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Discussion Starter #182
BenQ HT5550 First Impressions

I spent 10-15 hours with the HT5550 this weekend. I am waiting for my Vantage Point Mount so I can do so side by side by side testing with the HT3550 this week so it is resting on my bar projecting onto my 160" screen until then... which brings me to my first point. I'm really happy with the placement flexibility of the HT5550. The adjustments from focus, zoom, vertical, and horizontal shift made it VERY easy to get the best pattern dialed in on my screen.

Here are a few first thoughts with my time with it this weekend...

MARKET FIT

Lets talk market fit. With the HT3550 now shipping and having completed both a lengthy
and written review of that unit, I feel like the HT3550 and the HT5550 have a lot in common. They are the first two projectors in the sub $3k BenQ lineup to launch with "HDR-Pro", or auto tone mapping. More on this later. After spending time with both projectors, it is clear to me that they are actually targeted to the very same type of consumer; movie lovers who care about color accurate and realistic image.

HDR

HDR is just so damn good on these auto-tone-mapping BenQ projectors. I bought an Epson 5050 that will be delivered this Wednesday. That will be a popular projector so I bought it as another reference point as people are making up their minds on these things. I already know that the Epson has huge shoes to fill if it wants to compete with BenQ's auto-tone-mapping HDR implementation.

What "auto-tone-mapping" means is the gamma curve and luminosity is not in a static "fixed" state. This projector dynamically adjusts the tones, luminosity, and gamma curve among others to produce the brightest AND most color accurate I've seen on a projector (sorry HT3550).

I did some masking to put the HT3550 and HT5550's HDR images up on the screen at the same time. They both did an admirable job. I'm still so floored about the HDR image that the HT3550 can do for a $1,500 projector. However, the HT5550's new 'pure' color coating on the color wheel allows it do 95% of DCI-P3 without a color filter. When I did my first side by side with Thor:Ragnarok on the screen last night I noticed that brightness was comparable without filters in place. HDR10 mode. Both HDR Brightness +1. Dynamic Irises were off. WCG filter was off. Comparable brightness but the depth of color detail in the shadows in the HT5550 caught my attention. In the first scene of Thor in the metal cage with the skeleton, the steel chains didn't just blend in with the scene, they really popped with the look of cold steel. Overall color on both were very good but the HT5550 just had a bit more punch and color. Really fantastic stuff... and I think highly of the HT3550.

P3 COLOR FILTER

I engaged WCG mode and the P3 filters engaged on both units. This is where I felt the HT5550 widened its 'enthusiast-grade' color lead. The 100% P3 image on the HT5550 is balanced and warm. Colors leap off the screen. It's really fantastic. If I felt the image was warm, all of a sudden a pop of blue or green comes on screen. and I'm reminded that it's simply a color accurate image. I feel like there is no funny-business going on with image processing... the image just looks so natural. Delta-E is very tight. Shadow-detail. Highlight detail. It's the real deal. I have a big 160" screen and I was concerned I would be able to leave the filter on all the time. Well, I can. And it's great. I set HDR brightness to +1, it re-maps the image tone for a brighter gamma curve. I'm left with an incredibly bright image in HDR and with 100% DCI-P3. A lot of folks doubted one of those feats, let alone both could happen on a single chip DLP in their lifetimes.

BLACKS

Concerning black levels... they are good. Not quite there to Epson 5040 level, but if the HT3550 moved the .47" 4K DLP chips into "good" range, the HT5550 goes one step further in "very good" range. I'd say 75% of the way to Epson blacks when comparing to last year's .47" DLPs. Just check out that Jeff Goldblum image I posted a few posts back. Not only is the flesh tone, reds, blues, and HDR detail popping off the screen... the letter boxes melt away on my 1.0 gain screen. Good stuff.

SHARPNESS?

I know some of you are asking about the sharpness of the lens and my thoughts on the Dynamic Iris. The iteration of hardware/software of the dynamic iris isn't its final state on my unit so not much I can really share that would be helpful.

Re: sharpness. When I tested the HT2550, TK800, and HT3550 this past year, all 3 of those projectors were exhibiting sharpness and focus uniformity issues. In every instance the focus uniformity on the ensuing final production unit i tested was sharp and focused uniformly on-screen. I'm confident I'm seeing the same thing on the HT5550. So a bit of patience on your end until I can find out more on this point. Their product manager has meetings with HQ to discuss early this week.

