As with any comparison between a DLP projector like the $2,699 BenQ HT5550 and a comparable 3LCD projector like the $2,999 Epson Home Cinema 5050UB, it helps to start with the acknowledgement that many of the key differences between them are based on the different imaging technologies they use.

BenQ HT5550 front top 2
BenQ HT5550

Both accept 4K UHD (3840x2160) HDR content; both support HDR10 and HLG, the emerging high dynamic range standard for streaming and broadcast TV; and both use some form of pixel-shifting to put more pixels on screen than their native 1080p chips offer. But where the HT5550 uses the fast-switching technology inherent in Texas Instrument's XPR DLP system to put four sets of pixels on screen for each frame—achieving full 3840x2160 resolution—the 5050UB generates only half as many, with just two sets of pixels per frame.

The somewhat surprising result, if you've never seen how well Epson's approach works, is that half as many pixels can produce what appears to be just as detailed a picture as a full 3840x2160 image. That's partly because there's a limit to how much detail the human eye can see at appropriate seating distances from the typical size home theater screen, and partly because the ability of a projector to actually resolve detail depends as much on issues like lens quality and contrast as it does on pixel count.

EpsonHC5050UB front top
Epson Home Cinema 5050UB

For more details than are included here on each projector—particularly for features that don't differ much between them—see our standalone reviews for the BenQ HT5550 and Epson HC 5050UB. The focus here is on their differences, starting with specs and features, and followed by a side-by-side comparison of image quality.

 

BenQ HT5550 vs. Epson HC5050UB: Key Specs and Features

Imaging Technology. Each projector has a one small advantage over the other based strictly on its imaging technology—3LCD for the 5050UB and single-chip DLP for the HT5550.

Having a separate chip for each primary color guarantees that the 5050UB can't produce rainbow artifacts, while the one-chip HT5550 can. If you're particularly sensitive to these artifacts, or don't know if you are, you'll want to buy the HT5550 from a source that makes returns easy, so you can test it out for yourself.

On the other hand, having a single chip that projects the primary colors sequentially guarantees that the HT5550 can't misalign primary colors, which is possible for any three-chip projector. The 5050UB addresses the issue with settings in its menu system for chip alignment. This potential extra setup step is only a minor chore, but it's something you don't have to worry about at all with the HT5550.

Pixel Shifting. As already mentioned, both projectors combine imaging chips with a native 1080p array with pixel shifting to boost the effective resolution on screen. And while the HT5550's four sets of pixels for each frame officially specifies it as a UHD projector under Consumer Technology Association rules and would seem to give it an advantage in detail over the 5050UB's two sets, it doesn't.

Much of the credit goes to the 5050UB's high quality lens and Epson's 4K PRO-UHD technology—a collection of features designed to enhance detail. The two work together to not only increase the ability to resolve detail, but increase it to the point where there is little, if any, difference at normal viewing distance between the detail in the 5050UB's image and in the detail you'll see with most 4K projectors, including in particular the HT5550.

Lenses. Although BenQ says the HT5550's 11-element, 6-group all glass lens is 4K-optimized, it makes no special claims about lens quality beyond that. In contrast, Epson touts the 15-element, all glass lens in the 5050UB as a high quality lens with virtually no hot spots or chromatic aberrations.

That said, both deliver the same 84% measured brightness uniformity in their wide angle setting. And with each one set to its full telephoto position, we measured a slightly better uniformity for the HT5550 than the 5050UB. Keep in mind that the two telephoto settings aren't fully comparable, however. The HT5550 has only a 1.6x zoom compared with the 5050UB's 2.1x zoom, and lenses with longer zoom ranges tend to have a larger difference in brightness uniformity between the two extremes for zoom setting.

 

Brightness. At 2,600 lumens versus 1,600 lumens, the 5050UB offers a significantly higher brightness rating than the HT5550. Both measured a touch higher than their ratings in their brightest modes, and both have comparable brightness ranges in terms of the percentage difference between the brightest and least bright modes. We measured the 5050UB's least bright combination of color mode and power mode at 739 ANSI lumens, compared with 424 lumens for the HT5550—about 28% of the brightest in one case and about 25% in the other.

Although there's plenty of overlap between the two ranges, with intermediate steps in both cases that deliver quite usable image quality, the difference in ranges gives the 5050UB more flexibility for use with larger screen sizes and in rooms with ambient light. In cases where even the lowest brightness mode for the 5050UB is too bright for the screen size you want, the HT5550 would be the better fit.

