Is the LG HU80KA the smartest projector yet? Smart like an LG. That’s right, it’s got all the same bells and whistles as the smarter LG TVs, which is to say, it’s loaded with smarts. Those of you with LG LCD or OLED TVs will immediately recognize the interface. If you have smart Samsungs, Sonys, etc., it will seem similar. LG is about as advanced, though, as TVs get, best I can tell. You’ll see all the same menu items, even if a couple are grayed out, because they are not needed, or perhaps not relevant to projectors.
The LG supports Apps. I’ve run my Netflix account on it, instead of using my Sony 4K UHD player for Netflix. I’ve watched The Blacklist on it, streaming in 4K. Sharp, dynamic, but color is a little off, even post-calibration.
I haven’t bothered to also set up my other apps like Amazon Prime. No worries. I’m familiar enough with smart TVs – my wife’s “media room” has a pretty smart Sony TV, only two years old. But this is the first really smart projector to enter our theater.
I’ve heard projector manufacturers argue that there’s no need to put apps and smarts into projectors, because there are always other devices, such as Blu-ray players, computers, and game consoles, that can do the job. Still, the one thing in common in everyone’s home entertainment system, is a display. We don’t all have game consoles, or Blu-ray UHD player, or even AV receivers. And if we have an AV receiver, if it’s not pretty recent, it, too, probably is pretty stupid. Why bring projectors down to that level?
Let’s not confuse the smarts of this HU80KA projector with those of the Optoma HD51A, which won an award in its class for also being smart. So far, the Optoma’s smarts are limited to a few commands via Alexa or Google Assistant. It will be up to Optoma to build that out, to support more apps, etc. For the moment, while turning the projector off or on by voice, changing sources or advancing slides in a photo slide show, are the Optoma’s limits. No match for this LG.
OK, it’s the smartest game in town capable of 100” images and larger! How good is it otherwise? Well, for openers, it’s strictly Home Entertainment. It can’t compete with most other $2,500 - $5,000 home projectors for color accuracy due to some limits in the controls (see the review and Eric’s comments on the calibration pages).
And, unfortunately, its black level performance is strictly entry level. I do believe most of the other 4K UHD projectors, including some lamp based ones around $1,300 - $1,500, do at least as dark blacks as this LG.