We spend a lot of time watching movies and based on the growth of specific home theater categories during the pandemic, it’s quite clear that consumers feel the same way. Box office numbers have definitely started to show signs of life pushing back against the growth of VOD, but with COVID cases on the uptick again — it’s only a matter of time before theater attendance takes another hit. The demand for projectors is putting a lot of stress on manufacturers and products like The Premiere by Samsung LSP9T Projector are in huge demand.
Setting up a projector and screen in your home has never been easier thanks to a new product category called the Ultra-Short Throw Projector (UST for short). With technology that seems to defy physics, a UST projector projects up to a 130-inch image from less than a foot from the screen.
The category has exploded this year with offerings from almost every projector brand and a few upstarts on Kickstarter.
The Premiere by Samsung LSP9T Projector is the most expensive UST on the market at $6,499 USD. However, Samsung does make a step-down model, the LSP7T for about half the price that physically looks nearly identical but uses a different image processing engine and has lower brightness (2200 vs. 2800 lumens).
The main difference is that the LSP9T uses a Tripe-Laser RGB light source versus a single laser, which should translate to more vibrant colors on the LSP9T. In addition, the LSP9T has a better built-in speaker system. More interestingly, the projectors have different throw distances. While both can be placed inches from the screen, the LSP9T sits a couple inches closer to the screen with optics enabling a 130-inch image versus 120-inch.
Regardless which model Samsung or competing UST, it should be noted there are inherent issues in UST technology itself. Even the flagship LSP9T doesn’t yet solve all of them, but can mask them better than most. Although many wouldn’t notice, certain scenes can expose softer focus near the edges of the screen. The contrast ratio is good, but still trails behind LCOS or LCD projectors.
Ultimately, UST projectors favor convenience at a slight expense to picture quality. The best UST projectors currently can’t beat out the best regular (long-throw) home theater projectors at equivalent price points. Even still, UST projectors are capable of producing incredible 4K images that leave little to an untrained eye to be desired. The Premiere LSP9T is certainly one that delivers an amazing picture. The LSP7T was not tested for this review.
Setting up The Premiere is nearly like setting up a Samsung TV. Just plug it in and place within a foot of your wall-mounted screen. Follow the on-screen prompts to connect to your home Wi-Fi. Samsung’s Smart Things app is required and guides you through the process. Within minutes the Smart TV interface appears with all the built-in apps. Now you’re ready to start watching, but you’ll probably need to spend some time aligning and calibrating the picture.
To get a perfectly rectangular 16:9 projected image, the projector needs to be placed dead center and level about a foot from the screen. Moving it inches forward or backward will adjust overall screen size. Keystone correction is handled by tilting the projector slightly forward using screw-in/out feet beneath the projector. If the image still isn’t perfectly rectangular, dive into the on-screen menu settings. The menu settings offer granular adjustments at around an inch in either direction. Once that’s done, there is another on-screen menu to adjust focus if needed.
The Premiere uses the same Tizen Smart TV interface as every Samsung TV, which we became very familiar with reviewing The Frame. If you’ve owned a Samsung Smart TV, everything should look very familiar. All popular streaming apps are built-in, including YouTube, Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. All you have to do is login with your credentials.
My long term review allowed for testing the LSP9T in multiple setups — indoors and out. Although, it’s not a weatherproof projector, it weighs about 25 lbs and can be carried outside for outdoor entertainment. Four different screen options were tested, including a bare wall.
We highly recommend using an ALR screen for any UST and you can find our suggestions which have been tested with almost a dozen available UST projectors here.
Bare Wall Test
Some brands advertise that their UST projectors can be used against a flat white wall and while that’s technically true, it’s not the proper way to use them. Unless your wall is completely flat and imperfection free — you will notice any pattern quite quickly.
I utilized two different outdoor screens for our tests. The first was a cheap outdoor screen purchased on Amazon for around $80 and also on my neighbor’s somewhat weathered 150-inch white screen.
Neither screen was suitable for daytime viewing, but both worked just fine at night.
Watching a 4K movie on a 130-inch outdoor screen was quite a spectacle at night. We tried going bigger than 130-inches, but realized 130 inches is really the limit with the Samsung UST projector. Even on a mediocre white screen with some weather discoloration, the picture was bright enough for a large group of people to enjoy.
