Posted on January 2, 2019 By Art Feierman
Hisense 100″ Laser TV Review – Special Features: “Laser TV”, Ultra Short Throw – UST Projector, 100 inch TV screen – Light Rejecting
Hisense markets their line-up of ultra short throw projectors as Laser TVs. That is a great idea on their part, and it makes perfect sense. We projector folks tend to think of ourselves as owning something better (bigger) than regular TVs, but let’s face it, about the only real features difference between most dedicated home theater projectors and this Hisense Laser TV, are the addition of on board sound systems, a built in TV tuner (for those in major cities, etc.) and a lot of smarts (such as apps for Netflix etc.).
This is a TV designed not for a home theater, but for a living room, den, family room, media room – whatever you’ve got with some half way decent lighting control.
In the real world we are just starting to see a number of smart projectors for home. LG for one has mostly been making smart pocket projectors, but now has their serious 4K UHD laser projector (should we call it a Laser TV)? We’ll even compare the two later on. Optoma is staring to show some smart projectors, but not too smart – yet, but we expect they will add more smarts (still no apps like Netflix when we reviewed, but some control via Alexa, Google assistant etc).
Most home projectors with speaker systems have, first of all, pretty weak sound (that LG laser is rare exception). Not so this Laser TV, but more on that below.
Hisense includes a 100” fixed projector screen – one with both ALR – ambient light rejecting abilities, and UST design to work with UST projectors only, also to reduce ambient light issues. For the new $7999 list price, the Hisense is looking like a very impressive alternative to 4K UHD LCD and OLED TVs.
True you can buy and mount a 71” LCD or OLED TV for well less than this laser TV. Popular 75” OLED TVs start in the low $2000s but mostly around $3K. And you’ll want a very, very, serious sound bar system to compete with the really impressive sound of this Hisense laser TV. Want something close in size to the Hisense? LG’s best 77” sells for about $7K online (no soundbar, or mounting hardware).
But let’s get serious: “economy” 85” TVs start at $4500 street price (a Sony, but it’s not OLED, and if you want to be serious, you want to stick to OLED). There just isn’t anything out there say 90” diagonal or larger that’s OLED, except, stuff we see at trade shows, usually with a six figure price tag attached to them.
Bottom line, you want a seriously large TV, this Hisense 100” Laser TV, is a bargain. Remember, its picture will be roughly 67% larger than a 77” TV. That’s about as much larger as a 71” TV is to a 55” TV. In other words, a couple of sizes larger, and folks that’s what real Home theater/TV is about – a big picture that immerses you in the content. (Same reason we visit movie theaters – we sure don’t go there for the expensive popcorn or the idiot next to you using their phone or talking loudly to their friends.)
Ultra Short Throw is a fast growing segment when it comes to projectors (they already have wide acceptance for classroom usage), and are definitely coming to the home market. They tend to be a bit more expensive than traditional projectors, but have a number of advantages.
Perhaps the biggest, or most obvious advantage is that an ultra short throw TV/projector sits directly below and only inches away from the screen. No ceiling mounting 10 feet or more away.
In fact, no mounting of the projector part at all. (True, you could hang a UST projector; it’s just not likely in a home environment. The only thing to hang on the wall is the fixed 100” screen (that comes with this Hisense).
Hisense has also announced a laser TV with a smaller screen and one with a larger one (120” diagonal for the large one – now we’re getting really serious!)
What also makes the Hisense Laser TV practical in a living room, etc., is that it is paired with a light rejecting screen designed specifically for ultra short throw projectors. While they aren’t quite as good at rejecting ambient light as ALR screens for regular projectors, the placement advantages of the projector part itself, more than offset that disadvantage.
Photo of Hisense 100L8D in action in Hisense booth at CES show
Hisense does well in tough lighting situations. Small room, lots of light coming in from window. Camera angle .shot at this angle shows more ambient on screen than if viewed straight back
Hisense Laser TV handles night city scape scene rather well considering the amount of ambient light.
Same night cityscape photo looks much better with just a modest amount of ambient light coming in from the window - with its shade 80+% closed.
Sports - Hisense handles low ambient light from large window mostly closed
You can even buy a small credenza designed to “house” this projector, but the Hisense Laser TV can be placed on any table as long as you mount he screen the right height above it. (More on that later, but roughly, the bottom of the screen surface will be about six inches above the top of the projector, and the front of the projector only about inches back from the screen itself). No walking through the picture as happens all the time with regular projectors on a table, and happens only when close to the screen with a ceiling mounted projector. Gamers really like UST projectors too, for that and other reasons.
The bottom line on a UST laser TV or projector at home: Fits easily into most rooms (with a decent sized wall). It lets you enjoy a seriously large size image that you still can’t begin to afford with LCD TVs or OLED TVs. It copes with ambient light well – not as well as a smaller LCD TV but far, far better than the traditional home theater projector. It belongs outside a theater and is designed for more “common” shared, rooms.
I own a screen that is essentially identical to the one Hisense provides. Mine is from Screen Innovations – their Zero Edge Short throw screen (ALR, UST.) As a result, there was no need for Hisense to send me a screen, which simplified things a lot.
I did not see Hisense’s screen’s packaging, but it’s sure to be impressive. Mine came in a crate.
Pair the screen with the Hisense Laser TV, and you can enjoy a great picture even with moderate amount of ambient light. And as an added bonus, this Hisense Laser TV has a very wide viewing angle – colors are consistent whether you sit straight back or way off to the side, something LCD TVs are especially “not good” at.
Disadvantage? There is one, and it’s the same thing, I always pick on LCD and OLED TVs about. When you aren’t watching your 65” LCD TV, it is a big black “hole” in your wall. Not very pretty. No wonder some folks want a big TV in a dedicated theater or media room. Well, if you go with the 100” Hisense Laser TV you’ll have a 100” diagonal “hole in the wall” when it’s turned off.
On the plus side, though, the screen appears as a medium grey, and that’s a whole lot better than black unless you have very dark walls (unlikely in a living room…)
And there’s good news on the horizon. SI (who I just mentioned,) is now the first company to make and ship a 100” motorized UST ALR screen – which would also be a perfect match for the Hisense. I imagine that we will soon see Hisense offering a motorized version (for more money, of course), but that definitely replaces “the big black hole in the wall” with typically a ceiling or wall mounted screen in a case that can be matched to your wall paint and therefore be, by comparison to a fixed screen – almost invisible!”
While I think that the motorized solution will be preferred by many, when available, I’ll still take the 100” grey hole in my wall, over a 65” hole and a mini-sized picture to view by comparison.
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