Can projectors do HDR

BenQ W5700 vs. Epson TW9400 - The great duel of 4K / HDR / living room projectors!

How much would you spend on a "good" home cinema projector for your living room at home? € 1000.-? Or € 2000.-? Or even € 5000. up to € 10,000? There are countless projector models for at home in all of these price ranges, and even well above that. For the personal sweetspot, it ultimately decides from what price one receives a quality that corresponds to the personal expectations and where the absolute maximum lies. Indeed, most advanced home cinema fans find the best balance between quality and price in the price range between € 2000 and € 3000.

Most of the home theaters are in this country
in the living room

The most successful projectors in recent home cinema history have always been flexible living room all-rounders in this price range ... you only need to remember classics such as Sanyo's “Z” series, or Panasonic “PT-AE” models or Sony's HW projectors, or finally Epsons EH-TW devices, them they are all responsible for the great success of home theater over the past 15 years.

A home theater era began with the Sanyo PLV-Z2

It is therefore all the more surprising that this price range is currently being neglected by almost all manufacturers: Sony has not brought an update to the HW45 / 65 for two years, the Epson TW9400 is only a marginal update to the TW9300 and is now entering the second Year without changes and the remaining manufacturers all prefer to "romp around" in the inexpensive entry-level segment (<€ 1500, -) or the price-intensive high-end segment (> € 5000.-). So little is happening in the popular “middle class”.

You are now, because finally another manufacturer has decided to send a candidate into the race in this price range: We are talking about BenQ, who have been making more and more talk with their brand new W5700 model since the beginning of August.

The W5700 delights the experienced home cinema fan not only because of its price range, but also because it is a representative of the DLP category. In fact, all DLP manufacturers have completely ignored this home cinema class for many years and left the field to LCD / LCOS technology. This is particularly painful, because the fight “DLP against LCD” has repeatedly provided exciting (& controversial) topics of conversation between home cinema fans.

The DLP projectors have always shone with sharpness in movements and finer detail resolution, the LCD camp, however, with brightness, flexibility and colors. Is that still the case? We take advantage of the opportunity and not only publish a single test for the market launch of the BenQ W5700, but also compare it directly with the evergreen and current top dog in its price range, the TW9400 from the LCD warehouse "Epson".

How well is the W5700 doing considering the established competition? Do the old DLP virtues still apply in a direct comparison? Is DLP finally "back"? We will answer all these questions (and more) in detail in this special. We examine all aspects of equipment, layout, image options and image quality individually and select the respective winner (if there is one). Finally, we will compare all the advantages and disadvantages and derive the optimal purpose for both models, which you as the reader can finally "compare" with your personal preferences .... Let's go!!

Equipment, installation and technology

We start with the classic, the Epson TW9400: In our legendary video "Tear Down" we have elicited all the secrets of its light path and signal electronics from the predecessor.

The optical structure corresponds to the typical LCD light path: the white light of the lamp is divided into its three basic colors by dichroic mirrors and modulated by its own LCD. A prism brings the three individual images back together to form a common color image.

The advantage of this 3-chip structure lies in the real color mixture free of rainbow effects and a very good light yield. Epson advertises the light output with a real "Color Light Output" of 2600 lumens.

One of the classic disadvantages of this structure is undoubtedly the cooling: Since the LCDs are backlit like small slides and also block light (= convert it into heat) on only one to two square centimeters, they have to be actively cooled with a strong draft that flows directly through the "visible surface" blows. The cooling air required for this is sucked in from the outside and the fine dust filter of the TW9400 cheats over and over again "fine dust" in the projector and, in the worst case, sits on one of the three LCDs. There it then provides subtle but noticeable light spots in black, which can be noticeable in dark film scenes. Dust can only be removed by the series (within the warranty) or the experienced dealer or DIY hobbyist. We strongly advise against self-cleaning not for technicians, because a projector can quickly be damaged.

The BenQ W5700 on the other hand includes the classic single chip DLP light path. In this case, the white light of the lamp is divided into its three basic colors one after the other by a color wheel and the brightness of each of these basic colors is modulated by the same chip.

This is made possible by the extremely fast switching times of the microscopic DLP mirrors: Although a single chip DLP projector only uses one chip for all three colors, it has a much faster response time than an LCD (with which a single chip solution would therefore hardly be possible ). Single-chip technology has advantages in terms of sharpness, because three panels do not have to converge here, and the chip cannot cause color fringes. The sequential color generation, on the other hand, has the disadvantage that the color mixture only occurs through the indolence of our eyes. Sensitive eyes are not "sluggish" enough, however, and occasional flashes of colorful paint can be perceived, known by experts as the rainbow effect.

