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Eat your heart out, JJ Abrams: LG has invented the holodeck

 Since 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been the coming-out venue for such breakthrough home entertainment technologies as the VCR (1970), the compact disc (1981), the DVD (1996), and the plasma television (2001). Each year in January, show attendees travel to Las Vegas with hope of bearing witness to the grand debut of the next big innovation in home electronics. This year, however, we may be getting an advance sneak-peek at what could turn out to be one of this year’s CES showstoppers, as LG has announced it will be bringing its newly developed 100-inch “Laser TV” to the show. 

Conventional projectors present several challenges that make them an unlikely choice for most consumers: They must be placed several feet away from the screen that they project onto; they need dark environments in order for images to be visible; and long wires or wireless transmitters are required to get the signal from source components to the projector itself. In short: projectors need dedicated rooms. But the LG Laser TV handily dispatches all of those challenges, potentially making large-screen projection-style TV a reality for any room.

The Laser TV projector unit is designed to project images straight up or down, and needs only 22 inches of distance from its accompanying screen, meaning users can place it directly below the screen on an entertainment cabinet, a desk, the floor, or mount it to the ceiling just above the screen. LG’s proprietary screen is designed to take the acutely angled projection and refract it directly out to viewers. LG told Digital Trends that the resulting image quality is on par with that of plasma TV technology. 

Aside from its acute projection angle, the Laser TV’s projector unit sports a long list of features that make it more akin to a television than a conventional projector. Built into the projector unit are two 10-watt speakers, a TV tuner, three HDMI inputs, an optical digital audio output and an RS-232 interface for custom home theater integration. LG is also arming the Laser TV with its Smart TV platform, built-in Wi-Fi for streaming media from services such as Netflix and Hulu, and both WiDi and Wi-Fi direct technologies for wireless sharing of media from personal devices. Bundled with the Laser TV will be LG’s revamped Magic Motion remote, which enables voice and gesture-control as well as point-and-click control.

LG says the special lamps used in its Laser TV enable the projector to produce an extremely bright image with high contrast, and can be expected to last about 25,000 hours – roughly five times longer than mercury-based lamps. 

If the Laser TV performs as well as LG suggests it does, then it will likely draw plenty of oohs and aahs at CES 2013 next month. Digital Trends recently saw digitally rendered images of the Laser TV in action, and we think it’s almost holographic appeal will probably attract quite a crowd of onlookers.

Digital Trends will be at CES 2013 to give you a close-up look at the Laser TV in action, and find out how much the Laser TV will cost and when we can expect to see it hit store shelves.