Small projectors that let you beam content from a laptop, phone, or other device can come in handy if you don’t have space for a full TV. But most small projectors I’ve seen lately have relatively dim bulbs and support relatively low display resolutions.

And then there are LG’s new Minibeam projectors.

lg minibeam

The LG Minibeam Pro PF1500 is a 1400 lumen, full HD projector with a 150,000: contrast ratio. It’s relatively compact, measuring 8.7″ x 5.2″ x 3.3″ and weighing about 3.3 pounds.

But I’m more intrigued by the smaller LG Minibeam TV PW800, which is a 1.3 pound, 5.5″ x 5.5″ x 2″ model with a 1280 x 800 pixel native resolution, 800 lumens, and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. Oh yeah, it also has a built-in TV tuner, allowing you to use the PW800 as a standalone television.

It may not be quite as powerful as the larger model, but the Minibeam TV is much more portable machine which could be easy to move from room to room or carry with you for use in meetings, hotel rooms, or other situations.

The PW800 supports a maximum image size of 100 inches and supports HDMI and USB input. It can also support wired and wireless smartphone, tablet, or PC screen mirroring.

LG has been offering Minibeam projectors for a few years, but the latest models are smaller, brighter, and more energy efficient.

LG hasn’t yet announced pricing for its new Minibeam projectors.

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15 replies on “LG launches small but powerful Minibeam projectors”

  1. No more LG, EVER and I warn other people about their treatment of customers:

    Over the last several months I have tried to get LG to sell me a battery for my LG Nexus 4. I’ve called and emailed numerous times concerned about the bulging battery breaking the glass back of the phone. LG was not cooperative / responsive. Eventually I installed a “new” battery I bought from ebay. Well, the battery was even more worn out than the original battery. I increased my efforts to get LG to sell me a battery or charge me to install a new one for me. Eventually they gave me an RMA number and I sent it in. The support supervisor, Josh in Fort Worth said my phone is “tampered” and *refused* to sell me a battery or charge me to install one. I called corporate in Alabama and talked to Leroy about the problem. He spoke to his director, who’s name he refused to give me. They refused to sell me a battery or service to install one. The phone was returned to me last week with the sim tray missing. I called them last week about this missing piece and have not received a response. The phone cannot now be used as a phone even if I had a working battery.

    All of this is on top of the fundamental overheating problems with this phone. Within the first months of receipt, it was replaced twice, all three of them having the same overheating behavior. I’ve accepted this for the >2 years I’ve had the device – assuming a full charge at the outset, it stops charging and overheats to the point of turning off when using Google Maps navigation for 40-50 minutes and it’s always done this.

  2. I think that is cool. If they can get the price is as low as possible, it should do well, IMO. I like how compact it is.

  3. These look really nice, but it was been my experience that they are still cost-prohibitive. I am guessing we are looking at the $600. At those prices, you can get a 50″+tv ( I know not nearly as portable) but for “home theatre” it doesn’t compare.

    1. I don’t know that I would use this as a dedicated “home theater” display but as a giant screen Xbox display it would be fine… (my current projector is a Viewsonic short throw @ 1024×768 which I’m still quite happy with btw). So how much is a 100 inch tv nowadays?

    2. Amazon price for the PF1500 is $999.99

      I use an Optoma 1080P DLP instead of a TV. Could’ve bought a 50″ TV (60″ if I hunted for deals) for the same price, but 1) I don’t watch TV and 2) it won’t be 100″ like I can get with the projector.

      Projectors still make for a better home theater for me, if only because of the image size. Any decent home theater would have dedicated speakers so the puny ones in projectors are rarely a decision factor.

      1. Unless you’re susceptible to the rainbow effect, or have space constraints. There’s no denying a TV is easier. I was so tempted to go for a projector but then the room was too narrow and too short to get anything over 70″, then you consider roof mounting it or adding a shelf, and then what about the noise of the projector itself… Bleh.

        What’s interesting about these projectors in my opinion is the increased light output while relying on LEDs as a source. Most other LED based ones top out at 500 lumens or so.

        1. >There’s no denying a TV is easier.
          But there is. I also went with a projector because I don’t want to have to deal with moving a 60+lbs piece of hardware.

          >then you consider roof mounting it or adding a shelf
          Unless you want to watch a TV on the floor, you’d be either wall mounting it or adding a TV stand. Not sure why projectors would be inferior because of the need for a ceiling mount or shelf (I use a floor cabinet).

          >then what about the noise of the projector itself
          Unless you have low noise tolerance it’s not a problem. Again, you should be having a decent sound system that should more or less be able to drown out the noise of the projector.

          I have not yet noticed the rainbow effect on my model. Not saying that it won’t ever happen, but until then it sure as heck is more affordable than a 100″ TV.

