Has Epson Cracked the 4K Projector Code? Two New Projectors Announced!
Yesterday, Epson officially unveiled a brand new 4K projector model: the 5050UB. Two versions of the 5050UB are available, with the 5050UBe (emphasis on the “e”) being a mirror image of the 5050UB with the addition of wireless 4K/30 fps transmitter functionality. Priced at $2,999 and $3,299 respectively, this new projector duo maintains Epson’s wallet friendly approach, while delivering new onboard tech that should make for a radically improved 4K projector experience.
One of the 5050UB’s more interesting new features addresses a major weakness for many 4K projectors: High Dynamic Range performance. It’s no secret that most modestly priced projectors struggle in the HDR department, hamstrung by brightness and processing capabilities. And while workarounds do exist, those workarounds can be difficult for average users to implement. The 5050UB addresses this weakness by providing owners with a real-time 16-step HDR curve adjuster for more accurate HDR performance on the fly.
And the best news?
Owners won’t have to fumble through a maze of menu options to find the adjuster, because the 5050UB’s remote features a direct-access HDR menu button. Huge kudos to Epson for taking steps to make HDR tweakable. This feature, if it truly allows the 5050UB to make effective output adjustments, could have a significant impact on 4K viewing satisfaction.
Additionally, Epson’s new 4K Pro-UHD Technology is designed to deliver higher levels of brightness (boosting the HDR experience), while also offering highly accurate 10-Bit wide color performance that completely covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
The 5050UB is also equipped with a 15-element Aspheric Glass Structure lens that’s paired with a new three-axis motor. This system provides owners with 10 different programmable positions for use with various aspect ratios, while also maintaining the ability to shift an image (96% on the vertical access and 47% on the horizontal axis) with extreme precision. So precise, in fact, that the 5050UB can be paired with Zero Edge movie screens.
Unlike most current JVC and Sony 4K offerings, both 5050UB models rely on modernized pixel-shifting to deliver 4K performance. That means 4K is achieved by an ultra-rapid shifting of pixels produced by three HD LCD imagers. This process benefits owners in two ways. First, it helps keep overall costs low while offering playback that’s practically indistinguishable from true 4K imagers. Secondly, it allows Epson to avoid reaching for less expensive DLP-based technologies, thus shielding buyer’s eyes from any “rainbow effect” artifacts that plague DLP projectors.
As for the 5050UB’s black level capabilities, Epson says its new UltraBlack Technology is driven by a proprietary compensation filter that controls the polarization of light for suppressed light leakage. The result is a manufacturer specified dynamic contrast ration of 1,000,000:1.
The 5050UB and 5050UBe are on sale now and shipping. While AV NIRVANA doesn’t typically review projectors, we do hope to have a full report on the 5050UB’s performance at CEDIA 2019.