LG HS101 Projector

While mammoth CRTs are quickly being replaced by even bigger plasma and LCD TV sets to mimic the big-screen theater experience, the most obvious way to get there – with a projector – is often overlooked.

There are a lot of good reasons why. Traditionally, CRT projectors were enormous units requiring mounting and calibration, making them extremely expensive and impractical. LCD projectors cut some of the bulk, but were never really practical for regular viewing due to their costly bulb replacements. But there’s hope for the practical projector yet: LED-powered DLP units have arrived, and they not only eliminate the cost of bulbs, they also shrank to a size you can fit in one hand.

LG Electronics’ new HS101 projector measures six inches wide, less than 5 inches deep and 2 inches tall. No more briefcase-sized models of yesteryear – this thing is more like a thick novel. It weighs about a pound and a half, less than even the lightest of ultra-compact laptops.

LG HS101 Projector
Image Courtesy of LG Electronics

The South Korean manufacturer accomplished the significant size reduction with DLP projection technology and an LED power source. The company claims the LED light source has a rated lifetime of over 20,000 hours. Bulbs for LCD projectors usually range from 1,000 to 4,000 hours in life in newer models. Given those figures, the HS101’s LED light source would probably never need replacement in the unit’s lifetime for conservative users. As an added bonus, there’s no need for any warm-up: the projector’s ready to go within two seconds of powering on. Of course, the drawback would be its exceptionally modest 100 ANSI lumen light output, which is dwarfed by the output of traditional projectors that usually range in the thousands.

Despite this, LG claims the HS101 can throw an image of 15 inches to 80 inches across diagonally, depending on the amount of ambient light in a room. And it can do it with a 2,000:1 contrast ratio, which is typically the level expected on a quality LCD monitor. The projector’s 800 x 600 SVGA image can also represent 130 percent of the NTSC color gamut, according to LG. That would mean it significantly outpaces CRT displays, which usually make claims of only about 70 percent. Input can come from a DV, D-Sub or DVI connector.

The HS101 probably won’t power your fantasy of a drive-in on the garage wall, but for its size, it delivers specs far beyond what would have been possible in the past. For the home theater enthusiast who would prefer that his new big-screen TV comes through the door in a shopping bag instead of a 300-pound crate, the HS101 might be an easy way out – as long as some heavy-duty curtains are also in the bag. The projectors don’t have a firm release date yet, but they will sell for 799 Euros ($1091) when they hit store shelves.

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