Also keep in mind that the 5050UB's 3LCD technology gives it the same color brightness and white brightness with all color presets. The HT5550's color brightness varied from 90% or more of its white brightness in Vivid TV and Cinema modes—close enough not to matter—to 70% to 76% as bright in its other modes, which is enough of a difference to make color images a bit less bright than you would expect for an LCD projector with matching measurements for both.

Contrast Ratio. The 5050UB offers the higher rated contrast ratio by a factor of 10, at 1,000,000:1 compared with 100,000:1 for the HT5550. As with any comparison between contrast ratio claims from different manufacturers, you shouldn't take these numbers at face value, since there is no industry standard for reporting contrast ratio. On the other hand, the 5050UB delivered clearly better contrast ratio on screen.

The UB in the 5050UB's name refers to Epson's UltraBlack technology, which uses a series of proprietary polarizing filters in the light path to significantly reduce stray light. The result is a lower black level and increased contrast compared to an otherwise identical projector without it. In our side-by-side tests, the 5050UB delivered both a darker black than the HT5550 with both SDR and HDR content along with visibly better contrast with SDR content.

BenQ HT5550 front rightfacing

Color Gamut. Both projectors are rated at 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut in their Digital Cinema color modes (which the HT5550 shows as D.Cinema in its menus). The 5050UB uses its Digital Cinema mode for UHD HDR content and essentially delivers the full DCI-P3 gamut. The HT5550 switches to its HDR10 mode with HDR10 content, which BenQ says offers 100% DCI-P3 coverage only with Brilliant Color off. The default, and recommended, setting is with Brilliant Color on for a brighter picture, which drops the claimed DCI-P3 coverage to 86%.

Throw Range. The 2.1x zoom for the 5050UB delivers a larger throw range than the 1.6x zoom for the HT5550. For a 100-inch diagonal image, the throw distance range for the HT5550 is roughly 10 to 15.8 feet compared with about 9.8 to 20.75 feet for the 5050UB. To find the ranges for the screen size you plan to use, check ProjectorCentral's BenQ HT5550 Projection Calculator and Epson Home Cinema 5050UB Projection Calculator.

Lens Control: Shift, Offset, and Memory. Both projectors score well on setup flexibility, but the 5050UB delivers more. Both offer lens shifts that will let you place them in a ceiling mount, on a bookshelf in the back of the room, or on a table below the bottom of the screen, as well as position them significantly left or right of the vertical midline of the screen. However, the 5050UB offers both a larger vertical lens shift (+/-96% compared with +/-60%) and larger horizontal shift (+/-47% compared with +/-23%), giving it more flexibility than the HT5550.

Beyond that, the 5050UB offers powered control for zoom, shift, and focus compared with manual control for the HT5550. It also adds 10 memory positions, so you can easily use it for a constant image height (CIH) setup to switch between 16:9 and 2.4:1 aspect ratios without needing an anamorphic lens.

Epson HC5050UB FrontLeftFacing

Physical Dimensions. Although both projectors are intended primarily for permanent rather than temporary installations, the BenQ is both slightly smaller (at approximately 7 x 19 x 14 inches) and lighter (14.3 pounds), making it easier to handle during setup and somewhat less obtrusive than the Epson (approximately 8 x 21 x 18 inches, 24.7 pounds). In the event that cosmetics manner, it may also be meaningful in some environments that the BenQ HT5550 comes only in black, while the Epson 5050UB comes only in white (though its more expensive and similar sister product, the Epson ProCinema 6050UB, has a black case).

Maximum input resolution. The maximum input resolution for the 5050UB is 4096 x 2160, covering the full DCI 4K specification. For the HT5550, the maximum is 3840 x 2160, or the UHD specification. This difference won't matter for watching today's UHD content.

ISF Support. The HT5550 is the only one of the two with lockable ISF Night and Day Mode support.

HDR Brightness Levels. The HT5550 offers five HDR brightness levels for matching the HDR tone-map to specific content. The 5050UB offers a slider with 16 levels for fine-tuning the setting.

Frame Interpolation. Both projectors offer three levels of frame interpolation (FI) for smoothing motion, but the HT5550's FI is the more useful of the two. The 5050UB's FI is not available at all with 4K input. It is available with 1080p/24 Hz input for watching movies, but that won't be useful for the many people who find FI's soap opera effect in movies distracting. You can also use it with 1080p/60Hz input, but only if you turn 4K Enhancement off. And between the two features, I found 4K Enhancement added more visual impact to the picture. So as a practical matter, you probably won't want to use the 5050UB's FI when it would work, and can't use it when you would want to—except for Full HD 3D, which I'll discuss in the section on 3D viewing.

