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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 01, 2013

LG's Colossal Laser TV System Offers Big Picture from a Small Package

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Recently, LG staged a media event for journalists to come out and watch the NCAA tournament on its new Laser TV system, a device capable of putting up an impressive 100 inch image. That by itself is pretty amazing, but when it's considered that it can be easily hung on a wall, that ratchets up the excitement factor several-fold. Add in a rather unusual style of operation and the whole affair becomes one to watch.

The Laser TV system, described as the largest wall-mountable display the world, is actually a refinement on the front-projection model of television. It operates a lot like a projector and screen model would, but the projector operates so close to the screen itself that it's more like a television than a projector and screen setup usually is.

The projector in question is what's known as an "ultra-short-throw projector", meaning that it, unlike many of its contemporaries, doesn't need a lot of room to operate. Demonstrations typically show the Laser TV projector being down and in front of the screen, usually only a matter of inches away (22 inches minimum, according to LG), yet still able to project that 100 inch image with impressive clarity. It's not a 4K unit, but it does show in Full HD, allowing it to easily work with most common input sources from Blu-ray on down.

LG projects that a Laser TV unit will last roughly 25,000 hours before needing to be replaced, which is about five times longer than the standard projector can go. Since the picture represents about 150 nits of brightness, it will do well even in a well-lit room, though the lower the light level--as is generally the case with most any image display--the better the overall effect. The system itself boasts an ATSC tuner as well as a 20 watt speaker system, three HDMI ports, two USB ports, Intel Wireless Display functionality, LG's own Smart TV platform for easy access to Netflix and YouTube (News - Alert), as well as a set of other connection options. The system will be available at "specialty electronics retailers" for $8,999, complete with screen.

It's not hard to look at a system like that and see why a lot of people are leaving the movie theater behind. We're talking about a screen with a diagonal of a little better than eight feet. In all but the most cavernous rooms--a common rule of thumb suggests that the optimal viewing distance is about 1.5 to three times the screen size, meaning that for a 100 inch screen, viewers should be at least 12 feet away--it likely wouldn't even fit the room. It's going to be able to provide that same theater-style experience, at least for a lot of people, while also providing a wide variety of extra benefits. It will work with most current peripherals, and should make a great fit for any current system.

Granted, most likely won't be willing, or even able, to spend that kind of money on a television, but this is still a new offering. Prices likely will drop on Laser TV models as new and even more improved versions arrive, making it even more accessible to users. With all the home theater technology out there, it's looking like a good night to pop some popcorn and check out what's on Netflix rather than make the drive to the theater.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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