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LG HU85LA CineBeam ThinQ 4K UHD, Projector - Hardware 2

Posted on August 12, 2019 by Art Feierman

LG HU85LA CineBeam Review– Hardware 2: Magic Smart Remote Control, Projector Menus, Smart Menus

Magic Remote Control

I really like the LG Magic Remote Control. The HU85LA’s remote is slightly different than the version that came with their HU80KA projector, that we previously reviewed.

LG’s been calling some of their remotes Magic Remotes for years. The LG remote is a gyro-type device.  The internal gyro creates a faster, more precise remote control system than traditional remotes that rely on arrow keys or a joystick for navigation.

As I like to mention, long ago when I owned a projector dealership, I was a huge fan of the Gyro Mouse – easily the best remote mousing system around in its day, especially for presentations.  I have concluded that, at some point LG bought or licensed that technology, as it behaves the same. It responds to inertia, flick your wrist a little and you can shoot the cursor across the screen. Do it slower, and it may barely move. Great for quickly jumping from one side of the screen to the other with precision – and fast. Defintely well faster than arrow keys – or even a mouse!

The remote itself, is about six inches long, slightly tapered, but it’s much deeper at the bottom where all the weight is.  The gyro aspects kick in when you flick your wrist to the (left or right. That will first put the remote’s cursor up on the screen (default is a teardrop shape).  With other quick motions you can cross from one side of the screen to the other, or almost anywhere in the middle.  I always found the Gyro Mouse to be exceptionally good, and the LG Magic Remote behaves the same way. Most folks are really impressed once they have played with this type of remote, for navigating, although it does take a little getting used to.

Moving beyond pointing aspects of the Magic Remote, like most remotes, the LG’s has lots of buttons so let’s see what all those options are:

Let’s start, as usual, from the top.

The Magic remote control

The power button is on the left. Press once to turn on, and when on, press once to turn off (hold slightly).  (LG doesn’t use the usual press twice to power down, as, like many laser projectors, it can be fired back up in a couple of seconds so there’s little harm if someone accidentally powers down. With a lamp-based projector, you are lucky if you can get your image back in under 2-3 minutes, not 2-3 seconds.

Across from Power is a button for powering on or off a Set-Top Box (STB) Power button. On some previous LG remotes, including the HU80KA (which is a black Magic Remote), LG labeled that button STB.

On this LG, though, it just shows a “box” with a power icon on it.    If you have fully configured the projector, one of the features is to have this Magic remote control your set-top box, or blu-ray player, etc, including powering it on, and off. Typically, you’ll still want that set-top box remote or player remote available, for accessing setup and making more complicated settings changes than most smart remotes allow for.)  They are great for power and channel and other changes, but typically there might be preferences and other settings, that you just can’t get to.

My Experience Setting Up a Player: Success depends on the device, and apparently, the user! For example, per the menus, the LG supports Sony Blu-ray players. I wanted to configure it to control all the usual, play, fast forward, pause, bookmark eject, etc., just about everything.

I tried to configure my Sony UBP-X1000ES (their top of the line 4K UHD Blu-ray player. The first attempt, I could control the basics, like power, but cannot get into its menus. (I put in a call to LG.) As I am in temporary offices – where I have this set up, I don’t have a set-top box handy to see how much more control I could get out of it. Expect, obviously, great control from the Magic remote control, if you buy LG Blu-ray players, etc.

Update.When setting up the Sony player, the setup on the LG did not respond when the setup had me click a MENU button. I presumed therefore, that I would not have full function ability.

Turns out, I was mostly wrong. Despite that “glitch” the Magic Remote is controlling much of my player. Putting in a disc, when the player got to the point where you start the movie, select a scene, etc. I was able to get the Magic remote to start the movie, select scenes, etc. Once I started the movie with the player’s remote, fast forward, play, advance chapter, back chapter, etc. all work fine from the Magic’s control on the right side of the screen. But I still can’t figure out how to “eject the disc.” So, from my experience, once the disc is in the player, no problem.

LG menus and apps
The smart LG HU85LA with its Home menus up, with multiple pre-loaded apps.

If the devices are supported properly, you should be able to shove your set top box or player remote into a drawer, and forget about it until something weird happens. (well, once I figure out “Eject.”

