Review Contents
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Samsung SP-A800B Projector Samsung SP-A800B
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10000:1 Contrast Ratio
1000 Lumens
Street Price: n/a
$9,999 MSRP

Samsung SP-A800B
1080p Home Theater
Projector Review

Evan Powell, November 3, 2008


Contrast. Contrast and black levels are good on the SP-A800B, but not as good as we currently see on the competing 1080p models that have just been released. ANSI contrast on our test unit measured 369:1, which is modest compared to other DLP projectors we've seen this past year. The LCD and LCOS projectors that have appeared this fall are producing higher ANSI contrast as well (Panasonic AE3000, 443:1, the Sony HW10, 416:1, and the Mitsubishi HC7000, 409:1). To be sure, ANSI contrast stats don't tell the whole story, but the fact is that each of these 1080p projectors achieve visibly deeper blacks and higher contrast when viewed side by side with the SP-A800B. This is one of the limitations of the older DarkChip2 DLP technology used in this projector. Most DLP projectors currently on the market are using DarkChip3 or DarkChip4, which generate higher contrast potential.

Samsung Z700 Remote

Clarity and three-dimensionality. As noted above, despite the sharpness of the lens, the overall impression of clarity is compromised by a subtle patina of noise in the image that looks like a slight grainy texture. This is not particularly noticeable when viewing the projector on its own. However, when one sets up one of the new LCD projectors side by side, the incremental clarity and three-dimensionality of their images is striking. The reason is two-fold: the new LCD products that we've seen thus far do not have the same graininess, and they are higher in contrast. These factors in combination make them appear clearer, smoother, and more three-dimensional.

Lack of frame interpolation. Several of the new 1080p models coming to market this fall have onboard frame interpolation, including the Epson Cinema Pro 7500, the Panasonic AE3000, and the Sanyo PLV-Z3000. The SP-A800B does not have it. Frame interpolation is the ability to evaluate the motion that occurs between two sequential frames of video or film, and to create one or more interim frames that are then inserted between the two real frames. This procedure tends to eliminate the judder and strobing one sees when the film camera is panning across a scene. These artifacts are most evident when a 24 fps movie encoded on Blu-ray is played back via 24p transmission. When 2:3 pulldown is used to convert the Blu-ray 24p source to 60p, the motion judder is reduced. However, there is still some judder related to the pulldown conversion. There is also a softening or blurring of the image while panning, which can be perceived as beneficial since it masks the judder. In any event, frame interpolation largely eliminates these artifacts and renders panning scenes smooth and clear.

This technique is controversial. Many videophiles believe the natural judder in film, which derives from the fact that the sampling rate of 24 frames per second is too slow to resolve camera panning motion, should not be tampered with because it is a natural byproduct of film. We could not disagree more. Judder is an annoying artifact, whether it is "filmlike" or not. And contrary to expectations, it is more distracting in 24p playback than it is in 60p. Ultimately, the way to get rid of motion judder is to film movies at 60 fps, which is coming in the future. In the meantime, frame interpolation techniques are an effective way to generate a reasonable approximation of what a 24 fps film would have looked like had it been captured at 60 fps.

Since several 1080p models coming to market this fall have frame interpolation on board, it constitutes a new innovation in projector design that many home theater projectors, including the SP-A800B, do not have. Many videophiles won't want it, and for them it is a non-issue. For those that do want it, users of the SP-A800B can acquire an external video processor that has this capability if it is desired.

Review Contents: Overview Advantages Limitations Conclusion

Reader Comments(8 comments)

Posted Feb 7, 2010 7:45 PM

By ejpk

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in Korea, this product goes for less than 3000 as of now, and epson 8100 is about the same price there (sine epson is an import)--it is seriously overpriced here probably coz of the name Joe Kane

Posted Dec 24, 2009 5:53 AM

By Pescatore

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WHAT THE ---- IS GOING ON? My dealer told me yesterday that this P.O.S. that I spend $10,000 for projector + install got DISCONTINUE ALREADY????

I HATE SAMSUNG. 1. This projector never focus on the edge of screen. 2) They take my $$$ and laugh at me and discontinue this S---.

Posted Nov 5, 2008 11:16 AM

By kevinp

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I'am with kevo on this. Reading the review and the specs I can't see that this projector produces a picture good enough to spend $10,000 it seems to only have the edge on a $2,500 panasonic because of colour accuracy. Since most people are not around when the movie is being shot and don't have a photograhic memory to recall with 100% accuracy the colours they saw at the cinema. Is it really worth the extra $7,500.

Posted Nov 5, 2008 3:39 AM

By Christophe Cherel

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The Samsung SP-A800B does'nt have a "wide" gamut. It is the big positive point : there is not only ONE gamut but the 3 video gamuts and there is a switch gamut function for it. Another big point is calibration : The samsung can be calibrated accuratly with the CCA advanced function (xyY coordonates for primary colors).

Another test of the projector :|en&hl=fr&ie=UTF8

Posted Nov 4, 2008 9:45 PM

By Comrade

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Kevo, have you seen this projector? Based on your comments, I sure hope so. I think 10k for an entire "high-end" system is a gross miscalculation. Some people invest that into two speakers. Specs do not mean performance.

Posted Nov 4, 2008 5:08 PM

By ProBono

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One quick note: The reviewer talks about what "videophiles" may want or not want. Well, if you're not a "videophile", why the hell are you reviewing projectors on one of the most read projector-sites? Who cares what non-videophiles want. If you shell out 10k for a PJ, wouldn't you consider yourself a videophile?

Posted Nov 4, 2008 5:03 PM

By ProBono

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First off: I know people who own this PJ, so I have watched several films on it, although I do not (yet?) own one myself.

Kevo: Do you base that statement on this review, or have you actually seen this PJ? I believe that to say the things the reviewer does in this review about the in-use PQ against modern LCD's, the reviewer must have a screwed-up idea about what a good picture looks like. Obviously, if you don't want to look at films the way they were made, this PJ is not for you, but I have no clue as to why you would want anything else than that. If that IS what you want, no other 10k PJ does this as well as the Samsung. I believe the conclusion of this review says a LOT more about the reviewer than about the PJ. A review should say something about whether or not the product lives up to what's promised or not, compared to the competition, not say something about whether the reviewer personally likes frame interpolation or not. Why focus on the reviewers (screwed up) personal opinion about what pictures should look like, and not focus on the fact that even this reviewer acknowledges that no other projector in this price range puts out an image as accurate as this? BTW, I believe that ANSI contrast measurement must be downright flawed.

Wors. Review. Ever.

Posted Nov 4, 2008 2:56 PM

By kevo

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i cant believe they are punting this for 10,000 . you could buy a home theater couch with a high end sound system and a better projector and still have enough money to splurge on all the electronic goodies u could want.i cant believe it ten grand i mean ccccccome on!!!!!!! joe cane is a retard for thinking were gona buy this

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