Affordable LCoS for Home Theater – the LG CF181D is here!

The LG CF181D is “hands down, the brightest home theater projector we’ve ever seen…”

~ ProjectorCentral.com

LCoS

Here at ProjectorPeople.com, we have been eagerly awaiting the LG CF181D release. The projector features LCoS display, an established Business and high-end Home Theater technology. At $2,499, the LG CF181D is now one of the most affordable LCoS 1080p projectors on the market. We’re not expecting this baby to hang out on the shelves for long.

As always, we’ve got the rundown.

LCoS?

‘LCoS’ stands for ‘liquid crystal on a silicon wafer’ (mmmm, wafers.) The newest player in the display game, think of LCoS as a combination of the best of LCD and DLP technologies. As you astute ProjectorPeople.com readers know, LCD is a transmissive technology whereas DLP is reflective. LCoS, in very simple terms, is a combination of the two – an LCD panel on a mirror.

LCoS

The amount of pixels is less restricted than LCD or DLP because the electronics can be placed under the pixel rather than next to it. This high pixel density means high resolution. (In fact, most of today’s LCoS projectors start at SXGA resolution.) The high pixel density also means no flickering, no “screen door” effect, no “rainbows,” and an overall higher picture quality on moving images. Because of this, many viewers say LCoS projects the most film-like image.

Check out the three technologies head-to-head below. From left to right: LCoS (LG Electronics CF181D), LCD (Panasonic PT-AE4000U), and DLP (BenQ W6000).



Brightness

At 1,800 ANSI Lumens and an incredible contrast of 35,000:1, brightness is where the LG CF181D really shines (pun intended). In its review of the LG CF181D, ProjectorCentral.com wrote that the projector was “hands down, the brightest home theater projector we’ve ever seen when calibrated for optimal video performance.”

Popular LCoS Projectors’ Brightness, Resolution and Cost
Projector Brightness Contrast MSRP Price
LG CD181D 1800 lumens 35000:1 $2,499
JVC DLA-RS15 1000 lumens 32000:1 $5,495
Sony VPL-HW15 1000 lumens 60000:1 $2,999

Color

After calibration, the LG CF181D delivers amazing color quality. Skin tones are exceptionally natural. The image is sharp, and picture depth is exceptional, especially with Blu-ray movies.

However, both ProjectorCentral.com and ProjectorReviews.com said the blackest blacks were really good, but not really great.

From ProjectorCentral.com: “When the screen goes to black or rolling credits on a black background … the CF181D has the weaker black level than any 1080p model in its price class. Since this is not the typical scene that one views, it is usually not an issue of consequence.”

The weaker black level is especially evident in low contrast ratio images, more so than on comparable LCD 1080p projectors. Lower contrast may make for less pop in some scenes. But because the LCoS projector is so good at gray levels, the fine details are not lost with lower contrast.

The projector is equipped with a Color Management System for tweakers, and an Auto Iris to help boost contrast. ProjectorCentral.com said Auto Iris 3 yielded the least deep blacks, but a nicely balanced picture. ProjectorReviews.com liked Auto 1, which was the least bright, (but still bright enough,) and the blackest blacks of the three settings.

The LG CF181D is also ISF® Certified, a feature formerly reserved for higher-level Home Theater projectors. Users can tweak the image to match the highest video image calibration standards.

Connectivity

HDMI

Another bonus with the LG CF181D is its multiple connectivity options. Two HDMI inputs and one USB port are on hand for connecting the LG CF181D to a computer, the most advanced DVD and Blu-Ray players, DTV decoders and many other video devices.

The fine print?

ProjectorReviews.com was not fond of the LG CF181D’s Creative Frame Interpolation feature. “There is a jerkiness that occurs, when watching movies, that is basically unacceptable.”

The Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB had similar issues when it first came out. These were fixed just a few weeks after the first shipment, with upgrades available for current owners. We don’t know yet if LG will do the same.

No worries, CFI is optional. And if you’re curious what it looks like, check out the projector’s TruMotion Demo which lets users see the CFI in action on only one side of the screen for comparison.

Conclusion

Was the LG CF181D worth the wait? Of course. LCoS technology has long been a favorite of photographers who fret over image quality. Now, we’re confident that the affordable price point will revolutionize Home Theater.

AVSForum members and new CF181D owners are already posting positive feedback. Read the thread here.

As always, if you have any questions about the LG CF181D – or any of our projectors – call a Projector Expert at 1-888-248-0647.