CONCLUSION

So that's a wrap for first impressions! I've got a busy week planned as I prep my setup for some more testing and side-by-sides for everyone. Full review hopefully out by end of April. Let me know if there's anything I can check out between now and then I'll do my best to do it. I'll post some more pics of comparison in the comings days.

I'm also planning a mini-overhaul on my light control situation. Ordering a couple of bolts of triple black velvet to treat my ceilings. Getting black carpet for stage. Gonna be a busy couple of months. Love this hobby though!! :)
 

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Once you take care of light control, I'd love to see ANSI contrast measurement comparisons of the HT5550 and the 5050UB.
 
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I spent 10-15 hours with the HT5550 this weekend. I am waiting for my Vantage Point Mount so I can do so side by side by side testing with the HT3550 this week so it is resting on my bar projecting onto my 160" screen until then... which brings me to my first point. I'm really happy with the placement flexibility of the HT5550. The adjustments from focus, zoom, vertical, and horizontal shift made it VERY easy to get the best pattern dialed in on my screen.

Here are a few first thoughts with my time with it this weekend...

MARKET FIT

Lets talk market fit. With the HT3550 now shipping and having completed both a lengthy video and written review of that unit, I feel like the HT3550 and the HT5550 have a lot in common. They are the first two projectors in the sub $3k BenQ lineup to launch with "HDR-Pro", or auto tone mapping. More on this later. After spending time with both projectors, it is clear to me that they are actually targeted to the very same type of consumer; movie lovers who care about color accurate and realistic image.

HDR

HDR is just so damn good on these auto-tone-mapping BenQ projectors. I bought an Epson 5050 that will be delivered this Wednesday. That will be a popular projector so I bought it as another reference point as people are making up their minds on these things. I already know that the Epson has huge shoes to fill if it wants to compete with BenQ's auto-tone-mapping HDR implementation.

What "auto-tone-mapping" means is the gamma curve and luminosity is not in a static "fixed" state. This projector dynamically adjusts the tones, luminosity, and gamma curve among others to produce the brightest AND most color accurate I've seen on a projector (sorry HT3550).

I did some masking to put the HT3550 and HT5550's HDR images up on the screen at the same time. They both did an admirable job. I'm still so floored about the HDR image that the HT3550 can do for a $1,500 projector. However, the HT5550's new 'pure' color coating on the color wheel allows it do 95% of DCI-P3 without a color filter. When I did my first side by side with Thor:Ragnarok on the screen last night I noticed that brightness was comparable without filters in place. HDR10 mode. Both HDR Brightness +1. Dynamic Irises were off. WCG filter was off. Comparable brightness but the depth of color detail in the shadows in the HT5550 caught my attention. In the first scene of Thor in the metal cage with the skeleton, the steel chains didn't just blend in with the scene, they really popped with the look of cold steel. Overall color on both were very good but the HT5550 just had a bit more punch and color. Really fantastic stuff... and I think highly of the HT3550.

P3 COLOR FILTER

I engaged WCG mode and the P3 filters engaged on both units. This is where I felt the HT5550 widened its 'enthusiast-grade' color lead. The 100% P3 image on the HT5550 is balanced and warm. Colors leap off the screen. It's really fantastic. If I felt the image was warm, all of a sudden a pop of blue or green comes on screen. and I'm reminded that it's simply a color accurate image. I feel like there is no funny-business going on with image processing... the image just looks so natural. Delta-E is very tight. Shadow-detail. Highlight detail. It's the real deal. I have a big 160" screen and I was concerned I would be able to leave the filter on all the time. Well, I can. And it's great. I set HDR brightness to +1, it re-maps the image tone for a brighter gamma curve. I'm left with an incredibly bright image in HDR and with 100% DCI-P3. A lot of folks doubted one of those feats, let alone both could happen on a single chip DLP in their lifetimes.

BLACKS

Concerning black levels... they are good. Not quite there to Epson 5040 level, but if the HT3550 moved the .47" 4K DLP chips into "good" range, the HT5550 goes one step further in "very good" range. I'd say 75% of the way to Epson blacks when comparing to last year's .47" DLPs. Just check out that Jeff Goldblum image I posted a few posts back. Not only is the flesh tone, reds, blues, and HDR detail popping off the screen... the letter boxes melt away on my 1.0 gain screen. Good stuff.

SHARPNESS?

I know some of you are asking about the sharpness of the lens and my thoughts on the Dynamic Iris. The iteration of hardware/software of the dynamic iris isn't its final state on my unit so not much I can really share that would be helpful.