However, that same high-gain screen revealed what can happen when the wrong type of screen is used with a UST projector. With the projector so close to the screen, the bottom center of the projected image glowed brighter. Interestingly, subsequent testing on low-gain screens corrected the problem.
That’s why it’s recommended to use a low-gain screen with UST projectors. Gain simply refers to the amount of light reflected back towards the viewer.
The main difference between a regular screen and a UST projector screen is that a laser TV screen has an ambient light rejecting surface that uses angular reflection. The surface of the screen essentially has rows of tiny ridges that reflect the light coming from the projector below while reflecting light coming from other sources, away from the viewer.
This ambient light rejecting property allows projectors to work beautifully even in rooms with a significant amount of light only adding to their value in the home.
If you watch the NFL on a Sunday afternoon or your kids want to play video games (not all UST projectors are created equal when it comes to gaming so far) with their friends during the day, an ALR screen is the way to go.
Ultra short throw cinema screens also typically have lower screen gain. Screen gain is a measurement of the reflectivity of the surface. The higher the gain the more light that gets reflected back to the viewer. The lower the gain, the more light that gets absorbed by the screen.
You might think on a laser TV screen that you would want to have a higher screen gain because that would give you a brighter image. In fact, lower gain is better because it further reduces the impact of ambient light hitting the screen.
Cheap Screen Test
Next up was testing on a 120-inch outdoor screen purchased on Amazon for $80. With low expectations, I put together a flimsy PVC frame and attached a wrinkled white fabric screen that couldn’t quite achieve a symmetrical fit. If you can get the wrinkles out, this screen actually surprised me how well it could look at night. Daytime viewing was unwatchable and any amount of wind will literally blow waves into the picture, if not topple it over. I suppose part of the joy of outdoor movies.
Nonetheless, the translucent nature of the screen revealed a rear projection use case in order to have the The Premiere completely out of sight. The projector also supports front or rear ceiling mounting. Settings in the menu reverse or flip the image accordingly.
Enjoying an outdoor movie is certainly easy with The Premiere. With its built-in 40-watt speaker system, it’s like having a soundbar, projector and smart TV all-in-one box. No extra wires required, although you’ll likely need an extension cord to reach the nearest power outlet. Also, remember to make sure your home Wi-Fi range reaches outside.
Indoor Screen Test
With the cheap screen testing out of the way, indoor testing on a dedicated ALR UST screen proved to be an eye-opening experience.
They make a huge difference in picture quality, especially if daytime viewing is a concern. And in the dark, UST screens will provide better black-level performance.
I tested in my living room with the Elite Screen Aeon CLR series 103-inch (reviewed here and costs $1254 at Amazon). The majority of testing was done with this screen, which was my reference point for additional analysis that follows.
Watching shows on a massive screen in our home was quite a treat. The Rock dominated our movie watching from Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle to Jungle Cruise, while Squid Games captured too much of our TV time. Needless to say, nobody in my family had anything to complain about.
As with any projector, picture quality will vary based on the amount of light in the room. Unlike in Star Wars, darkness always prevails. And since the screen is so crucial to ultimate satisfaction, I’ll cover more of my findings in my upcoming Elite Screens AEON CLR review. However, there were things I noticed regardless of screen.
Like all Samsung TVs, The Premiere comes pre-set in “Standard” color mode; which is typically meant to wow you in a bright showroom with vibrant demo nature videos.
Switching to Film mode or “Filmmaker Mode” shifts to a warmer, yellow-ish color temperature. The change is quite noticeable, and will make watching movies in the dark more relaxing. However, when watching sports during the day I strangely preferred “Standard mode” as it offered more color pop and extra brightness.
Neither of these modes, however, offer a calibrated image which is something that every projector setup requires.
The Premiere handled HDR content quite well, revealing plenty of detail and more accurate colors. However, non-HDR (or SDR) content was plagued with overly bright reds. It was apparent regardless of screen, and is something I thought I could correct for in the “expert” color setting adjustments.
Although, I soon realized it’s not something easily adjusted. In my attempts to dial back the red crush, I’d mess up another color. So instead I reverted to flipping between the pre-set color modes depending on what the content was.
