Debut of BenQ’s First Affordable True 4K UHD HDR Home Theater Projector

So within a week, we have a second announcement from Costa Mesa-based BenQ America Corp., but this one really could be a game-changer. The CineHome HT2550 DLP projector offers home theater enthusiasts 4K UHD HDR capability with what the company claims is “incredible value”.

With a true 8.3 megapixel 4K resolution, the projector boasts 96% of Rec .709 CinematicColor technology, and projection-optimized HDR for what BenQ states is “stunning true-to-life image quality”.

According to Lars Yoder, President, BenQ America Corp., “Homeowners today want to replicate the magic of the big-screen 4K digital cinema at home. The HT2550 makes that possible, delivering striking 4K resolution for spectacular movie nights. Engineered with advanced audio and video enhancements and HDR capabilities, it’s an incredible value for the finest home cinema experience.”

The incorporated 0.47″ single DMD chip DLP technology helps minimize the projector’s profile, and ensures a sleek footprint ideal for modern lifestyles, while also delivering a pure 4K-optimized optical system which, assures BenQ, allows for a color accuracy minus “the artifacts that plague LCD projectors”.

Sporting HDR10 support, HDCP 2.2 copy protection, 2,200 ANSI lumens, and a host of proprietary features, including motion-adaptive pixel enhancement, the company’s own “sophisticated color algorithms”, and CinemaMaster Video+ and CinemaMaster Audio+ techs, giving modest-sized homes the benefits of “world-class cinemas”.

Setup is expected to be a speedy exercise with the HT2550’s auto keystone correction and powerful 1.2X big zoom. Additionally, the PJ can take an HDMI dongle for instant streaming from usual suspects, including Google Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick.

But the real showstopper is the $2,000 price tag, drawing 4K UHD HDR projection quality within reach of mere mortals. Were we expecting price drops of this magnitude so soon into the game? The proof will be in the pudding when HTF gets round to reviewing the beast, but this news from BenQ looks decidedly promising for the home popcorn brigade.

Available in North America January 2018.

 

Published by

Martin Dew

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31 Comments

    1. I don’t consider any of the DLP solutions 4K, more like FauxK – but it’s still an improvement on 1080p. The real issue with DLP now is contrast levels, they’re just abysmal.

  1. Dave Upton

    I don't consider any of the DLP solutions 4K, more like FauxK – but it's still an improvement on 1080p. The real issue with DLP now is contrast levels, they're just abysmal.

    Absolutely agree with you regarding the contrast levels, I would have liked to have seen Texas Instruments address this but they have not and likely never will, DLP produces nice images but it needs contrast and better black levels, just five times better native would be a good start.

  2. Dave Upton

    I don't consider any of the DLP solutions 4K, more like FauxK – but it's still an improvement on 1080p. The real issue with DLP now is contrast levels, they're just abysmal.

    Why? Is this still a pixel dithered solution?

  3. Dave Upton

    I don't consider any of the DLP solutions 4K, more like FauxK – but it's still an improvement on 1080p. The real issue with DLP now is contrast levels, they're just abysmal.

    You have to remember that a 4K projector at this price point isn't aiming for the enthusiast crowd who have deep pockets. I'd need to see it in action, but it appears to be quite intriguing, for the price. The average person must be buying more projectors these days, as I even saw them for sale at Walmart, touting their use in a home theater. Mind you, these were absolutely terrible ones that touted 1080p (compatible) in large letters whilst having a native resolution of around 800×600 that is written in fine print, on display in a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory, with a sign on the door saying, "Beware of the Leopard!"

  4. This is an interesting product as it seems to be appealing to those who want "affordable 4K" right now, a demographic I would think to be pretty small. In my view those who want 4K today or in the near future are, by definition, knowledgeable early adopters and will probably do their homework and decide to wait for prices to drop on non-compromise models like the Sony VPL-VW285ES. Those who truly want it now will probably not blink at the current price point of the Sony. At the end of the day, $2,000 is still a lot of money for the vast majority of us, regardless of our passion for our hobby. I don't know when I'll take the 4K plunge but when I do it will have to be full 4K.

