LG Introduces HU85LA 4K Ultra Short-Throw Laser Projector
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.
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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