Projector Reviews

LG BU50NST 4K LASER BUSINESS PROJECTOR REVIEW- HARDWARE

LG BU50NST 4K Laser Business Projector Review – Hardware: Control Panel, Remote Control, Inputs and Connectors, Lens, Menus

OVERVIEW

The BU50NST has a smart, compact design. The attractive, mostly white cabinet will fit in spaces many others would not. When facing the unit on a tabletop, the projector’s lens is located on the right side of the front panel. Adjacent to the lens on the right side of the cabinet is the power cord connection and lens shift adjustments. Cooling air intakes are also located on this side and also on the front of the unit.

The back panel is dominated by the cooling exhaust as well as the combined power button/joystick for the operation of all functions and the connection panel which provides all wired connectivity for Video In, Audio Out, USB, Network, and Control.

Dimensions are about: 14.6 “ wide x 6.1” high x 11.4” deep (cabinet only) with the lens protruding an extra 1.4” (12.8” total depth plus connectors) The installation weight is only about 21.4 pounds which allows for the use of small brackets for installation.

INPUTS AND CONNECTIONS


The rear of the projector includes a cooling exhaust, a second IR receiver complementing the one next to the lens, and all of the connections other than power. You may find the connection panel rather sparse compared to older projector design that included analog video inputs. The ProBeam doesn’t waste any space on those older connection types, your choice is limited to one of two HDMI inputs or an HDBaseT input for the same signals. VGA, Composite video, Component video, RGB or S-Video are generally unnecessary connections in today’s environments with nearly every device today offering some form of Digital Video output. Regardless of the version found on your source – DVI, HDMI, or Display Port, you can use the HDMI inputs appropriately

However, video is not the only way to input an image on the BU50NST since it provides two USB connections with functionality to control content. There is an HID interface for mouse/keyboard operation which I highly recommend to easily utilize the WebOS interface and content. Insert a USB drive into one of the ports and you can use the WebOS to navigate the folders and play picture or video content as well as a variety of standard file formats. This is an extremely convenient method to play files when there is no network available for web access. An interesting use case application would be an automated slide show application at a museum – no other equipment would be needed.

Lastly, in addition to the RJ45 for HDBaseT, there is a dedicated Ethernet port as a robust alternative to integrated Wi-Fi as well as a headphone connection for variable analog audio output. Having the audio decoded at the projector often allows for a simplified system design with the projector acting as volume control and audio extractor and can greatly simplify cabling runs in some designs.

Input Amount
HDMI 2.0 2
USB with HID 2
RJ45 - LAN port for Network 1
RJ45 - for HDBaseT 1
D-sub 9pin - RS232 serial 1
3.5mm Headphone jack 1

REMOTE CONTROL

The remote control for the ProBeam BU50NST is white with all rectangular-shaped buttons. Although it may be easy to find a white remote control in a darkened room, it’s still tough to use if you can’t clearly read the button labels. The design has a generic button layout with a few notable inclusions, particularly the direct access to picture modes and energy saving (laser power) settings. These buttons make quick adjustments for source material and lighting conditions a snap for end users. With the press of a single button, a user can go from making a presentation in a fully bright room to watching sports or TV after dark.

During my review, I found it easiest to control the projector via wireless keyboard and mouse. All functions can be accessed using a mouse cursor and navigating web sites or media playback is much more convenient, particularly when entering any required text for account information or typing URLs.

LENS


The ProBeam BU50NST has a manual lens with focus and zoom on outer rings. With a zoom range of 1.6x it allows for placement at throw ratios of between ~ 1.3 -2.1:1. This can quickly be calculated using the width of the screen as follows:

Throw Ratio = Throw Distance /Image Width

For example on a 100” wide image the throw distance would be between 130” and 210”. Since screen sizes are often listed as diagonal and algebra is not most folk’s favorite thing, we have provided this chart for your reference.

Throw Distance for a 16:9 Screen

Screen Size (Diagonal) Min Screen Distance (in) Max Screen Distance (in)
80” 90.1 (2290 mm) 145.6 (3700 mm)
100” 113.3 (2880 mm) 182.2 (4630 mm)
120” 136.2 (3460 mm) 218.5 (5550 mm)
140” 159 (4040 mm) 255.5 (6490 mm)
160" 181.8 (4620 mm) 292.1 (7490 mm)

Unusual in this category is a provision for both horizontal and vertical shift. This allows placement of the projector at the top or bottom edge of the screen or up to 20% of the width off center. Of course, like all projectors with H&V shift, moving the image in one direction will limit the amount of shift available in the opposite direction. Maximum shift in one direction comes when the other is centered, for example, to place the projector at the top of the image it would be ideal to center the unit on the width of the screen.

Lens Shift (Hortizontal +/- 20%, Vertical +/- 50%)

The horizontal and vertical lens position adjustments are made using two concentric dials on the right side of the cabinet. As you turn the wheel it moves the image accordingly until you reach the limits of adjustment. Turning the dial further will result in a noise that indicates the dial is slipping and should not be turned further. This generally helps avoid the damage which could occur from turning a lens adjustment too far.

While this ability to move the image location via optical lens shift provides the best image quality compared to digital geometry adjustments, the BU50NST includes a 12-point warping feature which goes beyond the abilities of horizontal and vertical keystone or 4 corner adjustments.

MENUS

The LG ProBeam BU50NST has two different on-screen GUIs. One screen allows for set up and adjustments, and the other screen manages content and online access via WebOS. The photo below shows the icons for the Settings menu on the left as well as some of the available options.

Operation of the WebOS features are simple and straight forward without all of the apps available on a typical LG TV.

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