  5. John Dirk

    This is an interesting product as it seems to be appealing to those who want "affordable 4K" right now, a demographic I would think to be pretty small.

    I don't know, not to go back to Walmart, but they sure are pushing 4K TV's right now. People don't understand that they really won't get any benefit out of a 48" 4K television. They just see bigger numbers and assume it has to be better. Hey, if it helps get more films released on UHD and bring down prices, I'm all for it. I can't afford to upgrade right now, so hopefully it won't end up being a situation like 3D where, by the time I was able to afford a new set, 3D had been abandoned except on the crazy expensive TV's. I can't really afford a really nice projector, so I missed the train. 4K seems to be fairing pretty well.

  6. Martin Dew

    allows for a color accuracy minus "the artifacts that plague LCD projectors".

    If they're gonna take a shot at another projector brand or style, it would be nice if they could specify the problem they see with LCD, and what specifically their projector does that's better by comparison. I have an LCD projector and don't notice any artifacts when viewing it. There very well may be artifacts with some LCD projectors (I don't know firsthand, but I can believe that not every bit of technology is infallible) but it would be nice if BenQ could cite something more than a playground-style taunt.

  7. Josh Steinberg

    If they're gonna take a shot at another projector brand or style, it would be nice if they could specify the problem they see with LCD, and what specifically their projector does that's better by comparison. I have an LCD projector and don't notice any artifacts when viewing it.

    I agree. I have the Panasonic PT-AE8000U and it produces stellar images. I'm not saying there aren't artifacts but at what point do they become significant?

  8. John Dirk

    I agree. I have the Panasonic PT-AE8000U and it produces stellar images. I'm not saying there aren't artifacts but at what point do they become significant?

    I just think it would be more useful for the prospective customer – and even though I already have a projector, I'm the guy that all of my friends and acquaintances ask about this stuff, and I try to stay informed so I can give a better answer than "Uhh, I like what I have at home" – to give a concrete example.

    To make something up for the sake of providing example, instead of saying "BenQ uses DLP which is great, instead of LCD which kinda sucks," say, "The BenQ uses a kind of technology which produces colorful images without any banding, which can be a more common occurance in LCD." (I have no idea if that's actually true, but just as an example quote.) That gives me, as the potential customer, some information to work with. Identify what the specific problem is with other types of projectors, and then mention specifically what yours does differently to avoid that problem. That's the kind of thing that can interest me as a potential customer.

  9. Brian Kidd

    I don't know, not to go back to Walmart, but they sure are pushing 4K TV's right now. People don't understand that they really won't get any benefit out of a 48" 4K television. They just see bigger numbers and assume it has to be better. Hey, if it helps get more films released on UHD and bring down prices, I'm all for it. I can't afford to upgrade right now, so hopefully it won't end up being a situation like 3D where, by the time I was able to afford a new set, 3D had been abandoned except on the crazy expensive TV's. I can't really afford a really nice projector, so I missed the train. 4K seems to be fairing pretty well.

    Brian – That's my point, exactly. The Wal-Mart crowd is not the demographic that will plunk down $2000.00 on a projector. With respect to BenQ, those who can afford to do so will likely be savvy enough to know better than to opt for this one. I would love to take the 4K plunge at this price point but I've been burned on compromise products before. For the time being, my Panny PT-AE8000U is still earning it's keep in grand fashion.

    I am also all for advancing the standard as I believe true 4K is a worthy entry into the marketplace and not just a gimmick to enhance TV sales. That said, the price point will need to settle a little more before I'll be coming on board.

  10. I'm looking forward to hearing how this performs. This is the first true 4k projector under $5000 that I've heard of. The Sony 285 is $5000. The other projectors in the sub-$5k range are all temporally dithered pseudo-4k devices.

