Since "4K" is all about resolution, it is not surprising that so many folks have been preoccupied with native 4K vs. pixel shifting 4K, and debating the merits of each. Though many folks use the term faux-K as simply synonymous with pixel-shifting technology without implying anything derisive, many use it precisely because it insinuates inferiority. When it is used in this manner it is counterproductive and serves no good purpose.
This preoccupation with the physical devices is unfortunate since it causes the unsuspecting consumer to get fixated on what is the least relevant aspect of 4K projection technology (at least as far as home theater is concerned) -- which is the number of elements on the device. All of these 4K projectors regardless of chip type are able to create images in a class that is legitimately understood as 4K resolution. Even the JVC and Epson models with their simple two-phase shift on 1080p chips can outperform competing 4K projectors on the basis of contrast and black levels and produce pictures that look equal to, and in some cases better than, a competing 4K projector at a similar price.
So the bottom line is that there are many important factors that contribute to a 4K projector's success. Certainly contrast is a critical one--both with HDR and SDR. But also the level of digital noise, the image enhancement video processing, the color balance and saturation, and the optical precision of the projector's lens, all contribute to making a 4K projector's picture great or less than great.
Unfortunately, all of these vital factors tend to get sidetracked when the consumer becomes preoccupied with the almost irrelevant issue of device level resolution. While this used to be a hugely important spec in the projector business, it is no longer an issue of consequence in the world of pixel-shifting 4K for home theater projectors.
Now, before you go dropping me a flaming email, I am NOT arguing that native 4K imaging devices are irrelevant, or that native 4K devices cannot be a critical feature in a projector. They most certainly can be. There are projection applications that WILL benefit very directly from native 4K resolution devices. If you are displaying still complex graphics in large scale, with viewers being particularly close to the image, the incremental resolution that can come from native 4K chips (like that which can be seen close up in the Sony VW285ES vs Optoma UHZ65 comparison) can be both visible and relevant to the application.
In point of fact, Digital Projection, Inc. just staged a demo of the first 8K projector in Las Vegas at the NAB tradeshow this week. So not only does native 4K imaging have a set of applications for which it is uniquely advantageous, 8K does too, and it is coming sooner than you think.
And even in home theater, if you have a much larger than typical screen and you like to sit in the front row of a movie theater, the incremental picture resolution from a native 4K projector may be visible and relevant to you. But this is simply not the typical desired set up in consumer home theater.
So what exactly is a 4K projector?
The term "4K projector" is open to any of several interpretations, and there is no chance of a consensus--it is an emotional subject for a lot of folks. Strict fundamentalists will say the term should be reserved exclusively for projectors that have native 4K imaging devices and that no pixel shifting machine should qualify. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the tech liberals who believe that if the projector takes a 4K signal and does something to make it look like an exciting, high resolution 4K picture on the screen, that is really what it's all about.
While I prefer the latter definition myself, what I care more about is that buyers come to realize that the differences in detail resolution between all of these various 4K implementations are extremely trivial compared to the major issues of contrast, brightness, color balance and saturation, and image stability and clarity that ultimately define the greatness of a home theater picture.
|Contents:||Intro||Optoma UHD60 vs UHD50||ViewSonic PX727 vs Epson 4000||Optoma UHZ65 vs Sony VW285ES|
|What Makes a 4K Projector|