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Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projector
Performance
5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
DIY Home Theater
BenQ HT4050 Projector BenQ HT4050
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10000:1 Contrast Ratio
2000 Lumens
Full HD 3D
$1,140 Street Price
$1,299 MSRP

BenQ HT4050 Home Theater Projector

Evan Powell, November 20, 2015

Limitations

3D Brightness. The HT4050 produces a reasonably solid and watchable 3D image, but it is among the least bright we've seen. The HT3050 is noticeably brighter, and it was the least bright of the five we tested in last week's shootout of home theater models under $1000. If you watch 3D just occasionally, this is not a big issue and you'll get sufficient performance from the 4050. But if you are an avid 3D fan and among those who complain about 3D images not being bright enough, this one is not likely to satisfy you.

Extended Input lag. The 96 ms input lag on the HT4050 makes it unsuitable for any type of serous gaming. It also means that using an audio delay to fix the inherent lip-synch problem is mandatory. This is enough lag to make the viewing experience distracting unless an audio delay is used. Now, all projectors have some lag, and they all benefit from the use of an audio delay. So the fact that you'd need to set the delay for 96 ms on this unit, while needing to set it for 49 ms on the HT3050, makes no difference. Once it is set, the problem is fixed and you don't worry about it anymore.

A little bit o' lens shift. This is both an advantage and a limitation. It is an advantage because many projectors in this price niche or lower don't offer lens shift at all. So to that extent it is a genuine benefit. The only reason it is a limitation is because there are home theater models that don't cost much more that have much more extensive vertical and horizontal lens shift range.

Slow synch on new signals. The HT4050 takes its own sweet time figuring out new signals. Once it locks onto a steady signal it is fine, but when you fire up a Blu-ray disc, it is initially confused by the changing formats in the start up sequences. You may or may not see the MPAA Rating screen, the FBI alert screen, the Interpol screen, and you may miss some or all of the movie studio splash screen -- you'll hear the fanfare on your audio system but the screen will be dark. Once it locks onto the movie signal it is fine, but this not a good way to start a film presentation if you are using Blu-ray or any other source that has some variant signal formats as it starts up.

NOTE: BenQ indicates that engineers are working on a firmware update to resolve this. We will update this review with any new developments.)

UPDATE 12/21/15: BenQ reports today that a new firmware version will reduce input lag and improve time to synch on new signals. Please contact BenQ Tech Support for information on how to get your projector upgraded to the latest firmware. [EP]

One-year warranty. Several vendors in this market niche offer two or three year warranties, but some offer just the conventional minimum one-year. BenQ is one of them.

Conclusion

The BenQ HT4050 is a mixed bag. It has an elegant, smooth picture that will appeal to videophiles. The more sophisticated home theater aficionado will appreciate the incremental picture quality and gladly pay the extra price. The HT4050 also has some desirable performance features that do not exist on the lower priced BenQ models, most notably very nice implementations of frame interpolation and 2D to 3D conversion. Our sample came with a factory default Cinema mode that requires no calibration to enjoy right out the box. And its brighter and richer Vivid mode also has a refined quality that a lot of users will find extremely appealing. In our view, the 1.6x zoom that lets you position the projector farther from the screen is also a noteworthy and attractive asset.

However, most consumers just getting into entry level home theater are not likely to view the nuanced seamlessness of the HT4050's image as a major advantage. They will instead be more attracted to the somewhat better contrast and three-dimensionality offered by the HT2050 or HT3050. And gamers are more likely to go for the much lower priced HT2050 for its 33 ms input lag rather than the 96 ms of the HT4050.

In the end there is no such thing as a projector that meets everyone's needs for all uses. The HT4050 will be perfect for some users and not right for others. But it will certainly contribute to BenQ's growing reputation for producing cost-effective home theater projectors that deliver excellent picture quality. (See current BenQ HT4050 prices.)


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Review Contents: Picture Quality Key Features Performance Set Up
  Limitations and Conclusion

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Comments (9) Post a Comment
Erik Herman Posted Nov 30, 2015 7:53 AM PST
What picture mode was input lag measured from. I see the projector has a "game" mode. I'd be interested if lag is different in this mode with all extra processing turned off (FI, pixel enhancement, etc...). Usually, game mode limits extra processing and improves lag times.
dhanji Posted Dec 7, 2015 11:49 AM PST
very nice and resoneble price
Felix Pimentel Posted Dec 21, 2015 4:08 PM PST
BenQ has released a new firmware version for the HT4050 that * Reduces lag time * Reduces source detect/connect time

Please contact BenQ Tech Support for information on how to get your projector upgraded to the latest firmware.

Regards, Felix Pimentel Sr. Product Marketing Manager BenQ
Kazuya Posted Jan 6, 2016 7:30 PM PST
Is this projector able to be used with a curved screen?
Gabriel Posted Jan 11, 2016 9:02 AM PST
So the Frame Interpolation is not able to give the same effect as using SVP (Smooth Video Project) software in my HTPC? I want it to look more like Hobbit 48fps but also need it to be able to do this for 3D not only 2D as for 2D I can already do it with my HTPC. This will be a main factor for me. BTW ..."without imparting any hint of undesirable digital video effect (or soap opera hyper-reality" undesirable to you. Others prefer things to be smooth like real life not a slideshot fest like current 24fps movies but to each its own.
jaxon Posted Jan 15, 2016 6:00 AM PST
Hey Mate is there one for the 1070 as It lags a fair bit when I online game.

Kind regards

J Avery
Erik Herman Posted Mar 26, 2016 6:23 AM PST
Any word on how much the new firmware version reduces lag time? How does one upgrade the firmware on the projector (do you need to send it to them?) Thanks. Trying to decide between the 3050 and 4050. The motion and pixel enhancers of the 4050 have me leaning that way.
jordanliaw Posted Jun 5, 2016 10:51 PM PST
Will HT4050 support 1080p@60Hz input and convert it to 1080p@120Hz output whth Motion ehancer enabled, or not?
Evonimos Posted Jun 15, 2016 12:39 PM PST
Erik, I had the same questions regarding the lag time improvement of the Benq HT4050/W3000 with the firmware update. I am interested in that specific model mostly because of its longer throw compared to the otherwise exellent value-for-money HT2050/W1110. I don't find frame fnterpolation or image proccesing appealing for my purposes. Quite on the contrary, I am a firm believer that a good source material (as is a film in 1080p through HDMI) is always better with image proccessing turned off or set to minimum. Matters of opinion I know..

Anyway, I called Benq technical support (UK) and asked them to confirm that such update is indeed available. The guy I talked to was kind enough to inform me that such a firmware update does exist and it improves imput lag time among other things. According to him, the input lag was brought down to about 33-49 milliseconds if i remember correctly. Someone else could call them and double check if i remember the right figures and report back. Or even better, a proffesional reviewer could test it and put an end to all speculation.

I also asked him if the update procedure could be made bu the end user and he replied that it is only possible if the unit is sent to Benq technical support. The reason he said, is that they don't want to risk people damagint their units in the proccess. He also told me that the latest firmware update was released somewhere during April and it has the firmware number 0.23.

Best regards!

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