  11. Josh Steinberg

    I just think it would be more useful for the prospective customer – and even though I already have a projector, I'm the guy that all of my friends and acquaintances ask about this stuff, and I try to stay informed so I can give a better answer than "Uhh, I like what I have at home" – to give a concrete example.

    Agreed. The general pros and cons of DLP vs LCD are well documented. If this projector had anything to offer that generally fixed DLP's known flaws [placement flexibility, rainbow effect, etc.] it would be revolutionary.

  12. DaveF

    I'm looking forward to hearing how this performs. This is the first true 4k projector under $5000 that I've heard of.

    Dave – I'm having a hard time confirming this as BenQ is short on details regarding the chip they've employed other than it being .47 inch DMD. As far as I could find, TI's .47 inch chip has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080.

    http://www.ti.com/product/dlp4710

    Their 4K DMD chip is .66 inches.

    http://www.ti.com/product/DLP660TE/…tch=4k dmd chip&tisearch=Search-EN-Everything

  13. I'm unclear why – based on the specs provided – 3D projection is limited to 720p. For a projector that in theory can deliver 2D images in 4K, it seems strange that it can't do 3D at the 1080p resolution that's standard for other 3D displays.

  14. I'm unclear why – based on the specs provided – 3D projection is limited to 720p. For a projector that in theory can deliver 2D images in 4K, it seems strange that it can't do 3D at the 1080p resolution that's standard for other 3D displays.

  15. DaveF

    The press releases and BenQ’s specs claim this is true 4K, not a dithered HD device.

    http://www.benq.us/product/projector/HT2550/specifications/

    It’s not true 4K, they are allowed to state that because the organization that certifies all this is content to allow it due to 8.3 million pixels being created, the fact these 8.3m pixels is never onscreen at once does not matter, outside of commercial cinema there is no true 4K DLP.

    Now this will likely produce very nice images, it also could be argued that the Sony projectors are not true 4K as they cannot reproduce a single 1:1 pixel on a test pattern and the lenses are seen as a weak point, I believe testing that has been done shows them to be about 3.5K.

  16. Thanks for the info. So this may be temposrally dithered over four positions per frame, instead of the two position diagonal dithering currently used by “FauxK” projectors?

    A 4x dither should provide better performance than the 2x. Reviews should be interesting.

  17. DaveF

    Thanks for the info. So this may be temposrally dithered over four positions per frame, instead of the two position diagonal dithering currently used by “FauxK” projectors?

    A 4x dither should provide better performance than the 2x. Reviews should be interesting.

    It should be worse image quality, it’s having to shift pixels four times instead of two, more chance that artifacts can be created, we won’t know until one gets reviewed, shouldn’t be long now.

  18. FoxyMulder

    It should be worse image quality, it’s having to shift pixels four times instead of two, more chance that artifacts can be created, we won’t know until one gets reviewed, shouldn’t be long now.

    It's not "having to shift pixels four times". It's "able to shift pixels twice as much as current temporal dithering to get improved resolution". I think this will more closely mimic a true 4k grid array with a four-quadrant superposition, giving better effective resolution than the current diagonal dithering.

    Put another way, if they can dither 4x, they can certainly dither 2x. And if 4x is worse, they'd just do 2x. And don't they already have devices doing 2x?

    It's possible this is a "we've added yellow pixels!" or "the screen is curved!" type of technical "improvement" that's worthless. But done properly more dither should give more better picture 🙂

  19. I do think it's a win for consumers that pseudo-4K is now cheaper than HD was just a year ago.

    But I hate the marketing of "True 4K" and "8.3 million native pixels" when that is a bald lie. This is akin to a decade ago when "HD" sets were sold that were only 720p. I'd like to see some alternate labeling required, such as 1080p native pixels and UHD displayed pixels, or a footnote(*) that the native* pixels are through dithering.

  20. FoxyMulder

    It’s not true 4K, they are allowed to state that because the organization that certifies all this is content to allow it due to 8.3 million pixels being created, the fact these 8.3m pixels is never onscreen at once does not matter,

    If this is true then why can't the other "pixel-shifting" solutions claim to be full 4K? A price difference of $3000.00 between the Sony and this unit has to have some substance behind it, so I know you are ultimately correct, I would just like to understand more.

