Let’s start with the BT.2020/P3 Color Space:
4K Projectors are all very different when it comes to picture quality. The short reasons are that HDR – High Dynamic Range – implementations all require some compromise, whether on a $2,000 projector or a $20,000 one. Then, some claim to be supporting the wide color space known as P3 (in a BT.2020 wrapper is the way the tech folks describe it). Some players try to implement P3/BT.2020 (i.e. Optoma, Epson) while others, like Vivitek, all lamp based BenQ’s and others, don’t advertise P3 at all.
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What gives? P3 provides a bigger color gamut – more colors are possible, even certain colors that REC709, the standard we’ve been using for a couple of decades, can’t produce. The result is better color fidelity, and also more intense colors.
Valerian has stunning effects. This rather impressive image (it looked way better projected in my theater) is Blu-ray UHD content.
The problem? It’s near impossible to accomplish P3 using today’s projector lamp technology. Laser projectors and the best LED light engine projectors, however, are up to the task.
There being no laser or great LED 4K UHD projectors targeting the home under $5K, the field of entries has had to compromise – basically convert to REC 709, even if claiming P3/BT.2020.
Calibrators and manufacturers tend to say that lamp based projectors mostly can only get to somewhere in the 80+% of the full P3 color space. Just as an FYI, there are some exceptions (but it’s not easy). For example, Epson’s UB projectors in their Digital Cinema mode insert a special filter in the light path. That costs about half of the brightness but smooths out and extends the color range that can be handled. It works – I’m told they get well up into the 90%+ range. But, as I like to say, there are always trade-offs. Giving up half of the lumens lets them do better color, but makes it tougher to do a really good job on HDR.