on the whole issue.

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post #11 of 13 Old 03-30-2017, 07:28 PM
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One aspect of the current crop of Ultra HD compatible projectors that hasn't been mentioned in much detail thus far is the lack of light output for reproducing high dynamic range images. Current projectors in this price range all rely on traditional projector bulbs with relatively limited output. Most of the viewing comparisons between LCD/OLED/LED monitors capable of High Dynami Range ("HDR") vs standard dynamic range monitors report that HDR is what really sets them apart from traditional monitors and next most important is Wide Color Gamut ("WCG"). Resolution is actually pretty far down the list and not nearly as significant as HDR and WCG. Similarly, projection screen technology further limits a projector's ability to achieve HDR. Higher gain screens currently have limited off-axis performance as well as a tendency toward hot spotting.

My guess is that if you were to purchase the Epson 5040UB now, you could likely go through at least one bulb lifetime of viewing before the above HDR limitation is resolved in the lower-price-point projector category. Upgrade to the 5040UB on Black Friday, then the following year, upgrade your AVR. UHD blu ray players are available at several price points and all should serve you well for a number of years.

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post #12 of 13 Old 03-31-2017, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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.....Upgrade to the 5040UB on Black Friday, then the following year, upgrade your AVR. UHD blu ray players are available at several price points and all should serve you well for a number of years.

Mike

Thanks for all of your responses, when I posted this I was thinking I would get very few helpful responses as it's a bit of a vague question. I'm thinking I might still upgrade the projector to improve the contrast ratio and possibly get HDR.

One thing I'm still not clear on is whether the AVR needs to be upgraded to process HDR or 4k?
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-31-2017, 07:01 AM
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You could buy a UHD blu ray with 2 HDMI and use one for video and another one for audio. But you wouldn't get Atmos or DTS-X with your Yamaha need to upgrade to get that. Fry's has the Denon 4300H on sale right now for a very good price and that can do everything.

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