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Hi all
These questions probably gets asked often... sorry I"m new to projectors.

I'm looking to buy an hd projector, but all of the different resolutions are confusing. I thought there would be only be a few resolution choices...480, 720, 1080? If someone could shed the light for me I would really appreciate it. I was originally looking for a 1080 projector, then I read about this new 4k resolution I think its called, and max vs native resolution, i have no idea.
Any advice is greatly appreciated

thanks
jeremy
 

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There are only a couple projectors that accept a 4k input and produce a 4k output. I know Sony has one of them - it is around $25k. http://store.sony.com/p/VPL-VW1000ES/en/p/VPLVW1000ES the trick, of course, is that 4k content is pretty difficult to find since the technology is relatively new.

JVC makes projectors with their "4K e-Shift" technology. These only accept 1080p signals, but the projector internally up scales the signal to 4K. This effectively eliminates any chance of seeing pixels, reduces the jaggies on the screen, and makes the output more film-like, in my opinion. (I own one of these - RS55u) there are some notes on it here http://procision.jvc.com/product.jsp?modelId=MODL028964&pathId=140&page=11 I like the e-Shift, but it is not true 4k - which can be confusing. It is more similar to a big anti-aliasing algorithm.

The regular 1080 projectors are just that - 1080 in, 1080 out. I would not recommend anything less than 1080 at this point, especially in projection, where the image is being presented in a large format. You will lose a lot of detail. I would be surprised if you could find a theater projector that isn't at least1080.
 

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Presently, theaters are transitioning from 2K to 4K technology. For theaters, those standards relate to the number of pixels across the screen in the horizontal direction (2048 and 4096, respectively). 1080 in home theater projector systems, on the other hand, has 1920 pixels across the horizontal, just short of 2048 so it's almost comparable to a 2K theater projection and the new 4K (UltraHD home theater version) standard will have 3840 pixels, just short of the newer 4K theater standard. That gives you some idea of what 1080 and 4K are in those two contexts.

The next thing you'd be interested in is "is it worth it?". If you build a home theater system, are you going to see any difference between 1080 and 4k? That has to do with how large the image is and how close you are to the screen. For a typical small-scale home theater, you wouldn't be able to see the extra detail that 4k brings. At the present, 4k simply isn't worth the extra cost, nor will it be for quite a while. Everything that comes with 4k costs more including sources for the video and wiring for the projector. There is very little actual 4K source material right now and that won't change soon either.

To put all that in perspective (no pun intended), look at the attached chart. It shows screen sizes and distances that are appropriate for different resolutions. Consider the screen size you're contemplating and the seating distance and see if 4k will even make a difference. Trust me, 1080 is pretty close to what you get at the average theater and in your living room, it will be pretty impressive if you have a good projector.
 

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So going by that chart I use a 112" wide 2.35:1 screen (effectively 128" diagonal in 16:9 terms) and I view at approx 11' so I'll get some benefit from going to 4K eventually (just by the 'c' in become I reckon :) ). This may also explain why I get some benefit from using an anamorphic lens since it increases pixel density (if not actual source resolution).

I've seen the VW1000ES in a really good demo room, after seeing the JVC X55 and X35 (I own an X35 myself). The Sony on a 4 metre wide screen upscaling 1080p looked better (and sharper) than the X55 to me (which looked to have ringing when the MPC was set too high even in 'film' mode), though some of that is due to other reasons than just resolution: I believe it has a higher ANSI contrast that this great room allowed to be seen, plus despite using a dynamic iris the contrast looked better especially on a fade to black (where the iris can clamp right down).

I look forward to the day that I can afford a used VW1000ES or perhaps some future 'true' 4K JVC.
 

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So going by that chart I use a 112" wide 2.35:1 screen (effectively 128" diagonal in 16:9 terms) and I view at approx 11' so I'll get some benefit from going to 4K eventually (just by the 'c' in become I reckon :) ). This may also explain why I get some benefit from using an anamorphic lens since it increases pixel density (if not actual source resolution)...................
That's right. When you use an anamorphic lens, it increases the pixel density in the vertical direction which is the equivalent of having a higher pixel count (about a 1425 pixel equivalent for a 1080 system) for the portion of the screen that's illuminated (compared to a 16:9 image). For your screen size and distance, 4K would make sense.
 

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I have read that Japan is currently testing an 8k broadcasting standard and that the US plans to start testing this year. To my knowledge, nobody is testing a 4k standard.

If you look at the warnings on the new Sony tv's, they state that there is no 4k content now or planned for imminent release and (this is the best bit) if there ever is a 4k standard, there is no guarantee that these "ultra hd tv's" will be compatible. Disconcerting stuff for early adopters of these expensive tv's.

Also, unlike Sony's 4k projector which is real 4k, the ultra HD tv's have around 300 fewer horizontal lines than the 4k movie theater standard. This is because it is easy to upscale 1080p to double it's current than it is to actual 4k the theater standard (which is currently the only standard that 4k content is made for). One could conclude that there is no intention of a 4k blu ray like standard in the works so the only source of content is up scaled blu ray.

Perhaps with 8k in testing, it may be worth waiting to develop a standard for that instead of another mini disc like failure?

I was watching a 4k tv in the Sony store yesterday where they are displaying the 85 inch, 65 inch and 55 inch models. The image looked nice. I asked the assistant to switch off 120hz mode (which reviewers sometimes refer to as "game-show mode" and insist be switched off for movies). Without gameshow mode, the up scaled image looked decidedly ordinary. Certainly no better than the more expensive 1080p tv's (which also have gameshow mode). So how much the picture improvement is down to more dots vs other features that expensive sets can afford is not clear to me.

The misleading marketing I saw was shameful. They are printing "mastered in 4k" on select blu rays to imply that they contain 4k content. What they don't say is that it is still only 1080p and the fact that it was from a 4k dcinema master does not give you a 4k image. Or at least nothing you couldn't see on a 1080p screen.

History has shown that formats without content will fail. Betamax, HD DVD, mini disc, 3do, muse. While all better technology than the competition, all failed. Sony are too big to keep a standard alive for a few enthusiasts only and have proven themselves capable of burning early adopters by turning their expensive products into bricks over night.

If you aren't buying a new projector or tv anyway, might be worth waiting until it becomes clearer what is happening with a new standard. If you have to buy now, maybe it's a good time to grab a bargain high end 1080p device that was top of the line a few years ago.
 
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