Projector Reviews

LG CineBeam HU915QB 4K Laser Projector Review – Performance

COLOR REPRODUCTION

The HU915QB has a total of 9 preset picture modes for SDR and 7 presets for HDR. The CINEMA, FILMMAKER MODE, and both EXPERT Modes looked good out of the box. EXPERT (BRIGHT SPACE, DAYTIME) and FILMMAKER modes were the most accurate factory SDR picture modes and were nearest to my color temperature target of 6,500K.

The most accurate HDR Picture modes were the CINEMA and CINEMA HOME modes. Overall, the picture quality of the HU915QB preset picture modes will satisfy most users.

The SDR color reproduction of the HU915QB was good out-of-the-box, but I calibrated the EXPERT (DARK SPACE NIGHT) Mode for SDR. Since your room and screen material can have a major impact on the overall picture, I don’t recommend using someone else’s calibration adjustments. If your room is brighter/darker or your walls are a different color, copying someone else’s results can cause more harm than good. However below are the before and after results in my room.

To test the projector’s color accuracy, I used Portrait Displays Calman color calibration software.

Pre-SDR Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

LG CineBeam HU915QB color calibration graph

We calibrated the EXPERT (DARK SPACE NIGHT) mode for SDR viewing in a room with low ambient light.

Switching between the two IRIS MODES had a noticeable impact on color temperature. When set to BrightRoom, the color temperature was 7786K while in Darkroom it was 11880K. The black levels of the HU915QB were better than most Laser TVs so we choose the BrightRoom option since it was more accurate.

Before calibration, there was too much blue and too little green which was probably due to the HU915QB’s 3-channel (RBB) laser light source.

The Gamma measurement pre-calibration was very close to my target of 2.2.

  • Picture Mode: EXPERT (DARK SPACE NIGHT)
  • Color Temperature: 7786K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 7.68
  • Average Grayscale dE: 12.87
  • Gamma: 2.02

Post-SDR Calibration Color Tracking and Grayscale

LG CineBeam HU915QB color calibration graph

We used the projector’s 2 Point White Balance Adjustment to reduce the BLUE GAIN while increasing the GREEN GAIN. The end result was outstanding grayscale measurements.

After I adjusted BRIGHTEST and CONTRAST, the gamma measured close to my target of 2.2 so I left the unit’s GAMMA setting at its default of BT.1886.

After we adjusted the white balance, the projector color tracking was very good. The HU915ES also has CMS adjustment but this COLOR UPGRADE feature was finicky so we choose not to utilize it.

  • Picture Mode: EXPERT (DARK SPACE NIGHT)
  • Color Temperature: 6546K
  • Average Color Tracking dE: 1.91
  • Average Grayscale dE: 0.84
  • Gamma: 2.19

We achieved a very good grayscale and color reproduction by just adjusting the projector’s white balance. Both the color tracking and grayscale had an average Delta E measurement were below 2. Delta E, as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy, of 3 and under is considered ‘Excellent’ and imperceptible by the human eye.

LG CineBeam HU915QB color calibration graph
Calman AutoCal Post Calibration Measurements

I also took the time to test out the projector’s Calman Auto Calibration feature. I set up my Klein K10 meter again, plugged in my Murideo Seven G test pattern generator, and fired up my Calman software. Once the software identified the meter, pattern generator, and projector, I answered a few questions and pressed a button.

Before calibration, the EXPERT (DARKROOM_NIGHT) mode was pretty accurate, but there was too much blue energy. The Calman Auto Calibration process took less than 10 minutes to produce excellent results with a delta error average below 1. It took me about two hours to achieve the same results manually.

To utilize the Calman AutoCal feature requires some costly equipment and software, so this feature focuses on professionals because it speeds up the calibration process. However, it reinforces that HU915QB has one of the most advanced video processors available in a modern projector.

HDR GrayScale Before and After Adjustment

The HDR picture modes like the SDR modes were overly cool. We used the projector’s 2 Point White Balance Adjustment to reduce the BLUE GAIN while increasing the RED GAIN.

LG CineBeam HU915QB grayscale calibration graph
HDR White Balance measurements before and after 2 POINT WHITE BALANCE adjustment

The Calman AutoCal also gives you the option to do an HDR calibration as well. The Calman measurements looked great but automatic adjustments resulted in a very dark picture because the feature precisely tracked the HDR EOTF.

