4K or not 4K, that is the question

4k vs eshift

When is 4K not 4K? It’s a question worth asking, as many products are hitting the market using 4K as a marketing term but not offering true, native 4K resolution.

The main culprit are products that accept 4K inputs but display them at ‘normal’ HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). This is a trap mainly for people that don’t understand the technology at a basic level and just see 4K on the box.

High-def afficionados like yourself will see through that. What you might not pick up on however is a new trend in the world of projectors.

4K Projectors (or not)

When we talk about ‘true’ 4K Ultra High Definition, we mean a system capable of playing back a 4K source, transmitting and reproducing the image faithfully with 1:1 pixel matching every step of the way.

Leaving aside the other elements of the system, the question to be asked is this: is does the projector have a native 4K pixel array (3840 x 2160 pixels) or not? If not, in our opinion it is not ‘true’ 4K as it uses a time-based system (like pixel shifting) to approximate a 4K image.

Pixel Shifting

fake 4k

The above image shows how pixel shifting (also known as Wobulation) works. An optical actuator physically shifts the pixel array to ‘fill in’ the other half of the 4K image. While it may be displaying 8.3 million distinct pixels, it’s not simultaneous.

Projectors from BenQ, Panasonic, JVC and Epson use this or similar technology to achieve their 4K output.

Native 4K Resolution

4k-vs-full-hd

Native 4K resolution by definition uses chipsets with 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 resolution, with no need for pixel shifting. It’s more expensive to produce these chips which is one reason why native 4K projectors cost more.

However with native 4K you can be guaranteed you’re getting the full picture, with no possibility of artefacts caused by the extra processing and pixel shifting required in non-native 4K systems,

At the time of writing, the only brands offering true, native 4K projectors are Sony (with a range of 4k models) and JVC (one model).

Learn More

Want to find out more? Feel free to call us on (07) 3552 7000 or drop into our store in Fortitude Valley.

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