Projectors have long been a luxurious way for people to upgrade their home cinema experience beyond what's possible for a television.
But recent innovations such as laser projection have elevated the game and made projectors better than ever.
Recently, Samsung released its The Premiere range of smart projectors in New Zealand, including the top-of-the-line LSP9T.
It's a pricey unit, for sure, but if you're looking to invest in a home cinema is it worth the high cost?
I used one for a few weeks and here are my thoughts.
First thing's first - watching stuff on this is incredible.
If you have a room big enough, it can create a 130-inch screen with super crisp 4K, HDR images.
Watching movies on it, especially when they are 4K versions, is crazy good - about as good as I've ever experienced outside of an actual cinema.
Important tech specs:
- Triple laser light source
- 3840x2160 resolution
- 2800 ANSI Lumens of brightness
- World's first HDR 10+ certified projector
- 20,000 hours of lamp life
The best use I got out of this was with UHD Blu-rays where there's no chance of buffering-induced compression like there is with Netflix's 4K content.
Watching the 4K Blu-rays of John Wick: Chapter 2 and Terminator 2: Judgment Day was just superb, even if the ultra-high resolution and huge screen size is unforgiving of older special effects.
These were such amazing viewing experiences it makes me worry about how much I'd spend on beefing up my 4K Blu-ray collection if I owned one of these projectors.
But as well as the incredible image quality, this unit also offers awesome convenience as a smart TV. You can plug the internet into it, or connect wirelessly, and send audio from it either via Bluetooth or the ARC enabled HDMI.
That means you can run your streaming services directly through it, and beam audio wirelessly to a speaker or headphones or whatever, just like any other smart TV.
You can control YouTube or a streaming service from your smartphone casting to the projector as well as playing from it directly with it's remote - whatever's easiest at the time.
With voice assistant compatibility, you can even just tell this thing what to do by talking to it, just as another option.
There's even a built-in 40 watt speaker. If you're spending this much on a home cinema, you'll definitely want to shell out more for a better surround sound system; but having a speaker in it makes it truly all-in-one and portable.
One other benefit over other projectors I've used is the quietness. There's no loud fan sound coming out of this, ever, which is a definite plus if you have to watch it with the volume down for some reason.
It also looks nice and elegant, likely to blend in well with most rooms it's set up in.
For this amazing image and the amazing features, you have to pay a high price - around $13,000 in Aotearoa.
For that money you could get a brand new Neo QLED television that supports 8K - or a really, really good 4K TV for half the price - and see it perfectly no matter how much light is in the room.
While this projector is super bright and powerful, it is still a challenge to see it on a bright day if there's a lot of sunlight in the room.
Sure, TVs and projectors are different experiences - but one should carefully think about what is the best option for their home before investing.
If you're wanting to play a lot of modern games, for example, be aware that this projector's maximum Hz rate is 60, so you can't play at 120fps.
While there are advantages over traditional projectors, the short throw style also has some issues - for example if you have young kids around you may want to put some sort of protective fence around it.
Even that won't stop another hazard though. Cats are sure to use the expensive piece of tech as a seat. At the very least they'll hop on it to check it out and interrupt the image, which is quite annoying if John Wick is wasting guys or John Connor is being saved by the T-800.
Speaking of which, a 4K Blu-ray player as part of this unit would be really helpful, meaning you don't need to plug one in as an extra piece of kit. That might blow the price out even more, but I'd really have appreciated it.
OK, now I'm getting really picky...
If you want to watch movies on the most enormous 4K screen possible and don't mind spending a small fortune on it, this is an ideal way to do it.
Including all the smart TV functionality makes this more of a convenient, all-in-one entertainment centre than I've ever had with other projectors, too.
You definitely want to make sure you have a room that'll work as a home cinema and make sure a TV isn't a more sensible option for your household.
If you do and want to invest in serious quality, I can't imagine you'll be disappointed with The Premiere.
Newshub was supplied Samsung LSP9T The Premiere Triple Laser 4K smart projector for this review.