The HT5550 has none of these limitations, giving it the edge on this score for the kind of content where FI is most desirable: gaming, watching sports, and watching live and taped video from a broadcast, set-top box, or streaming source.

Input Lag. The 5050UB's measured input lag was notably faster than the HT5550's lag across the board, at 22 to 29 ms for 4K input, depending on the color mode, and 28 to 29 ms for 1080p input. Lags at both resolutions are a little slow for serious gamers, but easily good enough for casual gaming. The HT5550 came in at 88 to 91 ms for 4K input, which even casual gamers may consider too slow, and 60 to 65 ms for 1080p input.

Lamp. The HT5550's lamp has both a higher rated life and lower replacement cost than the 5050UB's lamp. It's rated at 4,000 hours in Normal and 10,000 hours in Economic and SmartEco modes, compared with 3,500 hours in High power, 4,000 hours in Mid, and 5,000 hrs in ECO for the Epson. The replacement cost for the BenQ HT5550's lamp is $149 compared with $299 for the Epson 5050UB's lamp.

Audio. The HT5550 offers both 3.5 mm and S/PDIF optical audio outputs, which will let you route audio through the projector to easily switch audio sources along with video sources. The 5050UB doesn't have any audio outputs. Neither projector includes onboard speakers.

Warranty. The HT5550's price includes a longer warranty period for both the projector (3 years rather than the 5050UB's 2 years) and for the lamp (1 year rather than 90 days).

BenQ HT5550 vs. Epson HC5050UB: Image Comparisons

1080p/SDR Viewing. After calibrating both projectors, I connected them to a Blu-ray player through a splitter for side-by-side viewing.

Having reviewed the HT5550 and having also compared the 5050UB to the Epson Home Cinema 4010, I knew before I plugged anything in that both offer good color accuracy. I also knew that the HT5550 delivered very good contrast and black levels, and that Epson's UltraBlack technology in the 5050UB delivered still darker black levels. Even knowing all that beforehand, I was still surprised at how much better the 5050UB did with 1080p SDR content for black level, shadow detail, contrast, and sense of three-dimensionality.

For images with a black background and only small patches of the screen lit up, like the starfield in The Martian behind the movie's title, or the later shot that starts with only a starfield and slowly pans down to show the Earth, the 5050UB delivered a notably darker black, making the HT5550's black look dark gray in comparison. It also delivered brighter whites, with the two extremes producing a far more dramatic visual impact. The difference was enough to be noticeable even in low levels of ambient light.

One of my go to dark scenes is early in Batman v Superman, when the young Bruce Wayne falls into what will become the Batcave. The 5050UB delivered dramatic contrast showing individual bats with their eyes reflecting bright pinpoints of light, plus a darker black level than the HT5550, more shadow detail, and a better sense of three dimensionality. The HT5550 showed a decidedly low-contrast mass of not-so-well defined bats and dimmer reflections from their eyes.

The 5050UB also delivered better contrast and sense of three dimensionality in most other scenes, from dark to midtone to bright, including, for example, the moment in Batman v Superman when two divers bring some kryptonite they found up to the beach. The same advantage held true all through Casino Royale and the 2D version of The Ultimate Wave—Tahiti. On an occasional scene, the HT5550 matched the 5050UB on contrast or even bested it. But with most movies I looked at, the 5050UB did better far more often.

Both projectors delivered solid color accuracy. With all the movies already mentioned and more, most colors in most scenes were close to identical on both projectors. Despite the close color match in hue, saturation, and brightness, however, the 5050UB's color was a touch more saturated when called for. The difference was particularly noticeable in La La Land, which is filled with highly saturated, bright colors. It also retained more of the subtle shading—the intermediate steps in gradations—that helps gives close-ups of faces, for example, a more three dimensional look.

The two projectors are closely matched for sharpness, at least if the 5050UB's 4K Enhancement is turned on along with one of its higher Image Preset modes. Note that picking too high an Image Preset level for the 5050UB can introduce artifacts in some content, but even at the highest level, I noticed artifacts in only a few scenes and only because I knew where to look for them. You can also increase the HT5550 sharpness with its 15-step 4K Pixel Enhancement control, but at settings even slightly higher than 3, the artifacts it adds are more obvious than with the 5050UB.

4K UHD/HDR viewing. For UHD HDR viewing—also side by side using a splitter—in addition to calibrating the projectors I also adjusted the HDR brightness setting in each projector to optimize it for each movie. This is a necessary step, since there is no standard that all movies follow. The setting you choose can greatly affect contrast, sense of three-dimensionality, how the projector renders shadow detail in dark scenes, and whether the image looks washed out in brighter scenes.

