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Discussion Starter #81
I don’t have the Epson 3800 you were considering, I’ve it’s big brother the TW9400 or what you call the 5050/6050. I honestly don’t want or need more resolution and no one who has seen my setup thinks it’s image is anything other than pin sharp but please you be the judge.
Those images are very sharp, no question about that. I've even tried the same 4K content in both 1080p and 4K on the BenQ and I can hardly tell the difference, so the lesser sharpness of the Epson's does not concern me. How did you get such black bars around your images? It seems the images are different aspect ratios so the surrounding blacks cannot be off-screen, is the 5050UB so good with those black bars?
The rated contrast difference between 3800 and 5050 is huge (100,000:1 vs 1,200,000:1), I am not sure I can expect similar contrast as you with a 3800.

Demos are unnatural images made to sell TVs in a bright store. Not similar to regular content in many ways. Primary was is content has many dark scenes, which you will notice more and more once you start using the projector.
A low black floor and good performance in low ADL is number one requirement for a projector by far.
I see what you mean. I tried a 4k HDR sample of the movie Lucy in both 1080 SDR and 4k HDR (directly connect to the projector's media port), and honestly I could not tell the difference :cautious:. Why? Projector Reviews says the HDR difference on the BenQ cannot be missed, yet the same 4k HDR sample looks as good when downscaled to 1080 SDR.

I would definitely look for a used or refurb Epson 5040ub.
I am looking into this, but I run into this problem:
I know that the Epson 5040UB is limited to 4k HDR @ 30fps, so I forced the NVidia shield to output [email protected] and then tried Netflix HDR movies (which should be 24 fps). The movies look fine, but the audio goes out of sync when I choose anything other than 59/60Hz for output. This leads me to believe that I will not be able to play Netflix content [email protected] HDR which is the best the 5040UB can do.
 

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Those images are very sharp, no question about that. I've even tried the same 4K content in both 1080p and 4K on the BenQ and I can hardly tell the difference, so the lesser sharpness of the Epson's does not concern me. How did you get such black bars around your images? It seems the images are different aspect ratios so the surrounding blacks cannot be off-screen, is the 5050UB so good with those black bars?
The rated contrast difference between 3800 and 5050 is huge (100,000:1 vs 1,200,000:1), I am not sure I can expect similar contrast as you with a 3800.
The first three images were taken when I had the 100” 16:9 screen, with your eyes you can see the black bars top and bottom when the movie is 2.40:1 but it is a very dark grey because my room is full treated in black velour. You will not get the same blacks from the 3800 but it will definitely be better than a DLP.

The last image was when I switched to the 2.35:1 112” reference grey screen and the difference is remarkable, even when I watch a 16:9 movie on my screen which now have the black bars on the sides you really can’t notice them, plus the intensity of the colours are even better due to the deeper blacks.

I see what you mean. I tried a 4k HDR sample of the movie Lucy in both 1080 SDR and 4k HDR (directly connect to the projector's media port), and honestly I could not tell the difference :cautious:. Why? Projector Reviews says the HDR difference on the BenQ cannot be missed, yet the same 4k HDR sample looks as good when downscaled to 1080 SDR.
I don’t know how well the BenQ handles HDR contain but you can definitely see the difference on the Epson but I will say that when you have had your projector professional calibrated then SDR you know it will be as intended and with HDR it’s a bit hit and miss, with the Epson you have the HDR slider so even though the colour range is greater compared to SDR it’s a bit of guess work as to getting the dynamic range right because no two HDR movies has the same nit level either average or peak. But when you get it right it’s a wonderful thing.

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Those images are very sharp, no question about that. I've even tried the same 4K content in both 1080p and 4K on the BenQ and I can hardly tell the difference, so the lesser sharpness of the Epson's does not concern me. How did you get such black bars around your images? It seems the images are different aspect ratios so the surrounding blacks cannot be off-screen, is the 5050UB so good with those black bars?
The rated contrast difference between 3800 and 5050 is huge (100,000:1 vs 1,200,000:1), I am not sure I can expect similar contrast as you with a 3800.


I see what you mean. I tried a 4k HDR sample of the movie Lucy in both 1080 SDR and 4k HDR (directly connect to the projector's media port), and honestly I could not tell the difference :cautious:. Why? Projector Reviews says the HDR difference on the BenQ cannot be missed, yet the same 4k HDR sample looks as good when downscaled to 1080 SDR.


I am looking into this, but I run into this problem:
I know that the Epson 5040UB is limited to 4k HDR @ 30fps, so I forced the NVidia shield to output [email protected] and then tried Netflix HDR movies (which should be 24 fps). The movies look fine, but the audio goes out of sync when I choose anything other than 59/60Hz for output. This leads me to believe that I will not be able to play Netflix content [email protected] HDR which is the best the 5040UB can do.
For the shield issue ask on this thread or @Stephen Hopkins.

Sharpness perception can depend on many things, including the source.

3800 has native contrast of ~1500:1 and ~4500:1 to the 5050UB.
Dynamic contrast can be up to ~37 000:1 with iris on most aggressive setting on both units.