    Now this will likely produce very nice images, it also could be argued that the Sony projectors are not true 4K as they cannot reproduce a single 1:1 pixel on a test pattern and the lenses are seen as a weak point, I believe testing that has been done shows them to be about 3.5K.

    Agreed but my Panny already produces "very nice images." Yours is the first comment I've heard about the Sony possibly not being full 4K. As previously stated, $2000.00 is still a huge expenditure for most of us. When I invest in 4K [and eventually I will] I want to know I'm buying true 4K, or at least a product that is true to the spirit of the spec. Finally, what's that about the Sony lenses?

  21. John Dirk

    If this is true then why can't the other "pixel-shifting" solutions claim to be full 4K? A price difference of $3000.00 between the Sony and this unit has to have some substance behind it, so I know you are ultimately correct, I would just like to understand more.

    Agreed but my Panny already produces "very nice images." Yours is the first comment I've heard about the Sony possibly not being full 4K. As previously stated, $2000.00 is still a huge expenditure for most of us. When I invest in 4K [and eventually I will] I want to know I'm buying true 4K, or at least a product that is true to the spirit of the spec. Finally, what's that about the Sony lenses?

    The other pixel shifting projectors, JVC and Epson produces about 4 million pixels onscreen, about half required for 4K, different tech, slower tech than DLP, one of the reasons DLP produces such great 3D is the speed, a microseconds refresh rate instead of milliseconds with other tech.

    The Sony lenses on the cheaper, kinda funny term to use since they are not cheap, but cheaper than their top model, those lenses contain some plastic elements and from reviews I have read do not quite reach all the way to 4K resolution, I have also read that there is an inherent issue with the Sony projectors, even their very expensive state of the art model that prevents them showing the 1:1 pixel patterns on 4K test pattern discs.

    Naturally test discs and real world content is another thing, they still throw excellent image quality that I am sure most of us would not complain about.

  22. Circa 2007, Kuro 720p plasma HDTV's won blind-viewing tests against 1080p HDTVs.

    Ultimately what matters are not static-image metrics, but how the display looks overall compared to its competition. I don't dismiss the 'feeds and speeds'. But nor do I into the "Sony aren't 4k because their lenses have a worse MTF than brand X".

    In any case, reports from Sony, reviewers, and users are that Sony has that lens quality control problem under control and the new 285 and 385 models are very nice.

    I continue to hope (against hope) that the 385 or equivalent will be under $5000 in a year.

  23. DaveF

    Circa 2007, Kuro 720p plasma HDTV's won blind-viewing tests against 1080p HDTVs.

    Ultimately what matters are not static-image metrics, but how the display looks overall compared to its competition. I don't dismiss the 'feeds and speeds'. But nor do I into the "Sony aren't 4k because their lenses have a worse MTF than brand X".

    In any case, reports from Sony, reviewers, and users are that Sony has that lens quality control problem under control and the new 285 and 385 models are very nice.

    I continue to hope (against hope) that the 385 or equivalent will be under $5000 in a year.

    I am still interested to know if Sony have fixed their contrast degradation issues which were widely reported by users of previous models, they say it’s fixed but let’s see what users report six months and a year from now.

    At their price point I am less lenient on them than this BenQ.

  24. FoxyMulder

    I am still interested to know if Sony have fixed their contrast degradation issues which were widely reported by users of previous models, they say it’s fixed but let’s see what users report six months and a year from now.

    At their price point I am less lenient on them than this BenQ.

    And also the lamp flicker problem.

    For a $2000 pseudo-4k projector I can accept more quirks / less performance than a projector costing quadruple. But for $8000 for the 385 and even $5000 for the 285, there's no excuse now for lamp flicker and contrast degradation.

    Initial reports on the 385 are very encouraging. I'm hoping the lens QC, flicker, and contrast problems are all truly solved!

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