With each projector's final settings, there was far less difference in black level and shadow detail between the two for HDR than there was for SDR. The 5050UB still had an ever-so-slight edge for both, but to see it in the proto-Batcave in Batman v Superman, for example, I had to pause playback and take a careful look back and forth between the two images. It was almost impossible to see when I let the scene play without stopping, and too subtle to have noticed in an A/B comparison.

The 5050UB still has the advantage of darker blacks with HDR, but the difference shows only in scenes with total black, like the starfields in The Martian, and it's nowhere near as obvious as with SDR.

There were essentially no differences between the two with HDR content for contrast and sense of three dimensionality either. Each projector occasionally edged out the other on both scores for a second or two at a time, but those fleeting moments were evenly divided between the two. Most of the time, both matched.

As with SDR content, both projectors delivered good color accuracy with HDR, and most colors in most scenes closely matched between the two. Also as with 1080p SDR content, there was no significant difference between the two in detail or sharpness.

3D Viewing. Both the HT5550 and 5050UB offer Full HD 3D, with the HT5550 supporting DLP-Link glasses only and the 5050UB supporting RF glasses only. I didn't see any crosstalk with either, and I saw only the typical level of 3D-related motion artifacts for current generation projectors. The artifacts were a little more obvious with 5050UB, but you can compensate for that by turning on frame interpolation. Interestingly, the HT5550's FI isn't available for 3D mode, making 3D viewing the only time when the 5050UB's FI has the advantage.

The 5050UB offers two 3D modes compared with only one for the HT5550. The Epson's 3D Cinema mode sacrifices a little brightness for better color accuracy, while 3D Dynamic sacrifices a little color accuracy for higher brightness. My subjective impression is that color accuracy was good enough in both modes for most people to consider acceptable, especially after a little tweaking. The same is true for the BenQ HT5550's only 3D mode.

The bigger difference between 3D viewing on the two projectors is in brightness level. Epson's 3LCD projectors usually offer much brighter 3D modes relative to their brightest 2D mode than is typical for DLP projectors, and the 5050UB starts out brighter than the HT5550 even for 2D modes. So it's not surprising that it delivers a brighter 3D image as well. Even its 3D Cinema mode is noticeably brighter. The 3D Dynamic mode is in a different league altogether.

In my review of the HT5550, I mentioned that I found it bright enough for comfortable viewing in the dark with a 90-inch image on my 1.0 gain screen, but even a low level of ambient light washed out the image. The 5050UB can stand up to ambient light at the same image size with a 1.0 screen or light up a larger screen in the dark—particularly one with a 1.2 or 1.3 gain.

Conclusion

At their current prices—$2,699 for the BenQ HT5550 versus $2,999 for the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB—the 5050UB clearly offers more bang for the buck. But that's not to say its advantages will be meaningful to you or be worth the additional $300 premium.

Among the HC5050UB's advantages are larger zoom and shift ranges than the HT5550; powered zoom, shift, and focus (and the associated lens memories for CIH setups); and its noticeably higher brightness—including for Full HD 3D—to light up a larger screen size.

The Epson projector also offers notably better black level and contrast performance with 1080p SDR content, but there was hardly any difference on that score for HDR10 movies and little to no difference in their overall color accuracy and image sharpness with either 1080p SDR or UHD HDR content. And the HC5050 had shorter input lag time that may will be of value to gamers.

That said, the BenQ HT5550 offers substantial lens shift and zoom ranges as well, and brings other advantages, such as a smaller and lighter (and darker) chassis that may be better suited to your installation environment, a far more useful Frame Interpolation feature to smooth motion when you really want it, and both longer warrantees—including for the lamp—and cheaper lamp replacements that mean a lower total running cost. The HT5550's longer lamp life in equivalent modes may also be a help in that area, though that depends on your screen size—its lower brightness might leave you needing to run it in its full power mode for the same size screen that the 5050UB can light up in its Medium or ECO modes.

For some, the decision between these two will be simple. If you're planning on a 2.4:1 screen and want the ability to change aspect ratios with the push of a button, the Epson will be your only choice. Likewise, if you watch a lot of 3D, the Epson's extra brightness gains you a signficant advantage that's well worth the extra cost. Ditto if you don't mind paying a bit more for better contrast performance with 1080p content. On the other hand, if a CIH setup isn't in your future, you don't need the Epson's extra brightness reserves for your viewing conditions or screen size, and the BenQ's zoom lens and shift are sufficient for your throw needs, you'll find the BenQ HT5550 a well-considered option that can save you some bucks in both the short and long term.

