Samsung’s 8K Premiere projector turns your wall into a cinema screen

Samsung at CES announced an ultra-short projector with 8K resolution called The Premiere. It’s an updated version of 2020’s 4K Premiere, a single box designed to sit on a low table just below and just a few inches away from the 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 capabilities, 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 that can produce a large image on any wall sounds exciting, UST projectors are not the magic they first appear. Here’s what we know so far.

8K?

A room with lots of natural light and a simulated image from a UST projector.

Ultra-short projectors, like this 4K The Premiere from 2020, claim to be able to create an image on any wall, but all projectors can.

Samsung

Yep, 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 won’t be able to take full advantage of the extra pixels, although the projector will upconvert everything you send it to 8K, so it may appear slightly sharper than a 4K projector projecting an image of the same size. Remember that there are more important aspects of image quality than resolution.

Premiere isn’t the first 8K projector, but there are only a handful on the market. JVC has several models, starting at $11,000 and going up from there. These use a 4K image 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 quintupling the image’s pixels for roughly 4K resolution. While Samsung hasn’t revealed the projector’s specs, this is almost certainly how it creates 8K as well.

On the professional side, Digital Projection has several 8K models, but they are for actual movie theaters and other large venues.

What is an ultra short projector?

A living room with several people looking at a simulated image of an astronaut on the wall created by a UST projector.

It is important to remember that all ambient light is going to affect the image from a projector, including UST projectors.

Samsung

Traditional projectors need about 10 feet of distance to project a 100-inch image. Taller models can sit further away, while models with a short throw can sit closer. UST projectors sit just a few centimeters from a wall and are still capable of producing huge images thanks to smart lenses and video processing.

The two major disadvantages of all UST projectors are price and image quality. Because of their intricate design, UST projectors tend to cost much more than traditional projectors.

The other disadvantage, also a result of how they work, is a reduction in contrast ratio. UST projectors typically have poorer contrast ratios than traditional projectors, making their images 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 only makes the image brighter.

Assumed functions

A very brightly lit room with a simulated image from a UST projector.

No matter how bright, a UST projector will not be able to compete with ambient light without a special screen. And even then, it will look far better with the curtains drawn.

Samsung

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. This is because lasers provide better performance in terms of light output (brightness) and color. They also usually last the life of the projector, unlike the replaceable lamps on most lower end projectors.

4K The Premiere had built-in speakers, so it could act as its own soundbar. This is another likely feature since most UST projectors aim to be a one-stop shop when it comes to in-room entertainment. The new model will have Dolby Atmos, something 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 to 130 inches with the latter. The difference was light output, with 2200 and 2800 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 4,000 lumens. Samsung claims the new model will be capable of taking “150-inch” photos, so we’d expect a bump in lumens.

Price and availability

Samsung hasn’t announced pricing or availability yet. Generally, products announced at CES come out in the spring or summer. In terms of price, this will almost certainly not be cheap. The previous The Premiere was $3,500 for the “120-inch” version, and $6,500 for the “130-inch” version. Since the only other consumer 8K PJs start at $11,000, and they’re for traditional (also non-UST) designs, it seems safe to assume that the 8K The Premiere will cost at least what the previous model did, and probably a lot more.

Keep an eye on CNET CES coverage for more info.

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