          1. But how often do you move it, how often do you use it. To get a good experience from a projector there are throw distances, surface quality, height, other light sources and other bits to consider. With a TV to get a good experience the chart goes “is there space for a TV?” Y/N. “If yes, put a TV there”. So simple by comparison, even if moving it sucks (but then moving a projector screen sucks, and moving a painted wall would suck even more :P)

            As for stands, yes you will add a TV stand, it will be about as big as the TV in floor footprint terms but it is also a versatile piece of furniture that requires no modification to the building. A ceiling mount requires drilling and is an instant no-no for anyone in rented accommodation. Same for a shelf. You could put it on a coffee table in front of you I suppose but then you’ve got heat distortions between you and the screen, along with potential light bleeding from the projector casing.

            As for noise, I am both susceptible to noise and watch movies with quiet bits. When the noise hits the floor all you can hear is the fan of the projector, explosions are another matter entirely as then yes with a decent sound system you won’t be able to hear a person sitting next to you.

            Rainbow effect is something you’ll notice immediately or never see, but it’s particularly bad with slow or few-segment colour wheels that accompany cheap projectors. If your projector has an active iris (a quiet one) then it probably has a good colour wheel, and also wasn’t cheap.

            Most of these things come down to money unfortunately. If you get a really expensive projector with an active iris, decent colour wheel, low noise output and high light output and short throw, then all you need is a coffee table and a projection surface. At that point I’d argue a projector is about as convenient as a TV (which needs space and a coffee table to do the same job). What does a projector that ticks all those boxes cost? £2500 for a sony that ticks all but the short throw.

          2. >how often do you use it
            As much as I’d use a large TV. I don’t need the TV functionality; I only want a large screen.

            >To get a good experience from a projector there are throw distances, surface quality, height, other light sources and other bits to consider. With a TV to get a good experience the chart goes “is there space for a TV?” Y/N. “If yes, put a TV there”.
            I use mine off my living room wall (white color with little “bumps”). It’s very usable. TVs (theoretically) suffer the same price/quality tradeoff regarding color/picture quality. The biggest minus I have with projectors is that they are not as bright as LED TV, but it’s a non-issue at night. Nevertheless, it’s a very good experience, certainly better than what I can get with a 50″ TV.

            >A ceiling mount requires drilling and is an instant no-no for anyone in rented accommodation.
            Funnily enough I live in a rented apartment and I still went for a projector.

            As for your point, ditto for a wall TV mount.

            >Same for a shelf.
            No one is asking you to build a 6ft shelf just for a projector. I use a floor cabinet that’s about… 3ft tall. Probably ~30lbs by itself. They also sell movable projector carts like the ones used in classrooms.

            >but then you’ve got heat distortions between you and the screen
            Heat distortion like the phenomenon you see off hot pavement while driving?Have you seen a recent projector lately? NEVER EVER seen it with my projector. And it’s not a high end one either. In fact, it’s about the cheapest I could find on Amazon back when I got it.

            >When the noise hits the floor
            What does noise hitting the floor have to do with fan volume? If you are talking about possible noise reflection, it’s a non-issue off my wood (at least, I think it’s wood) floor, and should be even more so on carpet.

            >Rainbow effect is something you’ll notice immediately or never see, but it’s particularly bad with slow or few-segment colour wheels that accompany cheap projectors. If your projector has an active iris (a quiet one) then it probably has a good colour wheel, and also wasn’t cheap.
            Mine was neither expensive (for the resolution) nor is the rainbow effect noticeable. You just immediately dismiss projectors as if no cheap good option exists. I checked a Youtube video of rainbow effect from a projector and mine definitely doesn’t show it in the time I’ve had it.

            >Most of these things come down to money unfortunately.
            Unless projectors are more expensive in UK than in the US, and unless you consider 50″ TVs as expensive, I don’t consider paying as much as a 50″ TV for a very passable 1080P projector as expensive.

          3. Starting at the top, ‘usable’ irks me, a 10 lumen projector is usable but it wouldn’t be described as ‘good’ for displaying movies across 100″.

            Better than a 50″ TV? I agree and disagree, I’ve seen some terrible £200 50″ TVs with viewing angle issues and contrast levels that made everything appear in shades of grey. I’ve seen some £800-900 LED backlit TVs with local dimming that were pretty good, as in good enough I would gladly buy them. I settled on a £450 50″ LG plasma and tuned the potentiometers myself to improve black levels, contrast etc to beat those high end LED backlit models. This is by the way after going in store to see an optoma HD131Xe (£500) in action and seeing the rainbow effect everywhere. Susceptibility to the rainbow effect depends on how your brain works, hence some people will never see it ever, and for others it’ll ruin the movie. Fast, many segment colour wheels solve the rainbow effect for those who can see it in the first place, that is my point because for those people there are no good cheap DLP projectors.