BenQ HT5550 Connections

BenQ HT5550 Connections
  • HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2 (x2)
  • USB Type A (5V/2.5A power only)
  • USB Type A 2.0 (media reader and firmware upgrades)
  • USB Type A 3.0 (media reader and firmware upgrades)
  • USB Type Mini B (for firmware upgrades)
  • Audio out(3.5mm mini jack)
  • Audio out (S/PDIF optical)
  • LAN (RJ-45, 10BaseT, 100BaseTX; for control only)
  • RS-232 (D-sub 9 pin)
  • DC 12v trigger (3.5mm mini jack)
  • IR In (3.5 mm mini jack)

Connections

Epson hc5050ub connections3
  • HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2 (x2)
  • USB Type A (for optical HDMI cable 300 mA max. power supply only)
  • USB Type A (for wireless and firmware)
  • Mini USB Type B (service only)
  • LAN (RJ-45)
  • Computer/D-sub 15 pin
  • RS-232c (D-sub 9-pin)
  • DC 12v trigger (3.5mm mini jack)

Measurements

Brightness. The HT5550 offers a Normal (full power) and Economic mode. The Epson 5050UB offers equivalent High and ECO modes, plus a Medium mode. With the lens set to full wide angle in both cases, the measured ANSI lumens for each projector in each combination of color mode and power level was as follows:

BenQ HT550 ANSI Lumens

Mode Normal Economic
Bright 1,634 1,113
Vivid TV 1,226 835
Cinema (REC.709) 899 612
D. Cinema 622 424
Silence 1,184 769

Epson Home Cinema 5050UB ANSI Lumens

Mode High Medium ECO
Dynamic 2,635 2,061 1,916
Bright Cinema 1,972 1,542 1,435
Natural 1,979 1,547 1,438
Cinema 1,016 795 739
B&W Cinema 1,749 1,368 1,272
Digital Cinema 1,058 828 770

Other key measurements were as follows:

Measurement BenQ HT5550 Epson HC5050UB
Zoom Lens Light Loss 15% 28%
Brightness Uniformity (Wide Zoom) 84% 84%
Brightness Uniformity (Full Telephoto) 83% 79%
Lowest Measured Input Lag (4K) 88-91 ms 22-29 ms
Lowest Measured Input Lag (1080p) 60-65 ms 28-29 ms

Fan Noise. BenQ's fan noise rating for the HT5550 is 32 dB in Normal mode and 26 dB in Economic mode. Epson's rating for the 5050UB is a similar 31 dB in High Power mode, but a significantly lower 20 dB in ECO. As you would expect from the ratings, in a small to medium size room the full power modes for both projectors and the Economic mode for the HT5550 were all noticeable at quiet moments, while the 5050UB's Mid and ECO modes were barely audible.

The recommendations for High Altitude mode are 4,921 feet or above for the HT5550 and a slightly higher 5,000 feet for the 5050UB. If you need to use High Altitude mode with either power setting on the HT5550 or with the High power setting on the 5050UB, you might want to consider some form of acoustic isolation. An alternative with the 5050UB is to take advantage of the 2.1x zoom lens to position the projector farther away from viewers (assuming the room is large enough).

Comments (26) Post a Comment
Duncan Posted Dec 13, 2019 9:30 AM PST
I think the ability of the HT5550 to use SmartEco, in lieu of it's Iris, should be mentioned, as this gives it almost 4 times the lamp life of the Epson.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Dec 13, 2019 11:21 AM PST
That's a good point, Duncan. As David said, longer lamp life can be further extended using the Eco options as long as the brightness at the lower setting is sufficient for your needs.
Duncan Posted Dec 13, 2019 12:03 PM PST
SmartEco gives full brightness when called for by the content as it varies lamp output according to scene content.
Jesse Posted Dec 13, 2019 12:43 PM PST
You are missing a bigtime feature that the 5050ub has over the Benq. You mentioned that its lowest light out put is in the 700 lumens range... thats not correct. The Epson has a manual iris that has 20 positions. You can stop it done until you get proper FL brightness. If you had done this to brightness match the two projectors the Epson in SDR mode would have had an even better black floor. For hdr most leave the iris all tye way open to get great highlights. But the Epson no matter what your screen size allows you to easily get proper FL on screen for sdr.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Dec 13, 2019 1:33 PM PST
Another great point, Jesse. The manual iris is a great feature that lets you significantly shut down the light in any of the user modes, so we should have indicated that the lowest light output for each projector is really in the least bright color mode in the default settings.
Jesse Posted Dec 13, 2019 1:57 PM PST
I will say other than the manual iris not being considered its a great write up and much appreciated!

