However, native 4K projectors don't rely on pixel displacement to create a 4K image. The Epson Home Cinema 5050UB is the best versatile 4K projector because it has the perfect balance between image quality and price. An excellent contrast ratio, along with impressive brightness and accurate color, all with better details than a 1080p projector, and it has all the parts to get a fantastic picture. This UHD projector isn't cheap, but it offers a significant increase in image quality compared to other 4K projectors.
The wide lens shift and the motorized zoom are the icing on the cake. Read our review of the Epson Home Cinema 5050UB. Read our review of the Epson Home Cinema LS11000. If you're ready to take your home theater system to the next level, these are the best projectors you can get for 4K content.
However, the contrast ratio is quite poor, so it doesn't look as good overall as other 4K projectors we've tested. Anyone in the projector business could tell at a glance just by looking at the images on the screen what the projector's native resolution was. If still complex graphics are displayed on a large scale, with viewers especially close to the image, the incremental resolution that native 4K chips can achieve (such as that seen up close in the comparison between the Sony VW285ES and the Optoma UHZ65) may be visible and relevant to the application. While this used to be a very important specification in the projector business, it's no longer a matter of consequences in the 4K world with pixel changes for home cinema projectors.
Even the JVC and Epson models, with their simple two-phase scrolling on 1080p chips, can outperform competitive 4K projectors in terms of contrast and black levels, and produce images that look the same and, in some cases, better than a competing 4K projector at a similar price. And this is true regardless of whether you're viewing a native 4K video signal or if you're viewing a normal 1080p HD and having the projectors expand it. Texas Instruments then released a 0.66 4K UHD chip with a 2716 x 1528 physical mirror matrix that uses two-phase pixel displacement to create 8.3 million pixels, equivalent to 4K UHD. Strict fundamentalists will say that the term should be reserved exclusively for projectors that have native 4K imaging devices and that no pixel-shifting machine should qualify.
A 4K pixel shift projector uses image generators that contain less than 8.3 megapixels, but the image of each pixel scrolls quickly, allowing each pixel to do the work of several pixels. It often connotes that there is something inauthentic and undesirable about pixel-changing technologies and the 4K projectors that use them. At the opposite end of the spectrum are technology liberals who believe that if the projector takes a 4K signal and does something to make it look like an exciting high-resolution 4K image on the screen, that's what it's really about. All of these 4K projectors, regardless of the type of chip, can create images in a class that is rightfully understood as 4K resolution.