Get a 4K PJ Now or Wait for HDMI 2.1?

Witchdoctor

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I have been waiting to upgrade my Optoma PJ and just spotted a good deal on the BenQ 3550 ($1100 vs $1499 street price). My original plan was to wait for next year to get a PJ when the new 2.1 HDMI standard. Should I jump on this deal or hold off? I do plan on getting the new X-Box in December which will have HDMI 2.1 but I really don't do much gaming. I like it for the streaming apps and its Atmos/DTS audio.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
 

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If you're primarily going to use it for watching movies and video, why not get it now and enjoy it? 2.1 is definitely the sounding tech, but it will really only be relevant for gamers in the near future. It's going to take time to really trickle into projectors in any sort of meaningful way, especially at that price point.

2.1 is backward compatible, so you'll be good to go.
 

Witchdoctor

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Thanks, I think I'm going to pull the trigger. Before I do any PJ recommendations that are under $2K?
 

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`Here's my 2-cents. I'd be very wary of 4K HDR in a sub $2k projector. If you have access to a panasonic 4K player, I'd be inclined to use it to strip away HDR and just project 4K. If 4K is a big want (at that budget level) I'd look primarily at the 2020 Epson models that have onboard tone mapping controls for HDR. Additionally, either of the Panasonic 4K players is an absolute must with a projector (you'll need panasonic's tone mapping presets).

I say this because projectors lack the light output needed to properly display HDR without some complex tone mapping involved. You'll end up endless frustrated by picture quality from disc to disc because 4k discs are mastered to different levels of Nits. Sometimes metadata is there to help identify how a disc was authored... sometimes it's not.

So, if it were me spending $2K (which, don't get me wrong... that's a hefty chunk of change!), I'd look for a projector with the best black levels possible, first, and put 4K further down the list. I gotta say, I'd be on the hunt for an older, used, JVC projector... even if it were only 1080p or 4K e-shift. And I wouldn't pay extra for any older JVC 4K capable projector (meaning models prior to the current crop of NX5, 7 and 9 models), because all prior JVC 4K and 4K e-shift projectors were not solid HDR performers out of the box. That might mean watching films in 1080p... but your eyes will be feasting on the images contrast and color. You won't miss the pixels at all! :-)

As for the BenQ you're referencing... I've never seen one in action. So, read reviews. And if you do pull the trigger, make sure you have a Panasonic 4K player at the ready and use its onboard controls to apply tone mapping for low-light output. You'll be much happier!
 

Witchdoctor

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That's a good idea, I'll add JVC to the list. I have a nice 4K TV in the man cave that does HDR and DV so if I feel the need I cam always watch something there. The PJ sits in the media room where I have the better sound system. What do you think of the BenQ HT 5550 if I raise my budget to $2500?
 

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I would probably bump it up $300 more and get this: Epson And I mean that in all sincerity. At $2500, you are so close to that Epson, that the extra coin would really give you a great theater experience.

If budget is absolutely paramount, and you're not susceptible to seeing the rainbow effect in DLP based projectors, then it looks like the BenQ 5550 is a nice option.

I'd read what projectorreviews.com has to say about the Epson 5050. I do believe the benefits delivered by the Epson will make you really satisfied on many levels, including HDR.
 

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`Here's my 2-cents. I'd be very wary of 4K HDR in a sub $2k projector. If you have access to a panasonic 4K player, I'd be inclined to use it to strip away HDR and just project 4K. If 4K is a big want (at that budget level) I'd look primarily at the 2020 Epson models that have onboard tone mapping controls for HDR. Additionally, either of the Panasonic 4K players is an absolute must with a projector (you'll need panasonic's tone mapping presets).

I say this because projectors lack the light output needed to properly display HDR without some complex tone mapping involved. You'll end up endless frustrated by picture quality from disc to disc because 4k discs are mastered to different levels of Nits. Sometimes metadata is there to help identify how a disc was authored... sometimes it's not.

So, if it were me spending $2K (which, don't get me wrong... that's a hefty chunk of change!), I'd look for a projector with the best black levels possible, first, and put 4K further down the list. I gotta say, I'd be on the hunt for an older, used, JVC projector... even if it were only 1080p or 4K e-shift. And I wouldn't pay extra for any older JVC 4K capable projector (meaning models prior to the current crop of NX5, 7 and 9 models), because all prior JVC 4K and 4K e-shift projectors were not solid HDR performers out of the box. That might mean watching films in 1080p... but your eyes will be feasting on the images contrast and color. You won't miss the pixels at all! :-)
Everything you’ve said here mirrors my experience exactly. Even with professional calibration for HDR. Not enough light to do it justice so it’s a marginal improvement at best. Also +1 on the extra pixels and get a projector with good black levels comments.
 

