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.

Comments closed
    • chµck
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<] if it's used for a more reasonable two hours per day.[/quote<] surely you jest

    • pranav0091
    • 2 years ago

    Big fan of Xiaomi. Unlike many clueless Chinese/Indian/European/American/wherever brands they design some fantastic hardware at ridiculously low prices. Their attention to detail – something solely missing at the low end of the market where they typically operate – is great. I have no idea how they make money – but I’m glad they exist. 4 phones, 5 battery packs and 1 IEM later I can trust their quality. I know I’m probably coming off a shill/deluded fanboy but whatever.

    If only they’d sell these things outside their mainland. Waited a long while for their TV and now it looks like this one too is not going to be ever on sale in India. What a bummer.

    [quote<] The Ricoh-manufactured lens is specced to last for 25,000 hours[/quote<] @Wayne, its probably the bulb thats rated at 25k hours, and not the lens. 🙂

      • UberGerbil
      • 2 years ago

      It’s a laser, so not really a “bulb” either. Probably the entire assembly (laser, micromirrors, lens) is a sealed unit and the whole thing has to be replaced as such.

      Xiaomi phones seem to get a lot of buzz, possibly because the US tech press sees them at events but most never gets to use them (not officially sold here) and the wanting is always better than the having. There was a bit of a kerfuffle with them installing adware/phone-home stuff a year or two ago, though I didn’t follow it closely enough to know if it turned out to be anything serious.

      They do seem to offer a lot of features for the price, though I don’t know if they’re actually paying for all the IP they use (which also may be why they don’t sell anything in the US/Europe)

        • morphine
        • 2 years ago

        Uber, I have one on my desk to hand to a friend. [url=https://www.aquario.pt/product/smartphone-xiaomi-redmi-4x-50-32gb-dual-sim-pret<]This one exactly[/url<]. Snap 435, good screen if not super-high-res, metal body, great build quality, 3GB, 32GB, microSD (or second SIM card) slot. 170€ (or $190)—un-frickin'-believable. I did hit a Wi-Fi snag, but other than that it was smooth sailing. There's some Android skinning but it's oddly unobtrusive and with little to no bloatware. I'm going as far to say that there's a well-deserved void in the midrange phone pricing, other than perhaps the OnePlus 5. High-end phones are horrendously expensive, while a 200€ handset is about 70-80% as good when it comes to day-to-day usage.

          • pranav0091
          • 2 years ago

          I have a Redmi Note 3 – thats dual A73s+ quad A53s thats better most 35k INR (~$540) phones in terms of responsiveness and usability. I paid a whole of 12k INR (~$185) for it IIRC. Battery lasts me over 2 days regularly. Fairly regular security updates to boot. What a phone.

        • pranav0091
        • 2 years ago

        Ah, somehow missed reading that its a laser. Black levels must be great.

          • dyrdak
          • 2 years ago

          Why would you think that laser had anything to do with black levels? It’s not the laser beam that scanned/drew the picture on the wall. Blue laser is used because its very high output and efficiency of conversion into uniformly white spectrum light (exciting phosphorus of the “bulb”). I’m not aware of any options of zones either (analog to LED array backlit LCD panels). Dynamically modulating the laser output may be the only option to tweak the contrast (at this point). Laser is more of marketing term to sell the product, similarly to LED TVs. At it’s core it’s just an LCD with more power efficient lights source (for more compact device). Not a bad thing but not revolutionary either.
          I’m curious of optical distortions (including color aberrations) off the main axis (likely the more difficult and pricey aspect for short throw projector).

            • pranav0091
            • 2 years ago

            Good to know. I thought this was similar to something Dolby had showcased some time ago about using some laser thingy to project. I remember reading quite a few comments that the black levels were much better than what is usual for projectors. I imagined that this was some similar tech – though honestly I didnt know what that tech did, nor did I know what this particular one did until you pointed it out. I should just look them up both. Thanks. 🙂

      • strangerguy
      • 2 years ago

      I just got new Redmi 4X 2GB/16GB: iPhone-like metal unibody, SD435, massive 4100mAH for little over the price of a new CoD game: US$80. No 5GHz WiFi, but nobody should be complaining about that for $80.

      Their powerbanks are among the very best performing in actual testing too, even before their dirt cheap pricing here in Asia markets.

      Tinfoilers would worry about Chinese backdoors but I don’t see how they are worse than Google/NSA who has been allegedly doing the same thing for years.

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