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The Z9G rounds out its feature set with IMAX Enhanced Certification, Sony’s Propriety Motion Flow XR and Dynamic Range PRO. The Android operating system gives the Z9G a range of smarts, including Google Cast, voice recognition and a host of apps such as Netflix and YouTube. On the connectivity front, there are four HDMI inputs, three USB inputs, an Ethernet connection, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Sony claims that its MASTER Series has been created to convey the creator’s intent on-screen faithfully. To this end, the Z9G has a suite of calibration controls and the ability to interface directly via a network to Calman software for Direct Display Control (DDC). There’s also a dedicated Netflix Calibrated Mode, claimed to reproduce the picture quality of the studio master.”
I also wanted to listen to some music through the Ultra-3, imagining that many users will want to play audio selections in their multi-use media room and not just watch movies. To that end, I started with a few live performances of my favorite bassoon concertos. This is where I could really hear the Ultra-3’s soundstage and ability to project the venue’s space and dimension. Since the concerts were played by me, I had a strong sense of how they sounded live versus recorded. RBH has really created an accurate and neutral speaker here. Detail is superb with clear separations between instruments and textures. Even lower quality recordings avoided descending into mush.”
But, while the TV’s front-end is colourful and intuitive, the menus are a bit of a labyrinth. There are separate picture presets for standard dynamic range content, HDR and Dolby Vision, and the individual settings available in each shifts in a way that’s not replicated on TVs from any rival.
Serious tweaking is a tricky affair, but you can avoid much confusion by sticking with the standard preset, switching Energy Saving and all noise reduction settings off, changing Aspect Ratio to Original, and adding a few points to Sharpness. You should also experiment with the motion processing, as the default Clear setting results in overly processed and artificial movement.”
“The EH-TW7100 adapts well to the very different demands of HDR and SDR, and impresses with 3D. The natural dimming effect of active glasses (not supplied) aids subjective black level, while the stereoscopic image remains bright and flicker-free enough to hold your attention. The sense of depth produced is exemplary, and motion is crisp and avoids any ‘shimmering’ effects. Best of all, crosstalk ghosting noise is very rare, either in the distance of large-scale shots (such as those across Pacific Rim’s vast Shatterdome), or over very near content such as subtitles or objects pushed ‘out of the screen’. Note that Epson’s pixel-shifting technology doesn’t work with 3D, so you only get a native HD image.
The EH-TW7100 finishes on a high with its audio. The built-in speaker system provides plenty of volume and the necessary range to stop Pacific Rim’s loudest mech vs monster battles from sounding harsh. The soundstage escapes from the projector’s bodywork, too, helping it appear at least a bit less dislocated from the distant pictures it’s supposed to be accompanying.”
I think it is important to manage expectations when it comes to budget projectors and HDR images. At this level of the market, it is difficult to get enough brightness to add the same type of dynamic range impact you get with LCD and OLED TV screens. Those are direct-view devices that are capable of high brightness images that can recreate the HDR intended look. A projected image is a reflective image and is always dimmer and less dynamic that TVs, which makes effective HDR images very difficult to replicate. Even expensive laser-based projector models struggle to really show HDR with bright and specular highlights.
The BenQ W5700 is not a very bright projector and as such, it needs to be used within a dedicated cinema room with no ambient light to get the very best out of the image. Taking measurements we positioned the W5700 our usual projection distance of 13ft from our screen surface, which is a Screen Excellence Enlightor 4K. We also measured at no zoom and full zoom lengths at this distance. Peak brightness in the HDR10 picture mode was measured at 49 nits with no zoom applied and 38 nits on full zoom, which are low for HDR images. The contrast ratio figures with the dynamic iris in use were 1355:1 with no zoom and 861:1 on full zoom with 1132:1 and 687:1 respectively with the DI switched off and the wide colour gamut filter was not used.”
“I’d expect both those models (my colleague Steve Withers auditioned the N7) to also suffer less with one of the N5’s niggles: a reduction in black level depth during very high-contrast images. There’s a slight greying effect sometimes apparent here with dark areas of HDR movies, although it really is small by the standards of other 4K HDR capable projectors. And while a little of D-ILA technology’s legendary black level prowess has been sacrificed on the altar of 4K Blu-ray, the N5 delivers the most beautiful, nuanced and contrast-rich SDR pictures in its class.
If you’re watching SDR on the N5, you’re probably also watching 1080p hi-def, raising questions over the quality of JVC’s upscaling. The answer is that it seems fair to middling; upscaled pictures look reasonably crisp, but there was a little more source noise than if I used the upscalers in my Oppo UDP-203 and Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu-ray players. So it’s worth experimenting.”
As the astronauts blast off from earth, the amount of bass required to faithfully reproduce this scene is absurd. In fact, during the film’s theatrical run, it was reported that certain scenes of the film, including this one, had a habit of destroying bass drivers in commercial theaters. Luckily, this didn’t happen with the 1100Xs despite the sustained high-volume, low-frequency bass. The 1100Xs remained composed, delivering clean, deep, audibly distortion-free bass with satisfying room-shaking impact. This level of impressive performance carried over to the other bass heavy movies I tested, such as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2.”