The BenQ W5700 uses an RGBRGB color wheel, which doubles the color frequency, because the RGB sequence is run through twice per rotation at the same speed. Together with the color wheel rotation speed of 7200 rpm, this results in a four to five times the RGB frequency of 240 / 250Hz. But that alone is not enough for the rainbow effect, because it is also influenced by the lamp / DMD chip control in the color segment transition times.

In the theoretical "ideal case", no image is projected during the transition period (b), which means loss of light compared to 3LCDs. By cleverly pulsing the lamp and the DMD, modern DLP projectors manage to minimize the loss of light and the RBE effect without the color balance getting out of hand. As a result, the BenQ W5700 is certainly not completely free from the RBE effect, but for most eyes this is in a very inconspicuous area that is not perceived as annoying. This was also the feedback from many home cinema enthusiasts who took part in our big BenQ shootout in Bochum.

Keyword: Color Light Output

Epson deliberately advertises its 3LCD projectors with “Color Light Output” and wants to draw attention to the fact that the purely additive color mixture achieves more brightness in the basic colors than with a DLP with the same lumen specification. As a result, the color light output is measured exclusively with the three basic colors and these are then added instead of being measured with a white image.

That makes sense, because according to the video standard, all brightnesses are generated by RGB mixtures, but modern DLP projectors also generate the secondary colors cyan, yellow and magenta through the above-mentioned clever lighting timings at the color segment transition times, which also for the Color imaging can be used.

The transition times between the segments
add to the secondary colors

With pure RGB brightness measurement, these color reserves are suppressed, which is why the Color Light Output does not provide a comparable brightness measurement. We will go into this topic in more detail in the course of the picture test.

Back to our DLP light path: The actual DMD chip (Digital Mirror Device) works, as the name suggests, fully reflective, like a mirror. It is not backlit (like an LCD) and can therefore be passively cooled from the rear. This keeps the cooling air away from the chip and minimizes the risk of dust.

In the case of the BenQ W5700, the DMD chamber is hermetically sealed with a rubber seal and no dust problem is to be expected as with the Epson TW9400.

Duel point: BenQ W5700
The W5700 wins the first duel, because when it comes to dust protection, it is safer by design than the open LCD principle.

But dust protection is only one aspect of ventilation, it should also be quiet so as not to disturb the sound of the film, even in quiet scenes. The design of the BenQ is at a disadvantage here, because in addition to the fans, the 7200 rpm color wheel also turns in it, which is an additional source of noise. Both models are quiet enough in Eco mode and rather annoying in high mode, but the Epson offers more brightness with quieter ventilation in medium mode and can therefore win the duel:

Duel point: Epson TW9400!
The TW9400 has larger fans and three lamp modes. Even if it is not a quiet miracle either, it offers more flexibility here. With the W5700 you have to choose between quiet (eco) and light (normal). However, overall it is not a loud projector either.

Both projectors are advertised as "4K" devices, which actually requires a native resolution of around 8 megapixels. In fact, both models are native FullHD projectors that increase their number of pixels through what is known as “pixel shifting”.

The "shifting" takes place through an optical glass, which can "move" the pixels on the screen due to its refraction factor and simultaneous horizontal and vertical tilting.

Even if the technology seems the same at first, it works differently on both models. The Epson variant (above) only knows two states and only doubles the number of pixels to 4 megapixels. There can therefore be no question of 4K or UHD with eight megapixels, it is rather 2x FullHD.

If you activate pixel shifting, additional pixels are created
mirrored in the dark gaps

But at least the mirrored pixels fit exactly into the gaps between the other pixels, the low filling rate of only around 50% (proportion of the area filled by pixels, the rest are black dividing lines). The doubling of the resolution is therefore “real” after all.

The BenQ variant of the pixel shift can be controlled faster and horizontally / vertically separately. Together with the faster response time of the DMD chip, the pixels can be shifted 4 times, i.e. the number of pixels can be quadrupled to a full 8 megapixels. Therefore, BenQ can also advertise the W5700 with "UHD".

