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LG Introduces HU85LA 4K Ultra Short-Throw Laser Projector

LG

LG Electronics has introduced its much-anticipated HU85LA projector, an all-in-one entertainment system that combines a laser-driven, UHD resolution, ultra short-throw projector; an integral streaming platform; and a built-in sound system.

The HU85LA, with a list price of $5,999, was first shown at this year's CES in January, where it was a 2019 CES Innovation Award winner. Along with similarly conceived projectors from Optoma, ViewSonic, and start-up VAVA, it is one of several products slugged for release this year that pursue a similar concept. UST projectors, which can throw a large image on a screen or wall from just a few inches away, have long been a staple in the education and business sectors, but are now being targeted by manufacturers as a big-screen alternative to consumer flat-panel televisions. Sony was the first player to enter this market with a single high-end UST projector several years ago, and Hisense has been marketing its all-in-one Laser TV series here since 2017. A key benefit of UST projection is simplicity of installation—since the projector is typically situated on a console or shelf just below the screen, long cable runs in walls and ceilings to facilitate signal and power connections are eliminated.

Dubbed the CineBeam AI ThinQ 4K laser projector, the HU85LA distinguishes itself as a premium entry in this emerging category. It offers 2,700 ANSI lumens of brightness, enough for viewing in moderate to high ambient light at the maximum 120-inch diagonal image size. The high quality, fixed UST lens, with a 0.19 throw ratio, casts a 120-inch image from 7.2 inches off the screen, a 100-inch image from 3.9 inches, or a 90-inch image from just 2.2 inches. Setting up the projector to align the image with the screen, which can be challenging with UST projectors due to the extreme angle at which light leaves the lens, is ably assisted by a user-friendly 12-point keystone/warp adjustment.

LG-HU85LA-UST-projector

The HU85LA uses one of the DLP XPR chips (of unspecified size) to deliver full UHD resolution to the screen with the assistance of pixel-shifting. The light engine is a 3-channel laser design that eliminates the need for a sequential color wheel and is said to offer wider color gamut. It is rated for 20,000 hours of life. HDR10 high dynamic range content is supported with dynamic tone mapping, which gauges the program to adjust HDR brightness for an optimum balance of highlights and contrast in darker areas of the image. This feature eliminates the need to constantly adjust HDR settings for different programs mastered at different levels of brightness, as is required with most HDR projectors these days.

LG has carried along some well-established smart TV features from its television line-up, including a microphone-equipped version of its Magic Remote that accepts Google Assistant voice commands, and a version of its popular WebOS operating system. Popular supported streaming services include Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play Movies, Fandango, YouTube, and Spotify for music. Along with Google Assistant, LG's ThinQ technology provides search assistance for finding relevant programs. A digital TV tuner is also integrated for direct connection of an antenna. Screen sharing is supported with Miracast, or from iOS or Android devices via LG's TV Plus app.

On-board audio for the HU85LA is supported with a pair of 5-watt stereo speakers hidden behind an attractive woven grille, and the projector has both a Bluetooth input (to use the speakers with a Bluetooth source) as well as a Bluetooth output for sending the projector's audio to Bluetooth-equipped headphones or a sound system (an AV sync adjustment is provided). An optical audio output is also available for outboard audio, and one of the projector's two HDMI ports is ARC-enabled. Network connection is by integrated WiFi or a wired RJ45 connection.

The LG HU85LA is available now in stores and online at authorized LG resellers. ProjectorCentral's review is in progress and will be published shortly.


