Even though 4K projectors were first released in 2004, yet the prices have not come down. You would think that after all this time and technological advancement, the production cost should’ve decreased significantly for people with lower incomes who could experience the beauty of 4K resolution.
Sadly, such is not the case.
Yes, there are affordable 4K projectors available out there, but they also come with a few compromises. In the end, people end up buying cheaper alternatives, like a 4K TV. But even that is a big compromise to make as televisions do not provide the ultra-large, super crisp picture quality that you get to experience by using 4K projectors.
Are 4K Projectors Really that Expensive?
The cost of a 4K projector majorly depends on the function you will get. Plus, there is the cost of branding too. There are several models available “for the cheap.” But how cheap is cheap? Most affordable 4K models still cost over 1000 dollars! It’s difficult for a family to dish out this much money just to watch movies.
Even if they decide to spend their hard-earned money on an affordable model, they might still not use it as much since 4K projectors use more electricity than 4K TVs.
However, viewing 4K resolution is a beautiful experience, especially when it comes out of a short-throw laser projector.
Is the Price Reasonable Considering the Characteristics?
To begin with, you have to learn precisely what a 4K projector does. Essentially, 4K video provides you with four times the quality of full HD 1080p. This means you will see everything in great detail. A 4K projector gives you an unmatched cinematic experience when it comes to watching movies at home.
The resolution isn’t the only thing that keeps the cost high. There are several additional factors too. To provide excellent resolution, 4K projectors use specialized hardware. The lens and optics make a big chunk of the production cost. A lot of research and development helped shape the optical system used in 4K projectors. The cost to develop new technology is always added to the product during the early adoption period.
These projectors also have better lamps. No, we aren’t talking about ordinary bulbs here. 4K projectors require high-quality lamps to provide crystal clear resolution. Since it’s a specialized part, it won’t be cheap to produce.
One more thing that’s a decisive factor for a projector’s price is the contrast ratio. The higher the contrast ratio, the better the picture quality will be. Sad to say, it also means the projector will not be cheap.
Also, 4K projectors have a greater light output. Therefore, they produce a considerable amount of heat. However, these projectors create lower noise as compared to older technologies. Another reason for the units to be more expensive!
Why Are Some 4K Projectors More Affordable than Others?
As previously stated, the pricing is set based on the resolution, but there are other aspects too, including lamp life, low noise, contrast ratio, color, and much more.
Sony started selling a 4K projector in the mid-2000s. In 2012, they released a model for home theater use. During those days, 4K projectors were very, very expensive. People who were able to get their hands on one had all the bragging rights. The starting price of a 4K projector was around $10,000.
Fun fact! 4K TVs were released at the same time as 4K home projectors. However, the pixels on a 4K projector are much smaller than those displayed on a TV. Making these pixels so little is steep, so a 4K projector is significantly pricier.
However, over the years, manufactures have started to cheat their way in. Several of the cheaper 4K projectors are not actually 4K.
How Can You Spot a Real 4K Projector?
A real 4K projector will always tell the resolution it is supposed to show: 3840 x 2160. They would not use creative jargon like “4K Enhancement”. By using lower-resolution imaging chips and creative optical methods, many manufacturers have created projectors that provide the feel of “Faux K.”
A popular method to create a 4K-like viewing experience is by using three 1,920 x 1,080 LCD chips for every color. Then, each pixel gets digitally manipulated to look like a different pixel on the screen. This provides a more vibrant picture, but it’s not 4K.
Therefore, when you are buying a 4K projector, always check the output resolution. In some cases, 4K projectors are also labeled as Native 4K to highlight their genuine ability to reproduce 4K images.
Will The 4K Projectors Become Cheaper Anytime Soon?
All widely adopted technologies become cheaper over the years. At the beginning of the millennium, HD was all the buzz. Over the past two decades, HD screens have become so cheap that they are found everywhere. The same will be the case for 4K. Moreover, if you compare prices from 2012, the 4K projectors have started to become more affordable. If you are looking to buy a 4K projector, you can always go for a refurbished model. This way, you will get to experience the magnificence of 4K video at an affordable price.