Even if the BenQ system arithmetically leads to more pixels, whether it is really better cannot be answered at this point. In contrast to the TW9400, the additional pixels do not fit into the gaps between the other pixels, but mostly overlap. And due to this overlay, part of the resolution gained is lost; an exact, realistic net number of pixels cannot be determined here. On the theoretical side, we cannot choose a winner at this point and postpone this to our practical picture test below.

Both projectors are advertised with 100% DCI color space, which is a very difficult undertaking for a projector, because the DCI color space requires particularly pure basic colors, which can only be achieved with UHP lamp-based projectors through very light-absorbing color filtering.

DCI filter of the Epson TW9400
(Beginning of the light path)

The Epson filters all color tones through a single combination color filter at the beginning of the light path, which makes both green, red and blue "purer". Blue would not be necessary because the DCI blue is actually not more intense than conventional SDR blue. This combination filter fulfills its purpose in terms of measurement, but the color purity is accompanied by a strong loss of light (see picture test). This solution can therefore not be classified as optimal.

DCI filter of the BenQ W5700
(in the DMD chamber)

BenQ also uses a DCI filter to filter pure color tones. Even if this filter is not located at the beginning of the light path on the W5700, but directly in front of the DMD chip, the principle is similar. The filter filters all colors at the same time and is associated with a strong loss of light. As with the sharpness, we cannot choose a construction-related winner here, this duel is only decided in the picture test.

As far as the optical block of both models with their individual peculiarities, the signal electronics remain to be compared in terms of “inner values”.

Signal board TW9400

In the case of the TW9400, two HDMI 2.0 interfaces are offered, which have the bandwidth of 18GBpS required for HDR / 4K and thus remain fully HDR-compatible even at 50 / 60Hz. Incidentally, this only applies to the cable route, the wireless radio connection of the TW9400W still only offers 8GBps and is therefore only suitable for HDR films with 24Hz.

Epson's own signal processor is not at the cutting edge of technology when it comes to interframe calculation: it is not available with 4K playback. This means that you can only watch 4K / HDR films with the typical 24p cinema stutter. This will not bother film purists, but fans of sharp, smooth movements will not want to miss the "frame interpolation", a matter of taste.

Signal board W5700

The BenQ HDMI interfaces also have the necessary 18GbpS bandwidth to remain fully HDR compatible in all frequencies. In addition, the BenQ also offers analog inputs, a USB interface with its own media player and a 4K-compatible intermediate image calculation.

Incidentally, both projectors also support 3D projections, which is no longer a matter of course with home theater projectors, more on this in the 3D segment of the image test.

Duel point: BenQ W5700!
The BenQ can win the comparison “Connections & Signal Processing” because it offers more interfaces and 4K interframe calculation. You can tell that the Epson is an older generation.

Before the home cinema fun can begin, a projector has to be installed. In most cases, models in this price range move into the living room at home and should therefore be able to be positioned as flexibly as possible so as not to impair the comfort. “The projector has to adapt to the room and not the other way around,” is the motto.

Possible spacing of the
Epson TW9400

The Epson EH-TW9400 is unique in terms of installation flexibility: It offers an extremely large zoom range (1x) and can therefore be positioned very variably with a fixed image width in the projection distance. In addition, there is a large horizontal and vertical lens shift that allows positioning outside the optical axes.

With this combination, it can be placed exactly where it looks best in almost every living room. And that's not all: both the lens and the lens shift are fully motorized and can be easily adjusted by remote control. Even a "lens memory" is on board for the automatic, optical format change when using Cinemascope screens.

The BenQ W5700 therefore has strong competition in the Epson, especially since DLP projectors usually do not shine with flexibility, although it is so important for common living room installations. BenQ has also recognized this and given the BenQ a good (1.6x) zoom, which allows a good room adjustment in the distance, but does not achieve the immense scope of the Epson.

Projection distances and shift latitude of the W5700
At 120 inches diagonal

The same applies to the lens shift: BenQ has also integrated a vertical and horizontal lens shift, which increases flexibility, but the large scope of the TW9400 is not achieved. In addition, you should avoid using the zoom to the full, because the edge sharpness of three test specimens that we viewed decreased significantly when fully exploited.

Above all, the vertical lens shift leaves something to be desired with overhead ceiling mounting. The other, high rooms cannot be completely compensated, so that it is better to switch to a shelf installation or vertically adjustable ceiling bracket. You also have to do without a motor, everything has to be done manually on the device. The lens shift, in particular, is very jittery and imprecise, fortunately the adjustment only takes place once in the case of a permanent installation.

