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Hisense goes big at CES 2015 with 100-inch laser 'cinema TV'

The Chinese manufacturer has revealed its Vidaa Max, a laser short-throw projector that can beam a 100-inch image from an 18-inch distance.

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Nic Healey/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- At its press presentation at the 2015 International CES, Hisense has shown off the Vidaa Max, a short-throw laser projector that can beam a 100-inch image from a distance of only 2 feet.

The projector -- also called the 100P1 if you don't like Vidaa Max -- doesn't require a dedicated screen, meaning the console can be moved easily from room to room, unlike other similar products like the LG Hecto Laser TV.

The unit uses a blue laser diode that promises 25,000 hours of viewing time. This is coupled with the Texas Instruments DarkChip 3 Digital Light Processing (DLP) platform, offering a Full HD (1,920x1,080) resolution.

Connectivity options include HDMI, component, composite, VGA and USB, along with WiDi. The Vidaa also has a 5.1 Dolby-DTS sound, with 8-inch subwoofers and 5.8G Bluetooth surround speakers.

Two of the Vidaa Max were on display at the presentation, showing off a very bright and clear image with surprisingly deep blacks. One unit was displaying video that looked quite crisp, with little to no motion blur evident.

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The Vidaa Max base unit. Nic Healey/CNET

Dr Weiping Huang, chief scientist for Hisense, highlighted the "panel-free" nature of the unit, saying that Hisense was ready to "embrace the new world of panel-free displays".

Although the price of the Vidaa Max wasn't given, Dr Huang said that it would be "significantly lower than LCD".

During a series of increasingly baffling slides, Dr Huang said that laser technology has the potential for better light efficiency than LCD panels, as well as calling the projector a "quasi zero-D laser" that could usher in the "post-LCD era".

He touched on some of the other projection technologies that Hisense is working on, including an optical engine with a 0.24 throw ratio -- that's a 100-inch Full HD image from just 1.7 inches.

The only other product shown off during the presentation was the Chill -- a beverage vending machine for the home that had previously been announced by Hisense in early December 2014. The Chill can be stacked with four different drinks in either cans or bottles. It has a customisable faceplate and can be child-locked to prevent underage family members from accessing any alcoholic beverages that it might contain.

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CES 2015 attendees help themselves to a cold drink from the Chill. Nic Healey/CNET

Dr Lan Lin, executive vice president of Hisense, did take the opportunity to speak on the company's growth, which sees it as the number one TV manufacturer in China, with 16 percent of the market. Globally, Hisense boasts the number four spot for TV market share with 5.6 percent, but the number two when it comes to Ultra HD panels -- it accounts for 12.1 percent of 4K TVs sold globally.

Dr Lin also announced Hisense's branding partnership with the Nascar Xfinity Series, starting with the Hisense 250 at Atlanta. He hinted at more partnerships in the Nascar space down the road.

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The Vidaa Max working in low-light conditions. Nic Healey/CNET