Optoma HD20 budget full HD projector
Review Billed as the first 1080p projector available for under £900, Optoma has taken a no-frills approach to cram maximum HD goodness into its HD20 home cinema projector. Compact at 324 x 234 x 97mm, it houses a full HD 1080p DLP device to satisfy film buffs and big screen HD gamers.
Back to basics: Optoma's HD20
The HD20 comes with a standard set of inputs suitable for a budget home cinema projector. A pair of HDMI 1.3 ports is complemented with a standard VGA connector as well as composite and component video. There’s also a standard 12V output for triggering your motorised screen, should you have one.
The lens throw ratio of 1.5 – 1.8 allows for a picture ranging from 0.96m to 7.64m in diagonal at a distance ranging from 1.5m to 12.5m. A replacement lamp will cost you around £180. Brightness output is specified at 1700 ANSI lumens, which actually makes it Optoma’s brightest home entertainment projector.
Optoma’s quoted contrast ratio of 500:1 may appear bafflingly low at first glance. Yet, for many years, projector manufacturers have told downright lies about their performance characteristics. Brightness, quoted in lumens, was often based on theoretical lamp performance unachievable in any real-world situation. Similarly, overblown and rather useless contrast ratio specifications abound.
More recently, some sort of order has been brought about by using ANSI standard brightness measurements which ensure that all vendors use the same method of measuring brightness, so fair comparisons can be made. Optoma has now taken the bold step of specifying an ANSI contrast ratio, hoping to bring the same order to the measurement of contrast.
Video-only: No audio gimmicks here
We say bold, because ANSI measurements are always lower than those previously quoted. In this case the HD20’s contrast ratio looks pitifully small, however one look at the on-screen image will allay any fears that this projector is unable to deliver.
Why are these things so expensive.
HDMI 1080p decode chips are cheap, so it's either the bulb or the thing that makes the image? Where is the cost?
Optoma's a decent brand...
I purchased one of their 720p projectors after doing scads of research, (the HD65 specifically) and it has not disappointed me at all.
Thought I should mention that.
I've got a 6 colour wheel toshiba 720p job. I have to say I do get the rainbow thing a little bit, but only if you flick your eyes from side to side - i.e. only if trying to see it. otherwise I don't notice it. I much prefer DLP to LCD even with that... and anyhoo I got mine for 140 squid from ebay.
Processing wise - arn't most folk using them via PCs anyway ? Mine is rigged up to my acer one, playing 720p content via coreavc - smooth as a babies ar$e. and upscaling is done very nicely thanks to mediaplayer classic home cinema edition. oh.. and a PS3 obviously :0)
I suppose if you are still one of those weirdoze that watches whatever is broadcast into your house, then you need to care, but surely the reg readership have no broadcast receiving sheep in 2009 ???
Decent brand - good service.
I'd just like to add to that...
If you buy a "Themescene" branded projector from Optoma (HD65, HD70, HD20), it comes with a 3 year hot-swap warranty. If it breaks down, they will take it away for repair, and (apparently!) provide you with a "loaner" for the duration. I've only heard good things about Optoma warranties, and this is why I opted for the HD20 over the £100 cheaper HD200x, which for all intents and purposes is exactly the same hardware (despite any advertised differences in contrast ratio or brightness), in a black casing.
Anyone that buys a DLP projector that's subject to the rainbow effect (i.e. most of them, other than 3 chip versions) is either a friendless misanthrope or needs their head feeling.
What's the point of a projector where your friends can't see it properly? Spend a bit more and get a decent projector.
The 4x colour wheel on the Optoma /should/ reduce the rainbow affect, but obviously it appears in practice this is not true.