Is it time to join the 4K party?

We often get asked “Should I upgrade my projector to 4K or stick with Full HD? Is there a significant enough improvement in image quality to warrant paying more?”  So, we’ve popped down a few pointers that might help you to choose. 

What is 4K? 

Put simply, 4K provides four times as many pixels on your screen than Full HD 1080p.  And the greater the number of pixels – the better the image quality will be. 

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) defines 4K UHD resolution as 3840 x 2160 or greater than eight million addressable pixels.  Full HD resolution has around two million on-screen pixels. 

With the full 8.3 million on-screen pixels, Optoma’s 4K UHD projectors meet the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) requirements for 4K UHD and CTA High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatible display standards.

Will I notice the difference?

“So, there are over eight million on-screen pixels but will it make a difference to what I can see?” 

The additional pixels from 4K bring increased depth and light and shadow detail to imagery but if you are viewing this on a small screen and depending on how far from the screen you are sitting, this extra detail may not be visible. 

That’s why the large imagery produce by projection is where you can really see the benefits from this added resolution.  Any imagery bigger than 65” will look better with 4K UHD resolution.  4K allows you to sit closer to the screen without individual pixels being visible.  Filling more of your visual field yields greater immersion.

“But is the content there?”

More films, TV and sport are being broadcast in 4K than ever before. Sony and Microsoft both have consoles on the market that can render games in 4K. Most major blockbuster movies are being released on Ultra HD Blu-rays, and streaming companies like Netflix are releasing more 4K content than ever before. 

A 4K projector today will future proof your viewing tomorrow.

The price is right

With the improvement in technology, the price for 4K projectors and TVs has reduced massively over the last couple of years with 4K budget models now available.

So with content more readily available, and its ability to bring content to life with incredible detail, colour and contrast, is it time you joined the 4K party? 

Check out Optoma’s range of 4K UHD projectors here:

www.optoma.co.uk/projectortechnology/4K_UHD

 

Is UHD really 4K?

Resolutions

With any new technology, the terminology can be baffling. And resolution terminology can be the most confusing of all!

Resolution is simply the number of pixels in an image. The higher the number of pixels, the greater the resolution and the better the image quality will be.

 

Resolutions are as follows:

  • UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) pixels
  • WUXGA (1920×1200) pixels
  • Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) pixels
  • WXGA / HD Ready (1280 x 800) pixels
  • XGA (1024 x 768) pixels

 

Optoma 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) projectors provide four times as many pixels as Full HD 1080p. That’s 8.3 million on screen pixels (3840 x 2160) bringing greater realism to every scene with increased depth and light and shadow detail for a truly immersive experience.

The UHZ65, UHD60, UHD550X and UHD65 all use a 4M pixel chip.  The latter 4K UHD models - UHD40 and UHD51 use a 2M pixel chip. But Optoma UHD 4K projectors do not pixel shift in the same way as the 3LCD ‘4K enhanced’ projectors from Epson and JVC.

To get your head around this, let me give a simple overview of how each technology works.

A projector using 3LCD technology splits the white light from its lamp into three colour beams and directs each to their own LCD panel to create the image to be projected.

At the heart of every Optoma projector is a DLP® chip. Developed by Texas Instruments, this chip has millions of microscopic mirrors, each measuring less than one-fifth the width of a human hair and each corresponding to one pixel on the final projected image. A spinning colour wheel made up of coloured segments is placed between the light source and the chip. The mirrors are then turned on and off perfectly in time with the right colour – allowing the projector to display a total of 16.7 million different colours for a fantastically vibrant, life-like picture. By using mirrors rather than LCD panels, DLP projectors are shown to have better pixel alignment and therefore show a sharper image.

DLP chip

Optoma’s 4K UHD projectors with over four million mirrors (UHD60, UHD65, UHZ65) deliver two discrete pixels for each mirror. UHD40 and UHD51 deliver four discrete pixels for each mirror.  The inherent fast switching speed of the DLP chip and Texas Instruments’ latest XPR™ technology allow the projectors to display the full 8.3M pixels to the screen from these pixel chips. This happens so fast that the eye blends them into one image.