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Comments (24) Post a Comment
Dan Posted Jul 25, 2019 12:39 PM PST
Thanks for the heads up about release of this new UST. Any word as to when the Optoma is coming out?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 25, 2019 4:50 PM PST
It was still very much a work in progress at InfoComm, but much progressed since we saw the demo at CES. Company reps wouldn't say when they'll have it ready.
Victor Posted Jul 25, 2019 5:12 PM PST
I can not wait to see review of this, I am hoping it will be worth buying.
David Rivera Posted Jul 25, 2019 5:32 PM PST
I'm disappointed that LG has chosen to price out a large segment of the market with a $6,000 price tag for the HU85LA. Let's hope Optoma's P1 is priced under $4,000. Consideration must be given to the fact that a decent UST ALR screen will be a must to extract the full potential of any 4k UST laser projector, even for viewing in a dark room environment. UST projectors simply can not match the black level and contrast of a good dedicated Home Theater projector, at least not currently. Yet the market is indeed ripe and ready for 4k UST laser projector as an alternative to a large (85" tv display), but not at $10,000 (when you consider the added cost of a decent UST ALR screen).
Robert Zohn Posted Jul 29, 2019 8:26 PM PST
David, for a dual laser with no spinning wheel and 4K HDR performance the $6k price is reasonable and competitive. Also some dealers are paring UST ALR screens with compelling prices.
UST Posted Jul 31, 2019 8:39 AM PST
I'm disappointed that this and the announced Optoma P1 only go up to 120". I'm considering the VAVA, which, while I don't expect it to be as "videophile", claims to go up to 150", or possibly the Dell 718QL, which at least goes up to 130". How seriously should we take these size claims? It would be great if you could review the VAVA, and perhaps comment on the tradeoffs among these options regarding size, price, and picture quality. For example, one might be happy enough to trade off a certain degree of imperfection in the color rendering in order to make better use of the size of a Screen Goo covered wall.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Jul 31, 2019 2:04 PM PST
I would caution all our readers showing interest in these new 4k UST projectors intended for home use that we are all entering something of unknown territory here regarding the performance trade-offs vs. more traditional home theater projectors. We're going to have to test a few to get a feel for how well they perform.

Regarding size, the extreme angle with which USTs project an image makes it challenging to establish perfect focus from top to bottom, so there's an argument to be made for perhaps not pushing to the edge of the projector's spec for image size. That said, it's all about the optics and the lens specification as to how large these things can successfully go.

Regarding the VAVA, I was sent an early sample of this projector and chose not to review it while it remains an Indiegogo project that continues to collect funding (purchases) from new buyers who must then wait for delivery of their product. On principle I have never been a fan as an editor of putting reviewing resources against something that then perhaps gets publicized favorably, but which consumers cannot then just go and purchase. It is also entirely possible that the product will change significantly during development, particularly as feedback from reviewers and early customers point out failings that were not caught in development. And I have also seen, in some unfortunate cases, products on crowdfund sites that received favorable attention and funding but which never made it to steady production.

That said, the VAVA, though clearly geared for a consumer audience and offering an interesting mix of features and value, was not well-tuned for an enthusiast image in the sample I received (it comes out of the box with a blue-leaning grayscale) and has no menu controls to allow tuning of the image. This was borne out in at least one expert review I saw online. VAVA has since let me know that an update that was scheduled for end of July would address this with some new menu options. I'll reserve judgement until I get an updated sample or can download new firmware that reflects this.

I currently have a sample of this new LG projector in house for evaluation, and can say that, although priced at the premium end of this segment, it is well engineered and offers an impressive feature set and image that can be tuned as needed. We'll have the review completed soon.
dan Posted Aug 2, 2019 1:21 PM PST
Any news about release date for the Optoma P1 as it will be marketed to the same target consumer (myself)
Jason Posted Aug 2, 2019 8:43 PM PST
What’s the chip inside? .47 or .66? Thanks.
Art Feierman Posted Aug 3, 2019 1:02 PM PST
Hi Rob, Just a heads up, I thought your comments on the VAVA to be on the money in your response to "UST". One thing we noticed though, with the HU85LA, is that it too, like the VAVA is strong blue out of the box in most modes - 8000K+. But the good news is that it finishes off with some really nice color, right around 6500K with calibration. Much better color, and picture, than the HU80KA. - See you at CEDIA. -art
Warren Aronson Posted Aug 3, 2019 2:07 PM PST
Does it suffer from the rainbow effect?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 3, 2019 2:15 PM PST
Warren, this projector has a tri-laser configuration (one for each primary color) and no sequential color wheel. Consequently, it should not show traditional rainbow effects. I'll be watching out for color artifacts in our testing.
Victor Posted Aug 4, 2019 6:01 PM PST
I heard this new lg ust projector can do a 130” screen.
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 5, 2019 7:40 AM PST
The rated spec for image size is up to 120-inches. You could pull it back and get a 130-inch image, or a 150-inch image, or even a 200-inch image. This does not mean you will get it to focus at that size, or focus uniformly at all points on the image.
Robert Zohn Posted Aug 6, 2019 3:46 PM PST
Optoma's CinemaX P1 is scheduled to launch on September 15th.

