LG CF181D Projector Review

LG CF181D Projector Calibration and Settings

We calibrate each home theater that is reviewed. We perform contrast, brightness, saturation and other image adjustments, as well as a grayscale balance. A complete professional calibration can go even further, but the settings we provide generally offer a anywhere from a slight to dramatic improvement, compared to the “out of the box settings”.

LG CF181D Color Temperature

These are the measurements, taken “right out of the box.” Mike chose Cinema as our starting point for a “best” mode. Cinema is also the same as the two user savable modes: Expert 1, and 2.

To start, the CF181D looked very good, though not really on the money. Color temp was a little cool (more blue than red), but not much in the brighter areas, moving to neutral to wam (more red than blue) in the lower ranges.

Color Temp over IRE Range (Best Mode, Pre calibration)

Cinema (or Expert 1 and 2)
30 IRE 6464K (dark gray)
50 IRE 6644K
80 IRE 6985K
100 IRE 7031K (white)
Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE (mid zoom)
Vivid 1064 @ 7356, 1380 with Iris fully open (Manual 32)
Standard 608 @ 9523K lamp on low, 852 lumens with Lamp on High
Cinema 503 @ 7031K
Sport 763 @ 11690K
Game 852 @ 8998K
Expert 1 and 2 503 @ 7045K

LG CF181D Basic Settings

In addition to calibrating Red Green and Blue for a correct grayscale balance (6500K), there are a number of other settings that come into play. Typically Contrast and Brightness (white balance and black balance), need to be done first. Color saturation and gamma also need adjustment.

Settings for measurements (default values are in parenthesis)
Vivid Standard Cinema Sport Game Expert 1, 2
Contrast = (50) (50) (50) (50) (50) (50)
Brightness = (50) 53 (50) 54 (50) 53 (50) 53 (50) 53 (50) 53
Color = (70) (60) (50) (60) (55) (50) 43
Iris =

(Auto 1)

(Auto 1)

(Manual 3)

(Auto 1) (Auto 1)

(Manual 3)

Color Temp = (Natural) (Medium) (Warm) (Cool) (Medium) (Warm)
Lamp Mode = (High) (Low) (High) (High) (High) (High)

Lamp mode set on Bright for all
All other settings at default (untouched)

Note Color for Expert 2 (which we’re using as Brightest mode) is shown above at 43. If you are using this mode with a lot of ambient light, you’ll be wanting to crank the color saturation back up to 48 or maybe 50.

Mike’s calibration efforts made a real difference. While the average consumer would certainly be dazzled by the CF181D, right out of the box, the improvements were tangible. Skin tones became really excellent. The LG is very close to rivaling my JVC RS20 in terms of skin tones. I think my RS20 is still a touch more natural, but the LG projector looks great, and at least as good a skin tone as I’ve seen on any projector I’ve reviewed in the last 6 months, except, for the JVC RS25 recently reviewed. The more price comparable RS15 is inbound. It should be really interesting to see which one has the better colors.

Expert 2 was set up as our “quick-cal” bright mode. It ends up with some respectable color, and about 1100 lumens. Mike made that selection. I personally found the color on the brightest mode – Vivid mode, the color was still acceptable. I would have stuck with Vivid as brightest and enjoyed an image a bit cool with a touch too much green. Vivid does pump out almost 1400 lumens putting it right up there with the Epson Home Cinema 8500UB as a particularly bright – “brightest mode” projector. (I’d give the LG the advantage in color when comparing the Epson and LG in maximum “brightest” mode.) Our Expert 2, for the LG, is fairly comparable to a quick-cal of the the Epson’s Living Room (Cinema Day on the 9500UB) mode.

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