Optoma HD20 DLP Projector Review

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admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Optoma has upped the bar with their release of the HD20. This sub $1k projector is full 1080p, has more than enough inputs for most applications, and gets you into a front projection system for an unbeatable price. Value shop for a power retractable screen and a mount and you're only out around $1700. I know lots of people that have paid that (and more) for a 50" flat panel. At this price, if it turns on it's pretty much a success. Well, I'll spare you the suspense - it turns on.


Discuss "Optoma HD20 DLP Projector Review" here. Read the article.
 
lsiberian

lsiberian

Audioholic Overlord
Optoma has upped the bar with their release of the HD20. This sub $1k projector is full 1080p, has more than enough inputs for most applications, and gets you into a front projection system for an unbeatable price. Value shop for a power retractable screen and a mount and you're only out around $1700. I know lots of people that have paid that (and more) for a 50" flat panel. At this price, if it turns on it's pretty much a success. Well, I'll spare you the suspense - it turns on.


Discuss "Optoma HD20 DLP Projector Review" here. Read the article.
Could you expand on the color issues?
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
As is always the case, I can't let a projector review go by without some comments...

1. Would love to see a picture of the remote control in the review.

2. The rest of the pictures looked pretty solid.

3. For the pirce, the typical 1.2x zoom lens is common, but compared to almost every other projector which costs a bit more, 1.2x is very weak. Placement flexibility with this projector stinks - really, REALLY bad!

4. It would have been nice to see some actual placement measurements. The offset of the HD20 is less than most other fixed lens projectors, so people with lower ceilings (7' basement!) can have an easier time of it (maybe) because they don't have to lower the screen as much. Likewise, the zoom range may be very poor for anything but ceiling mouting because it likely falls right at the proper seating distance. Which would place a noisy projector right between two viewers. Blech!

5. No Blu-ray source is listed. Really, BD is becoming a standard for those who care about quality and front projection really benefits from this (perhaps the most) technology. Since many will hook up the projector to a BD player with BD video, it is worth discussing just how much better/worse BD is compared to DVD with cheaper players and a direct HDMI connection, or a connection which bypasses the 4310's excellent scaling. Really, HD cable was listed, but not discussed either. A bit more discussion of personal experience using the best sources would really help people understand the quality potential of this unit.

6. 4x color wheel vs. competition. BenQ also has a 1080p $1,000 model. My understanding is that the Optoma has a 4x color wheel vs. the BenQs 2x color wheel. This provides a significant reduction to the Rainbow Effect (RBE) for those who are sensitive and considering competitors products.

7. Competitors? Really, it's good to mention that there are competitors out there which should be considered or evaluated as well. Would be better to get some reviews in so they can all be compared to each other.

Solid review overall! The Optoma is a value leader and tends to produce solidly reliable products. Their huge jump to minimize lens offset really opens up this projector for additional rooms which older models like their H31 or HD70 couldn't handle. For example, with a 100" screen, the HD70 had almost 18" of offset from the top of the screen. That requires a 100" screen to be almost 2' below the ceiling and, with a 100" screen and a 7' ceiling, would put the bottom of the screen about 1' from the floor! The HD20, for the same 100" diagonal, only has about 8" of offset which gives about another 10" away from the floor in the same setup and is far more ideal overall for many less expensive setups.

Note: That 100" diagonal puts the projector lens about 11 to 13 feet from the screen which is right where seating is. Go with the ceiling mount.

FINALLY: The commentary on spending $200 for someone to install it is really disappointing. A basic installation similar to a cruddy cable company job would have all surface mounted cabling and would take hours to accomplish and would not include cabling or any proper setup calibration or anything... Especially with a motorized screen which typically requires two installers to handle. If someone is on a serious budget, install it yourself. If you want a good installation, then pay for an in-wall installation with speakers, etc. and plan to spend the money for two pros to do the job in about a full day. So, about 16 hours of professional labor... which will be over $200 typically, depending on your location, likely well over $200. Don't forget to budget for appropriate cabling, sound, etc.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Thanks Tom for the review, however I'd like to see a bit more objective tests (aka measurements) on color/grays & black reproduction.
I think without these this review is like speakers review with FR/Impedance graphs :(

Lucky decent measurement tools are inexpensive (like X-Rite Eye-One Display 2), but to truly impress bunch of AHer something like Eye One Pro would truly welcome.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I have been running the Optoma HD20 for a few months now and I really love it. It is my first projection system though, so I don't have anything else to judge it by, so I can't tell you how it fares against other projectors.

There is hardly any rainbow effect, the only movie I ever noticed that on was the Blu Ray of The Wild Bunch, and I think that had more to do with the source than the projector. The colors are terrific, as is the brightness, I couldn't ask for anything more in those depts. The black levels are not bad, and my understanding is that you will have to pay a lot more than $1K to get better black levels. I think that a grey screen would be a better fit for this projector than a white one, if I were to redo my theater I would use a grey screen with this projector instead of white. I made my own screen out of Wilson Art designer white counter top laminate, it is a 125" 16:9 screen, in a room with pretty good light control. Everyone who has seen my home theater says I should charge admission!

I still have some more tweaking to do, but at the moment I am blown away by this setup. Think about this, I went from a standard definition 32" tv with two channel sound to a 125" 1080p picture with a 5.1 Infinity Primus surround sound system and Hsu VTF3 subwoofer! As you might imagine, I watch a lot more movies now. I have spent too much on blu rays in the past few months, I went from zero titles to maybe 80 or 90. I don't know how much money that is in movies, and I am afraid to add it up! I never had that many standard definition DVD's, Laserdiscs, or VHS, and to get them all in such a short time, this is as bad as any spiraling drug addiction- call for help, someone!
 
