If not for the fact that Leica initially teased it four months ago, this one might seem a bit out of left field. But Leica has today officially announced the release of the Leica Cine 1 4K triple laser projector. It’s Leica’s first-ever “Laser TV”, and in principle, it’s similar to the Wemax Nova 4K we reviewed on DIYP a few months ago, but with a couple of notable exceptions.
Like the Wemax, it’s an ALDP ultra-short throw laser projector, except the Leica Cine 1 features a triple laser array instead of a single laser. In theory, this provides increased energy efficiency and brightness as well as a wider colour gamut. It also utilises Leica’s own Leica Image Optimization (LIO) technology which the company says offers natural colour reproduction with detailed colour gradations and enhanced contrast.
The Leica Cine 1 uses Google’s Smart TV platform, offering access to a wide array of apps and access to the usual online services like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. And because it’s a 4K projector, you can stream 4K content and project it onto a surface for a screen size of up to 120″. As well as online content, you get the usual array of sockets for projecting HDMI video sources, as well as USB for playing movies and photos directly from a hard drive or SSD.
When it comes to the downsides of laser projectors, there’s only really one. You can’t swap out the “bulb” if it dies like you can with traditional projectors. But, the Leica Cine 1 boasts over 25,000 hours of use. If you were playing your projector 24 hours a day, every single day, that results in a little under three years of solid use. Given that most people are only going to be using this for a handful of hours each day, in real-world terms, you can probably expect it to last about a decade. And by that time, newer tech will have come along to replace the unit as a whole anyway, even if it’s not dead yet.
This isn’t the first projector Leica has made, having released a few stills projectors in years gone by under the Pradovit brand. But those were stills projectors. For mounted 35mm slide film. This is not only Leica’s first laser projector but their first digital video projector of any kind. The film projectors made a lot of sense, given that people were using their cameras to create the images shot on those films, but this is an interesting move from a company like Leica who doesn’t really have any kind of history with what is essentially a home entertainment system.
Still, as it’s Leica, the Leica Cine 1 4K projector comes with a Leica price tag. The Leica Cine 1 will come in two models with 100″ and 120″ screen projection sizes. It’s expected to be released in the EU in Spring 2023 and in the USA in Q3 2023. The 100″ model will come with a price tag of $8,295 – significantly more than the Wemax Nova 4K that projects up to 150″. No price has yet been announced for the 120″ model.
More information will be coming to the Leica stores, along with the Leica website, as availability gets closer, but for now, you can find out more information on the Leica Laser TV website. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a range of new products from Leica or if they’ll just have one solo high-end projector permanently in its range, with each model being replaced by a successor rather than available alongside.