Duel point: Epson TW9400!
Even if the BenQ is in a better position in zoom and lens shift than most other DLP projectors and with a little planning it can be easily integrated in most living spaces, in terms of flexibility it cannot hold a candle to the Epson TW9400er. But basically no other projector in the home theater segment can do that, Epson remains the undisputed reference in this regard.

Finally, on the externalities, which of course are always subject to a certain subjectivity. Both models are very similar in terms of proportions and centered optics. Unfortunately, they are both black in color as well, with the W5700 there is no alternative, with the TW9400 the user has to pay a surcharge of € 400 for the more living room-friendly white garment, because it only comes with the radio transmitter, which most people use due to the insufficient amount Be able to do without bandwidth.

Epson: € 400.00 surcharge for the white version
The BenQ is only available in black

We think: Too expensive! Our recommendation to both manufacturers: offer a white alternative or switch all production over to white.

Interim conclusion: technology, equipment and setup
The test got off to a promising start: The technical structure of the W5700 chassis shows good potential without serious weaknesses. All modern playback and signal types are supported and a full 4K interframe calculation is on board. The great advantage is the staff security thanks to the sealed projection chamber, but there is still room for improvement in the installation.

The Epson TW9400 shines with the longstanding LCD virtues such as installation flexibility and moderate volume, but lacks a 4k interframe calculation, which should be standard by now. The susceptibility to dust also remains an unsolved problem of the open construction of the light path.

Operation & offered options

While the operation of a projector is rather secondary (mostly everyday use is limited to switching it on and off and changing modes), the image options offered are all the more important. The more influence the user has on the image (sharpness, colors, signal adjustment, etc.), the better the image can be optimized / exploited. The image quality can therefore benefit from the setting options offered. But not every projector buyer wants to study video technology in order to achieve acceptable image quality on the screen; good, pre-calibrated, self-explanatory factory presets are important here. The optimal projector therefore has clearly structured presets (for getting started) and numerous correction options (for any optimizations / calibrations).

When it comes to the picture menu, Epson is conservative: The structure has not changed for over 10 years, the options have just been rearranged here and there to provide a better overview.

In combination with the very good remote control and its also very good range, the TW9400 can be operated quickly and reliably. Various presets are on board for different applications (films, TV, etc.), which can be changed as desired and saved in numerous memory banks and even individually named.

The HDR configuration, on the other hand, is a bit confusing: If the projector detects that a 4K / HDR signal is present, it automatically adjusts its signal processing, but uses the same presets as with FullHD / SDR playback. To avoid confusion, it is advisable to save the modes for HDR again and to name them accordingly. Also understandable only with prior knowledge: The color filter for DCI explained above cannot be (de) activated by its own function for HDR, but is linked to the respective image mode. Some modes ("Cinema") bring it in, others (e.g. "Natural") do not, more on that in the course of the picture test.

HDR is recognized automatically

If you want to make calibration / image optimization a hobby, the TW9400 offers all the options your heart desires: RGB controls for the color temperature, a complete RGBCMY - color management and a gamma equalizer, which looks more powerful than it does in practice is.

In addition, there are various controls for sharpness, 4K scaling, intermediate image calculation (only with FullHD) etc. etc., all in all the TW9400 shows hardly any gaps in terms of image options. On the other hand, at least rudimentary smart features are missing, the projector is unfortunately "dumb" and always relies on an external feed. In view of the fact that the connection side contains a USB connection, at least a simple media player would be technically possible and desirable.

The user interface of the BenQ also looks a bit antiquated, like Epson, they rely on tried and tested structures: the image parameters are in six main categories, the info screen provides information on the signal fed in.

Here, too, there are various presets that are self-explanatory and can be changed later. In contrast to the TW9400, however, these cannot be saved separately, but every change is automatically "noted". In addition, there is also a "User" mode, which represents one (unfortunately not ten as with Epson) memory banks.

If you play a 4K / HDR signal, this is automatically recognized and the W5700 jumps to the "HDR" preset. Here, too, only this single preset is available; others cannot be saved. This is particularly a hindrance with HDR, as the user may want to use different presets (e.g. with / without DCI filter). On the positive side, the DCI filter has its own function (wide color) and can be (de) activated by the user directly “at the push of a button”.

