Epson is showcasing its latest products at IFA 2022, including the new 3LCD Ultra Short Throw (UST) projector, which appears to be a significant upgrade over the company’s previous UST model.
The EH-LS800B is available in black or white and is currently available on Epson’s UK website for £ 3,699 (around $ 3,800) with an estimated November delivery date. It has a built-in 2 x 20W audio system by Yamaha and supports Android TV for video streaming.
Epson’s new UST can transmit an 80-inch image when placed as little as 2.3 cm from a wall or screen, and has a maximum image size of 150 inches. The brightness is specified at 4,000 lumens – a particularly high value for a home theater projector. The EH-LS800B uses a laser light source and, according to Epson, is equipped with “4K Enhancement technology that shifts each pixel diagonally to double Full HD resolution.”
There are 3 HDMI inputs including one with eARC. One of these inputs is a “dedicated” HDMI port which bypasses the projector’s video processing circuits to allow a latency of less than 20ms while gaming, according to an Epson representative I spoke to at IFA.
A very cool feature I was able to grab a demonstration of was Epson’s iProjection app. Ultra short throw projectors are notoriously annoying to set up and fit the image to the screen. However, an Epson app facilitates this process by using your smartphone’s camera to capture an image of the projected image during setup, and then working with the projector to correct the alignment. From what I could see, it was simple and quick, and definitely better than aligning the feet of a projector on whatever surface it is on.
Ultra short throw projectors: brightness matters as well as sound
Ultra short throw projectors are designed to be placed in residential spaces with relatively high levels of ambient light. Special coated screens can help reduce the impact of room light on UST models, but the higher the luminous flux, the greater the chance of producing an image with good contrast and rich colors.
For the EH-LS800B demonstration I caught at IFA, the projector was placed in an open area with typically bright ceiling lighting at the fair – no attempt was made to optimize the environment for video projection. Yet the Epson projector looked strikingly well despite its challenges. This was partly due to the ambient light-rejection screen used for the demonstration, but the EH-LS800B’s high brightness undoubtedly contributed to its performance.
Audio is another factor with the UST models as they take up the space that a soundbar would normally occupy in a living room entertainment system. Almost all UST projectors have some form of built-in sound, but in many cases the sound is weak and lacks dynamics.
The Formovie UST projector that I recently did a hands-on feature test of an audio system designed by Bowers & Wilkins with four speakers and Dolby Atmos support. Both of these things really made a difference when watching movies as the projector provides clear dialogue and actual Atmos altitude effects.
The Epson-designed Yamaha 2-speaker audio system appears to be a bit less ambitious than that of the Formova UST, but during a demonstration that featured a performance at an electronic music festival, the sound from the projector was relatively full and clear. and Yamaha’s audio processing modes – one of the company’s specialties – can be used to create the effect of a stadium, theater or sports arena.
From what I could deduce from my short time with it, the EH-LS800B’s performance combined with low gaming latency, salon-friendly appearance, and an app-based setup could make it a strong contender for one of the best 4K 2022 projectors of the year. We look forward to spending some time with him in the near future.