Formovie Theater and BenQ V7050i ranked best UST projectors in 2022 Laser TV Showdown: BigPictureBigSound

Formovie Theater and BenQ V7050i Ranked Best UST Projectors in 2022 Laser TV Showdown

By Chris Boylan


Are you considering an ultra short throw (UST) projector for your home? Then you might want to look at the results of the 2022 Laser TV Showdownheld last week and moderated by projector center and ProjectorScreen.com. This event brought together 14 high-performance ultra-short-throw projectors in a dark (and sometimes less dark) room to see which produced the best moving images. The event organizers have divided the event into two categories: “Triple Laser” for projectors with three lasers used as a light source and “Single Laser” for those using a laser light source. This ensured a level playing field for all competitors.

So what is a UST projector and who wants one anyway?

Good question. Thanks for asking the question! A traditional home theater projector (long-throw or mid-throw) is usually mounted on the ceiling or the back wall of a room, while the screen is mounted at the front of the room. Most home theater projectors require a good distance between the projector and the screen in order to create a large image. While an adjustable zoom (and adjustable lens shift) can give you some flexibility as to where you mount your projector, you’ll generally need at least a few feet – possibly up to 15 feet or so. more – between the projector and the screen to create a large projected image. The downsides here are that you may have to run long power and audio/video cables along or through the projector’s ceiling or walls and you may simply not have enough trail to reach the desired screen size. Also, depending on your DIY skill level, you might want to hire a professional installer to get everything set up correctly. And that can add quite a bit to your overall budget.

An ultra short throw (UST) projector can be placed just inches from the front wall and still get a huge image: 100 inches diagonally or even more. UST projectors use special optical assemblies and processors to create a high-quality, high-resolution image without geometric distortion, without the bulk of a traditional projector. UST projectors are for those who want a big-screen cinema experience at home for a fraction of the cost of a high-end home theater projection system or giant flat screen TV.

Ultra short throw projectors can be placed very close to the screen and still create a huge image.

UST projectors are sometimes called “laser TVs” because they use one or more lasers as the light source. Hisense was the first to coin this phrase, but now the term “Laser TV” is used by many to describe laser-powered UST projectors. Laser light sources are superior to traditional lamps in that they are expected to last 20,000 hours or more without the need for lamp replacement. Additionally, because the projector itself sits in front of the viewer, a UST projector cabinet can include its own built-in amplified speakers. So you might not need to buy a separate soundbar or component system to handle the sound. Of course, we always recommend investing in a good home theater audio system so you can get the BIG SOUND to match that BIG PICTURE. But I digress…

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Hosts Brian Gluck of ProjectorScreen.com and Rob Sabin of Projector Central prepare for the 2022 Laser TV Showdown.

Game leveling, uh… line of sight

Prior to the event, all UST projectors in the shootout were calibrated for their best performance by professional calibrators, and all Triple Laser models used identical screens: a 100″ Vantage spectra projection screen rejecting ambient light. This screen has been specially designed for use with UST projectors. Content varied between test models, test videos and video clips, each selected to highlight a particular challenge in image reproduction. Judges considered color accuracy and saturation, scaling and deinterlacing, image uniformity, geometry, brightness, contrast, black level performance, and detail shadows (among others). I’m sure the judges and event organizers were exhausted at the end of the day. I’m sick of just writing about it.

Rob Sabin, editor of Projector Central, moderated the event, with assistance from Brian Gluck, president of ProjectorScreen.com. The judging panel was made up of six people from diverse backgrounds, all with deep knowledge and expertise in the home theater projector space.

