New Optoma H31 owner.

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Charles J P, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Well, after the untimely death of my Sony HS10, I found myself in trouble. Not really any budget to spend on a projector, but my whole setup revolved around front projection. I knew I would have to make compromises and started some threads on various forums about PJs in the ~$1000-$1500 range. I settled on the Optoma after basically narrowing it down to it and the Infocus 4805. Keeping in mind that due to budget limitations, I'm going from a ~720 LCD (sony had that weird resolution for the HS10) to a 420 DLP. Here are my general comments after spending one day with it.

    Well, I was a little shocked at the size of the pixels to be honest. The screen size is also a little larger than I'd like. I mounted the Sony projector which has a different throw ratio and then proceded to install cable jacks and a power outlet in the ceiling, so I dont really want to move the mount. This puts the Optoma in a position where I'm looking at a 103-110" image with the Optoma zoomed ALL the way in (smallest). I may see if it doesnt look too goofy to move the mount forward even a foot as it would help.

    Any way, as it stands, I cant see ANY pixels or screen door at all from where I'm sitting which I guess is what matters. And, that being said, from the seats, the picture it throws is vastly superior in most ways to the Sony (remember, I just watched a movie on it two days ago after jiggling and torquing the video input board enough for it to keep the signal for a while).

    The contrast, and color are better, but (and I KNOW this will be hard to believe) the CLARITY is actually vastly superior and is what really grabbed my attention. For some reason, be it the video processing chip, or perhaps some minor misalignment of the LCD chips themselves, the Sony ALWAYS added halos and edge enhancement. I never realized just how much until having a different projector in my home. On top of which, I now realize how soft the picture the sony threw was. The Optoma is RAZOR sharp in comparison with no artifacts. The 5th Element was STUNNING. I could see every pore and fine hair on Milla's face from ~18 feet away. I am confident enough to say this is not "new-owner-itis". This is a real improvement over the Sony.

    I also threw on some HD content, and, it looks fine to me. I have no issues with it whatsoever.

    Outside of picture quality, the projector is much easier to use than the sony. It has dedicated buttons for inputs while the sony you had to toggle through, and it had a horrible lag that always ment you pushed the button too many times because you thought it wasnt registering and then you skipped past the input you wanted. Also, the fan IS noticebly quiter. In fact, the high light output mode or high altitude mode (both of which speed up the fan) is quiter than the low speed on my Sony. The fan on the Optoma in cinema mode doesnt even overcome ambient room noise.

    At the end of the day, I wish I could have gotten a 720 DLP, but it wasn't in the cards. So the question is not do I regret not getting something I couldn't afford any way, but rather do I regret getting what I got, or perhaps do I think I spent my money wisely. The answer is no, no regrets, and yes, money well spent. In fact, while products of this caliber at this price point didn't exist at this time, it makes the Sony at $3000 look like a damned ripoff.

    This is an awesome budget piece (as I'm sure the Infocus would have been as well) and its not for everyone, but for someone who really wants FP for the image size and feeling you get having a screen rather than a box at the front of your room, I dont see what else you could do with a $1000 and be happier. I'm happy, and that's what matters.

    I'll throw in some more problem disks tonight and report some more information later. I know Shrek and Phantom Menace are on the list as they gave my Sony fits with haloing and edge smearing (outside the EE that is known to exist in TPM).
     
  2. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Cool review. Good to hear that resolution isn't everything. And that you actually ended up getting a better product than the Sony for a fraction of the price.

    You made no mention of rainbows, did you see any?

    The 5th element... is that the first release or a subsequent one? I have the original disk, but I dunno if it's the one with reference picture quality or not.

    --
    H
     
  3. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    1) I can make myself see rainbows if I dart my eyes around and blink rapidly at the same time, so I know what they look like, but I'm not seeing them much, if at all in actual content while viewing normally.

    2) The 5th Element I was referring to is the Superbit version, which is largely viewed as one of the best transfers on DVD period, to date.
     
  4. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    There is some list of factors that goes into a good image and resolution actually comes in #4 in this list.

    Things above it were things like:

    Dynamic range (contrast ratio)
    Color Rendition
    ??? (Can't remember off hand what item 3 was)

    Resolution

    Regards
     
  5. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Michael, kind of like the 4 C's of buying diamonds. They are Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. While some might argue, most would say that cut is the most important, becaue this dictates how much light the diamond will reflect. My opinion (and this could be argued even more so than the Cut issue) would be that color is the second most important, followed by Clarity, because I've seen diamonds that are rated further down the flaw scale and you still cant see the flaws with the naked eye and provided that cut and color are good, the diamond will still be stunning. Carat could be analogous with resolution. More is better, but given a limited budget, you are better off focusing on the other three.
     
  6. Rick Westfall

    Rick Westfall Stunt Coordinator

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    Charles,

    Thanks for the review. The H31 is one I've been looking at. Would you mind adding a few items?

    You mentioned your throw distance wasn't quite right. How far away did you mount it?

    Also, did you find a local dealer or go with an online store. If so, where?

    Thanks
    Rick
     
  7. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I'm mounted about 15' from my wall which means a ~105" screen is about my smallest I can go. On my Sony which I didnt know was toast when I put up the mount, I would have been right in the middle of my range at 105" so I could have gone smaller or larger. With the Optoma I'm zoomed all the way in so I can only go larger.

    I purchased it from Visual Apex. See this thread I started over at AVS for some good info. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=visual+apex
     

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