Cheapest 4K Home Theater Projectors
There is a revolution in 4K projectors taking place now. A technology called pixel shifting now enables projector manufacturers to produce some of the cheapest 4K Home Theater Projectors. The use of this technology was first used by JVC in 2013 in their LCOS projectors, but it was still expensive and not affordable to the vast majority of Home projector users.
The introduction, a couple of years ago, of the Texas Instruments XPR pixel shifting DMD chips allowed projector manufacturers to make high quality 4K projectors cheaply. This is now resulting in a flood of cheap 4K projectors in the market. These 4K projectors convert full HD 1920x1080 pixel images to 3840x2160 pixel 4K images with 8.3 million pixels and produce superb pictures.
There are basically 2 types of 4K projectors:
- Projectors which have a Native 4K resolution with a true 4K chip having 3840x2160 pixels.
- Projectors which enhance an image from a lower native resolution chip like a FHD 1920x1080 pixel chip to a 4K image with 3840x2160 pixels.
What means Native 4K resolution
What Native Resolution means in a projector means is the actual number of screen pixel forming elements in the digital signal to picture conversion device in the projector. in a DLP projector this is the DMD (Digital Mirror Device) and the Native Resolution of the DMD is the total number of microscopic mirrors on the DMD in the Horizontal and Vertical Directions. In the case of a Native 4K resolution DMD in a DLP projector the number of mirrors should be 3840x2160 mirrors which reflects on to the projector screen an image with 3840x2160 pixels to give an image of 3840x2160 = 8,294,400 pixels or the 8.3 million pixels contained in a 4K image. Similarly a 3 LCD or LYCOS projector to be Native 4K must have 3840x2160 picture producing elements.
To produce real Native 4K chips becomes very expensive and it will not be affordable for home projector users. Home projector users crave to get that sharp 4K image quality in their affordable home projectors, so projector manufacturers have come up with ingenious ways to produce projector images as good as real Native 4k images with normal HD home projectors. The technology to achieve this miracle is called Pixel Shifting.
What is Pixel Shifting
Pixel Shifting was first introduced in Projectors by JVC in 2013. Pixel Shifting was used earlier in big rear projection TVs to upscale TV images. The Pixel Shift technology used then was referred to as 'WOBULATION'. JVC's implementation of Pixel Shift technology is called 'E-SHIFT' and is explained in the following image from the JVC archived webpage
The Wobulation used in old rear projection TVs had the pixels shifting only in the horizontal direction or single phase pixel shifting to double the pixels in the horizontal direction. But to achieve true 4K upscaling the pixels must be doubled in both the horizontal and vertical direction, which means that you need 2x pixel shifting or 2 phase pixel shifting. JVC archives dual phase pixel shifting by moving only in one direction - that is diagonally which doubles the pixels in both the horizontal and vertical directions as demonstrated in the above image from JVC.
How 4K budget projectors able to produce such great 4K images?
The native 4K projectors understandably produce superb pictures, but how do budget 4K projectors produce such good projector images. The way the budget 4K projectors produce such great pictures can be explained as follows:
Most of the 4K projectors in the market are CTA (Consumer Technology Association) certified. For a projector to meet and be certified by CTA as a 4K projector, it must meet the minimum CTA 4K standard which states that the projector must be able to produce at least 8 million Pixels on the screen. The CTA full specifications regarding the 4K standards available here.
Thus, each frame of a video image produced by a CTA certified 4K pixel shifting projector must produce at least 8 million pixels on the screen. Thus these projectors are able to upgrade an ordinary 1920x1080 FHD (Full High Definition) video image to an image with 3840x2160 (8.3 million) pixels. This of-course leads to much sharper images being produced by the 4K enhancing projectors. When comparing side by side pictures produced by a True 4K (Native 4K) projector to a pixel shift generated Enhanced 4K picture, the quality of the enhanced 4K image is almost as good as the native 4k image. To most non professional guys the picture will look the same. So for those wanting the ultimate sharp projector images, an enhanced 4K projector will meet the requirements at prices less than one third the price of a Native 4K projector.
When the enhanced 4K projector images are compared to the original FHD image, the quality of the upgraded 4K image was vastly improved. So, going for a pixel shifted enhanced 4K images are far superior. Thus buying an enhanced 4Kprojector is really worth it.
Different projector manufacturers have different trade names for their 4K upgrading technology. DLP projector manufacturers use the Texas Instrument (TI) made DMD chips and use the TI pixel shifting technology called XPR to upgrade normal FHD pictures to full 4K images. Epson uses 3 Chip LCD panels and call their 4K pixel shifting technology as '4K PRO UHD'. LG calls their 4K upscaling as "XPR* video processing". The following images clearly show how a projector image is improved by having a higher resolution from LG shows the effect of the improvement in image quality by using 4K pixel shifting enhancement.
Best budget 4K projectors
To see some of the best sub $2000- 4K projectors from reputed manufacturers like BENQ, EPSON, LG, Optoma, etc. visit the Amazon page with their latest offerings of budget 4K projectors.
Where to buy Home Theater Projectors and Projector Screens online
The best place to buy Projectors and Projector screens is the Amazon online store in your country. Amazon is best to buy online Projectors and Screens because not only are they very competitively priced, but you also have the assurance of service, and in the worst case, even return for a refund in case you are not satisfied.
Links for Home Theater Projectors
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Links for Projector Screens
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