Judges for the 2022 UST Projector Shootout:

  • Chris Eberle: ISF Trained Professional Display Calibrator, Display Examiner for Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, Display Examiner for Tom’s Hardware
  • Al Griffin: US Home Entertainment Editor for TechRadar and ISF Trained Calibrator
  • Marc Henninger: Editor-in-Chief for Home Theater Review, UST Projector Reviewer for ProjectorCentral.com, and THX Trained Calibrator
  • Majestic Chris: Reviewer YouTube projector and influencer at MajesTechs
  • ralph potts: Veteran Blu-ray Reviewer and A/V Writer at AVSForum.com
  • Sammie Prescott, Jr.: ISF Trained Professional Display Colorist, Technical Writing Contributor/Projector Reviewer at ProjectorCentral.com

In order to view the performance of the projectors under the most common lighting conditions and with a variety of content, each projector has been calibrated for three different modes: SDR Day (Standard Dynamic Range Bright Room), SDR Dark Room and HDR (High Dynamic Range ) Dark room. Event hosts set each fixture to the appropriate calibration preset for the different test hardware groups. By the way, if you’re buying one of these projectors, or really any high quality projection screen, we recommend you get a professional calibrator so you can get the best performance out of your projector as well. . One-size-fits-all calibration doesn’t fit all in the projector world, and a poorly calibrated screen can really kill that home theater vibe.

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The 2022 Laser TV Showdown judges watch the footage on top UST projectors.

On the morning of August 4, the judges cast their eyes over the eight laser-guided contestants. They watched, they squinted, they scribbled notes and discussed deep and meaningful things like color gamut, Soap Opera effect and HDR tone mapping. After lunch, and after resting their tired eyes, the judges resumed their judging with the six triple laser competitors. The results of the competition were a bit surprising, at least for me. While the single laser event winner was from an established projection brand, the triple laser contest winner was from a company I had never heard of before. And I like to think I pay attention to these things (well, most of the time anyway… Squirrel!).

Spotlights in the UST Single Laser Spotlight Shootout:

Spotlights in the Triple Laser UST Projector Shootout:

And the winners are…

First place in the Triple Laser competition went to the Formovie Theater UST Projector. Also known as Fengmi T1, this is a DLP-based 4K projector rated at 2800 lumens and priced at an affordable $2999.99 (the cheapest Tri-Laser projector of the bunch). The Formovie was rated extremely highly for color accuracy, contrast, and motion reproduction. It also excelled in HDR tone mapping, which is the ability to map high dynamic range content to specific projector luminance capabilities. Although Dolby Vision capability was not one of the test criteria, the Formovie was the only projector among the Triple Laser models to include Dolby Vision support. So Dolby Vision content on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and streaming services should look especially good on this projector. However, the Trimovie is not perfect. It featured a relatively low latency of 41.9ms, which means it might not be the best choice for serious gamers. It also lacks 3D support, so if that’s something you care about, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

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The Formovie Theater projector was just released earlier this year and took the top spot for Triple Laser projectors.

The Formovie projector beat the LG HU915QB by the slimmest of margins with an overall score of 9.08 compared to the LG projector’s 9.01. But the LG projector retails for $6,499 – more than double the price of the Formovie – so that’s another point to consider.

In the shootout with a single laser projector, the winner was The BenQ V7050i. It’s a DLP-based 4K projector rated at 2500 peak lumens, priced at $3499.99. The BenQ obtained excellent results in the brightness and contrast tests. It was also highly praised for color accuracy, skin tone reproduction, and motion reproduction. Like the Formovie projector, the BenQ didn’t have a great motion lag score. In fact, it was near the bottom with a whopping 69.1ms lag. If you don’t like the game, this specification is irrelevant. 3D fans will be pleased to know that the BenQ projector supports 3D via optional active 3D glasses. The BenQ V7050i actually earned the competition’s highest overall score, a 9.15 out of 10 – a few hundred points above the Trimovie triple laser model.

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BenQ’s V7050i projector won the gold medal for single laser projectors in 2022.

The Hisense 100L5G takes second place in the single-laser competition with 8.9 out of 10. And while the Hisense projector sells for $500 more than the BenQ, the Hisense comes with a bundled 100-inch screen for that price. Considering that the best UST projector screens sell for over $1,000, the Hisense projector/screen combo offers excellent value for money.

Those serious about buying a UST projector will want to spend some time and check out the full results and dashboards on the ProjectorScreen.com website. Competition was tight in the Tri-Laser and Single Laser categories and there may be specific image quality elements, features or aesthetics that matter to you more than others:

Show organizers tell us they’ll be holding a follow-up event to compare the sound quality of the 14 units. Some of these projectors come with decent amplified speakers, so it’ll be interesting to see if the sound quality wins out on any of the judges.

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