The "Silence" mode also needs explanation: This is not a particularly quiet eco mode of the lamp, but the switching off of the 4K pixel shift. Since the vibrating glass generates a slight humming noise (with both projectors), the "Silence" mode should make the projector quieter by deactivating it. In practice, the difference is barely audible, but the projector can be "forced" to FullHD, but only with FullHD and 4K SDR playback, with 4K HDR the pixel shift remains permanently activated.

For subsequent calibrations, the W5700 also has all the necessary resources on board: RGB controls for the color temperature and complete color management, as with the TW9400. For the gamma adjustment, BenQ classically relies on several target values, which in practice can even be better than the rough equalizer of the TW9400, provided the specified values ​​are also achieved in terms of measurement (see picture test).

One advantage of the W5700 is the built-in media player, with which video data can be played directly from a USB stick. This means that the projector is independent of feeders if necessary. In the case of permanent living room installation, however, the advantage is of little consequence, because most players now have their own media players and USB sockets.

Incidentally, both projectors have so-called ISF memories, which can be accessed by certified ISF calibrators. Our recommendation: You can do without the (expensive) isf calibration, but you should get the access code from the dealer, because this gives you two more "lockable" memory banks.

Duel points: Draw!

Here, too, the race remains close: Both projectors have a sophisticated operating concept with an abundance of bid parameters. The TW9400 offers a better storage system, but the W5700 has an integrated media player. We cannot make a clear winner at this point, which is why we declare a "tie" in this category (menus and options offered). Only in the image test will it be shown whether a projector is superior in its setting options, which we will reward with points at the appropriate points.

Interim conclusion:
Up to this point, both models have presented themselves as sophisticated and versatile home cinema projectors that not only take the occasional user into account, but also the experienced perfectionist. But ultimately the decisive factor for projectors is always the image quality on the screen,

picture quality

picture quality

Now we finally come to the comparison of the image quality. This is where it is decided which projector is ahead in which aspects. Can either of them even win the race completely? We give the answer:

Brightness and contrast for HDR and SDR

For many years, the focus in terms of image plasticity has been on black level and contrast. The darker the black level and the higher the associated “on / off” contrast, the better the home cinema projector. This formula, which is somewhat simple from today's perspective, was due to the fact that for many years digital projectors had their greatest weaknesses, especially in the black level, instead of only being able to project a gray. The winner was mostly the DLP group, both in terms of black level and in-picture (ANSI) contrast.

But the LCD warehouse did not sleep and the 3D boom came, which demands a particularly high level of brightness from the projectors, since up to 85% of the light was lost through the shutter prills. Here the LCD group succeeded particularly well in combining high light outputs (1500 lumens and more) with good contrast values ​​(5000: 1 to 7000: 1) and thus also good black values. In the case of the DLP group, however, it quickly became apparent that they could not combine light and very good black; the native contrast values ​​sank in the bright models that were now required.

Particularly bright projectors usually have one
gray black level

And today? The 3D boom has subsided and is hardly noticed in the market, but has been replaced by 4K with HDR standard. And this again promises an increase in the dynamic range, this time not via the black level, but via particularly high “peak” brightnesses that reproduce reality more realistically.

With HDR, highlights become brighter and
The image dynamics are more realistic

Originally developed for televisions which, as “self-luminous objects”, can shine a lot brighter on a small area, projectors with large screens have a hard time. In practice, it has been confirmed that HDR has a visible advantage in home theaters from luminance levels of 75 to 100nits (cd / m²), for which projectors from 1200 to 2000 lumens are necessary, depending on the image size. As with 3D, the more brightness a projector can achieve without turning too gray in the black, the better. Here, too, the projectors are unfortunately inferior to the TVs.

Projectors cannot have all HDR brightnesses
map appropriately

The race for the brightest and highest-contrast projector continues even after 3D, at least with 4K / HDR projectors. Since both models are actively advertised as such, they must also be measured against these requirements. Who can do HDR better?

We start with the measurement data: In the technical data of the factory specification, the Epson EH-TW9400 with 2600 lumens is valued significantly higher than the BenQ W5700 with 1800 lumens. The factory specifications basically describe the maximum possible light output regardless of the color calibration. What is decisive is what is left over “net”, i.e. with correct color rendering. Let us first consider the measurement results of the Epson TW9400, which are now based on dozens of series devices. This rules out falsified test results due to a particularly good (or bad) test device.

