Are there any < $3k 4K projectors without grey borders? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Are there any < $3k 4K projectors without grey borders?

Like the title says, just wondering if there are any < $3k 4K projectors without grey borders? I had a BenQ 3550 last year, but the grey border, noisy shifter and switching lag forced me to send it back. I was hoping we would get some 4k native chip projectors under $3k this year, but it seems like companies have just made incremental refinements to the same pixel shifting tech.

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post #2 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 10:57 AM
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Are there any &lt; $3k 4K projectors without grey borders?

The ht3550 uses the newer Texas Instruments DLP with small grey border. There aren’t any newer chips so you’d have to look beyond DLP to LCD or Laser or something else.

The border is very small tho, so it shouldn’t be an issue if you use a screen with a velvet border. Then any projector with the newer chip like the ht3550 would work.

Is there a reason you can’t just get a frame for your screen?

Also, ht3550 came out this year but you say last year. Are you sure you had a 3550?
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post #3 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Fastrabbit19 View Post
...

Is there a reason you can’t just get a frame for your screen?

Also, ht3550 came out this year but you say last year. Are you sure you had a 3550?
You are right, I had the BenQ 2550. We have a Silver Ticket screen, with pretty thick black felt border, and the grey border bothered us.

I'm interested in the 5050UB, for its low input lag, but don't know how much noise or grey border it throws out. I was going to try one from Best Buy, but they have a 15% restock fee, which would hurt, if that grey border was too bothersome.

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post #4 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 12:12 PM
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Are there any &lt; $3k 4K projectors without grey borders?

Get the ht3550 then; it’s got the smaller border, great color, a dynamic iris for great contrast from DLP etc

Best 4K projector under $3k in a lot of people’s minds

I have the silver ticket screen (150”) and have never seen the grey border.


Input lag on 4K DLPs like the 3550 are not great tho; I think it’s in the 55-60ms range so if gaming is a top use case for you then you may wanna go lcd
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post #5 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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We do a lot of XBox gaming on our projector. Probably 60/40 split between gaming and movies. Our current BenQ HT2050 has decent lag time (~33ms range according to the internet), and we've never had lip sync issues. On our BenQ HT2550, we were running into severe lip sync issues with Amazon Prime and other streaming services. We also endured long signal sync times, such that you might miss the 'skip intro' feature on Netflix, because the screen was black for so long. So it makes me a bit nervous about the HT3550.

Almost forgot, the primary reason we returned the HT2550, was the pixel shifter noise. For my wife and I, it was unbearably loud, and ruined the experience of watching movies during quiet scenes, or at night, when the volume was a bit lower. Before getting an HT3550, it would be great to know if the noise has been abated, but I don't see my opinions on the forums, regarding that issue. Some mfr forums state that noisy unit are defective, but I don't recall that being the case for BenQ units.

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post #6 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:01 PM
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Are there any &lt; $3k 4K projectors without grey borders?

Interesting; I’ve never seen that or even heard about that for ht3550 even with the other issues that people are complaining about in the thread.

The only times my projector ever goes to blank screen for a second is when the input switches from hd to hdr or back on my Apple TV and that’s the input device because i have it set to match content rather than play non-hdr content in hdr, so it’s input issue rather than projector.

My 1080 had issues with hdmi syncing so that I had to push the cable in often after first turning it on, but that was a known issue with it and the 3550 has not yet ever had an hdmi syncing issue so it solved my top headache...the syncing is perfect and quick in my experience


But you do game a lot so if sensitive to that in FPS etc then you may not want 4K DLP for gaming. I don’t think any of them will be close to 33ms.


In terms of pixel shifting noise, I’ve never noticed it, but mine is mounted on ceiling and I have a sound system so it may just be masked by distance and speakers. I’ll listen closely for it on mute later to see.

Last edited by Fastrabbit19; 12-02-2019 at 01:04 PM.
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post #7 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I did notice that Sage11x's review of the 3550, mentions the pixel shifter being very quiet, and the grey border being mostly resolved. So maybe it's worth another try? Kinda irritating that I just missed the black friday price...

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post #8 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:11 PM
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I listened just now and just hear normal fan noise; there is a quieter noise that could be pixel shifter (I don’t know what a shifter sounds like) maybe but it’s quieter than the fan; I had to stand on chair and listen for it.

The grey bars are much much smaller in the new TI chip than what your last one used so that part is 100% going to be better.
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post #9 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for checking! The HT2550 had a distinct hum, in addition to the fans, so it sounds like they really improved the on the HT3550. Would have saved a couple hundred if I had this conversation 3 days ago. Frustrating...

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post #10 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeride View Post
We do a lot of XBox gaming on our projector. Probably 60/40 split between gaming and movies. Our current BenQ HT2050 has decent lag time (~33ms range according to the internet), and we've never had lip sync issues. On our BenQ HT2550, we were running into severe lip sync issues with Amazon Prime and other streaming services. We also endured long signal sync times, such that you might miss the 'skip intro' feature on Netflix, because the screen was black for so long. So it makes me a bit nervous about the HT3550.



