Back in 2012, BenQ released the W1070, the world’s first full HD 1080p projector with 3D and short throw capabilities. The W1070 delivered crisp 1920 x 1080 visuals to 100” screens from only 2.5m and displayed genuine 3D content. The W1070 took the market by storm and became one of the best-selling projectors ever in the home entertainment segment. All over the world, people were impressed with the W1070’s 10,000:1 contrast and ability to showcase Blu-rays and high definition gaming in admirable detail. Look up reviews and check forums and you’ll quickly realize the W1070 has entered into projection legend as a product that defined an era.
But all things must pass and progress never stops. While the W1070 will always be remembered as a spectacular success, we believe the time has come to move on to 4K and we’re making the transition easy. Just as the W1070 with its full HD 1080p made perfect sense when it launched and for years afterwards, our new true 4K projectors represent the apex of current technology. Ultra HD 4K (3840 x 2160) has overtaken full HD as the dominant resolution in which content is mastered, meaning that in order to view movies and TV shows as intended you need to have 4K. And just as the W1070 impressed us back then with detailed images because most of us were still used to regular HD (720p) or less, today’s true 4K projectors have four times the pixel count and therefore produce superior image quality with exponentially greater detail and breathtaking colors.
Beyond sharper image quality, 4K projectors add HDR, or high dynamic range, a relatively new development that wasn’t around during the full HD era and that completely revolutionizes the way you experience content. Combine that with the increasing affordability of 4K projectors and the ease of making the upgrade, and it soon becomes apparent that the time really has come to make the move from 1080p to 4K.
The goal of display technology has always been to deliver image quality that’s as close to both reality and the content producer’s intention as possible. One of the primary ways of attaining this goal is resolution, and just as we moved from standard definition to high definition and then to full high definition, we’re now firmly in the era of ultra high definition, aka 4K. That is simply a natural progression of technology, and a good one at that because it means you enjoy more detailed, authentic, and impressive content.
Increasingly, the native resolution of content has been upped to 4K from full HD. Regular Blu-ray discs have given way to ultra HD Blu-ray, gaming consoles are shifting quickly to 4K, and all major streaming services deliver original content with 4K as the default resolution. So clearly by sticking with full HD you’re missing out on a lot of detail, and are no longer enjoying content as intended.
However, we want to reiterate that the 4K revolution has a lot more to it than just four times the pixel count of full HD. Color and dynamic range may be even bigger game changers. In the full HD 1080p days, projectors and TVs aimed for a color range (or gamut) known as Rec. 709. But as display technology improved, home cinemas drew ever-closer to commercial theaters and have begun using a color space known as DCI-P3 (DCI comes from Digital Cinema Initiative), which was previously reserved for big movie theater screens. With 4K projectors, this much richer color space comes to your home, offering a marked improvement in color performance, especially for reds and greens. Again, stay with even the best 1080p projector and you’ll miss out on that and on the original visions of cinematographers and directors.
While the BenQ W1070 offers 100% coverage of Rec. 709, it doesn’t support DCI-P3 and therefore can’t display modern material in its native form, as most content now and going forward is formatted in 4K, DCI-P3, and with HDR. With few exceptions, even the best technology gets improved upon. That’s good, as it means progress. And if you’re serious about your viewing enjoyment, you want to have a true 4K HDR projector in your movie room.
We didn’t just talk about moving from full HD to 4K without having a perfect solution in mind. We do have one, and it’s our HT3550 projector, which will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s used the W1070. Essentially, the HT3550 is a hero product for the 4K projector era and a direct successor to the popular W1070. With the HT3550 you get our true 4K DLP technology, or 8.3 million distinct pixels per frame. You also get excellent HDR and 95% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. With those features, you’re ready to go with regards to enjoying all content, from Blu-rays to streaming to, in the latest mastering standards.
Crucially, if you’re one of the many people around the world with a W1070 you should know that we’ve made the HT3550 as a slip-in replacement for the W1070. It uses the same throw distance so you don’t need to change screens and can put the newer projector in the same location as your current W1070. Mounts and attachment points are all 100% cross-generation compatible. So if you have a W1070 mounted from your ceiling in a living room, it’s a simple matter of taking it out and placing the HT3550 in its place. A HT3550 will fit anywhere a W1070 did.
If you do need to make adjustments, the HT3550’s lens shifts vertically by up to 10% and has a 1.3X zoom for extra flexibility in choosing and tweaking an installation. The key here is that with the exact same throw distance and mounting you don’t need to go over the troublesome process of calculating the right location for your new projector again. The HT3550 replaces the W1070 hassle-free, bringing you up to speed with 4K HDR projection without expecting you to redesign your home.
So, to summarize. We’re very thankful to everyone who’s bought and enjoyed a W1070 over the last decade, but we whole-heartedly recommend an upgrade to a 4K projector. It’s time. To back up our recommendation we’ve created the HT3550, TK850 and other 4K models, a fully-featured true 4K HDR model that literally takes the place of the W1070 with an upgrade so smooth you could slide your favorite Blu-ray disc on it!