I do think perhaps some of the language should be changed concerning the brightness though...

"In cases where even the lowest brightness mode for the 5050UB is too bright for the screen size you want, the HT5550 would be the better fit."

Thats factually inaccurate as the author obviously wasn't aware of the manual iris in the 5050.

Thanks for all the comparisons I have bought my last 2 projectors bases off them!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Dec 13, 2019 2:07 PM PST
Agreed -- thanks, Jesse. We'll make some edits.
M. David Stone Posted Dec 14, 2019 8:26 AM PST
Duncan: Thanks for your comment. As the piece mentions, both Eco and SmartEco Modes for the HT5550 have the same 10,000 hour rated lifetime.

Jesse: Thank you for pointing out my oversight. I actually was aware of the manual iris in the 5050UB, but had compartmentalized that tidbit and simply didn't think of it in context of comparing measured brightness levels. As Rob says, you are absolutely right.
Paul Posted Dec 14, 2019 12:39 PM PST
Why on earth can you not get the 5050UB in a black case without having to pay a premium for it? I think a black case looks much better, and is less intrusive.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Dec 14, 2019 3:19 PM PST
Most home theater projectors are only available in one color and it’s not always black. The 5050UB isn’t really available in black, either— it is the 6050UB, which costs more but comes with slightly higher contrast ratio, a ceiling mount, andan extra lamp for the premium attached. Epson offers it in its professional channel for integrators.
Rick Posted Dec 14, 2019 8:12 PM PST
Followed your site for many years and thankful for all the valuable information. I do notice a consistent bias or favor for LCD over DLP Projectors in almost all the reviews here. As an owner of several projectors over the years of both technologies, it's only fair to point out that while some DLP's have the "unforgivable" flaw of the "Rainbow Effect", albeit in varying degrees, that single indiscretion is much preferable in my humble opinion to the far greater incidence of dust blobs/filter cleanings and filter replacement costs/poorly sealed light chambers/image burn/decaying of lcd panels and the chip alignment that are inherent in the LCD Technology. The overwhelming majority of DLP's will never experience dust blobs unless someone is foolish enough to mess with the outside of the lens, will NEVER get any kind of image burn or the other issues mentioned above. I've owned Benqs, Panasonic AE-s, Epsons and Optomas and will take a Benq any day of the week although I wish they offered higher brightness in their True Home Theater Selection. Just my opinion and 2 cents.
Steve Posted Dec 16, 2019 12:45 AM PST
I think Epson makes such smart products...just the fact that with native 1080p pixel shift they are able to make an impact on areas that matter which is the brightness and tone mapping when it comes to hdr. Given that they are a light cannon is boost to 3D too. I dont think any other projector can touch this model as well as 6050UB for price to performance ration. Its stonking value. This is what want to get for my next upgrade to a 176 inch screen.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Dec 16, 2019 9:34 AM PST
You know, Rick, I would like to believe that projector manufacturers other than JVC and LG are experimenting and developing algorithms that can make tone-mapping adjustments on the fly. But I think we are still a long way from projector manufacturers universally being able to create truly effective HDR tone-maps, much less them being able to execute excellent scene-by-scene adjustments on the fly. JVC accomplished something significant in its NX7 (and perhaps in the other NX models) with its recent advancements, but with projectors that have superior black level/contrast performance to take advantage of. LG, I can say in hindsight, did reasonably well with its auto tone-mapping in the laser driven HU85LA UST projector, but against the JVCs I could see that its one setting (on or off) was insufficient to pull the preferred HDR performance out of all movies and scenes. That is to say, it did a great job of making everything look watchable and generally doing no harm, and usually took very good advantage of the extra dynamic range inherent in the content. But when they tried to offer the same feature in the HU70LA LED projector, our reviewer found this feature to be a fail. So there you go.

At this point, if you plan to view a lot of HDR, it's more important to select a projector from a manufacturer who has gotten their brain around what represents a good HDR tone-map and hopefully offers some degree of adjustment to accommodate for different content than to worry about whether the process is automatic. Both BenQ and Epson are among those who have made tremendous strides in just a few short years in advancing their implementation of HDR.
Rick Posted Dec 16, 2019 9:34 AM PST
Is automatic frame adaptive HDR tone mapping worth waiting for at this price point?
Paul Posted Dec 16, 2019 2:13 PM PST
In response to Rick's negative comments about dust blobs with LCD projectors, I can emphatically state that I have never seen a single dust blob on the sscreen after 15 years of owning two Panasonic LCD projectors. I keep both projectors under a protective plastic cover when not in use, and periodically clean the filters as advised by the manufacturer. The fact that some people are indeed bothered by rainbow effects makes a single chip DLP projector a non starter for me, and I have always thought that a spinning color wheel is a throwback to the primitive 1910 Kinemacolor film system.
Wayne Posted Dec 16, 2019 5:11 PM PST
Another person with feedback on dust blobs and LCD projectors. Over the past 20 years I have owned all of these LCD projectors: 3 Epson, 2 Sony, and 1 Sanyo and never had a dust blob with any of them. I take no precautions such as an air cleaner and trust me I don't clean the house nearly as much as I should. So from my feedback I'm just not experiencing the dust blob issue with LCD projectors.