The maximum brightness is pleasantly close to the factory specification of 2600 lumens, but this high light output is associated with a massive excess of green, which makes natural color rendering impossible. Change to the factory-calibrated "natural" mode and continue correcting the color temperature (see chapter "Colors"). For example, around 30% is lost in the series cut and around 1800 lumens remain net in high lamp mode, which is a very good value for a home cinema projector in this price range.

The Epson TW9400 also offers excellent contrast values, between 5000: 1 and 6500: 1 native ensure a good balance between maximum brightness and black value. Only the LCOS projectors from JVC (D-ILA) or Sony (SXRD) offer more performance in terms of brightness and contrast, but both are in significantly higher price ranges. On the other hand, the adaptive light screen, which regulates the luminous flux depending on the image content and thus further increases the black level and dynamic range, is worthy of criticism. Unfortunately, the mechanics are clearly audible and produce knocking or creaking noises. Since the aperture also acts very slowly or generates brightness pumps (fast mode), we advise against its use and have not considered it further here.

As far as the measured values ​​of the TW9400, we now consider those of the W5700: It also reaches its maximum brightness in Dynamic / Vivid mode at native color temperature and even exceeds the factory specification (1800 lumens) by 30 lumens, but with such a strong green cast that this mode is not suitable for any application, not even for watching TV. The work information is therefore of a purely theoretical nature. If you activate the medium color temperature (normal), you get the practical brightness with an accurate white balance of around 1000 to 1310 lumens. This range results not only from the zoom (it has relatively little influence on the contrast), but also from the use of the "Brilliant Color" function. Many “experts” generally recommend deactivating additional functions such as Brilliant Color, because they break the concept of RGB-only mixing (see Chapter 1 Technology). In practice, however, these concerns are not confirmed (see Chapter 1), on the contrary: The Brilliant Color mode helps, especially with HDR, to emphasize highlights even better.

With 1200 to 1310 lumens, the W5700 does not have the same light reserves as the TW9400. It is also inferior in terms of native contrast: between 1000: 1 and 1200: 1, it only moves a quarter, depending on the zoom and brilliant color selection. Instead, it counters in dynamic contrast: On the one hand, it has a dynamic aperture that can be regulated in three stages in terms of its mode of operation. With it, the W5700 achieves a dynamic range of 2000: 1 to 6000: 1, without any strong side effects, but also not completely free of them. On the other hand, there is the "SmartEco" lamp mode, which does not work with a mechanical shutter, but rather dims the lamp depending on the picture content. This also results in a dynamic spread to 6000: 1, but not frame-accurate (the longer a dark scene lasts, the better the black level improvement), but the SmartEco mode is absolutely invisible (without any pumping) and absolutely noiseless. The longer a scene is “dark”, the higher the dynamic range. As a result, the black level is comparable to the TW9400, but the maximum brightness remains approx. 30% lower.

In terms of brightness and on / off contrast, the Epson has the edge, the in-image contrast remains to be examined. The best-known quantity is the so-called "ANSI" contrast, which is determined using a checkerboard pattern. Here we measure an average of 380: 1 with the Epson TW9400, slightly more than with the BenQ W5700 (360: 1). The checkerboard test image provokes the maximum amount of scattered light in the projector and thus creates the worst ("worst case") in-image contrast, as it were. As the proportion of white decreases, the in-image contrast increases until it can at most achieve the full on / off contrast of the projector. The ratio of dark and light areas is described with the average value "Average Display Luminance". Due to its higher native on / off contrast, the TW9400 can at least theoretically achieve a higher in-image contrast in images with a high black content.

In order to obtain meaningful results in a practical manner, we examined this with real images. In the above constellation, the Epson TW9400 achieves an in-image contrast of approx. 1140: 1 at the marked measuring points, whereas the Benq W5700 achieves 890: 1. Optically, the Epson spreads more brightness, especially in the bright areas. But the BenQ also has individual strengths:

In this picture with a high neighboring “light component”, we see isolated dark areas that are enclosed by light ones. Maintaining a high contrast here is particularly difficult for a projector, as not only stray light is created in the lens, but also in the panels (LCD / DMD) themselves. The latter is most likely responsible for the drop in contrast of the TW9400 in the measuring points this example to 200: 1. The BenQ TW5700, however, "saves" a contrast of 330: 1 here too, so it shows little loss.

Due to "halos", the Epson TW9400 shows less inimage contrast (220: 1) than the BenQ W5700 (320: 1) in the transition areas (green arrows). With LCD, the maximum is only reached in the clearly defined central zone (yellow circle).

