LG CF181D Projector Review

LG CF181D Physical Appearance

The LG CF181D home theater projector is a medium-largeish black projector, weighing in just under 22 pounds. It’s got some styling, including a curved front, and a recessed band around the projector. Overall, it looks nice, but not overly impressive. The top (facing down when mounted) has a very nice sort of latticework design in the cover. Not highly visible but an interesting touch. The lens is center mounted. To its right, is the front IR sensor (there’s a second one in the back, on the input panel).

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Interestingly the control panel is in the back (see image and description below). The top only has a recessed ring for adjusting vertical lens shift, and around it, some indicator lamps. There’s a blue LED trim ring around it, which makes for a pretty lighting when warming up or shutting down as the blue LED light rotates around the ring.

Two screw thread adjustable feet are found below the front on the left and right side. Vents run under the front of the projector and on the sides.

Inputs are all in the back. The LG projector comes with a very nice remote, which will also be discussed below. The lamp door is located on the bottom, but in a corner. It looks like, from the manual, that the lamp may be replaceable without unmounting a ceiling mounted projector. However, that’s my best guess, and it assumes you go with the LG mount. If you go with a typical universal mount, my guess is that some will require unmounting others may not. So, definitely consult with your dealer about that issue, especially if you are doing the work yourself, to make sure you buy a mount that makes sense.

Another maintenance issue is filter cleaning or replacement. The manual only says, “clean or replace the filter when the projector tells you to.” They give no indication of that’s after 100 hours or a 1000, or ??? The filter areas are in the bottom front vents, where you will find two filters. Yes, they can be cleaned, but if damaged, should be replaced.

Ok, time for a closer look!

Control Panel

The control panel consists of a row of buttons in a slightly recessed area on the right side of the back of the projector. I don’t find that to be a very good location or design, but, hey, since once you start using the projector in its permanent place, you’ll be relying on the remote control, let’s not worry about that too much. Still, having navigation using a diamond, round or square arrow key layout, with a center Enter button is far easier to use than a linear run of buttons.

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That said, the control panel does work fine. Looking at the control panel on the rear, from the back, finds the buttons organized this way, from left to right:

Power, Auto (setup, mostly for PCs), Input (source select), up, down, left, and right arrow buttons, and finally, the OK (enter) button. That’s about your most basic control panel.

Input/Output

The CF181D is very typically equipped. In terms of inputs there are the usual two HDMI 1.3 inputs (I prefer to see 3, but that’s very uncommon). Of course there’s a component video input (3 color coded RCA jacks), and an HD15 analog computer input, which can double as a second component video input. That pretty much covers the highest quality inputs.

There’s also the usual composite video and S-video inputs, not to mention an RS-232 and also a USB labeled “service only.” According to LG, neither the USB or Serial port is set up to support command and control, such as working with a Crestron room control system.

Lacking as noted would be a (rare) 3rd HDMI, but also not there, one or two 12 volt “screen” triggers, and apparently a serial port for command and control. (As to screen triggers – nice to have, but there are usually work arounds available).

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