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I concur with with Todd, step up to the Epson 5050, although it is E-shift. I had the 6040UB for 3.5 years (which I sold), prior to my 4k JVC NX7, and it was a beautiful faux 4K place holder, until I could afford the JVC. That was my plan all along, buy once, cry once. Hope this helps.

Peace and blessings,

Azeke
 

Witchdoctor

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Yeah, I think I will get the Epson, I started reading Amazon reviews on the Ben-Q 3550 and a lot of people were underwhelmed, thanks.
 

Todd Anderson

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That’s a wise choice... and no matter what, definitely get one of the Panasonic 4K players if you plan in playing 4K discs. Either one will do the trick. Just make sure you educate yourself on the proper playback mode for a projector.
 

Todd Anderson

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That would do the trick, but it's priced fairly high for a model that's 6 years old. You could snag a projector like this (link) for almost the same cost.

One thing to keep in mind... you'll get some added detail from a JVC 4K e-shift, but you'll have to keep in mind that if you want to take advantage of HDR you'll need to try the following:

1)Use a Panasonic 9000 or 820 player and make sure its tone mapping is set for a low light display.

or

2) Do number one and also get a calibrator to come to your home and calibrate for 4K HDR in two different modes: one for movies authored to 1000 Nits and one for movies authored to 4,000 Nits

of

3) Forget HDR and tell the Panasonic player to strip HDR out of the signal (which will give you fairly decent results minus some color loss from the original source material)


For some movies, 4K HDR might look fairly good without any major tweaks. For other movies, it will look nearly unwatchable (too dark or too bright).

Of course, standard Bluray discs will look top notch!

Your other course of action might be to splurge for this year's new Epson and take advantage of the that projector's onboard tone mapping controls. You'll be spending more, but if you're dead set on 4K HDR, then that would give you a much more consistent picture (and I'd still make sure I had one of the panasonic players onboard).
 

Witchdoctor

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Thanks, I'll keep Epson high on my list then, I don't mind spending more considering I'll be using that projector for a while. The more I research 8K I realize it will be mostly useful for flat panels, not PJ's for a long time.
 

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You're going to get more bang for your buck from excellent contrast and black levels... and, for my money, shying away from DLP projection. If this is really something you're going to hang onto for a long while, then definitely make sure you buy something that will last AND not make you wish you hadn't spent just a little extra.
 

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Thanks, I'll keep Epson high on my list then, I don't mind spending more considering I'll be using that projector for a while. The more I research 8K I realize it will be mostly useful for flat panels, not PJ's for a long time.
Caveat Emptor sir.

Peace and blessings,

Azeke
 

Todd Anderson

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Ok... that's cryptic. Buyer beware of...???
 

JStewart

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I saw an older JVC e-shift PJ come up on Ebay, any comments?

That one was discontinued in 2016 and IIRC it is VERY slow, like 30sec, for HDMI handshake on a resultion or framerate change. The later models largely fixed the issue. Double check me though if you like the price for the features.
Still with Todd's advice though. HDR is marginal benenfit. More pixels can be good, depending. Get the right panasonic player if you got this route.
Personally, I'd stick with 1080P if buying 2nd hand.
 

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I have an Epson 5050 and I highly recommend it.
 

Azeke

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...Beware of substitutes, imitations, etc. Usually you get what you pay for. I would shell out the extra $$$, if available, for the Epson 5050, and the Panni 420 or 820 (supports more file formats), as mentioned, so you don't suffer from buyer's remorse. Buy once, cry once. I heard the Epson 5050 f/w ver. 1.3 is the bees knees and provided a picture improvement.

Now if you want to go over the top check out the JVC NX-5 (4K with DTM), B model, sometimes available, thru resellers. Watch out for the rabbit hole, but I digress.

Peace and blessings,

Azeke
 
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Azeke

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Wise decision ^^^. Enjoy. Don't forget the mount and high speed HDMI cable, if required.

Peace and blessings,

Azeke
 

Todd Anderson

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I think that 5050 is going to strike the best balance for you, both performance-wise and wallet-wise. Pricing seems fairly even from site to site, which isn't too surprising with Epson.
 

Witchdoctor

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I went on Amazon to pull the trigger and saw the Epson 4010 on sale for $500 off and pulled the trigger. I know the black levels won't be as good as the 5050 and I am trading off some features but at half the price I couldn't resist.
Thanks for all your suggestions and I'll post a pic once it is installed. THANKS!
 

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Congratulations!

Just make sure you have a Panasonic UB820 player, at the minimum, to watch 4K discs. It’s an essential piece for 4K disc playback
 
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