            Wall mounts, yes they’re a no go for renters but TV stands/things the height of a coffee table are fine for putting a TV on, especially if you have a receiver or something additional that needs to be near the TV and with a wall mount would just sit on the floor. A projector on a coffee table though, this is where it gets really specific to the user’s situation and where a TV becomes simpler. I sit 2.4 metres from my TV/suitable projection wall. I sit on a sofa. If I have an optoma HD131xe (because why not, pretty great cheap DLP projector) that means I get a 72″ screen, and the projector has to sit somewhere underneath my ass, in the sofa. Alternatively it has to go above my sofa, on a shelf which I’d have to install in rented accommodation (bye bye deposit but hey it’s a solution).

            A short throw projector like an optoma GT1080 would give me 100+ inches at 1.2 metres, so that’d be the way to go, remaining issues are heat haze and noise. Pretty hard to quantify those two but I can tell you I hear a hard drive in a cupboard in the next room being accessed which must be a pretty quiet thing, so it’d probably irritate me personally. By noise floor I meant, well, noise floor, the minimum sound level if everything else stops. Heat haze, I don’t know, depends on how good the cooling system is but if the output of your projector feels hot to your hand, that’ll be enough for heat haze (how hot is a hot road, not enough to burn you so it must be below 45-50C).

          4. >Starting at the top, ‘usable’ irks me
            Forgive me for intruding on your pet-peeve. How’s “functional”? No? How about “passable”? Still no? “Adequate”? No go? Well… I don’t know what else I can use to describe my feeling of above-acceptance-threshold-but-not-out-of-this-world that does’t irk you in some way.

            >I’ve seen some £800-900 LED backlit TVs with local dimming that were pretty good, as in good enough I would gladly buy them. I settled on a £450 50″ LG plasma and tuned the potentiometers myself to improve black levels, contrast etc to beat those high end LED backlit models.
            Good for you? At no point did I say TVs are worthless, but I most certainly find more use out of 100″ than 50″ with “Infinity Black” and “Triluminos” and what-have-you. And that’s before I even mention (oops) eye fatigue from staring at LCD/LED screens all day, which I do as my occupation requires.

            >Wall mounts, yes they’re a no go for renters but TV stands/things the height of a coffee table are fine for putting a TV on
            Then I don’t understand why suddenly a “projector stand” is a barrier to ownership while a TV stand isn’t. You are arguing on the specifics of a room, not how you have to mount/place the projector. Some projectors also offer zoom (however minimal), which offers some leeway in throw distance.

            >this is where it gets really specific to the user’s situation and where a TV becomes simpler.
            Why, I have never claimed that projectors are better than TV sin all circumstances, yet you come in and assert that even for my case “There’s no denying a TV is easier.” For one thing, I didn’t have to break my back lifting a 50/60″ TV onto a stand, or pay/”bribe” someone else to do it. A big reason I chose a projector is because I don’t want to have to deal with a heavy/large piece of hardware when I have to move.

            I admit that I understood “noise floor” poorly. However, if you are bothered by noise from a hard drive in next room, then I’m surprised that you can tolerate the noise from a plasma TV, which is, most likely, in the same room as you, and louder than a spinning hard drive.

        2. Does rainbow effect still exist with RGB LED lighting instead of color wheel?

          > Most modern single-chip DLP projectors have fast enough color wheels that the rainbow effect is largely a thing of the past. Using LED lighting all but eliminates it.
          > — http://hometheaterreview.com/rainbow-effect/

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Light_Processing#The_color_wheel_.22rainbow_effect.22 explains it better. IIUC it’s not directly a question of the wheel rotating, it’s just that LEDs make it easier to swap R/G/B/…/R/G/B at high frame rate.

          1. Mmm, LED projectors are going to be pretty awesome, unfortunately all the models out at the moment can’t really match their bulb based brothers (looking at you Optoma HD91) for light output, perceived or otherwise. Nor if I remember correctly are they that great in other respects (shadow detail, black levels) despite having amazing potential.

          2. Can you elaborate? HD91 claims 1,000lm, PF1500 here claims 1,500lm. While not 2,000–3,000lm common in bulb-based, it’s getting very close. I’d certainly take that given noise/size/lifetime benefits.

            Opening a random review: http://www.trustedreviews.com/optoma-hd91-review-picture-quality-page-2 it does complain of black levels (and having to reduce brightness to improve blacks).
            But I can’t think of an engineering reason why blacks/contrast should be systematically worse with LEDs than bulb+wheel.

            P.S. What’s up with contrast specs being so outlandish? I should just disregard them and read reviews, right?

          3. That’s what I was getting at in a nutshell, projector central say that in movie mode they got 517 lumens out of the HD91, compared to an epson 5030B with 805. Knock that up to full brightness and you get 840 vs 1550 lumens. It’s pretty dim compared to bulb projectors and only gets worse if you use zoom on the lens. Yeah the black level one is weird, it seems they haven’t really nailed the LED PWM as a replacement for an automatic iris, seems like there’s some PWM noise to support that. There’s no engineering reason why that can’t be improved apart from the standard no two LEDs are alike, but good calibration curves would take care of that. The point is we’re still waiting for that perfect LED projector though.

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