Samsung’s New 8K Projector Can Make Your Screen Huge, but It’ll Be Pricey
At CES 2023 last week, Samsung announced an ultra-short 8K resolution projector called Premiere. It’s an updated version of 2020’s Premiere 4K, a single box designed to sit on a low table directly below and just inches away from your wall or screen. Using special lenses and video processing, it can create an image up to 150 inches diagonally.
It has built-in speakers and Dolby Atmos to fill the room with sound and light. As you might expect, it also has Samsung’s smart TV features, with Netflix, Disney Plus and so on.
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 large image on any wall sounds intriguing, UST projectors are not the magic they first appear. Here’s what we know so far.
Ultra short projectors, like this 2020 4K premiere, claim to be able to project an image onto any wall, but all projectors can.
Yes, 8K. That’s four times the resolution of a 4K projector. There is currently no widely available 8K content, a problem that also plagues 8K TVs. Without 8K content, you can’t take full advantage of the extra pixels, although the projector will convert everything you send it to 8K, so it may look a little sharper than a 4K projector projecting a similarly sized image. Keep in mind that there are more important aspects of image quality than resolution.
The Premiere isn’t the first 8K projector, but it’s only a small part of the market. JVC has several models, starting at $11,000 and going up. These use a 4K imaging chip and a pixel shifter to create 8K resolution on the screen. This is similar to how most 4K projectors create 4K, using a 1080p or lower resolution chip and doubling or quintuple the imager pixels for near 4K resolution. While Samsung hasn’t revealed the projector’s specs, that’s almost certainly how it’s creating 8K as well.
On the professional side, Digital Projection has a few 8K models, but those are for actual theaters and other large venues.
What is an ultra short throw projector?
It is important to remember that any ambient light will affect the image from a projector, including UST projectors.
Traditional projectors need about 10 feet of distance to project a 100-inch image. Higher-end models can sit farther, while short-throw models can sit closer. UST projectors sit just inches from a wall and are still able to produce large images thanks to smart lenses and video processing.
The two main downsides with all UST projectors are price and image quality. Because of their complicated designs, UST projectors tend to cost much more than traditional projectors.
The other downside, also as a result of the way they work, is a decrease in contrast ratio. UST projectors typically have worse contrast ratios than traditional projectors, making their images appear flatter with less “punch”. Usually, manufacturers try to compensate for this by greatly increasing the brightness, but this does not improve the image quality, it just makes the image brighter.
No matter how bright, a UST projector will not be able to compete with ambient light without a separate screen. And even then, it will look much better with the curtains drawn.
Samsung hasn’t announced many specifications for the new flagship, but we can guess a few things. The previous model was lit by lasers, and the new model likely will be as well. This is because lasers offer better performance in terms of light output (brightness) and color. They usually extend the life of the projector, compared to the replaceable lamps in most low-end projectors.
4K The Premiere had built-in speakers, letting it function as its own soundbar. This is another possible feature as most UST projectors aim to be a one stop shop when it comes to entertaining a room. The new model will have Dolby Atmos, which the old one did not have.
It’s also safe to assume it will be bright. 4K The Premiere had two versions, a “120-inch” version and a “130-inch” version. Neither actually came with a screen and could actually create a range of image sizes from 90 to 120 inches with the former and 100-130 inches with the latter. The difference was the light output, with a claim of 2,200 and 2,800 respectively. These are pretty good numbers, although other UST projectors in a similar price range are much brighter. The $4,000 Epson LS500, for example, put out a claimed 4,000 lumens. Samsung is claiming the new model will be capable of “150-inch” images, so we expect a bump in lumens.
Price and availability
Samsung has not yet announced pricing or availability. Generally, products that are announced at CES come out in the spring or summer. In terms of price, this almost certainly won’t be cheap. The previous premiere was $3,500 for the “120-inch” version and $6,500 for the “130-inch” version. Since the only other 8K consumer PJs start at $11,000, and they’re for traditional (aka non-UST) designs, it seems safe to assume that 8K The Premiere will cost at least what the previous model did, and maybe much more.
Keep an eye on CNET’s CES coverage for more information.