Re: sharpness. When I tested the HT2550, TK800, and HT3550 this past year, all 3 of those projectors were exhibiting sharpness and focus uniformity issues. In every instance the focus uniformity on the ensuing final production unit i tested was sharp and focused uniformly on-screen. I'm confident I'm seeing the same thing on the HT5550. So a bit of patience on your end until I can find out more on this point. Their product manager has meetings with HQ to discuss early this week.

CONCLUSION

So that's a wrap for first impressions! I've got a busy week planned as I prep my setup for some more testing and side-by-sides for everyone. Full review hopefully out by end of April. Let me know if there's anything I can check out between now and then I'll do my best to do it. I'll post some more pics of comparison in the comings days.

I'm also planning a mini-overhaul on my light control situation. Ordering a couple of bolts of triple black velvet to treat my ceilings. Getting black carpet for stage. Gonna be a busy couple of months. Love this hobby though!! :)

Thanks for those impressions scottyroo, I’m looking forward to the whole review.

I’m seriously considering getting this projector and I was wondering, I know black levels and contrast are not DLP’s strong suit, but, the fact that it can do 95% of the DCI-P3 color space with no brightness loss, and 100% of it with minimal brightness loss, is a huge advantage. On the more expensive brands (Epson, Sony, JVC), if they do reach those levels of color space it is at the advantage of significant brightness loss. It is also definitely good that the contrast and black levels are improved from previous DLP models in that price range. Now, having said that, how would you compare the contrast and black levels to what you see in a regular cinema? Are the blacks and contrast better on this projector?

Ideally, I would like this model to be better on both while achieving such a wide color gamut and more brightness, not to the point of what you see in a Dolby Cinema maybe, but perhaps a halfway point between a regular cinema and a Dolby one.
 

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[/SPOILER]

Thanks for those impressions scottyroo, I’m looking forward to the whole review.

I’m seriously considering getting this projector and I was wondering, I know black levels and contrast are not DLP’s strong suit, but, the fact that it can do 95% of the DCI-P3 color space with no brightness loss, and 100% of it with minimal brightness loss, is a huge advantage. On the more expensive brands (Epson, Sony, JVC), if they do reach those levels of color space it is at the advantage of significant brightness loss. It is also definitely good that the contrast and black levels are improved from previous DLP models in that price range. Now, having said that, how would you compare the contrast and black levels to what you see in a regular cinema? Are the blacks and contrast better on this projector?

Ideally, I would like this model to be better on both while achieving such a wide color gamut and more brightness, not to the point of what you see in a Dolby Cinema maybe, but perhaps a halfway point between a regular cinema and a Dolby one.
If scottyroo is right about the W5700 having similar brightness to the W2700 without the filter, you're still only looking at ~1000 lumens according to Kraine's review of the w2700 which is the one review I've seen so far that actually contains measurements as opposed to just subjective impressions. As a comparison, the Epson 5050ub (TW9400) does 112% of DCI P3 at 920 lumens, and 1690 lumens calibrated (without the filter).
 
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Two quotes from Grégory's review of the HT3550/W2700: http://www.passionhomecinema.fr/blog/index.php/28/03/2019/test-benq-w2700-lavis-de-gregory/ (English version at the end of the test)


At the end of this test, it seems to me that the W2700 is not the projector that can be described as perfect; I mainly reproach it for its average contrast, which is why I preferred the W5700 in Amsterdam. ...


Thanks to BenQ for this French exclusivity of the first test of a production model… and I announce right now that I am hot and hot to book the same fate for the W5700. (= HT5550)


Do I read genuine excitement regarding the HT5550 / W5700? :D
 

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Any thoughts on how this would compare to a Sony HW45ES? My biggest issue is placement, I can't fill a 106" screen with my Sony, this looks like it can do that from 10 feet.
Thx!
 

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Any thoughts on how this would compare to a Sony HW45ES? My biggest issue is placement, I can't fill a 106" screen with my Sony, this looks like it can do that from 10 feet.
Thx!
The 45ES is pretty old now.

No HDR
No 4K signal (can't feed it 4K anything)
Doesn't do 18gbps

Is a good 1080P projector for the money though, but should not really be compared to the BenQ though.
 

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Thanks for the mini review, when you get around to it can you post a calibrated impression for UHD HDR and for Rec.709, i am interested in calibrated 3D brightness levels too, many DLP projectors give just 3ft lamberts when calibrated for 3D. Light loss tends to be a measured 82% through the glasses.

Our eyes do adjust well to 3ft lamberts brightness but double that would be nicer.