0

08op

Junior Audioholic
shady j, where is your optoma mounted,ceiling, and how far from it are you? how bad is fan noise during quite movie parts? i am thinking of picking one up and going to do the same screen w/ wilsonart DW.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
The projector is ceiling mounted and about 17' back. I have no idea what the review is talking about regarding fan noise. This thing is near silent. You have to be right next to it to hear anything. There are some modes where the fan will ramp up it's RPM, but you wouldn't normally be viewing those modes anyway as they are for certain circumstances and really shorten the life of the bulb.

By the way, the wilson art screen works great, but if I were you, I would go with the fashion grey instead of the designer white, I think that will improve the black levels substantially. Also, it took wilson art a month to deliver the laminate, just a heads up for you.
 
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08op

Junior Audioholic
thanks for info shady, i was getting nervous about buying beacuse i keep hearing about loud fans on them. about the DW, is your room light controlled or do you have light in there?, my room can be pitch black, and i read its better to use DW than gray in light controlled rooms.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
My room is light controlled fairly well, probably better than most home theaters. From what I have read, gray screens are good for both high and low levels of ambient light, whereas white is good for just low light levels. I think the gray would improve the black levels, which, while not bad, is probably the Optoma's weak point.

The wilson art laminate has made a terrific screen. Tell me, how big are you planning on making the screen? What sort of framing are you going to be doing? Will you be doing a backboard?

Hopefully you are already aware of hometheatershack.com's projection screen forum, which I have found to be a great resource. AVSforum's projector screen forum has also been incredibly helpful.
 
0

08op

Junior Audioholic
i guess i'll read more then decide on gray or DW. i plan on doing about 110-120" for size and making a frame out of 1x4 with two braces in middle, screwing board to frame and 3" velvet border. my room will be completley light controlled.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Sound good. I went with 125" because that way I don't have to make any horizontal cuts on the laminate for a nice big 16:9 screen. Made it real easy on myself in that respect, but harder in others because I built such a huge frame and backboard, but oh well, it was my first time doing something like that. If you order a 5'x10' or 5'x12' size sheet, they actually add a inch to the width, so it's not exactly 5'x10', it's more like 5'1" x 10'. The 5'1" length was cut perfectly parallel, but the 10' length was slightly diagonal so don't expect a perfect rectangle.
 
B

bscottclark

Audiophyte
Hi just got the HD20 and am blown away as well. Even though I'm projecting on a tan wall while I contemplate screen solutions. Looking for suggestions on settings. And any advice on DIY screen solutions that will effective help handle an ambient light issue.
 
B

BostonMark

Audioholic
I wrote a review myself of this projector, since it's my third Optoma

check it out if you get a chance http://www.epinions.com/review/Optoma_HD20_Projector/content_505615191684

I couldn't believe I could have a better projector than my last Optoma, but I was wrong! :D

One weird thing I've noticed since I got it is tthat sometimes the projector turns on all by itself! I set the auto shut off to 5 minutes so that it will shut itself off if it happens again. Its just weird.
 
C

chadburger

Banned
In the review the HD2O was said to have no lense shift, somebody is asking about placement and in that thread a guy says his Optima has lense shift but he didnt say it was the HD20............does the HD20 infact have lense shift?
Either the review was wrong or somebody posted flase info.
 
KASR

KASR

Full Audioholic
Great review! I recently upgrade my home setup with a projector and screen - had the new setup for a little over a week now and I did discover one MAJOR flaw...could possible be considered a large drawback:

There really is no going back. I LOVE this screen size and the 1080p on this projector is nothing short of stunning. I'm sure that a trained video critic have and will touch points of where this projector falls short, but for me - I can't see em!

Movie are crisp and clear and I don't know why people say the HD20 is a noisy projector - I can barely hear the damn thing. Of course, the cool down process is a bit loud, but that's only when I'm finished using the theater room. I can hardly count that against it.

Anyone considering a projector setup - as a newly converted: I strongly recommend it. But make sure you get all the details lined out before you do it (room size, wall, screen, etc.) and you'll be well on your way to next level! :D
 
T

tcarcio

Audioholic General
Good review but I will say this, I have an Optoma and I agree on the performance aspects of the review but Optoma's customer service is one of the worst in the business, IMO. I consider that a dealbreaker but ofcourse others may not. Just my 2 cents.
 
F

finishers

Junior Audioholic
Black level on the HD20 is only middling, as the projector lacks an auto-iris and has a fairly bright lamp, black areas of an image can sometimes appear very dark grayish.......
 
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notryt

Audiophyte
lens shift

the normal offset is 7.8 hell 8"inches) tilt the projector slightly upward if you need to..usually have to with low ceiling and a ceiling mount.. the picture will start a foot or more below the ceiling. and get about a 3-5"" top and the keystone feature will fix the vertical.. only a little keystone correction goes a long way.I wouldn't suggest tilting it upward more than 6-8" .. I have not noticed any difference in the picture or any additional artifacts tilting it upward (6" on 100" diag. screen) ... You only get a very dark gray at best.... so that's the trade-off with a darkchip 2 vs darkchip 3 projector.. compare the price difference and live with this shortcoming..:):confused::rolleyes:
 
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