LG's HU85LA TI DLP chip is the new .66 DMM

In our theater demo we positioned the HU85LA about 10" from the screen and it projected a beautiful 130" image
Robert Zohn Posted Aug 6, 2019 4:04 PM PST
Optoma's CinemaX P1 is scheduled to launch on September 15th.

LG's HU85LA TI DLP chip is the new .66 DMM

In our theater demo we positioned the HU85LA about 10" from the screen and it projected a beautiful 130" image
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 6, 2019 7:52 PM PST
Thanks for the valuable info, Robert. Good to know you can push this to a larger screen size. And that it's the larger XPR chip.
Matthias Amrein Posted Aug 7, 2019 7:17 PM PST
What about the Xiaomi Mijia MJJGTYDS01FM 2GB 16GB MIUI? It is full 4k The price is less than half of the LG.

IPD Posted Aug 11, 2019 3:40 PM PST
I'm sure the HU85LA is a wonderful projector. It's also priced out of the segment that would be most interested in buying it. At this price, they're trying to compete with Hisense. I guess that's fine and all, but the UST segment is for people who are looking to replace existing flat-panel TV's...not the traditional home-theater projector market. And the latter market is often willing to pay the extra cost of mounts, wiring, etc. But the former isn't.

A $6000 projector will require a $1000 screen (UST ALR). So you're asking for a $7000 investment--minimum. While a 120" screen is nice and all, you're trying to convince this segment of something with diminishing returns over a $1500-2000, 75" flat panel. An 85" flat panel already jacks the price up to ~$3500-4000. So about double an 85" flat panel price and over 3x the price of a 75" flat panel.

Some will buy, but not many. Dollars to doughnuts, the projectors most will flock to (if they don't just stick to a flat panel for the time being) are going to be like the Dell S718QL--which will probably hit deep discount after this release from LG. Some looking for a bargain will look at the Vava or the Xiaomi Fengmi. And the rest like me will be waiting on the P1 or another offering to hit that sub $4000 price point that really is the sweet spot.

I have a hard time believing that the average consumer will see sufficient difference between or justify the cost difference between that $4000 and $6000 price point.

Again, huge fan. Glad to see more 4k UST offerings hit the market. But this feels bittersweet, and a Pyrrhic victory for LG.
Robert Zohn Posted Aug 11, 2019 4:58 PM PST
Xiaomi's UST projector is a native 1080p .47 DLP DMD that e-shifts and blinks 4 times to emulate 4K.

It's also a single laser that has the RGB spinning wheel to produce all fo the colors. So color accuracy and color volume is not as good ad the 3 channel dual laser system LG's HU85LA uses.

Xiaomi does not have any dedicated HDR modes and clips all tonal detail and color information above 500 nits.

Low price and likely a decent picture, but not in the same league as the HU85LA and I'd be concerned about warranty coverage on the Xiaomi.
dan Posted Aug 12, 2019 10:33 AM PST
THANKS IPD.

Great info.

Have been patiently waiting for the new releases of LG 85 (that came in at higher price than expected by most) and the forthcoming OPTOMA P1.

I will probably choose one of the two.

Q. Will I end uo with a better cinematic image at 120" than going with a non UST projector such as the Epson Pro Cinema 6050UB or the laser powered Optoma UHZ65 ?

Main goal is to be able to use in non absolute darkened room (very minor light leakage), and try to aim for true 4k and not pixel shifted.

Many thanks
Jason Posted Aug 14, 2019 12:07 AM PST
Thank Robert. Looking forward to head to head comparison between HU85LA and Sony/JVC entry level LCoS 4k projectors.
Ben Posted Aug 19, 2019 9:49 AM PST
When will the review be uploaded?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Aug 19, 2019 10:02 AM PST
I'm sorry but I no longer have an estimated review date for this projector. There was an issue with our sample that I attributed to it being an early engineering rather than full production sample and I am awaiting a new production unit now. I hope to have that in hand shortly to complete our review.

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