For Standard blu ray if you can check at 16ft lamberts and measure calibrated black level with the dynamic iris on and off and also check some tough scenes to see if pumping is there, if you have Poltergeist (1982) use the scene where Carol Anne is watching the static tv when her parents are asleep and then you get all the flashing lights on and off, it happens quickly and can really test an iris.

Also scene transitions, brightness changes to see if the iris makes itself visible, i recommend getting the black velvet up before properly testing the black levels, it does make a difference, i have measured it myself in my own room.

If the projector can do 0.004ft lambert blacks or preferably a little lower and the iris works well id consider this as my next projector upgrade, but if the iris is poor and it cannot do the black levels of my current DLP then its no go, i like DLP motion but the tech has gone backwards not forwards with regards black levels.
 

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The 45ES is pretty old now.

No HDR
No 4K signal (can't feed it 4K anything)
Doesn't do 18gbps

Is a good 1080P projector for the money though, but should not really be compared to the BenQ though.
Thanks, I get that. I was just trying to see if this was a significant step up or just a marginal improvement.
 

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Any thoughts on how this would compare to a Sony HW45ES? My biggest issue is placement, I can't fill a 106" screen with my Sony, this looks like it can do that from 10 feet.

Thx!
I'm in a similar boat with my JVC. I just bought a 120" screen and am playing with the 2050a. Still on the 100" at the moment, but swapped out the pj's. Did some quick A/B and I noticed the grayer blacks, little less depth of color and sharpness when I had my glasses on (I generally don't wear them so I guess ignorance is bliss... Haha). But then I just watched the 2050a for a bit and just enjoyed the movie and was happy with the pic in comparison.

So I'd imagine stepping up to this, with the much larger screen and improved color, sharpness, detail, and resolution as well as better black levels (over the 2050a), that I would notice a big difference. Especially with that screen size from an 11ft throw.

Sent from my SM-N960U1 using Tapatalk
 

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Been following this thread and it sounds like the HT5550 is impressing a lot of folks. I bought a Vivitek HK2288 last year and it has been OK in terms of HDR performance, but never came close to what HDR looked like on my Samsung KS8500. I know current projectors will never get to that level of brightness, nor have the best input latency, but the HT5550 seems like a good upgrade that will last me a few years.
 

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If scottyroo is right about the W5700 having similar brightness to the W2700 without the filter, you're still only looking at ~1000 lumens according to Kraine's review of the w2700 which is the one review I've seen so far that actually contains measurements as opposed to just subjective impressions. As a comparison, the Epson 5050ub (TW9400) does 112% of DCI P3 at 920 lumens, and 1690 lumens calibrated (without the filter).
So, does it only do ~1000 lumens without the filter as well? My understanding was that without the filter, the 5550 gave around ~1600 lumens, and that with the filter on, the loss of brightness was only a small fraction, smaller than the loss of brightness as compared to the 3550 and the Epson.
 

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Is the BenQ W2700 (HT3550) & W5700 (HT5550 better the the sony 45ES projector?
If you want to view 4k and HDR content, yes. If not, no.
 

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I'm sure the HT3550 would benefit from the improved color wheel, but a projector is a combination of all of its parts. The HT3550 packs in a crazy amount of features and performance for it's price point. If they did the better color wheel, I'm sure the price would increase by a couple hundy at least. There is also the product/market differentiation to consider. There has to be enough of a performance gap between two products for a consumer to consider the higher end product. Most companies price and package in a way so as to not cannibalize their premium products.

EDIT: spelling errors
FYI per BenQ's marketing materials the HT5550 sports the same color wheel tech as the HT8050/HT8060, if you've seen those you know what to expect regarding color, etc.
 

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So, does it only do ~1000 lumens without the filter as well? My understanding was that without the filter, the 5550 gave around ~1600 lumens, and that with the filter on, the loss of brightness was only a small fraction, smaller than the loss of brightness as compared to the 3550 and the Epson.
DCI-P3 filters take a massive hit on brightness on lamp projectors. This is one of the main reasons why no DLP lamp projectors were released with them at first, per Vivitek's engineering staff. When you are talking HDR and you are under 2000 calibrated lumens, for typical projection screen sizes you are better off taking rec709 and the max lumens rather than taking a big hit for wider gamut. I don't see any feasible way this projector will not be better overall for HDR in rec709 mode than DCI-P3 mode when all is said and done - not bright enough to take the hit from DCI-P3 and also not starve HDR of lumens it needs.