Specifically the black floor in nits:

HT3550
Normal 0.2048 native
Normal High iris 0.0711
SmartEco 0.0591
Eco High iris 0.0533
HDR High iris 0.0434

5050UB - has 2 irises, 1 manual, 1 dynamic.
Eco, Natural preset, manual iris open fully, dynamic iris off 0.0479 native
Manual iris -8 (out of 20), DI High, 0.0042

Iris works at ~1% ADL, dynamic lamp works within the entire ADL range.

It's been said that even with JVC the black bars are not completely black, but close.

Black bars will be less of an issue at low ADL.

What can be done to improve blacks/black bars:
Treat the room to reduce reflections.
Eliminate any ambient light.

Get a screen that improves black level. Most matte grey screens deepen the blacks but also dull the whites/colors. Some grey screens can deepen the blacks while keeping the whites/colors at the same brightness. They are expensive.
Paint mixes exist which can do the same. Applied on a wall or smooth white screen.
Some ALR screens can also do this, but they require more throw ratio than the HT3550 has to avoid artifacts like hotspot/sparkle. HT3550 brightness uniformity is not great which compounds to the problem.

Masking. Using manual or automatic moving panels with black velvet.

How HDR looks like also depends on how it was graded, besides the projector's tone mapping algorithm.
 

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@Alecz How are you liking the HT3550, assuming you stuck with it? I'm also considering very similar projectors (HT3550, Epson 4040 which is on a great refurb sale, 4010, and 3800), I also have a similar setup (dark room, 106"ish screen, 12' seating distance) and have a similar content division between movies, TV and gaming.

Wondering if you are happy with the black levels on the Benq. I know some in here were saying they aren't good and the 3800 would even be better but peeking at reviews on Amazon, people were more satisfied with the Benq black levels vs the 3800.

Also, have you had a chance to game on it? The lag is pretty mediocre and I'm wondering if you've noticed it
 

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Discussion Starter #85 (Edited)
@Alecz How are you liking the HT3550, assuming you stuck with it? I'm also considering very similar projectors (HT3550, Epson 4040 which is on a great refurb sale, 4010, and 3800), I also have a similar setup (dark room, 106"ish screen, 12' seating distance) and have a similar content division between movies, TV and gaming.

Wondering if you are happy with the black levels on the Benq. I know some in here were saying they aren't good and the 3800 would even be better but peeking at reviews on Amazon, people were more satisfied with the Benq black levels vs the 3800.

Also, have you had a chance to game on it? The lag is pretty mediocre and I'm wondering if you've noticed it

Looks like I'm pretty much stuck with the HT3550, not because I cannot return it, but because I could not compare it to any Epson and because I already mounted it on the ceiling. During mounting I realized that my throw distance was limited to about 11', a distance at which the Epsons can only produce about 110" image with max zoom. The BenQ is able to make between 100'-130'.

I might have a chance to see an Epson 4050 in action in a showroom, but without comparing the projectors side-by-side, it will be difficult to give a verdict.

As far as my impressions, I can say this:

The good:
  • The sharpness is incredible; because I am projecting on the wall, I have more artifact from it than from the pixels
  • The colours are great out of the box
  • I have no complaints about the black levels or contrast. I did paint the walls and ceiling in a flat gray Glidden Elegant Charcoal (00NN 20/000), so reflections are minimized.
  • No RBE, motion handling is good, the 2 USB ports are a nice addition when trying out content on a tabletop and are able to power USB devices such as 3D glasses with exhausted battery.
  • I can re-use my old DLP 3D glasses for the occasional 3D content
  • The projector can still be bright in bright scenes (such as HDR demos).
  • I watched several HDR movies and I saw no problem with the image quality (comparable to LED TVs)
  • I find the SmartEco mode quite nice. It doesn't really dim the bright scenes and it's supposed to extend the lamp life.
  • It is small-medium size and quite light, so easy to handle and mount.
The not so good:
  • With a painted Silver Fire 2.5 N/C (gray) screen wall, the black levels are further improved but also the overall image is a bit darker.
  • Can use the WCG filter but you have to wait to get used to the dimmer image.
  • It is noisy. The projector is above my head at seating distance and the noise is noticeable when navigating menus or during silent scenes. It is softer during darker scenes (maybe because I'm using SmartEco for the lamp). Silence mode unfortunately has little impact (both on sharpness - despite disabling pixel-shifting, and on noise level) and disables certain menu actions.
  • The vertical shift dial is quite difficult to turn. I don't know if this is a defect, or if it's poor design, but at least once in position, you shouldn't need to touch it anymore.
  • Sometimes the projector interface lags or glitches. Navigating the interface can have a small delay causing me to issue "double commands".
  • One of the three mounting holes is very close to a ridge on the case which made mounting difficult - I had to add a raiser on the screw between the mounting arms and the projector hole.

Overall, I don't regret my decision and I think that the BenQ is ideal when you are limited by the distance you can mount it away from the screen and as long as you don't want an image larger than 120".
People (that use TVs) have seen the projector in action and were amazed by the picture quality - and it wasn't even completely light-controlled.

In conclusion, while it is possible the Epson's have better contrast and black levels, I find the BenQ image quality very satisfactory for my 120" image.

Hope this helps!

EDIT: Haven't gamed with it as I do most of my gaming on the computer, but I might give it a try.
 
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