Almost forgot, the primary reason we returned the HT2550, was the pixel shifter noise. For my wife and I, it was unbearably loud, and ruined the experience of watching movies during quiet scenes, or at night, when the volume was a bit lower. Before getting an HT3550, it would be great to know if the noise has been abated, but I don't see my opinions on the forums, regarding that issue. Some mfr forums state that noisy unit are defective, but I don't recall that being the case for BenQ units.


The buzzing actuator noise has been addressed with the newer HT3550. The HT3550 does have fan noise which, while quiet in eco lamp mode, becomes much more noticeable in normal lamp. Fan noise is pretty common for projectors in this price/size range. You have to go to a larger, more expensive model to get quieter operation.

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post #11 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:25 PM
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If you game more than watch movies I would not suggest the HT3550, but to be fair none of the XPR based DLP projectors are a good choice for gaming (especially if you play online FPS).

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post #12 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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It almost feels like they haven't made a good sub $5k 4K gaming projector yet. I'd be willing to pay more for: 4K (8 million pixels on screen), no grey border, low noise, < 30ms input lag, fast handshaking. I'm close to talking myself into an Epson 5050UB, but don't like paying nearly $3k for only 2 million pixels on screen, when I've already experienced 4M pixels on the HT2550.

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post #13 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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If you game more than watch movies I would not suggest the HT3550, but to be fair none of the XPR based DLP projectors are a good choice for gaming (especially if you play online FPS).

- Jason
Thanks, that's my concern. I have a lot of sons, and we all play FPS on the big screen. I just want HT2050 performance or better, in 4K. I thought 2019 was the year, but maybe 2020...?

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post #14 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 01:50 PM
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Are there any &lt; $3k 4K projectors without grey borders?

Yeah, the issue is all the DLPs use the TI chips and they all have lag issue as they are pixel shifters. You get all 4K pixels each rendered on the screen and everything else you want but you don’t get sub-50ms gaming.

You’ll have to go LCD or Laser to get low lag, which isn’t cheap.


2019 is awesome for those of us who use the projector for just movies/tv as the 3550 is cheap and handles that well. But 4K FPS gaming on a projector is not cheap in 2019 (and maybe not in 2020 either).

If movies are a big enough part of your life, then get 3550 for movies and use your 1080 low-lag projector for gaming (or a cheap 70” television). Cheaper than the Epson and you get want you need for both use cases, but space/setup may be an issue for you.

Or go with the 2k lcd or spend a bunch on 4K lcd.

Last edited by Fastrabbit19; 12-02-2019 at 03:39 PM.
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post #15 of 23 Old 12-02-2019, 03:40 PM
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The gray border really shouldn't be much of an issue if you treat your screen's borders with Triple Black Velvet.
A lot of these screens have relatively BRIGHT black painted strips or medium-dark black felt.

You can also find pretty dark velvet tape, the tape isn't as purely dark as the TBV, but if you get the good tape, it's really close (80% - 90% as dark), almost indistinguishable.

If you have an electric screen, you're out of luck, all you can really do is treat the casing itself, not the sides of the screen.

You cannot really see gray on TBV normally, at least not at any of the lumens levels I've ever seen.
I can barely see a bright image on the TBV, much less a gray border.

I suppose you could also try blocking the border with a homemade cardboard attachment to the lens, might be hard to keep it aligned though.
However, before going pure OCD on the border and buying an entirely new projector because of it, there are things you can do to get rid of it.

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post #16 of 23 Old 12-05-2019, 03:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeride View Post
It almost feels like they haven't made a good sub $5k 4K gaming projector yet. I'd be willing to pay more for: 4K (8 million pixels on screen), no grey border, low noise, < 30ms input lag, fast handshaking. I'm close to talking myself into an Epson 5050UB, but don't like paying nearly $3k for only 2 million pixels on screen, when I've already experienced 4M pixels on the HT2550.
As others have said, black velvet border should absorb the light border.

What is the room like? Color of walls? Ambient light?

What is the seating distance?
Have you decided on the size of the screen?

The 5050UB is capable of good blacks, but only if the walls are treated for reflections. With dark paint or fabric. Otherwise the black level will be lost.
The 5050UB version without the good black levels is the HC4010. What is also does not have is a 18GB HDMI chip, only a 10GB one. This means no 4K HDR, 60Hz at the most 4K HDR 30Hz. While this should only affect gaming, some streaming services/players require 60Hz for HDR, even though most video is at 24Hz.
The workaround for using the HC4010 is using 8 bit instead of 10/12 bit. 4K HDR 60Hz at 8 bit works. Outside of a PC, a HDfury linker can change the bit depth to 8 bit.

The Epson's mentioned here have lag in the 20-30ms range.
Some alternatives are:
5040UB refurbished at just over 1K$. Same as the 5050UB, it requires room treatment to achieve good blacks. Also has a 10GB HDMI chip.
HC3200/3800.