The two techs that are not impacted by this issue are RGB Laser and HLD LED, both of which take no hit for DCI-P3 coverage. This is also why BenQ designed the HT9060 to support DCI-P3 but did not support it in the HT8060, truly the HT9060 is the only home theater projector in their home theater portfolio that has enough lumens in DCI-P3 mode to do HDR justice.

BUT, I have heard Philips is making a version of ColorSpark HLD LED tuned for 0.47" DMDs, so I would not be surprised if an HLD LED version of the HT5500 comes out within a year or so - and THAT would give you both an affordable price and bright DCI-P3 for HDR. If you really want DCI-P3 + HDR and don't want to spring for the HT9060, best wait for the HLD LED 0.47" pjs in development.
 

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DCI-P3 filters take a massive hit on brightness on lamp projectors. This is one of the main reasons why no DLP lamp projectors were released with them at first, per Vivitek's engineering staff. When you are talking HDR and you are under 2000 calibrated lumens, for typical projection screen sizes you are better off taking rec709 and the max lumens rather than taking a big hit for wider gamut. I don't see any feasible way this projector will not be better overall for HDR in rec709 mode than DCI-P3 mode when all is said and done - not bright enough to take the hit from DCI-P3 and also not starve HDR of lumens it needs.

The two techs that are not impacted by this issue are RGB Laser and HLD LED, both of which take no hit for DCI-P3 coverage. This is also why BenQ designed the HT9060 to support DCI-P3 but did not support it in the HT8060, truly the HT9060 is the only home theater projector in their home theater portfolio that has enough lumens in DCI-P3 mode to do HDR justice.

BUT, I have heard Philips is making a version of ColorSpark HLD LED tuned for 0.47" DMDs, so I would not be surprised if an HLD LED version of the HT5500 comes out within a year or so - and THAT would give you both an affordable price and bright DCI-P3 for HDR. If you really want DCI-P3 + HDR and don't want to spring for the HT9060, best wait for the HLD LED 0.47" pjs in development.
I think you’re behind on your knowledge of this projector. According to Benq and people on this forum who have seen the projector demoed, this model (5550) can do 95% of the DCI-P3 color space without a filter thanks to a special coating in the color wheel which expands the color gamut. Hence, I had also read that thanks to this, to achieve 100% of DCI-P3 color space, the filter only reduces a smaller fraction of light compared to other projectors (roughly 10-20% less brightness). If that’s true, you’d be getting around ~1500-1600 lumens with 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, and around ~1200-1300 with 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut (color filter on).
 

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I think you’re behind on your knowledge of this projector. According to Benq and people on this forum who have seen the projector demoed, this model (5550) can do 95% of the DCI-P3 color space without a filter thanks to a special coating in the color wheel which expands the color gamut. Hence, I had also read that thanks to this, to achieve 100% of DCI-P3 color space, the filter only reduces a smaller fraction of light compared to other projectors (roughly 10-20% less brightness). If that’s true, you’d be getting around ~1500-1600 lumens with 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, and around ~1200-1300 with 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut (color filter on).
I'm not behind on my knowledge. I just don't believe the purported claims/hype some are putting forth.

The coating on the color wheel is the same one in the rec709 BenQ HT8060 according to BenQ's marketing material so I don't find that a particularly convincing argument.

While I would love to believe the BenQ rep's claims during that demo, I don't find them realistic based on every other DCI-P3 lamp projector ever released. 20%-25% brightness loss is not that far off the mark for a very high quality DCI-P3 filter, but you would be best maximizing the lumens, still, if you are at the under 2000 calibrated point IMO.

Really what I think the HT5550 is designed to be is a cost-reduced version of the HT8060.
 

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I'm not behind on my knowledge. I just don't believe the purported claims/hype some are putting forth.

The coating on the color wheel is the same one in the rec709 BenQ HT8060 according to BenQ's marketing material so I don't find that a particularly convincing argument.

While I would love to believe the BenQ rep's claims during that demo, I don't find them realistic based on every other DCI-P3 lamp projector ever released. 20%-25% brightness loss is not that far off the mark for a very high quality DCI-P3 filter, but you would be best maximizing the lumens, still, if you are at the under 2000 calibrated point IMO.

Really what I think the HT5550 is designed to be is a cost-reduced version of the HT8060.
According to the marketing materials, the 8060 is only claiming 81% of DCI-P3 reproduction. So it's probably not the same color wheel if they are claiming 95% on the 5550...

Just reading what they have posted here, though: www dot projectorcentral dot com/BenQ-CinePro-HT8060-HT9060-4K-Projector dot htm (sorry, I'm too "new" here to post links I guess)
 
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