Can a Projector Deliver the Benefits of HDR?

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Q I own an Epson 5040UB projector that is high dynamic range-compatible and has “4K Enhancement Technology.” But it’s my understanding that projectors are unable to deliver all the benefits of HDR. If that’s true, is it worth it for me to upgrade to an Ultra HD Blu-ray player to use with my 5040UB? —Harry Torres

A While it’s true that projectors generally aren’t capable of delivering the same eye-opening brightness and contrast levels as flat-panel LCD TVs, it’s still possible to experience HDR benefits when using them to watch movies. For example, when I tested Epson’s 6040UB , an identical model to the 5040UB that comes with a spare lamp and ceiling mount, I noted an increase in black depth and shadow detail when viewing HDR content. And when S&V’s Kris Deering tested JVC’s 4K-resolution DLA-RS4500 laser projector, his take was that Ultra HD discs with HDR “outshined the standard dynamic range Blu-ray counterparts with nearly every movie I watched.”

Even if your projector comes up short compared with a flat-panel LCD TV when watching HDR, one benefit you will get is expanded color. Images beamed by the 5040UB come close to covering the full DCI/P3 color gamut — something that benefits movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray, which are encoded with 10-bit color as opposed to the 8-bit encoding used for regular Blu-ray. While the impact of this will vary from disc to disc, you should be able to see the benefits of the wider color gamut when watching movies with the 5040UB.

Does better-than-Blu-ray color alone justify the purchase of a new player? Maybe not now, but as Ultra HD Blu-ray player prices drop and more movies are released in the format, you might be moved to invest in a new player. In the meantime, having lived for a time with its identical twin, I can comfortably state that regular Blu-rays look great when projected by the 5040UB. Yes, the AV world is all about upgrades, but sometimes great is good enough.

true audio's picture

your friends should be jealous. The Epson Pro & Home are capable of presenting an exquisite picture. You will only add to the over all picture quality by incorporating a great player (Oppo UDP 203), and a great screen. Now days, there are many available. I only have the Epson 6030UB but the latter two is what makes it shine. You can always test drive a new player with a ultra blueray (making sure all the setting are correct) and see what you think.
Good luck, have fun and welcome to the world of having a projector. you'll never want a TV again.