The ‘4K-enhanced’ 3LCD projectors from Epson and JVC use native HD 1080p chips (1920x1080). To achieve ‘4K-enhanced’ they project a 1920x1080 image, then on the next refresh of the chips a second 1920x1080 image is off-shifted diagonally and overlaid onto the first. The total number of addressable pixels in this process is 2x (1920x1080) = 4.15 million - half of the 8.3 million in a native 4K signal.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) defines 4K UHD resolution as 3840 x 2160 or greater than 8 million addressable pixels. For projection systems, 4K and 4K UHD resolution should be defined by the on-screen counting of pixels or the ability to see greater than 8 million dots.

With the full 8.3 million on-screen pixels, Optoma’s 4K UHD projectors meet the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) requirements for 4K UHD and CTA High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatible display standards.

Among the smallest 4K projectors on the market, Optoma’s 4K UHD projectors set a new benchmark in performance.

 

The pros and cons of a projector over TV

A projector can give you amazing gaming experience and a true cinema-like feel at home – but what are the pros and cons of choosing one over a big screen TV?

Pros

Size This is a major reason to go projection! Actors on TV look larger than life. Hang on a second – they ARE larger than life. Filling your entire field of view creates a completely absorbing experience.

Viewing a standard TV of 37 inches from the average sofa distance of nine feet, your eyes just cannot see all the detail in a 1080p image. Blow that up four times to 100 inches and you can see each strand of hair, every blade of grass. And this is where the benefit of 4K comes into play. A larger image benefits greatly from the added resolution. At that distance most people will see pixels on a 150-inch 1080p image, but not with 4K.

As seen on the graph below, at nine feet from the screen anything bigger than a 65” image will look better with 4K. Optoma projectors can produce images up to 300 inches.

 

 

Easier on the eyes You may think having such a large screen may hurt your eyes. Actually, it's the opposite. Filling a larger percentage of your visual field, and with less overall brightness, a big screen is actually more comfortable to watch and, just like in the cinema, the picture is also more immersive.

Space and setup Projectors can be used anywhere there is a power source, a flat surface and enough space. They are light and portable to be taken around to a friend’s house for a gaming session or an outdoor film night. A TV is less flexible to pop under your arm and take to your mates!

 Projectors can be ceiling mounted or simply placed on a table or shelf – and you don’t have to have a screen. You can project straight onto a plain wall. If you do want a screen - these come in all shapes and sizes. They can hang on the wall or be retractable, where the screen disappears into the ceiling or you can get a portable one that you simply pull up.

Short throw and ultra short projectors are ideal for gamers as these create a large image from very close to the screen or wall. Gamers are therefore behind the projector ensuring no shadows are cast across the image.

Cost

Projectors are, on the whole, cheaper than comparably sized Full HD TVs. Getting a TV larger than 100 inches currently costs around £30,000 (if you can find one to buy). Getting the same screen size and equivalent picture quality could cost as little as £500 with a projector.

Audio

Most home projectors have a built-in speaker – perfect to plug and play. And if you want to connect to an external sound system, you can with the audio output. 

Wireless connectivity

Optoma projectors can also work wirelessly up to HD quality using the optional WHD200.

 

Cons

Light

Light can be a problem if the screen or wall is subject to direct sunlight. But Optoma’s bright home entertainment projectors are designed to be used with the lights on. And the darker the room, the more vibrant the image will be. 

Lamps

Nearly all home projectors are lamp-based. Like any lamp-based light, these will eventually need replacing. How often will depend on how much use the projector has had and putting the lamp in Eco mode will greatly increase the lifespan of the light source from 5,000 to 8,000 hours*. Based on a 20 hours a week that equates to around 5-8 year’s use. 

Expectations

After getting a projector all your friends' TVs will seem unbearably small.

 

Upsize that tiny TV; go projection!

A projector doesn't have to cost a lot of money, nor is it difficult to set up.  Interested? Read our blog on choosing the best projector for you

 

 

* Figures based on expected lifespan of the HD142X lamp