Do you want to enjoy your favourite movies and programmes to their fullest without having to go to the cinema? 4K projectors offer 4 times the detail of their Full HD counterparts, although HDR technology holds the top spot in popularity currently. So, who is 4K suitable for and what content is available for this medium? And possibly more importantly, how do prices compare between these two systems?
4K projectors are the newest addition to a quickly expanding market that is currently dominated by more basic models, due to their lower priceline. These basic models typically offer resolutions of 800 × 600px. WXGA projectors with a resolution of 854 × 480px are also quite common. They have a different aspect ratio and a slightly lower resolution than the former and are good for professional use or the undemanding home viewer.
Movie projectors normally have resolutions of 1024 × 768px or 1280 × 800px, which are the most widespread formats. Over the last few years, Full HD projectors (with a resolution of 1920 × 1080px) and special projectors with short projection distances have been added to the market. Last but not least are 3D projectors, though they haven't found quite the popularity of the others. Why is this? In addition to their higher purchase prices and the need to use 3D glasses, there is still a lack of high-quality 3D content.
For the most demanding of viewers, however, there's only one option - 3840 × 2160px 4K projectors. At a time when an Ultra HD television is the only choice for the discerning viewer, Full HD resolution is a step down. So, what are the benefits of the 4K projector?
Compared to today's popular Full HD models, 4K or Ultra HD projectors boast a 4x higher resolution with a total of 8.3 million pixels. This ensures that your image will be crisp and clear even on large projection screens, where you would start to see pixelation on a Full HD projection. This gives you the opportunity to project a massive image onto your projection screen and really immerse yourself in the cinema-like experience.
On top of their high resolution, 4K projectors are packed with top-notch additional features. HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology is becoming increasingly popular in modern imaging technology such as TVs, cameras and mobile phones and 4K technology takes advantage of this like no other.
HDR imagery brings a new level of detail to film and photography, especially in capturing highly contrasting scenes. A sunset on a clear day, which brings out deep shadows in the landscape, would have been difficult to capture using older technology. HDR technology maps each section of the scene separately, avoiding under or overexposure, and produces imagery that is as close to real life as possible. This technology is becoming more and more popular among TV and mobile phone users so it is inevitable that it will find its way into more projectors in the future.
3D technology allows you to play specially-filmed 3D movies just as if you were watching them in the cinema. The format has been gradually improving for some time now. However, 3D technology was initially released at a time when there was very little being produced in 3D to make use of it, which has left it with greatly untapped potential. 4K projectors are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this technology should there be a 3D renaissance in the coming years.
4K projectors take advantage of cutting-edge technology, and manufacturers have been pricing them as such. So isn't it better and cheaper to get a 4K television?
Although most 4K TVs are cheaper, projectors offer the ability to project your image onto many surfaces, in many formats, giving them multidimensional benefits. While the quality of the image is not quite that of a 4K TV, in a darkened room the difference is hardly noticeable and the immersion quality of the big screen more than makes up for it. Plus, the projectors are much more portable so they can be taken around to friends' or family's houses for a movie or console game night. It should be noted, however, that televisions are less energy demanding than projectors. In most cases, a TV consumes about 120W to 250W depending on their size and type.
As far as the projector's lifespan is concerned, the first part to burn out is normally the projector lamp. In the most powerful models, the average lamp life is around 10,000 hours, which is just over 400 days. So with average usage, the projector will function for about 5 years before the lamp has to be replaced. The average life of a television is roughly double that, at 10 years.
Currently, projectors are most often used with giant projection screens. These are great for professional lectures and presentations and cultural events. They are also used in restaurants and pubs for events or watching sports.
Why not equip your home with a 4K Home Cinema Projector? Although this might be the dream of every film fan, the price is still a bit high for the average person. No need to pack up your dreams yet though! When the 4K television was initially released they had price tags in a similar area. Today, though, they have become quite affordable. The 4K projector is sure to follow the same path.
Let's look at the pros and cons of the 4K projector when compared to 4K TVs.
What can you do with 4K projectors? Although 4K content is not as widespread as we would like at this time, there is a range of Ultra HD movies, series and games already available. So what can you take advantage of if you own a 4K projector?
4K projectors really don't differ from Full HD projectors in connectivity. In some cases, the higher priceline will give you access to even more options. For example, a pair of HDMI ports come as standard in most 4K projectors, and at least some offer MHL support for connecting a mobile phone or tablet.
Most of the projectors also feature S/PDIF optical outputs for up to 7.1 surround sound and a USB port for data playback from an external drive or USB flash drive, or as an auxiliary power supply.
Projectors with 4K resolution are not yet widespread, mainly due to their higher price. However, we believe that it is only a matter of time before this comes down and the projectors become more accessible.