Despite all the best TVs impressing in terms of picture performance, sound quality and content features, there’s a huge limitation to regular OLED or QLED TVs: screen size.
The largest TVs you can buy at Best Buy or other retailers is between 85 and 88 inches. Of course, there’s the 97-inch LG G2 OLED TV and 98-inch Samsung QN100B Neo QLED TV, but neither come cheap. If you’re looking for a screen that’s 100-inches or larger that doesn’t cost $25,000 (or more), something like the new Hisense L9H 4K Laser TV might be what you’re looking for.
I spent some time with the 100-inch Hisense L9H 4K Laser TV in a demo session recently, and as others there who were less familiar with laser projectors asked, “what’s the point?,” I found myself reminding people that size matters.
Not that I needed much more convincing, but the L9H looks like a great example of what projectors can offer in place of regular OLED TVs or QLED TVs. This short-throw projector is made to be placed close to the wall, altering the geometry of the projected image so that despite the positioning the picture appears as a normal rectangle on the wall or projection screen.
But most importantly, the projected images can reach 100 inches or 120 inches depending on the unit, making it possible to bring a big-screen experience into any room that has ample wall space.
What is a Laser TV?
In terms of brightness, the Hisense L9H is rated for 3,000 ANSI lumens, which is pretty good for a Laser TV. With that level of brightness you'll be able to watch it in well-lit rooms as well as in the dark, which is a major difference compared to a projector for a couple hundred dollars on Amazon.
Although we don't have testing data to back it up yet, we're expecting its internal light source to last at least 20,000 hours without brightness deteriorating. That’s approximately as long as a normal TV should last before the performance takes a noticeable toll.
Why would you buy a Laser TV instead of a normal TV?
Still, projectors can only offer so much in terms of picture performance. Even the best projectors cannot achieve the black levels of OLED or color volume of quantum dots. That said, if screen size is your priority, a short throw projector is the more affordable route to go.
I usually recommend getting as large of a TV as possible that fits your screen size needs. A TV is something you have for several years, so it’s worth a bit of investment if you’re going to set up a home theater space. But again, TVs larger than 85 inches are far and few between — and the few that exist are ridiculously expensive.
The Hisense L9H price hasn’t been announced yet, but if Hisense sticks to the same pricing from its previous-gen Laser TVs, the 100-inch configuration will be priced around $4,500 before TV deals. If it’s between that and a $24,000 OLED, I think the Laser TV is the more cost-effective option.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.