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Would a 4K projector be a noticeable upgrade? (1 Viewer)

Savage357

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Hello, was hoping to get some insight into a possible upgrade. My current setup:

I have a dedicated, 100% light controlled room that is 16x24 with the hardware rack and server rack in a media equipment closet off of that room.

My current projector is an Epson 5030ub which is mounted on the ceiling at a distance of 16' from the 120" fixed screen. My front row of seating is approximately 14' from the screen.

My question is if I upgrade to one of the new 4K upscaled? Projectors, would I see a noticeable difference in picture quality? With my room configuration, would 4K be noticeably better?
 

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Adam Gregorich

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In my opinion, the resolution (4K vs 1080p) doesn't make much of a difference, especially if you can't see the pixel structure now. HDR is the biggest upgrade when moving to 4K, and not all 4K projectors support that.
 

Sam Posten

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Exactly. But let's also be clear: in 2020 bulb based Projector HDR does not hold a candle to the best (OLED, FALD) panel HDR. It simply doesn't. Is there an HDR effect? Yes. But if you truly appreciate what HDR can do you will be as frustrated as the rest of us in these shortcomings. Is Laser up to the task? Maybe. But you still have the black end of the picture that doesn't match OLED.
 

Dave Upton

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Exactly. But let's also be clear: in 2020 bulb based Projector HDR does not hold a candle to the best (OLED, FALD) panel HDR. It simply doesn't. Is there an HDR effect? Yes. But if you truly appreciate what HDR can do you will be as frustrated as the rest of us in these shortcomings. Is Laser up to the task? Maybe. But you still have the black end of the picture that doesn't match OLED.
I'm currently reviewing the Sony VPL-VW-995ES, a $30,000 laser projector. This is probably the first projector I've seen that does decent HDR, largely due to the laser light source. Even then, unless your room is totally light controlled with black velvet on walls and ceilings and a higher contrast screen, think below 1.0 gain or a gray fabric, it's still going to pale in comparison to any TV.

Now, to address the original question in the OPs post, I would not bother upgrading to anything that is not native 4K. One of the biggest benefits of going to a native 4K projector is that they have to use higher quality optics in the lens than they did in 1080p projectors, so you will see a noticeable improvement in MTF and overall image quality even if you can't see the pixel structure. I think the SMPTE recommendations for viewing distance to appreciate 4K are a little bit conservative, as I sit about 13 ft back from a 110-in screen, and can clearly tell the difference between 4K and 1080p picture.

Another reason to buy an HDR capable projector is this typically means the HDMI chipset can handle 10-bit color depth, which is a tremendous improvement over 8-bit. This is probably the biggest upgrade UHD brings to the table, and should not be underestimated. Content that previously had minimal banding will now be perfectly smooth, with no gradation. Often, you can also run 4K projectors in 1080p mode at 12-bit color depth with 4:4:4 chroma subsampling, which is another tremendous upgrade.
 
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JohnRice

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I'm not a projector person, but I do understand some of the dynamics involved in image reproduction, and I have to second what Dave has said. Simply approaching it from what projection is reasonably capable of. I seriously doubt any projector that's in a price range that a consumer will be remotely interested in will be able to do much if anything with the dynamic range aspect of HDR. Projection and high dynamic range simply don't go together very easily or at a reasonable cost. Color gamut (10 bit vs. 8 bit) is another issue, and is something you should be able to benefit from in a somewhat affordable projector.
 

Jonathan Leigh

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Hello, was hoping to get some insight into a possible upgrade. My current setup:

I have a dedicated, 100% light controlled room that is 16x24 with the hardware rack and server rack in a media equipment closet off of that room.

My current projector is an Epson 5030ub which is mounted on the ceiling at a distance of 16' from the 120" fixed screen. My front row of seating is approximately 14' from the screen.

My question is if I upgrade to one of the new 4K upscaled? Projectors, would I see a noticeable difference in picture quality? With my room configuration, would 4K be noticeably better?

I think you'd get a much bigger impact in experience by trying out ultra wide screens and anamorphic lenses instead.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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@Dave Upton, what's the current consensus (if there's one) on when good laser 4K FP will come down to the $5-6K ballpark of the JVC NX5 to make that kind of HDR diff? Would the diff really be that great (despite JVC's dynamic tone mapping updates)?

