Projector Reviews

VAVA Laser TV Review- Projector Hardware 1

Vava Laser TV Review – Hardware:  Overview, Lens, Inputs and Connectors

Overview

The VAVA Laser TV is a good looking Ultra Short Throw Projector sitting inches below and back from the screen. On top of the projector is the slot for the optics/laser engine. Also on the top, at the of this projector. In this case, the front is the part facing the audience, (even if VAVA calls it the back). Well, at the top front is a small white glowing power button (with the power symbol). That light goes off when the projector is running, and it blinks during power on and off cycles.

The audio system, consisting of stereo Harmon Kardon speakers, are mounted behind the front cloth grill. VAVA states that their system is 30 watts per channel.

The back of the projector has the inputs and other connectors.

foot adjustment
The adjustment for one of the feet is just forward of the side exhaust. This image provides a good look at the attractive cloth material.

 

Down below the projector are 3 feet, for a solid, three-point stance. Considering that even the smallest displacement of the projector relative to the screen, can visibly distort the shape of the image, having all feet be adjustable would have been an improvement, but it’s a minor inconvenience. It’s no inconvenience at all if you are ceiling or mounting the VAVA Laser TV above your screen.

You can see the adjustment dial for one of the feet, just back from the audience facing front of the Laser TV.

Still, getting those last millimeter or two when it comes to moving the projector or making sure it is perfectly parallel to your screen (or wall), but – in a room with ambient light – you need a screen designed for the job, to get the best out of this VAVA projector.

The lens

I don’t really have a handle on how the optics of an ultra-short-throw projector work, but manufacturers have gotten very good at building them. Still, longer throw projectors seem to have fewer focus issues, or bowing of the image.

laser
Laser light engine on!

In this case, after careful alignment, I found the VAVA to be a bit softer in one corner as mentioned elsewhere. I played with the motorized focus using the remote, but never got it right, the other corners were definitely better. Also again, you’ll easily notice the slight off focus if you are feeding the projector data, such as a spreadsheet, or word doc. Watching a movie and sports content, I really wasn’t aware of the softness in the upper left.

The lens is fixed – no zoom, typical of UST projectors. BTW, it is tricky to measure how bright UST projectors are.

As discussed on our Special Features page of this review, the projector does have motion detection wherever the laser light can hit. Pass you hand, head, etc. so that it casts a shadow anywhere on your screen from the VAVA’s light output, the projector will dim the picture replacing it with a softly lit text message about it being dimmed for safety, and to press any key on the remote (but the power key) to bring back the full image. It works very quickly.

VAVA Inputs and Connectors

First off, I’m very happy to see 3 HDMI inputs. I think every laser TV should have 3, if not 4. For you projector regulars, because of the general nature of UST projectors, most folks may not have a separate sound system. That means no AV receiver, to plug all your sources into, and then feed a single HDMI cable to the projector.

inputs and connectors
The VAVA projector has there HDMIs, a USB, audio out, AV in, Digital Audio Out, and wired Networking

Think about it. There are lots of devices you can hook up 4K UHD Blu-ray players, Roku sticks, regular Blu-ray players, game consoles, satellite or cable box, specialty devices… Myself, at one point I had 7 HDMI devices going through my AV receiver, but that’s only partially because I’m a reviewer, I had an Apple TV, my PS4, the DirecTV box, and three different 4K UHD Blu-ray players at one time, although I rely on my current best- that being the Sony UBP1000ES.

So, it’s great to see those 3 HDMIs. They are all 2.0 HDMI, with HDCP 2.2 copy protection. Be sure to use high-quality HDMI cables, that is very important with 4K content. (18 Ghz.)

In addition, there’s a USB which is used in conjunction with the media player, put in a USB thumb drive with photos or videos. This VAVA claims to support all of these:

MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG4 ASP, and MJPEG codecs and can read DAT, MPEG, MPG, TS, M2V, DVD ISO, TS, TP, VOB, AVI, MP4, MOV, and 3GP containers, as well as various Jpg/jpeg and other still image formats. I would have liked a raw mode, so I could project my.CR2 Canon camera formatted hi-res images, without converting first, but I can’t think of any projector that could do that. Some day – please!

VAVA laser source
From the rear of the VAVA looking at the recessed area where the laser is.

Impressive, if they all work. I simply did not test but some basic ones: MP4, and MPEG

There’s a few more. Next up is stereo audio output, which can be used to feed powered speakers or headphones, etc. Further to the right is the AV input, which supports more “old school, composite video, with audio.

That brings up a Digital Audio Output – Optical, which is a high-performance way to output audio to an external sound system. Glad to see one here.

The last digital connector on the back, on the far right, is the RJ45 connector for the wired networking.

Finally, in the center of the back, is the power cord receptacle.

The VAVA projector also supports Bluetooth, but obviously no connectors needed for that.

Next Up: Hardware 2, with Control Panel, Remote Control, And Menus (Yes, we know Menus aren’t hardware).