Re: lumens I think it's also important to point out that lamps dim over time so if you start with a projector that is barely bright enough for your size screen/throw/lighting conditions (esp in 3D!) look out at what's coming when the lamp starts to dim!

I currently own an Epson 5040UB and feel it's fantastic bang for the buck! I absolutely love the brightness it provides for 3D viewing and when I have it setup for 2.4:1 viewing (I have a CIH setup and can switch between 16:9 and 2.4:1 which I love since most movies are 2.4:1 ratio).

The Epson 5040UB only has a 10 GB HDMI chipset vs the 5050UB has 18 GB. I've gotten around that limitation in my setup by using an Apple TV 4K for streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ because I can set it up to output 4K HDR 24 Hz whereas some streaming devices stream at 4K HDR 60 Hz which requires an 18 GB chipset. Streaming those sources in 4K HDR with Atmos (which the Apple TV 4K outputs from all 3 listed streaming services) is quite an enjoyable experience.
Myron Oleson Posted Dec 17, 2019 5:02 AM PST
Another item to consider...customer service and support from the manufacturer.

My two month old 5050UB developed a pink hot spot on the screen image, the size of a football (155 inch screen).

Epson is replacing the projector with a brand new unit, being sent via FedEx 2 Day Air. They were great to deal with, and very prompt in resolving my problem.
Al B Posted Jan 7, 2020 3:52 AM PST
Once you notice the DLP "rainbow", you cannot un-notice it. Never glance past a DLP screen, it'll ruin the experience forever...
Stephen Bookbinder Posted Jan 8, 2020 10:28 PM PST
Sorry but the review downplays the fact that the 5050 UB is not 4k and the ht5500 is. Thats a big difference .Perhaps the reviewer should check his visual acuity.The real info to address 4k pixel count is there with the DLP machine but not with the Epson. Also using a 4k HDR source the difference in contrast between the 2 machines is negligible. Advantage: Ben Q
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jan 9, 2020 1:52 AM PST
Stephen, this appears to be an uninformed viewpoint that I am willing to suggest is not based on a direct and fair side by side comparison of the two products. While you are welcome to disagree based on whatever basis you choose, attacking the visual acuity of our very experienced reviewer who has literally reviewed hundreds of projectors is both unwarranted and silly.
Travis Posted Jan 21, 2020 6:05 AM PST
Owning both BenQ and Epson projectors through the years, I have to say how disappointed I am that ProjectorCentral continues to be such a blatant shill for Epson projectors. While they can't fudge hard numbers that other reviewers can also test and recreate, their reviews are so full of subjective BS that I am surprised more people don't call them out on it. Just so you know - Epson has invested in this site and it's owner. You will NEVER find a "comparison" or shootout type review where Epson doesn't come out the winner. A discerning reader prone to skepticism will see through the obfuscation and weight given to subjective analysis ("it simply looks much more 3dimensional") that skew the reviews towards Epson, especially when the objective information would tend to point otherwise. Simply read this comparison again, and see if you can't see what I mean. Gloss over the areas where the Benq shines, belabor the areas where the Epson wins (how many paragraphs can you write in the fact that the Epson has a longer zoom range?!? Who cares? Their both higher than the average projector. It's a non-factor).

So I would highly suggest checking other sites which have less pressure for a particular result. Projectorreviews is pretty good, as is the user forum avsforums. Good luck with your purchases!
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jan 21, 2020 11:37 AM PST
"Just so you know - Epson has invested in this site and it's owner."

Wow, Travis--that's a pretty blatant accusation. It is true that we have for years accepted advertising support from Epson as well as BenQ, Optoma, ViewSonic, and many other projector manufacturers. This is true for ProjectorReviews as well, and I'd guess most other editorial entities that have provided credible projector product reviews for any length of time.

What's not true is that Epson has ever invested in this company or its owner beyond the advertising dollars they've chosen to spend as part of their ongoing marketing plans. Yours is the kind of spewed crap designed to intentionally mislead others into thinking you are privy to some kind of inside information that you are not. I might ask you in return: Whose pocket are YOU in that would make you say this?