That's probably what I'm considering for the long haul and trying to decide when to make that jump (as soon as next year) -- I understand the tech keeps evolving, but my eyes also aren't exactly going to get younger (even though they're not too old yet)... :lol: I'm currently just running an under-$1K BenQ and might be fine waiting another couple years or more -- maybe I could just consider an inexpensive faux-K (w/ better black level?) to hold me for a few years while I wait for substantially better...

Any chance a 100" OLED make it down to $5-6K in a few years? :D

_Man_
 

Dave Upton

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@Dave Upton, what's the current consensus (if there's one) on when good laser 4K FP will come down to the $5-6K ballpark of the JVC NX5 to make that kind of HDR diff? Would the diff really be that great (despite JVC's dynamic tone mapping updates)?

That's probably what I'm considering for the long haul and trying to decide when to make that jump (as soon as next year) -- I understand the tech keeps evolving, but my eyes also aren't exactly going to get younger (even though they're not too old yet)... :lol: I'm currently just running an under-$1K BenQ and might be fine waiting another couple years or more -- maybe I could just consider an inexpensive faux-K to hold me for a few years while I wait for substantially better...

Any chance a 100" OLED make it down to $5-6K in a few years? :D

_Man_
I don't have any concrete information from industry insiders I can share, beyond my own speculation after some conversations with folks who I trust.

That said, I suspect we are about 3 years away from a sub 5k laser light engine native 4K projector. That projector will not have the quality of optics you get in today's top of the line laser projectors, just as a function of economics. It may also not have the peak light output that the current models have, but I think it will be enough to be worth investing.

Ultra large OLED has remained the holy grail since it was announced as a potential technology 5 years ago, and I think we remain perennially 3 to 5 years away from it becoming realistic. A s far as I'm aware, LG has not committed significant manufacturing resources to any 4K panel sizes beyond 77 in, largely because the pixel pitch of 4K at sizes beyond this is too large. Everything beyond this size is 8K.

I suspect that once 8K becomes mainstream LG may start to use multiple 4K panels to create a larger format theater size screen like Samsung is doing with The Wall, simply because they could take their existing panel sizes in 4K resolution and combine four of them to make a large format screen.

When you take into account the cost of electronics to drive those displays and match them from a light output and color perspective, I am estimating that will still cost well north of 10K when it comes out and won't really be affordable until the tail end of this decade.

@Robert_Zohn is much more of an industry insider than I am, so his comments may be more informed in mine and I would welcome him to respond here.
 

John Sparks

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Just get an Epson 5040/6040/5050/6050 and pair it with an Panny 420 that does tone mapping. Now, if you have the bucks to spend, then go for the JVC later models that have tone mapping for 4K built in.

It all comes down to how much cash you have to spent. Me, I use my Epson 6040 with a Panny 420 and I'm a happy camper.

P.S. To be truthful, I haven't seen 4K the way it's supposed to look on an expensive projector, never mind a TV.
 

John Dirk

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Just get an Epson 5040/6040/5050/6050 and pair it with an Panny 420 that does tone mapping. Now, if you have the bucks to spend, then go for the JVC later models that have tone mapping for 4K built in.

It all comes down to how much cash you have to spent. Me, I use my Epson 6040 with a Panny 420 and I'm a happy camper.

P.S. To be truthful, I haven't seen 4K the way it's supposed to look on an expensive projector, never mind a TV.

I've had my Epson 6050 for about a year [and now also have it paired with a Panasonic 820] and generally love it but I agree with others that ANY projector will be a disappointment where HDR is concerned. Projectors ownership involves tradeoffs and this is one I'm happy to make.
 

DanH1972

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If you can get a true 4k panel JVC NX-5 or NX-7 (RS1000 or RS2000), then I would say go for it. They have superior contrast and black level and that is KING with a projection system, over and above HDR. That said, they can get plenty bright with HDR content and their HDR tone mapping is quite good.

If you have a 4k Blu-ray player that can output low latency Dolby Vision, you can now trick the player into outputting 12 bit Dolby Vision (on those 4k Blu-ray titles with 12 bit FEL encoded Dolby Vision) using an HDFury device. The player then does all the Dolby Vision processing and outputs it to a non DV projector that has 4k/HDR support, thinking it is talking to a low latency capable Dolby Vision display. It actually works great as long as you can create a custom calibration memory slot on the projector when you play Dolby Vision discs.
 

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