While the HC3200/3800 and HC4010 have about the same contrast, the HC4010 has been said to have a better PQ. Discussion on this thread from this post onwards:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-di...l#post58879762

The HC4010/5040UB/5050UB have a larger chassis than the HC3200/3800 and are quieter. The latter are brighter.
All of these are bright enough to be used on Eco lamp, which is considered quiet. Unless the screen is 130-150" or larger and a higher lamp mode would need to be used.


Sharpness wise, it's complicated.
The Epson 4K's have ~4m pixels, the XPR DLP's have ~ 8m.

This review pits the HT3550 and the HC4010 with interesting results:
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Ben...inema-4010.htm

A continuation of this discussion:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-di...l#post58913204

And a general discussion on pixel shifting:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-di...-shifting.html
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post #17 of 23 Old 12-05-2019, 08:55 AM
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Good info, except I still take issue with deeming projectors with higher native contrast as not beneficial in poorer rooms.
I've seen it many times myself, and it is definitely beneficial. Every transition in some TV shows (every 1-2 minutes) the screen will go all black for 1-3 seconds.
With a lower native contrast projector, this blackout will not have nearly as much effect in a room with white walls (the walls will remain lit up), with a higher native, the entire room will darken.
That's just one instance.

ANSI contrast is what is hurt the most in rooms with white walls, Native contrast is not affected, intrascene contrast at low levels is somewhat affected, but only partially.
This seems to be the most misreported thing in the forum, and not sure why people are having so much trouble with this concept over the years.

That's not to say having a 5050 is going to be that much better than a 4010 in a bad room, just depends how much really dark content you are watching, but it will be SOMEWHAT better.
It will certainly not be the same, unless you have ambient light or the walls are like mirrors reflecting light back onto the screen.
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post #18 of 23 Old 12-05-2019, 10:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback. To answer a few of the questions:

I have a Silver Ticket 120" screen with a very black velvet border, about 4" wide. Projector is 150" from the screen (almost 13'), and we sit directly underneath it. The room is only 15' deep.
Our room is still painted a light color, but you won't find me complaining about black levels or contrast. I don't really care about those aspects right now. It was just the light grey border that bothered us, which was larger than the black velvet. I'll tweak the room, add lighting, paint walls, add sound dampening, bass treatments, blah, blah, much later. I'm just trying to get a good, quiet, 4k right now that can play games on.

So to that end, I went ahead and ordered the HT3550, to see how it compared with the HT2050 and HT2550. The good news is, that border issue is gone. The noise, however, is not. In Silent mode, it's very quiet, similar to my HT2050. When silent mode is off, it's pretty loud. Probably too loud to keep unfortunately. When I tried Eco Mode, I didn't notice a difference in sound level, but the screen dimmed slightly.

I'll play some games in the next few days, to see if the lag is noticeable, but I already noticed lip sync issues with the Amazon Prime video app on the XBox. Oddly, the issue does not appear in 4K DVD, nor the Netflix and HBO app. It's not as bad as the HT2550 though, but still noticeable.

Another thing that is weird, is my XBox is saying the HT3550 won't play games in HDR, but my 4K HDR movies work fine. Not sure what that's all about, but I haven't researched it yet, since it's only been installed for 2 hours.

Cheers!

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post #19 of 23 Old 12-06-2019, 08:43 AM
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Are there any &lt; $3k 4K projectors without grey borders?

It seems you are very sensitive to projector noise. You either need louder speakers, mount the projector further from your seats (move projector or chairs forward or backwards, use a more flush ceiling mount, etc), spend a lot more on a high end quiet projector, or get a large tv. I don’t know what cheaper 4K projector is going to be super silent.


I’ve never seen lip syncing issues, but it seems limited to one app and you are using Xbox. The firestick 4K is often on sale for $25 on amazon and would be a better streaming device.
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post #20 of 23 Old 12-06-2019, 10:10 AM
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What you really want is a Sony HW45ES.
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post #21 of 23 Old 12-06-2019, 11:12 AM
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What you really want is a Sony HW45ES.
Still the best native contrast and black levels of any new projector <$2,000 after more than 3 years on the market.
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post #22 of 23 Old 12-06-2019, 01:02 PM
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What you really want is a Sony HW45ES. [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/IMG]
Still the best native contrast and black levels of any new projector <$2,000 after more than 3 years on the market. [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]
I've read in the >$3000 forum that the Sony 1080p projectors have degrading panels.

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I've read in the >$3000 forum that the Sony 1080p projectors have degrading panels.
Some people have reported some panels on some Sony projectors degrading. There's conflicting data and conflicting opinion. I read up a lot on the issue before deciding that I didn't believe there was a major risk with the HW45ES. After a couple of years I haven't seen any visible degradation with my panels. I'm still struck by the outstanding native black levels every time I watch a good movie. There has also been little mention of the panel issue in the HW45ES owners thread. Obviously anyone who believes there's a high risk may want to consider avoiding the HW45ES. On the other hand many owners like me are glad that we were not frightened away from buying what has turned out to be a great performing projector.
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