With a massive Hecto-class 100-inch display, crystalline 1080p output, and Methuselan 25,000 hour bulb life, LG’s sleek new Laser TV short throw projector gives us a lot to be excited about. It’s a big, beautiful display, no two ways about it.
Too bad its size is matched by a Kia-sized price tag.
The Laser TV is a two-part system comprising a 31kg, wall-mounted display screen (you’re definitely going to need an assistant for this setup) and a 13kg, 36-diode set projector situated 22 inches (55cm) in front of it. The screen is made up of six distinct layers designed to minimise glare off the monstrous display area, yet is less than half an inch thick. It shares many of the same motifs as the other LG Cinema Screens, with a black front bezel encircled in aluminium. The projector itself is unobtrusive (as would be a roving cannibal horde in the face of this screen) with a slick little sliding cover to keep dust off the projector lens. And unlike bulb-based DLPs, which can take forever to rev up, the Laser TV takes just seven seconds to power on.
The picture quality is very impressive, especially with that much visual real estate, and roughly comparable to the LG LA8600 flagship LED set. Colours are bright but not overly saturated, there was very little fast-motion blurring (even with the motion filters off), the contrast was solid though the black levels did look a bit washed out (especially in bright room conditions). On the other hand, unlike conventional projectors, the Laser TV doesn’t require a completely dark room, and operates commendably with the blinds up.
I spent about 40 minutes with the set in a large conference room in downtown San Francisco earlier this week and put the set through its paces with my normal TV testing materials: Terminator 2 and Aliens on Blu-Ray as well as a Remastered in 4K Ghostbusters. The room’s long row of exterior windows were covered in blackout shades for the dark room tests (roughly the same lighting levels as a movie theatre before the houselights go down), but these curtains were pulled back to allow the full afternoon sun in for bright room scenarios (like the one below).
And like many others in the LG TV family, the Laser TV is packed with connectivity options. Three HDMI ports, two USB, RS-232, wireless connectivity through MiCast and DNLA. It also comes with both a standard remote and LG’s slick Magic Remote, though it’s last season’s model so you won’t be able to use voice commands.
Of course, this much TV does not come cheap. It does not come garden-variety expensive either. Unfortunately, the Laser TV only comes in I’m sorry, how much?: $8999. So the real question is, do you want the biggest TV of this generation, or a half-sized set of the next generation for three grand less from the likes of Sony’s new 55-inch 4K TV?