BenQ Unleashes It’s Low Cost New 4K HDR DLP Short Throw Projector, The HT3550
Stephan Jukic – March 5, 2019
Short Throw projectors tend to have two qualities that many fans of ultra HD home theater in the more literal sense might not like: They’re usually on the bulky side and they usually cost an arm and a leg. Even more recent releases such as LG’s recent CineBeam 4K HDR Short Throw model still cost more than almost any 4K UHD TV even though the LG release shrunk size down from the large dimensions we’ve seen before in Sony models.
BenQ has worked hard to solve both problems apparently and the result is looking pretty slick as far as we can tell. The projector (and 4K monitor, among other electronics) maker’s new CinePrime HT3550 delivers all the high end home theater trimmings, with high dynamic range support DLP 4K resolution, superb luminosity and packs them into a package that’s downright compact, and costs way less than any previous short throw model we’ve recently seen. The HT3550 even comes with integrated 5 watt speakers which may not be anything to write home about but do offer portable integrated sound for taking this device with you on things like camping and road trips.
Crucially, BenQ promises “true” 4K resolution in the HT3550, since its internal pixel shifting technology actually delivers a total of 8.29 million distinct pixels worth of sharpness instead of the upscaled 2K that many pseudo-4K projectors really offer. The HT3550 also supports DCI-P3 wide color gamut coverage and is the first ever DLP consumer projector to come with this HDR color feature.
In terms of some display specifics, the CinePrime projector offers up 100% of the standard broadcast TV Rec. 709 color space and then takes things much further by also offering 95% DCI-P3 color gamut for its HDR support chops (which need to include wide color gamut in order to render all the rich vibrancy of natural color in high dynamic range content). Users don’t even need to do manual color calibration in this model according to BenQ, since the HT3550 comes with automatic tone mapping and color correction technology. Part of these latter color correction specs include a feature for natural flesh tone rendition, plus motion adaptive 4K pixel enhancement (for better sharpness and motion handling) and other color enhancement features for bright and shadowy scenes in content. The DCI-P3 color space coverage of this projector model alone is better than what we’ve seen in most of the 4K HDR TV’s we’ve reviewed in 2018 and 2019.
Otherdisplay specs in the CinePrime include a native 30,000:1 contrast ratio and a luminosity that hits a very respectable, powerful 2000 ANSI lumens. The HT3550’s lamp is rated to last between 4,000 and 15,000 hours depending on which energy use setting this model is used in. Options for this consist of Normal (ideal for HDR 4K content), Economic and SmartEco modes.
There’s also a 1.3x zoom in the HT3550 and it offers vertical lens shift as well. BenQ even threw in 640 x 480 VGA resolution connectivity for the HT3550, for using it with older devices. Other connectivity options include HDMI 2.0 (with full 4K content and HDR support), USB and audio connectivity.
Since this is a short throw projector, it doesn’t need to be mounted and can be placed right below a vertical projection surface for maximum usability even in small spaces.
As we said, the BenQ CinePrime HT3550 short throw projector is priced very affordably by the standards of this market and it will be launching at the end of March for $1,499.