It was pretty clear to me that The Premiere LSP9T Projector is not the last word in color accuracy out of the box and requires an ISF calibration to achieve more satisfactory results.
Getting to true black is a problem for any UST projector, and The Premiere is no exception. Having the lights out helps the most and a specially made screen for cinema viewing can help more.
Since the Elite Screens Aeon CLR Series is optimized for ambient (day) light viewing, I’m confident black levels could be improved with a better screen for dark theater viewing. Although, don’t expect inky blacks that OLED TVs can offer. What you will see are very dark shades of gray. Is it a dealbreaker? Absolutely not. You’re eyes will adjust and only the most critical of videophiles would take issue.
One of the main reasons why I enjoyed watching TV and movies on The Premiere is that there is no glare. Regardless how much you spend, all 4K and 8K TVs use reflective glass that pickup glare from open windows and lights. It’s unavoidable, although some TVs have special coatings that can minimize it. With The Premiere, there’s no glare to worry about. Zero reflections. Enjoy a true movie like experience that also looks good from any viewing angle.
The Premiere’s built-in 40-watt speaker is useful and convenient. It can play quite loud and even worked well enough outside that your neighbors may ask you to turn it down. Perhaps its best feature is keeping dialog intelligible. Specification wise, it’s one of the best speakers built into a projector, although we think most buyers will still opt for a separate home theater speaker system.
Strangely, Samsung does not yet offer a Dolby Atmos speaker system to seamlessly match with The Premiere. Of course, Samsung’s soundbars can be connected via eARC HDMI, but users may run into placement issues, because The Premiere generally sits centered on a console where a sound bar would go. This is currently a challenge for all UST projectors that we expect to see addressed in the near future.
The Premiere LSP9T is currently the leader of the pack when you combine picture quality, convenience and ease of use. Although I haven’t personally tested all UST projectors, word on the street is that the Hisense L9G is currently its closest competitor but also has other limitations. For more options, check out our UST Projector Buying Guide as well as our UST Screen Buying Guide.
- Technology: single-chip DLP system with XPR pixel-shifting technology to display 3840 x 2160 4K resolution
- Recommended screen size: 100″ to 130″
- Light source: Triple laser
- Light output: 2800 lumens
- Contrast: 1,500:1 ANSI / 2,000,000:1 Full ON/OFF (Peak)
- HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG (Dolby Vision not supported)
- Color Option: Filmmaker Mode
- Inputs: HDMI inputs 3x (one of which supports eARC), USB
- Wireless: 802.11AC built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Sound: Built-in 4.2-channel speaker system (40 watts)
- Noise: 32db (cooling fan)
- Throw ratio: 0.189
- Weight: 25.4 lbs
- Warranty: 2 years
What’s in the Box
- Video projector (U.S. model SP-LSP9TFAXZA)
- 6 foot AC power cord
- Samsung One Remote control (model TM-1850A)
- 2 “AA” batteries
- Huge 130-inch 4K TV
- Cost-per-inch better than flat panels
- Easy setup
- No glare
- Super sleek design
- Very wide viewing angles
- Filmmaker mode
- HDR Supported
- Smart TV features
- All major streaming apps built-in
- Compatible with Samsung SmartThings Automation
- Voice enabled with Alexa, Bixby
- Built-in 40-watt speaker system
- OneRemote easy to use
- Nobody can walk in front of projector
- No visible wiring vs. wall mounted TVs
- Works in daylight with ALR screen
- Fan noise imperceptible
- Softer edge focus
- 15-second startup time
- Default color modes have red crush
- ISF calibration suggested
- Doesn’t support Dolby Vision
- Doesn’t support Chromecast
- Buggy AirPlay connectivity (could just be me)
- Screen (not included) adds to cost
The Premiere by Samsung LSP9T delivers where it counts — an enjoyable big screen movie experience anyone in the home can use and enjoy. It’s the most convenient type of projector to setup, and provides an economical way to watch TV or movies at up to 130-inches. With current affordable flat panel TVs topping out at 88-inches, The Premiere becomes an obvious choice for those seeking a larger screen viewing experience.
Related reading: Elite Screen Aeon CLR series 103-inch UST Screen Review