Epson is at IFA 2022 showcasing its new features, including a new ultra-short throw (UST) 3LCD projector that appears to be a major upgrade over the company’s previous UST model.
The EH-LS800B comes in either a black or white finish and is currently listed on Epson’s UK website for £3,699 (about $3,800) with an expected delivery date in November. It has a Yamaha designed 2 x 20 watt integrated audio system and runs Android TV operating system for video streaming.
Epson’s new UST can transmit an 80-inch diagonal image when placed just 2.3 cm away from a wall or screen, and has a maximum image size of 150 inches. Brightness is specified at 4,000 lumens – a remarkably high amount for a home theater projector. The EH-LS800B uses a laser light source and, according to Epson, features “4K Enhancement Technology that shifts each pixel diagonally to twice Full HD resolution.”
3 HDMI inputs are provided, including one with eARC. One such input is a “special” HDMI port that bypasses the projector’s video processing circuitry to allow for sub-20ms latency while gaming, according to an Epson representative I spoke to at IFA.
One really cool feature that I got a demo was Epson’s iProjection app. Ultra-short throw projectors are notoriously annoying to set up and align your image with a screen. But the Epson app takes the pain out of that process by using the camera on your smartphone to capture an image of the projected image during setup and then working with the projector to correct the alignment. From what I’ve seen, it was simple and quick, and easily preferable to leveling the projector’s feet on whatever surface it’s placed on.
Ultra-short-throw projectors: brightness matters and so does sound
Ultra-short throw projectors are designed to be placed in living room environments with a relatively high level of ambient light. Screens with a special coating can help reduce the impact of ambient light on UST models, but the higher the light output, the greater the chance of getting an image with good contrast and rich colors.
For the demonstration of the EH-LS800B that I picked up at the IFA, the projector was placed in an open space with typically bright fairground lighting – no attempt was made to optimize the environment for video projection. And yet, the Epson projector looked surprisingly good despite the challenges. This is in part due to the ambient light rejection screen used for the demo, but the EH-LS800B’s ample brightness no doubt contributed to its performance.
Audio is another factor with the UST models as they take up space that would normally be taken up by a soundbar in a living room entertainment setup. Almost all UST projectors have some form of built-in audio, but in many cases the sound is weak and lacking in dynamics.
O Formovie UST projector I recently did a hands-on feature test of an audio system designed by Bowers & Wilkins with four speakers in total and Dolby Atmos support. Both of those things really made a difference when watching movies, with the projector offering clear dialogue and real Atmos height effects.
Epson’s Yamaha-designed 2-speaker audio system appears to be a little less ambitious than the Formovie UST’s, but during a demo that used an electronic music festival performance, the sound coming out of the projector had a quality relatively complete and clear, and Yamaha’s sound processing modes – one of the company’s specialties – can be used to create a stadium, theater or sports arena effect.
From what I could tell from the short time I spent with it, the EH-LS800B’s performance, combined with its low-latency gaming spec, living room-friendly look, and application-based setup could make it a strong candidate for a of the best 4K of 2022 projectors. We look forward to spending some quality time with him in the near future.