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BenQ Knowledge Center

Why do 4K UHD projectors have twice the resolution of 4K PRO-UHD?

Three critical facts every 4K projector buyer should know about PRO-UHD resolution when evaluating a projector

With the demand for 4K home theater projectors skyrocketing as an alternative to sitting in a crowded theater in the post-COVID-19 world, many buyers who are looking at premium projectors are confused when trying to figure out the difference between PRO-UHD and UHD or 4K when they are choosing a projector model. So if you want a projector that will display every pixel that your 4K Blu-Ray player, 4K streaming services, gaming console, or your 4K Cable / Satellite TV provider is capable of providing – then read on.

The Consumer Electronics Association created the "Ultra High Definition" or “UHD” specification that has a minimum resolution of 3840×2160 addressable pixels. To make sure everyone got true 4K resolution on their display, the Ultra HD Forum was created to bring together the end-to-end video production ecosystem so producers like Disney could be sure their content looks good on any display. So how does PRO-UHD compare with the industry-standard UHD?

FACT #1 –PRO-UHD has only 50% of the resolution compared to 4K UHD

For most products, using the word “Pro” or “Enhanced” in front of the industry-standard usually means that the product has been improved over the standard in some way. However, when you buy a PRO-UHD or 4K Enhanced (4Ke) – it means that you are only getting half of the resolution that a 4K UHD television or projector delivers. How is this possible? BenQ was one of the first brands to deliver a true 4K UHD projector using Texas Instruments new DLP chip that delivered true 4K UHD resolution with over 8 million pixels to mainstream home theater projectors. Other brands including Sony also market projector models with true 4K resolution, and while these models are more expensive, they all deliver over 8 million pixels to the screen.

What about projector models with "Pro-UHD" and "4K Enhancement" (4Ke) resolution? While they can receive a native 4K signal into the projector, they only display about half as many pixels - just over 4 million pixels on the screen at one time while a true UHD projector delivers over 8 million pixels at one time. Although the picture is an improvement over 1080p projectors you should be aware that a PRO-UHD projector image does not display a true 4K UHD image as defined by the Consumer Electronics Association.

Resolution Horizontal x Vertical Pixels Total Number of Distinct Pixels Other Names Devices
Resolution
4K UHD
Horizontal x Vertical Pixels
3840x2160 or 4096x2160
Total Number of Distinct Pixels
8.3+ Million
Other Names
4K, UHD, Ultra HD, Ultra-High Definition
Devices
Projectors, TVs
Resolution
PRO-UHD
Horizontal x Vertical Pixels
1920x1080x2
Total Number of Distinct Pixels
4.1+ Million
Other Names
4Ke or 4K Enhancement
Devices
Epson Projectors
Resolution
1080p
Horizontal x Vertical Pixels
1920x1080
Total Number of Distinct Pixels
2.1 Million
Other Names
Full HD, FHD
Devices
Projectors, TVs, monitors
Resolution
720p
Horizontal x Vertical Pixels
1280x720
Total Number of Distinct Pixels
0.92 Million
Other Names
HD, High Definition
Devices
Projectors, TVs

FACT #2 – PRO-UHD is a marketing term – not an industry specification

If you’ve shopped for a 4K television, only 4K UHD is used in describing resolution. For projectors, the only products that use the PRO-UHD description are projector models from Epson. So what is PRO-UHD? It is just a registered trademark used to describe the resolution produced by Epson e-shifting technology.

Like automotive engines that use turbochargers to increase the horsepower out of an engine cylinder, projector manufacturers such as BenQ, Epson, JVC, and others use different chips and techniques to multiply the number of pixels on your screen. Epson's PRO-UHD projectors models using 3LCD technology can only produce 4+ million addressable pixels with a typical specification of “1920 x 1080 x 2” resolution. By contrast, every BenQ 4K UHD projector uses Texas Instruments DLP technology to achieve the required 3840 x 2160 resolution that produces images that Home Theater HIFI said creates "a stunning Ultra HD image that is simply unmatched by anything else I’ve seen."

FACT #3 – Retailers may market PRO-UHD as having true 4K UHD resolution

Although PRO-UHD projectors don’t meet the official 4K UHD standard, many retailers market them the same as 4K projectors that have twice the resolution. They may not make it clear that the resolution on a PRO-UHD model is lower than a true 4K UHD projector.

For example, one large North American retailer markets a PRO-UHD projector as “Epson - Home Cinema 4010 4K 3LCD Projector with High Dynamic Range – White”, but doesn’t display the actual pixel resolution of the projector. Another website misstates the resolution of the same model saying it has 4K UHD resolution. The Epson website even describes this model with PRO-UHD using the term "4K Enhancement (1)" that describes the resolution as 1920x1080x2, which is half of the number of pixels required for a true 4K UHD display. With descriptions like this, it is easy for customers to think they are getting the full 8 million pixels like they would if they purchase a BenQ 4K UHD projector – at a similar price point.

Bottom Line – Get twice the pixels of PRO-UHD for a similar price with BenQ

As the two largest projector companies in the world, BenQ and Epson both make projectors with excellent image quality, high reliability, and at affordable prices. But if you are looking for a projector that will replicate every one of the 8.3 million pixels coming from your 4K UHD Blu-Ray player or gaming console, consider a BenQ 4K UHD projector like the award winning HT-5550 that even replicates the same color gamut found in a commercial movie theater.

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