Thursday, May 23, 2024

4K laser projector first to feature Google TV and official Netflix

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China’s Dangbei was one of the first smart projector makers to run Google TV, with the launch of the book-sized Atom in August 2023. Now the company is repeating the formula for the first Google TV 4K laser projector licensed for Netflix.

Netflix can be somewhat picky about which devices it green lights to use its app, forcing many consumers to seek unofficial workarounds. But Dangbei managed to jump though all of Netflix’s approval hoops to bring native support to its Neo, Emotn N1 and Mars models. That continues with the company’s new flagship, the Mars Pro 2.

As with the Atom Full HD laser projector we reviewed back in February, the Mars Pro 2 runs Google TV, a similar but much improved operating platform to the Android TV found on many smart projectors. This essentially brings entertainment favorites into an easy-to-use interface, with intuitive parameter tweaking and smooth access to the Play Store for grabbing more apps. Also like the Atom, the included Bluetooth remote sports a shortcut button for Netflix, and is also where Google Assistant is ready to receive voice commands.

InstanPro AI Image Setup technology uses a dToF sensor, CMOS camera and AI algorithms for image optimization, including fit-to-screen and AI brightness control


At its heart, the projector features DLP display technology with a 0.47-inch DMD chip, plus an ALDP laser light source for 2,450 ISO lumens of brightness, with onboard algorithms adjusting output to suit ambient conditions and Dangbei promising “consistently vibrant visuals, day or night.”

Users can look forward to 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) images, and though the display size goes all the way up to 200 diagonal inches, Dangbei recommends a maximum of 120 inches for optimum viewing, with support for HDR10+ and HLG content also cooked in. The throw ratio here is 1.27:1, which means that the unit will need to be 16.6 ft (5.06 m) away from the wall or screen to produce a 180-inch image.

Chromecast is supported as well, and users can cable a console or media player to the unit via one HDMI 2.1 port and/or another with audio return. Also around back are two USB 2.0 connections, Ethernet LAN and analog/digital audio outputs. Along with Bluetooth 5.2, wireless connectivity is served up via Wi-Fi 6.

The Mars Pro 2 is reported to be Dangbei's brightest smart projector offering so far, and benefits from a dedicated game mode for low latency play
The Mars Pro 2 is reported to be Dangbei’s brightest smart projector offering so far, and benefits from a dedicated game mode for low latency play


The Mars Pro 2 debuts something called InstanPro AI Image Setup – an image optimization suite that makes use of a dToF sensor, CMOS camera and AI algorithms to dial in autofocus, auto keystone correction for positioning ease, automatic image resizing to fit a detected screen, as well as to keep obstacles from spoiling the view, and dim the light source when a person steps in front of the projector to protect their eyes.

There’s motion compensation for crisper action scenes, along with a refresh rate of 60 Hz for 4K and 240 Hz at 1080p plus a dedicated gaming mode that tightens the belt in terms of input lag. The “all-in-one entertainment hub” comes with a built-in sound system rocking a pair of 12-W speakers with support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-X for “a next-level cinematic soundscape.”

Measuring 9.29 x 7.93 x 6.43 in (236 x 201.5 x 163.2 mm) and tipping the scales at 8.8 lb (4 kg), the Mars Pro 2 goes on sale from May 28 for a suggested retail price of US$1,899 – though Dangbei is running a launch promotion that shaves $400 off that while giving customers the chance to claim a free gimbal-style stand that’s normally priced at $139.

Product page: Dangbei Mars Pro 2

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