Last year TI – Texas Instruments – started shipping a 4K UHD chip to their projector partners (that chip is 2716x1528 pixels, times 2) because it pixel shifts one time. That doubles the 4.15 megapixels up to 8.3 megapixels, the requirement to call a projector "4K UHD." Now, regular readers of this site know we have an issue with “4K UHD” and wish it was simply UHD. We find the 4K misleading, as we believe that you want true 3840x2160 native resolution – which is to say, pixel sizes half that of those 4K UHD projectors.
The PX727-4K is a different, slightly lower resolution as mentioned above. Like the Epson and JVC 1080p pixel shifters, its native resolution is 1920x1080, but it pixel shifts hitting the screen 4 times, not the usual twice, so it’s 2 megapixels x4.
It means that the PX727-4K has pixels physically (relative to screen size) that are much larger than the earlier DLP 4K UHDs and dramatically larger than a true 4K projector.
The Viewsonic is the 5th of the "lower resolution" 4K UHD projectors to visit my home theater. Like the others, the Viewsonic isn't exactly loaded with features - it mostly resembles $600 - $800 home entertainment projectors with, of course, the addition of being 4K content capable! Here’s more explanation of this projector’s 4K UHD as it compares with other 4K capable projectors:
4K UHD standard says a projector needs to put 8.3 million pixels on the screen to be 4K UHD. Sadly, the CTA standards folks (that’s the organization that puts on the CES trade show), did not specify how large those pixels can be, so they allow “pixel shifting.” That is, starting with panels or chips that have less pixels than 8.3 million. Some 4K UHDs have panels/chips with 4.15 million pixels – 2716 x 1528 x2 native resolution – and fire them twice, shifting position diagonally so that the second firing overlaps the first. Typical of those projectors are BenQ’s higher-end models, and some models from Optoma, Acer, Vivitek, and so on, although so far Viewsonic is sticking to the less expensive PX727-4K, and its brighter sibling the PX747-4K.
Then, there are the newer, lower cost 4K UHD projectors like the two new Viewsonics which have 1080p panels, just like most of the home theater projectors sold in the last 8-10 years. The difference between these and “most of those” is that these are also pixel shifters, but they fire each pixel 4 times, each overlapping the others. So, their native resolution looks like 1920 x 1080 x4. That, too, works out to 8.3 million pixels (just over 2 million times 4).
Overlapping pixels can increase detail, but do understand that each pixel in diameter on this Viewsonic is 4 times the area of one pixel on a real, native 4K projector, like those Sony offers starting at $4,999.
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