This works great on a very bright flat panel TV but projectors like the HU915QB are not bright enough. I would recommend just manually adjusting Color Temperature, RGB balance, Contrast and Brightness.

BRIGHTNESS

The LG HU915QB Laser TV has a rated brightness of 3.000 ANSI lumens. I set the projector to BRIGHTEST Mode, which is the brightest picture mode available, and then I set the ENERGY SAVINGS to Minimum (brightest lamp setting). I then took 3-4 readings about 15-20% out from the center of the screen.

LG HU915QB Brightness (BRIGHTEST Mode, Minimum Energy Saving): 3025 ANSI lumens

The HU915QB beat its brightness claim. The projector’s more accurate picture modes did reduce the projector light output but there was still more than enough brightness for viewing both SDR and HDR content on a 100″ screen in a room with some ambient light.

Brightness by SDR Picture Mode

Picture ModesBrightness Color Temp
Vivid288812457K
Standard283315464K
Cinema23388821K
Sports291512956K
Game Optimizer292012570K
Filmmaker 22287300K
Brightest 302515118K
Expert (Bright Space)22486930K
Expert (Dark Space)20637786K

CONTRAST

While an LCOS-based home theater projector can deliver deep blacks, the HU915QB delivers better blacks than most DLP and many 3LCD projectors. I suspect this is because of the unit’s larger DLP (0.66” DMD) chip and its precise laser dimming.     

While the HU915QB is not capable of matching the deep black levels of an LCOS-equipped Home Theater projector, its blacks were superior to most DLP projectors and Laser TVs that I have encountered. Good native contrast combined with dynamic laser dimming and adjustable iris make the HU915QB a great Laser TV for dark room viewing.

Depending on my room’s lighting condition, I paired the HU915QB with either my Screen Innovations Solo Pro 2 UST ambient light rejecting screen or my Elite Screens motorized CineWhite 100-inch Matte White screen.

The SI ALR screen material has a gain of 0.6 and it dramatically improved the black level when watching content in a room with ambient light. However, keep in mind that the increased black levels come at the expense of some screen brightness. When I was viewing content at night on in a dark room, I used my 1.1 gain matte white Elite screen. This combination produced better than average black level and shadow detail.

PICTURE QUALITY

Most TV shows and live broadcasts will continue to be produced in HD for several more years, so good 4K upscaling will continue to be important. LG has years of experience with upscaling, so the HU915QB did an excellent job upscaling content.

Whether I was watching 720P sports from ESPN or 1080p Blu-ray content, it all looked very good. Most 4K movies do not have enough fine detail to make the difference between watching 4K SDR and upscaled HD noticeable. In addition, quality optics combined with adjustable focus resulted in sharp detail across the entire screen.

Since the video processor used in the HU915QB is based on the system utilized in LG’s flat-panel TVs, the projector can dynamically tone map HDR10 content. This feature did a good job delivering good onscreen brightness while maintaining highlight detail. I would rate the HU915QB HDR picture quality as very good and on par with better Laser TV models.

However, tone mapping (whether dynamic or not) requires the projector to compromise something (highlights, brightness, contrast, color, or black level). So, you do sacrifice some brightness when HDR Tone Mapping is engaged. Since the HU915QB was a brighter projector, overall, I still preferred viewing HDR with the setting switched on.

In addition to HDR10, the LG HU715Q also supports Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), the HDR standard developed for live broadcast.

SOUND QUALITY

While on most Flat Panel TVs sound quality is an afterthought, LG worked hard to provide good sound performance. The front of the HU915QB cabinet holds a 2.2-channel speaker array powered by a total of 40 watts which has no problem delivering room-filling sound.

The HU915QB does a good job simulating a surround-sound experience using the unit’s integrated speakers, and Volume processing prevents unwanted loudness changes.

While we do not measure audible noise, LG says the level varied based on light output. LG stated noise can be as low as 26dB in ECO mode and as high as 30dB in HIGH BRIGHTNESS. Even with the projector set to its highest Light level, I could barely hear the unit’s fan from my sitting position during quiet scenes.

The LG HU915QB Laser TV has one of the best-sounding video displays I have ever heard. Yes, you can buy a better 3rd party sound system, but many customers used to the sound provided by most flat-panel TVs would be more than satisfied with the HU915QB audio performance.