Formovie Cinema 2’s 4K HDR-10 compatibility demonstrated
In August 2021, I awarded two Gold Awards to the excellent Formovie Cinema 2, an ultra-short-throw DLP Laser 4K XPR projector whose visual quality convinced me. Precision, contrast, brightness, fluidity, respect for colors, all the qualities sought after in home cinema were brought together in the same box. Alas, through the effect of two troublemakers, its HDR abilities were called into question and its reputation was unjustly and falsely tarnished.
Taking advantage of the arrival of a second model in my new cinema room, I took the opportunity to demonstrate that Cinema 2 is fully HDR-10 compatible and that, like 90% of current projector production that does not is not provided with a dynamic management of HDR metadata, it applies an arbitrarily fixed cut-off at 1000 nits.
Before getting to the heart of the subject and the demonstration itself, it is worth recalling a few notions on the management of HDR signals by home cinema video projectors (the following excerpt comes from my article entitled “Pedagogy of video projection : Why is my HDR image too dark?”)
The suitable reproduction of a high dynamic image by a video projector is rarely obtained in such a way “plug & play”. This is usually due to several factors. Televisions and projectors are often limited in their light output, manufacturers sometimes do not store metadata or store it incorrectly, so that playback devices do not receive the correct values to correctly display an image on the screen . And the last point is very important for projector owners: the HDR standard was never developed for home cinema projectors, but exclusively for very bright TVs!
Therefore, the brightness of the projector must be taken into account for the dynamic range to be displayed. With a projector that reaches 32ftL that sweet spot is 1000 nits, with a projector that only reaches 20ftL that would be around 650 nits. It is only when this ratio is taken into account that the average brightness of the HDR image appears equal to that of the SDR image, but with the added benefit of a higher contrast and more accurate image of shadows and highlights. brighter highlights.
Source encoding is also important, determining which brightness levels should be supported by the projector and which should be ignored.
When manufacturing a projector, manufacturers must therefore decide how to translate the variation in brightness in HDR images into the appropriate gradation of image colors based on the capabilities of the projector. This operation is performed arbitrarily on most current home cinema projectors (in the case of Formovia Cinema the limit was set at 1000 nits)
It is for this reason that when the contrast and brightness levels are poorly adjusted, you end up with an image that is too dark, clogged blacks and an SDR image appears more beautiful.
The Formovie Cinema 2 has been updated with its latest firmware (126.96.36.1992).
I then connected it to my turntable Panasonic DP-UB820 which has very useful options for the management of high dynamic signals such as “HDR Optimizer” (we’ll talk about its action a little later) and an information menu that lets you know what type of encoding is applied to the broadcast program.
To put the torque Panasonic/Formovia on an equal footing with the other sources (turntables/media player, etc.), I took care to deactivate the “HDR Optimizer” as well as any processing applied by the turntable.
I then used the 4K calibration disc Spears and Munsil which contains several video clips of the same scenes (like the horses above) but encoded in different ways (with dynamic Dolby Vision, HDR-10+ and static metadata with fixed HDR-10 encodings).
As the Formovie Cinema 2 is not compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR-10+, I used 3 extracts at 1000, 2000 and 4000 nits.
In the photo of the horses, it is important to look at the background of the image which contains shrubs, trees and hills. With the extract at 1000 nits (HDR Optimizer deactivated, I repeat), the scene is reproduced correctly by the projector.
The passage to 2000 nits becomes problematic and the details in the background fade to disappear completely at 4000 nits.
This forced mapping at 1000 nits is present on more than 90% of the production of current home cinema projectors. You should know that the vast majority of 4K HDR Blu-ray discs are encoded at 1000 nits. However, there are exceptions, such as Aquaman and its famous rosette test scene which goes up to 3000 nits! Under these conditions (with a master higher than 1000 nits), it will be necessary to intervene manually on the contrast and brightness settings to find an appropriate reproduction of the source. The other solution is to activate the HDR Optimizer option which will manage everything on its own but for that you need a Platine UHD Panasonic.
I guess the usual grumps pretend that it only works with Panasonicthis is of course false and would disregard the visual demonstration which has just ended but as they also claimed that the projector’s internal media player was not HDR-10 compatible, here is the visual proof to the contrary (excerpts from Lucy 4K HDR-10 and James Bond Spectre) with direct broadcast by Cinema 2 and its media player.
I made up for Lucy’s overly dark image by setting the brightness and contrast sliders to +60 and +70.
I also connected my Amazon Firestick 4K to answer questions about handling streaming 4K HDR sources.
Once again, 4K HDR programs are correctly detected by the projector and the small HDR logo is present on programs broadcast by Amazon Prime and Netflix. If this was not the case (the absence of support) the streaming channels would only display the FHD (Full HD) logo. Be careful to check that the HDMI socket is configured in version 2.0.
I limited myself to a selection of 3 4K HDR programs on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix and all were broadcast correctly by the streaming player/Formovie Cinema 2 couple. On Reacher (Prime Video) I had to intervene on the level of contrast to compensate for a somewhat dark image but nothing insurmountable.
In view of its great qualities, I would have liked the Formovie Cinéma 2 to be compatible with Dolby Vision and/or HDR-10+, but at €1499 (its current price) it remains one of the best representatives of the 4K Ultra DLP Laser range. short focal length and as I have just demonstrated, is completely compatible with 4K HDR-10 and not only with a Panasonic UHD Blu-ray deck. Not everyone can afford a €3,000 Formovie Theater, but at half the price, the Cinema 2 remains one of the best in this segment of large-picture home broadcasting.
The Fengmi Cinema 2 is available from a European warehouse of our partner nothingprojector at the price of 1499€. This is where it happens (click on the link).
You can also find it a little cheaper but from Hong-Kong at 1330€ at Banggood via the following affiliate link: (note this is a 6-day limited offer until February 6, 2023). Discount coupon: BGa293d8
Author’s note: For purchases made on nothingprojector and Banggood, I earn a commission through the affiliate links placed above.