Back to the remote control.

Found below those two power buttons, is the numeric keypad part of the LG remote control.  The lower left most key in the keypad, it says –List, and brings up a list of channels. (see photo).

One of the features you can activate is for LG's AI to make viewing recommendations
One of the features you can activate is for LG's AI to make viewing recommendations

On the other side of the 0, is an icon with an image of a Remote, for that brings up a a digital text menu system along the right side (can be moved to the top), to control the device you have selected, with options like Home, Display, Disc Menu (it knows it’s looking at a player) and, further down the right side, in the case of using the Sony player: The usual player navigation: Fwd, Back, Play, Stop, Chapter forward and Chapter back. They work fine. Taking a little getting used to is you use the Play button on the right, not the usual player’s graphics options at the bottom of the screen – Play, Scenes, etc.

Directly below the 0, is Audio Mute, and to its left are Volume Up and Down buttons; a + and a -. To the right are the Channel Up and Down controls.  Right below that is the STB menu, if you have configured the projector to work with your set top box. A Home button sits opposite it.  And that brings up the “smart” menu, with apps, inputs, etc. as per this photo.

That takes us to main navigation:  The four arrow keys are in a round formation with a thumbwheel in the center – you can scroll with the wheel, or you can press the wheel which will act as an Enter button. No surprises there.  Below to the left is the Back button for the menu structure.  Opposite it on the right is the Caption button.

Next is a change from the older LG projector’s remote. Instead of a Picture button, there’s a Microphone button, for voice control (LG ThinQ and Google Assistant).

Right below to the left is the Home button, and on the right side is the settings button which brings up the graphic menu w on the left. Of the screen Back is the Picture button which brings up the main projector menu on the right of the screen with small icons.  If you want more than the basic controls for any of those settings (Picture, Sound, Aspect Ratio, projector position, and the lowest button takes you to the expanded menu.

For example, you can select from all the picture modes from the simple pull down on the left, but to adjust color, brightness, contrast and a half dozen more things, you need the expanded menu.  Same is true for other short options on the left, such as the Sound control. The short menu provides about 8 options, relating to controlling the internal speakers, using Bluetooth or DAC (digital audio out) to control external speakers. But in the expanded menu, for example you can select Auto Volume, which automatically adjusts volume as you channels, so you don’t actually end up with a big, unexpected jump in volume.  There’s also AV Sync, should either sound and the picture be slightly delayed compared to the other…

Back to the buttons: Next on the left, is the Back button, which takes you back up a menu…

On the right, is a button labeled Guide. That brings up a generic TV guide – you can provide geographic info to improve it, but it won’t be as accurate, say as your cable box’es guide…

Right in the middle there (but slightly lower om the remote, is a button for selecting the input (TV, HDMI 1, 2, USB, etc. You will find shortcuts to Netflix (left) and Amazon Prime) (right) on either side of the source button.

Almost done.  Next row – four small colored buttons – red, green, yellow, blue – most of you have those same four buttons on whatever Blu-ray or Blu-ray UHD player you own.  They may be used for different purposes, depending on what device you are also controlling.  For example, they could be used for adding, deleting bookmarks, advancing or going back 12 hours in the Guide (that’s a guess, I haven’t tried that, but that’s what the 4 colored buttons do on my DirecTV remote, and on my various 4K and Blu-ray players.

That’s it but for a Play, and Pause button, at the bottom of the remote, and on the right is a button marked Ratio which is a short cut to the Aspect Ratio short menu on the right (choices such as 16:9, 4:3, zoom and stretch).

And let’s not forget the main HU85LA menu, which I only mentioned in passing above. That is the bottom left. It looks like a 2x2 grid. Click on that and the more detailed menu system comes up. In the graphic menu, for example, you can choose a picture mode. But you need that main menu, to adjust a picture mode, such as brightness, color calibration, and turning on features like creative frame interpolation.

The LG remote is responsible for far more than most projectors’ remotes because it is part of a very smart system. At best some typical projectors have HDMI-link to do basic controls of players, etc., but this system goes way beyond that.

Bottom line: I really enjoy using this LG Magic remote control, but I still can’t put away all my other remotes, even if this remote handles much of those others’ most common functions.

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