Optoma HD81 Projector Review

Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<A href="http://www.audioholics.com/productreviews/avhardware/optoma-HD81p1.php"><IMG style="WIDTH: 125px; HEIGHT: 93px" alt=[OptomaHD81] hspace=10 src="http://www.audioholics.com/news/thumbs/OptomaHD81_th.jpg" align=left border=0></A>The HD81 is not just a projector. It combines an excellent optical display system with an advanced external video processor that handles, among other things a host of inputs from composite all the way up to HDMI and RGBHV/component. What’s more, each input can be independently calibrated and the system has the capabilities to truly optimize each input source for best performance. When you buy this projector, you essentially get a ~$3000 video processor/scaler for free that includes a 3-input HDMI switcher and enough analogue inputs to satisfy any videoholic I’ve ever met. But there are some flaws...

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Rock&Roll Ninja

Rock&Roll Ninja

Audioholic Field Marshall
Assuming I had the coin reqired for such a device (which I clearly do not), would it also be wise to purchase a premium upconverting DVD player (like the 5910ci), or would the video processor of the Optima make such an extravagant player unnecessary.

ie; Can we buy a $10,000 projector and then save some money by using a standard $100 DVD player, or would video-performance be crippled by this.
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
I think the question is debatable... and "crippled" is a harsher word than I'd ever use. Since the Optoma has such a pristine image and excellent color potential, yes you could certainly get away with feeding it a clean 480i signal. However, since it didn't do as well as I'd like in jaggie reduction, then a high performance SD DVD player like the DVD-3930CI would give you an improved picture.

There is a lot of competition at this price point and I'm holding off on my recommendations until after I get my hands on a few more of the new 1080p models.
 
F

flyfish23

Audioholic Intern
How do think this unit stacks up to the new Sony 1080P model?
 
F

flyfish23

Audioholic Intern
How would one of the Oppo players look on this projector?
 
L

loose tool

Banned
AV noob

I have a large collection of VHS tapes and a flagship VHS deck. Will the high end video prossesor in this projector upscale my tapes to look like HD? People upscale thir SD-DVDs to HD quality all the time and VHS is only a little less resolution right? I can't wait to see all my old tape in 100" HD glory!

Thanks for any insight.
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
If you connect your VHS tape deck to this projector it will look better than HD DVD or Blu-ray. It will also make your love life better and improve the taste of your drinking water. People will stop by just to tell you how great your picture looks and Panasonic will make a new digital receiver that incorporates a VHS deck with upconversion because of the incredible quality of its outputs.
 
AVRat

AVRat

Audioholic Ninja
Sign me up for one of those new-fangled VHS deck thingies!!:rolleyes: All kidding aside, you will not get HD quality pictures from your old analog video tapes. Many people consider upscaled 480i material less than acceptable. This is subjective, and you may consider the upscaled picture very good. It's all a matter of perception.
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
No - you get HD quality from HD and ONLY HD.

Everything else is a cleaned up version - the best possible version really - of the lower quality format.

In order (pretty much) standard analog cable and VHS are about the worst original video sources. Digital cable and satellite (DirecTV/Dish) are next. Then DVD comes into the mix as the best non-HDTV source available.

Finally, we get HDTV from cable, satellite, and Blu-ray/HD-DVD disc formats.

So, what happens when you run a VHS tape through this machine? Well, you get a really big VHS image. It will look NOTHING like HDTV - but it won't necessarily look 'bad' or even 'so-so'. It MORE depends on your acceptance of the quality. If you know VHS won't look great and aren't nitpicky, then it may look really really good - to you.

If you are picky, then they will look lousy.

It has been said, no less than 10 million times, that converting non-HD material, to an HD format does not make the original source material HD quality. But, this is moreso true with poor quality standard sources such as VHS tapes. This leads to a bit of not-so-typical sarcasm from our beloved Mr. DeBoer here. If he acts up again, just slap him. ;)

I still have about 30 or 40 VHS titles - I am simply replacing them all with DVD titles at this point. In fact, I am thinking about selling or giving away my VHS collection this year. I'll try eBay first - then I'll donate them somewhere.
 
AVRat

AVRat

Audioholic Ninja
You will never get HD quality from anything less than 720 formatted material. The HD minimum spec is 720 pixel resolution in the vertical axis. Depending on the scaler involved, you can get very close. In other words, you must provide HD material to a HD display to get a “TRUE” HD picture.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
AVRat said:
You will never get HD quality from anything less than 720 formatted material. The HD minimum spec is 720 pixel resolution in the vertical axis. Depending on the scaler involved, you can get very close. In other words, you must provide HD material to a HD display to get a “TRUE” HD picture.
That's not true - stand far enough away from ANY display and it'll look HD.

The non-marketing version of what defines an image as high definition is that when you add one more line of resolution to the image, it doesn't appear to be one bit sharper. So - a 20" display, from 20 feet away, may not look any better to someone with 20/20 vision whether it is fed the VHS version of King Kong or the HD-DVD version.

But, marketing has warped that idea so that people overly tie the 720p (or better) resolution with the exclusive meaning of HDTV.

HDTV is about image size, image quality, display quality, seating distance, and room conditions, as well as some other factors I may have missed. Simply sending 720p HD source material to a compatible display may give a defined version of HD, but doesn't promise the best possible image.
 
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