With a high-end look (and a midrange price tag) Optoma’s latest full 1080p DLP projector combines the firm’s own video processor with Pixelworks’ PW9800 chip for the smoothest picture.
Consider this HD projector if: you’re looking for a very good 1080p single-chip DLP projector that features generous connectivity and a first-rate video processing engine.
Look elsewhere if: you’d like easier setup, as the set’s manual optical adjustments are overly sensitive, making installation a chore.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced 1080p front projectors)
The optical system features the requisite focus and zoom controls, but they’re manual, as are the horizontal and vertical lens shift adjustments. Having both horizontal and vertical lens shift is a plus, especially if there are architectural impediments to having the projector mounted directly in line with screen center. The fly in the ointment here is that the granularity of the controls is much too coarse, which is a royal pain when trying to dial in the optics to match the screen. A mere touch of one control necessitates a re-adjustment of another, making setup especially irksome when the projector is ceiling-mounted towards the back of the room. For less money than the HD8200, Mitsubishi’s upper-tier 1080p 3LCD models provide remote-controlled motorized optical adjustments with both coarse and fine granularity, which makes setup a breeze.
Optoma touts the video processing section’s prowess, which combines the firm’s own front-end video chip that’s paired with Pixelworks’ latest PW9800 video processor chip. With arduous test patterns and test video clips, the combo does indeed provide excellent upconversion and deinterlacing, rendering even the most difficult clips with both sharpness and smoothness, and with no apparent artifacts. With the Spears & Munsil jaggies test (on Blu-ray), it produced the best result I’ve ever seen, which should ensure that any 1080i HD shows will be completely jaggy-free. It’s also ISF certified, so installers and calibrators can dial in (and then lock) critical picture adjustments with both Day and Night viewing modes.
There are a variety of picture enhancement functions, but I found best results with most of them bypassed. The Reference picture mode produced excellent measured results, and appeared to deliver the most natural-looking picture out of all the choices available.
With two HDMI inputs (the norm these days), the HD8200 also features a DVI input that, with a suitable adapter, can act as a third HDMI input. Single composite, S-video and component inputs are joined with an RGB PC input that’s HD-compatible. Two 12v trigger outputs can be used for screen and motorized anamorphic lens control, to name just two functions that these can provide.