No news to report here, as the HD20 features Optoma’s standard OSD design, which is certainly competent enough, with the typical menu sub-groups that mirror other projectors’ configurations. The OSD doesn’t include any provision for adjusting the on-screen time, but that shortcoming is shared by many other projectors. It does like to play run-and-hide after just a few seconds of adjustment inactivity, which makes setup a bit of a chore. The OSD can also be shifted around to various locations on the screen.
You’d never know the HD20 was priced so low given the projector’s extensive range of picture adjustments, which include gamma curve and offset controls among others. In fact, the HD20 has all you (or your calibration technician) really need in order to dial in a really good-looking picture. Video buffs who like to twiddle and tweak the picture (and are armed with suitable test discs or a test pattern generator) will be in heaven. The only thing missing is a color management system (CMS), but the set’s overall colorimetry is actually better than some other more expensive projectors.
I certainly wasn’t expecting a backlit remote to come with the HD20, but there you go. While the backlighting is blue (amber is best for contrast in low light), the brightness was high enough that I didn’t have to squint in my darkened theater room. There are direct buttons for the various aspect ratios as well as direct buttons for the inputs, and there are discrete power on and off buttons to boot. As well, there are buttons for overscan, edge masking and lamp mode—I’ve seen projectors that cost more than ten times what the little Optoma does that come with remotes that are missing many of these features.
Incredibly, the HD20 is equipped with Mode 1 vertical stretch scaling, allowing the use of an outboard anamorphic lens (you’ll also need a suitably wide 2.40:1 screen). Although outboard anamorphic lenses aren’t cheap, by going with the HD20 you’ll be able to put together a true widescreen front projection setup for a lot less money than with many other anamorphic-compatible projector models.
A full calibration performed at the time of installation is really the only way to ensure that the projector is properly optimized and mated to the projection screen, but our recommended settings will put you in the ballpark.
Blu-ray Evaluation: Death Race
With 1080p single-pixel test patterns, the HD20’s economy optics tend to soften things up a bit compared to more expensive projectors, but with actual program material the set puts out a comfortably crisp image. The disc menu for this movie features sharply-defined graphics and single-pixel text that came through surprisingly well for such a low-priced projector.