Xiaomi lasers in on home theaters with a short-throw projector

LCD and plasma TVs keep getting bigger, and what used to be considered large panels keep dropping in price. Some folks want an even bigger screen, though. Xiaomi is offering up a 1080p short-throw laser projector for buyers looking to play video on an area as large as 150" diagonal in a shallow room. The resolution and specifications aren't as amazing as Dell's S718QL 4K projector, but the image is larger and the price tag is quite a bit smaller.

Xiaomi built the projector around a Texas Instruments DLP chip and an advanced laser phosphor display (ALPD 3.0) light source. The Ricoh-manufactured lens is specced to last for 25,000 hours—about three years if the projector's used 24/7, or 34 years if it's used for a more reasonable two hours per day.

The projector can cast a 50" image when it placed against 2" (5 cm) from the projection surface, and only needs to be 20" (50 cm) away to cast the full 150". The manufacturer touts a 3000:1 figure for contrast ratio and 5000 lumens of brightness, though it still recommends using the projector in a darkened room.

The back of the projector is studded with I/O connectivity, including three HDMI jacks, a USB 3.0 port, a 3.5 mm audio connector, a TOSLINK port, and a Gigabit Ethernet connector. The side of the device has an additional USB 2.0 port. A pair of infrared sensors flank the lens on the front of the device. The IR sensors detect foreign objects and dim the projector in order to prevent eye damage. Sound comes from four integrated speakers and a 30 W amplifier.

Xiaomi's laser projector is only available in the Chinese market for the time being. The device is priced at 9999¥, which is equivalent to about $1475. The company has given no indication of whether the projector will ever be sold in the US, but if it becomes popular in the home cinema market, it would only make sense for the company to bring it here.

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