Product Review - BenQ W1700 4K HDR Projector (Part Two)

By Michael Lim, Filmmaker and Curator
Image Credit: BENQ

PART TWO: FULL HD COMPARISON TO 4K HDR.

(For Part One of the article: http://bit.ly/2SlE9Tg)

4K HDR not only boosts 4 times higher resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) than Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) but also has HDR. What is HDR? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It boosts a display's contrast ratio, which is the difference between the brightest and darkest colors your projector or TV can show. It allows for much finer detail in the shades in between those light and dark colours. However, to enjoy HDR, your content needs to be encoded in HDR. It is possible now with Ultra-HD Blu-rays now on the market to have HDR content as well as some streaming services also encoded in HDR. Most recently, I found some 4K HDR content available in the iTunes store as well. The latest Apple TV box is also HDR compatible along with Dolby Atmos. It is also important that your HDMI cable is also 4K HDR compatible. Do note that earlier generations of HDMI cables are not that effective in sending the 4K and HDR signals across.

Know more about W1700 at BenQ Official Webpage: https://goo.gl/nvvukp
Check the price of W1700 at BenQ Brand Store: https://goo.gl/uv3nuy

What is also important to note as well is that the whole stream of getting a 4K effect is only beneficial when the film is shot natively in 4K with its whole post-production pipeline in 4K. This means for older films shot on 35mm film which have been previously remastered in Full HD, they would have to be retransferred again from the original film negatives to a 4K scanner. Also, there may be some 4K content out there that might only be upscaled to 4K from Full HD which means you’re not getting the full 4K effect. Your best bet is to check whether the film has been remastered to 4K. Also, with some of the 4K new scans of 35mm film, I have noticed that the film appears grainier in some scenes due to the film stock used, especially getting closer to the screen.

Image Credit: BENQ

This was apparent in a comparison between the Full HD version of the 1982 film, Blade Runner, and the new remastered 4K version. Upon closer examination, the remastered Blade Runner definitely handled contrast and blacks better in the UHD disc than the Blu-ray disc. The focus and brightness in the eyes of the characters was also noticeably sharper and clearer in the UHD version then Blu-ray. The UHD picture however appeared seemed grainier (as it was shot on 35mm film) upon closer examination to the screen but this was fine when I was seated back in the normal seated viewing position. Nobody really watches a screen that close. Animation films created in computer graphics also do better in UHD, and colours appeared richer and picture sharper compared to their Blu-ray cousin as in the case of The Incredibles 1 and 2. More recent films like Wonder Woman or Black Panther which were shot digitally look fantastic on a UHD projector like the BENQ W1700 4K HDR.

BenQ also has a new feature called “CinematicColor” which can deliver precise color accuracy as the director originally intended. Colour skin tones can be adjusted with greater tonality according to the settings. I didn’t really toy that much with these settings and found the standard factory settings fantastic for me. However, it is good to know that these settings can be further adjusted accordingly. 4K HDR Projection has certainly come along a great deal to prove itself as a more than worthy successor to full HD, and with the amount of 4K HDR content growing exponentially, it is certainly a home theatre owner must-have item to purchase.

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