From this it can be deduced that the DLP chip of the W5700 generates fewer "halos" than the TW9400 ("halos" mean lightening / "halos" around bright objects). This is hardly surprising, because DLP projectors have always been better able to depict strong contrast transitions than LCD / LCOS projectors. In addition to more plasticity in bright scenes, this also results in a higher pixel contrast and more edge sharpness.

So much for the contrast analyzes in numbers & photos, but how do the results affect the real quality on the screen with film, TV and games? This is where things get even more complex, because the signal processing also has an influence:

SDR playback

We start with the SDR playback: It is important to coordinate the brightness distribution (gamma) in accordance with the standards, which ensures correct "exposure".The classic 2.2 to 2.3 gamma has proven itself here for projectors, as it guarantees the authentic reproduction of detail, image brightness and contrast.

The Epson TW9400 offers a well-coordinated gamma ex works and convinces in terms of both definition and plasticity. With the help of the gamma equalizer, specific brightness areas can also be accessed and corrected.

The BenQ W2700 also shows a good factory setting if the levels are set correctly. The fact that the gamma increases indicated in the menu (2.2 / 2.3 etc.) are observed in practice in terms of measurement technology is praiseworthy and the user can easily select the desired exposure.

In terms of gamma signal processing, both models are equal and so the optical properties alone decide: Here the TW9400 can assert itself with its higher maximum brightness and its higher native contrast: In many scenes it simply looks more radiant than the W5700. The BenQ countered this with its higher in-picture contrast in bright content, as is predominantly found in sports, TV and games. Yet:

Duel point SDR: Epson EH-TW9400!
Even if the BenQ can maintain more in-image contrast in bright content, the point for image contrast with SDR goes to the Epson: Its higher brightness makes it more flexible and, in the truest sense of the word, more "radiant" than the W5700.

HDR playback

More brightness without loss of contrast, that sounds almost predestined for HDR playback, so the Epson TW9400 would also have an advantage here, one would think, as expected. But the practice actually looks different. The reason for this is the signal processing:

HDR controller of the TW9400

Even if the TW9400 has been revised in the HDR playback, it still does not manage to fully utilize its resources. The image on the screen is three-dimensional, but above all it does not adequately exhaust the brightness of the projector. The drawing through in dark areas could also be better. With the help of the HDR slider or contrast regulator, both can be increased, but unfortunately including the image plasticity, the "HDR look" is lost.

In terms of HDR adjustment, the W5700 benefits from its newer generation of signals: Thanks to intelligent HDR adjustment, it uses its resources much more effectively and, despite its lower light output, is not inferior to the Epson in terms of average image brightness, on the contrary: thanks to its better in-image contrast in bright areas In many image constellations, it can achieve a more vivid image impression than the Epson. Even in dark scenes, it shows good definition without excessive lightening.


Duel point HDR contrast: BenQ W5700!
The comparison shows across the board how important signal processing is in terms of HDR. Because despite the lower light output and lower dynamic range, the W5700 is not inferior overall, on the contrary!


Color display HDTV and 4K DCI

If the chapter on contrast and HDR seemed confusing to you, it doesn't get better now: As with SDR and HDR, there are now different video standards for color, which a modern projector should optimally cover. How difficult this is can be seen from the fact that even high-end models cannot fulfill this difficult “hybrid” task without compromising.

The important color spaces in direct comparison


HDTV (BT709) / sRGB color reproduction

All previous video standards have one thing in common: they are “downward compatible” with old display / projection technologies, which are usually based on phosphorus. In the last few years in particular, upscale home cinema projectors have not worked in terms of color as far as they can because the software is only based on the very small 709 color space, which does not differ much from the 50-year-old PAL or even NTSC.

Red is more "Holland Tomato Orange", green is more "apple green", almost every home cinema projector can do that nowadays, so neither the W5700 nor the TW9400 show any weakness here:

Both projectors show an almost pinpoint accuracy
Color space coverage

Both models show a very good coordination of all primary colors. Calibration fetishists may still be able to “improve” the graph through calibration, but there can be no talk of a significant improvement in the image.

Even in lower degrees of saturation
Both projectors show accurate colors ex works


Not only the basic colors themselves, but also the saturation of all colors are within good tolerances, as are the colors depending on the brightness, as our 3D color space analyzes show.