LG pushes big screens with mini projectors

According to some research by LG, people want big screens. Bigger than big screens, and portability with them too, and because you can’t just carry a 55 inch TV with you — we’ve tried — LG has come up with some tiny projectors.

“From our consumer research, the number one need [for consumers] is big screens,” said LG’s Russ Prendergast this week, and it’s a notion LG would know just as well as any other TV brand.

Currently, the most popular TV sizes range from 47 to 55 inches, with bigger sizes now normal, as 60, 70, and even 84 inch television become purchases made by regular people, not just those with deep wallets.

But try taking one of those with you on a holiday, or a camping trip, or somewhere else. It just can’t be done. Even moving a 55 inch television is a chore, and one usually requiring two people.

With that in mind, LG has pulled the sheets off of what it calls “Mini Beams,” or to those of us not clued in on the marketing speak, portable projectors.

Not quite the pico variety, LG’s Mini Beam projectors pack an LED lamp with multiple forms of connectivity — wireless connectivity across WiDi, DLNA, and Miracast for some — and even the option to use the projector with a battery pack, essentially bringing large projector screens to any surface in the home, or even outside of it.

“Everything we create at LG has the end-user’s best interests at heart,” said Lambro Skropidis, General Manager of Marketing at LG Electronics in Australia.

“When it comes to projectors, there are so many options for how to use them or how best they integrate into your life. We took all this into consideration, and as a result we’ve created a range of projector units that not only offer feature packed specs, but a range that also comes in different shapes and sizes to best suit individual needs.”

That range includes four models, starting with the PB60G (above), a 1280×800 projector with 500 lumens, USB, and HDMI, as well as a 15,000:1 contrast ratio.

This one will fit in the hand and goes for $799, but needs to be plugged in, so no battery options here.

If you want a battery, one up from here is the PG60G (above0, a similar model that packs in less contrast (5000:1) but more connection options, with WiDi and Miracast, and the option for a battery providing up to two hours of life, but only in an energy saving mode. That concerns us, we’ll be honest, since two hours of life isn’t much, and an energy saving mode on a projector will likely reduce brightness, but we’re curious none the less.

Part of why we’re intrigued by this model is that the model can be positioned in either a horizontal or vertical position, allowing you to look up and watch a movie.

If anything, this vertically projected image shows us just how much water damage the showroom’s roof has endured.

Next is the PA1000 for $1199, offering a step up from the previous model, but no battery, with 1000 lumens and a contrast ratio of 100,000:1. This one isn’t as pocket sized, but seems more suitable for videos and movies, but not real full high definition stuff.

For that, there’s the PF80G — yes, they need better names — and in this model, LG brings 1000 lumens, the 100,000:1 contrast ratio, but a picture quality of Full HD for $1999.

LG's PF80G

Besides being made by LG, the one thing all of these projectors have in common is that they rely on the same style of LED lamp, with a life across all of them lasting 30,000 hours. While LG didn’t confirm it with us, we’ve seen this style before and last we heard, they weren’t replaceable, forcing you to throw the projector out when you were done.

That said, we’ll check with LG to see if that’s the case, because we can imagine there won’t be many thrilled with the idea of a disposable projector, regardless of how long 30,000 hours translates to.

In any case, the projectors will be in stores shortly at electronics retailers across the country.