LG CF181D Projector Review
LG CF181D Menus
LG’s menus are pretty good, just one or two objections. The first is obvious. Hit menu, and you get your 6 main menu choices up on the screen (image on the right). Select the one you want, and click. That’s not as efficient as most others, who will have a starting menu that shows all the main menus, but also displays the most widely used menu at the same time. (That is, main menu names – usually on the left). The most popular main menu, though (usually called Picture or Image) is also there when you open Menu. Saves a click. Hardly the end of the world, but one of those minor things.
One other objection which I’ve also complained about Sanyo in particular (but also others), to task for, and that’s scrolling menus. With the LG, the Advanced menu has a lot more features than you see. You have to scroll down to find the rest. It’s not really well indicated and easily overlooked. And there are a lot of items to scroll through. That kind of thing has one diving for the manual. Of course that would bother a reviewer more than an owner. You owners will after a while remember that. For a reviewer – I work with a projector for a week or two, and spend tons of times in the menus, and therefore like a setup where everything is easy to find. While I make this complaint, it’s a very minor thing, so I’d also say “don’t worry about it – it’s not a big deal.”
The first main menu is Picture (as shown) hit has all the basic stuff – brightness, contrast, color (saturation), sharpness, tint…
The next menu is the Advanced Picture menu, with all the “fun” image controls (also shown here): There’s the TruMotion demo mode (half the screen does CFI the other half does not, for comparison purposes). The bulk of the advanced image controls are called either advanced, or expert, depending on which Picture mode (ie Vivid, Expert) you are in.
That Advanced/Expert control area has your controls for iris control (manual, dynamic or off), CFI (creative frame interpolation – high or low), Color Temp, Gamma, Black Levels, and your RGB and CMS controls. Many of these you have to scroll down to find. One of those I had to scroll down to find, was the Overscan menu option for dealing with image noise around the edges, (very common with HD sources showing standard definition content, but other times as well). See my comments on the first page of the review near the bottom.
The strangely named Screen menu deals with projector placement (front/rear, tabletop/ceiling), Aspect ratio, Keystone adjustment (please don’t) and a single test pattern suitable for focusing and positioning. Most manufacturers would tend to call that menu the Setup menu.
Next is the Option menu, which is pretty bare bones, with menu Language choices the background color (and the color when you blank the screen), and two timers – one for sleep (shuts off when you tell it to, from Off, to 10 minutes, up to 240 minutes). There’s also Auto sleep, which will put the projector to sleep if no signal is detected for 10 minutes. These are common features found on a lot of home theater projectors, although I don’t consider them widely used, and often don’t mention them.
There’s an Info Menu, and finally, a menu just offering your choice of Inputs. The Input menu nicely highlights the inputs with active signals.
LG CF181D Remote Control
The CF181D remote, I like a whole lot. The range is very good, not the best, but works well in my main theater, which stymies most remotes (about a 25 foot total trip including bounce off the screen). This is one of the few that works consistently as long as I point it pretty straight towards the screen.
After you get past the range of the remote, it’s all more good news. The goldish backlighting is bright, but not quite, too bright, like, for example a couple of Optoma projectors with super bright blue LEDs.
The remote doesn’t have a million buttons. Its layout goes something like this. At the top a single button for power – once for on, twice for off. A row of three for “setup” consisting of Auto, Aspect and Input (source select).
Next comes navigation, two buttons -Menu on the right, Exit on the left, and right below that, the navigation buttons – 4 hours in a round configuration, with a center “OK” (enter) button.
Then, a bit below two large buttons one for Brightness, the other Contrast. And right below them, in the center, the backlight button. Hit the button and the backlight stays on for about 5-6 seconds – an adequate amount of time.
More space, and then 9 buttons in a total of 3 rows. All of these are direct access buttons allowing you to skip using the menus. The nine buttons are:
Mode (Vivid, Cinema, etc.) Auto Iris, Keystone
Still (freeze frame), Blank, (test) Pattern
Color Temp, Sleep, and Gamma
Hard not to like this remote control. True, a number of remotes have direct buttons for each source, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing say separate buttons for HDMI 1 and 2, but that’s hardly anything worth bitching about.
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