Samsung’s first 8K projector turns your wall into a cinema screen
Samsung at CES announced an ultra-short-throw projector with 8K resolution called The Premiere. It’s an updated version of 2020’s first 4K, a single box designed to sit on a coffee table directly below and inches from your wall or screen. Using special lenses and video processing, it can create an image up to 150 inches diagonally.
There are built-in speakers and Dolby Atmos to fill a room with sound and light. As you’d expect, it also has Samsung’s smart TV features, with Netflix, Disney Plus, and more.
Read more: Here’s another Samsung device we’re excited about (hint: it’s a foldable phone)
While the idea of an 8K projector capable of producing a huge image on any wall sounds intriguing, UST projectors aren’t the magic they first appear. Here’s what we know so far.
Yeah, 8K. That’s four times the resolution of a 4K projector. There is currently no 8K content widely available, an issue that also affects 8K TVs. Without 8K content you can’t take full advantage of the extra pixels, although the projector will convert everything you throw at it to 8K, so it may look slightly sharper than a 4K projector projecting a similar sized image. Keep in mind that image quality has more important aspects than resolution.
The Premiere isn’t the first 8K projector, but there are only a handful on the market. JVC offers several models, starting at $11,000 and going up. These use a 4K imaging chip and pixel shifting to create 8K resolution on screen. This is similar to how most 4K projectors create 4K, using a 1080p or lower resolution chip, and doubling or quintupling the imager pixels for around 4K resolution. While Samsung hasn’t revealed the specs for the projector, that’s almost certainly how it’s creating 8K as well.
On the pro side, Digital Projection offers several 8K models, but these are aimed at movie theaters and other large venues.
What is an Ultra Short Throw Projector?
Traditional projectors need about 10 feet away to project a 100 inch image. High-end models can sit farther, while short-range models can sit closer. UST projectors sit inches from a wall and are still capable of producing huge images thanks to smart lenses and video processing.
The two main drawbacks of all UST projectors are price and image quality. Due to their complex designs, UST projectors tend to cost significantly more than traditional projectors.
The other disadvantage, which also arises from their operation, is a reduction in Contrast ratio. UST projectors typically have lower contrast ratios than traditional projectors, making their images look flatter with less “punch”. Usually manufacturers try to compensate for this by dramatically increasing the brightness, but this does not improve the image quality, it just makes the image brighter.
Samsung hasn’t announced many details about the new The Premiere, but we can guess a few things. The previous model was illuminated by lasers, and the new model probably will be too. Indeed, lasers offer better performance in terms of light output (brightness) and color. They also generally last the life of the projector, unlike the replaceable lamps on most low-end projectors.
The 4K The Premiere had built-in speakers, allowing it to function as its own soundbar. This is another likely feature, as most UST projectors aim to be a one-stop-shop when it comes to room entertainment. The new model will have Dolby Atmos, which the old one didn’t.
It’s also safe to assume that it will be brilliant. The 4K The Premiere had two versions, a “120 inch” version and a “130 inch” version. Neither came with a screen and could in fact create a range of image sizes from 90-120 inches with the former and 100-130 inches with the latter. The difference was light output, with 2,200 and 2,800 claimed respectively. These are very good numbers, although other UST projectors in a similar price range are much brighter. The $4,000 Epson LS500, for example, puts out a claimed 4,000 lumens. Samsung claims the new model will be capable of “150-inch” images, so we’d expect an increase in lumens.
Price and availability
Samsung has yet to announce pricing or availability. Typically, products announced at CES come out in the spring or summer. In terms of price, it certainly won’t be cheap. The previous The Premiere cost $3,500 for the “120-inch” version and $6,500 for the “130-inch” version. Given that the only other consumer 8K PJs start at $11,000 and are aimed at traditional (i.e. non-UST) designs, it seems safe to assume that the 8K The Premiere will cost at least that than the previous model did, and probably a whole lot more.
Keep an eye on CNET ETUC coverage for more information.
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