Here's the bottom line: our review was based on David's side by side or A/B comparison of the two projectors calibrated and tuned to the industry standards. We call it like we see it, and if you read our review here you'll see that both projectors come out mostly even or close enough on most counts to be a toss up, with the exception of the obvious factual differences in brightness and, yes, lens zoom options and capabilities (which count for more than you give it credit for, particularly as relates to the inclusion in the Epson of motorized lens memory). From the standpoint of image quality, it is also essentially the same review results reported in a similar comparison done by the entity you mention, ProjectorReviews, with the one key difference being that our reviewer found the SDR image more preferable on the Epson than the BenQ in the area of black level. Both projectors were tuned in our shoot-out for the industry standard black level using a test pattern from a Murideo Six-G signal generator, though it is possible that modest adjustment of the brightness control on either projector could have made them more equal on this point of ultimate deep black level, perhaps at the crushing of some shadow detail or the raising of the black level on one or the other of the projectors. Slight differences in gamma might also have affected the visual results. I obviously can't attest to the care that ProjectorReviews may have applied to their calibrations.

One last point: if the Epson home theater projectors often come up smelling like roses in our reviews, it is because we find, as do other websites and magazines, that they more often than not come out of the box with excellent color accuracy, good contrast, and more advanced features than most of the competition at similar price. This is to some degree to be expected of the industry's largest manufacturer with the biggest economies of scale. But we've given plenty of great reviews to projectors from BenQ, Optoma, ViewSonic, Sony, JVC and other manufacturers whose products are either superior or provide better value. If the day comes that we face off two obviously price-competitive products that include an Epson and the Epson is either a little or a lot the inferior of the competition, in some small or big ways or just overall, our readers will be the first to hear about it. I'll repeat what I said earlier: We call it like we see it, and always will.
Stephen Bookbinder Posted Jan 30, 2020 8:56 AM PST
Its true that contrast plays a big role in picture quality .Its also true that for many people clarity and color are more important. Once one gets to a reasonable contrast level ,only those most focused on that issue care. Its still true that the majority of one's programming be it games ,TV or even movies is still in 1080p or less resolution. But if one sits at the distances which the human eye can resolve differences in resolution ,real 4k should be discernable from Epsons faux 4k unless the person has visual limits due to lens or cataract issues. That fact seems to have gone by the wayside in this comparison. From a practical standpoint for those who value contrast over resolution the epson is better. But for those who want real 4k resolution its the BenQ.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Feb 1, 2020 4:35 PM PST
Stephen, without wanting to be seen as an Epson booster (as you see above, we've been accused of being in their pocket because their products review so favorably with us all the time), I'm always amazed that people read these comparisons and don't believe our reviewer when he describes what he sees with his eyes in a side-by-side comparison between the Epson pixel-shifters and various DLP-based UHD projectors. We're going to run a feature article shortly in which we examined close up (with photography) the sharpness of several projectors including Epson and JVC 1080p pixel shifters, Optoma and BenQ UHD 4K projectors using the two sizes of DLP XPR chips, and a true native 4K JVC. Bottom line: you can see greater sharpness up close on the 4K projectors, but it goes away at any normal viewing distance. In any individual comparison, it comes down to all the factors involved including the optics, quality of the processing, and native resolution of the chip. We'll have more to say about this in the coming days.
Tony Posted Feb 9, 2020 3:52 PM PST
With the price of these two projectors now equal (I am not sure how Epson lowers their price with the tariffs and BenQ has to raise theirs, but I guess that's a story for another day), it would appear that the 5050 is even better deal. Is there any reason to choose the BenQ now that both these projectors are priced equally?
Lex Posted Jul 3, 2020 12:16 AM PST
I'm sitting about 8 ft away from a 100" screen and I can tell the difference between the JVC 4k e-shift (LCOS) and the Optoma UHD51A (DLP) 4K image. But as regards to the drawbacks of both technologies, I've never had any of those issues with my LCD/LCOS projectors, also on this new DLP projector, I don't see rainbows anymore either, all these technologies have come a long way. On another note, I got rid of the my Epson 5040 because there was too much crosstalk in the 3D which the JVC DLA-X550 is pretty clean of but the 96hz 3D refresh rate hurts my eyes, So I'm still torn between the Benq HT5550 for motion resolution/on screen resolution and the Epson 5050UB for contrast and black levels. I love my JVC-X550 the 2D image is jaw dropping but 1/4th of my movies are 3D.

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