Largest Samsung Onyx Cinema LED Screen in U.S. debuts in Texas

Samsung Onyx Star Cinema Grill

Samsung is changing the game for image quality in theaters with its Onyx Cinema LED Screens. These screens can be described as very, very large TV displays inside a theater auditorium, and they are installed in over 30 different theaters. The Onyx is able to produce very deep blacks, bright whites, and trillions of color, giving cinemagoing audiences a visual feast. This week is another milestone since the largest-ever Onyx Cinema LED Screen in the U.S. has debuted at the dine-in theater chain Star Cinema Grill’s Richmond, Texas location, and Nerd Reactor was invited to experience it.

Star Cinema Grill Richmond features a Samsung Onyx p3.3 Cinema LED screen that is 46 ft (14m) wide and is created in collaboration with Samsung, Star Cinema Grill and Moving iMage Technologies (MiT). Using Direct View LED, it’s able to deliver exceptional image quality without being diluted by a white projection screen and other layers between the viewers and the light source.

For example, a laser projector’s blue laser beams past a yellow or green phosphor wheel. After that, it goes through a color wheel and then travels through a prism to reach the DLP chip. The light then goes back into the prism and shoots out via the projection lens. Finally, the image is projected onto a white projection screen. Since it’s a white screen, it won’t deliver truly deep blacks as compared to a Direct View LED.

As for traditional LCD screens, there are layers between its light source and the viewers, and that includes the polarized filter, thin film transistors, liquid crystal, color filter, another polarized filter, and then the cover glass.

With the Samsung Onyx LED Screen, the LED light creates color, and when combined together, the lights form an image and project directly to the viewers. As a result, the brightness, colors, and contrast are greater.

With the Samsung Onyx, theaters can save more space and have more seats since the auditorium doesn’t need a projection booth. This is all thanks to the Direct View LEDs encased inside nodes within frames. If a pixel does go out, replacing it is really simple. Even with the auditorium lights turned on, the image from the Onyx is more visible as compared to the traditional projector, and this really helps during the trailers when the lights are on to help moviegoers find their seats.

All this tech talk is nothing if the actual image doesn’t wow you. So how does it stack up? We were shown demos of Avengers: Infinity War in standard dynamic range and high dynamic range, and the differences are very noticeable. Thanos’ skin color and armor pop with the contrast of purple and gold. Thor’s visit to Nidavellir is breathtaking with the neutron star shining bright against the darkness of space. The Black Panther demo featured a beautiful Wakanda, and the chase sequence in Busan, South Korea, was as vibrant as ever with the colorful lights in the city. However, not all content is created equal. The Men in Black International film that was shown felt like standard SDR. Although it was optimized for the Onyx screen, the whites weren’t as bright. The black levels are very deep, but they were definitely crushed, resulting in loss of details in dark scenes.

The Samsung Onyx is still a beast, and with content that’s really optimized, audiences will be blown away by the HDR colors and contrast. This is still a new realm for theaters, so let’s hope that more U.S. chains are open to adopting the Samsung Onyx.

As of now, there are 16 countries that have the Samsung Onyx installed around the world. The screen at Star Cinema Grill Richmond is the second one in the U.S., with the first installed at Pacific Theaters Winnetka in Chatsworth, CA. Samsung isn’t stopping there since it has plans to bring more Onyx screens globally and to work with cinema content developers to make sure that the films are optimized.

To check out Samsung Onyx right now, you can visit Star Grill Cinema in Richmond, Texas and Pacific Theaters Winnetka in Chatsworth, CA.

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