Optoma H31 vs InFocus 4805

Discussion in 'Displays' started by SidBrown, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. SidBrown

    SidBrown Auditioning

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    Hello all,

    Do any of you get to a point where you've done so much research on a topic where you think you're just splitting hairs? LOL - Well I'm trying to decide on my first projector. I was so enthused by the reviews I read concerning the Optoma H30, that when I realized they released the H31, I thought that was even better!

    While researching the H31, I ran across personal reviews from folks who purchased an InFocus 4805. I couldn't ignore the information both at InFocus' website and not to mention I have been purchasing InFocus projectors for my company for the longest time. They're great data projectors.

    As you all know, home theater is a different animal altogether. So after crunching all the numbers and doing all that I can - I've come to two:

    Optoma H31 vs InFocus 4805

    I love watching DVDs, invite the guys over to watch sports and even some X-Box at times. I just don't know enough about what's a greater value in what I'm watching:

    contrast vs. max native resolution resolution
    lumens vs. features

    The room has some ambient light (living room), 18x13.

    Your thoughts much appreciated!
     
  2. Mike_Gr

    Mike_Gr Stunt Coordinator

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    I auditioned the H30 and the 4805 back to back and the H30 readily won. The H30 simply had better picture in every aspect. To my eyes, it wasn't even close. That was a while back.

    A few weeks ago on lunch break a co-worker and I auditioned the H31. The dealer selected the Time Warner HDTV signal and we watched TV. Then, we watched scenes from a few DVD's. We watched everything on a 100" Stewart fixed screen. I was already impressed with the H30 so I knew the H31 would not dissapoint. My co-worker was a little dumbfounded; in a good way. The projectors he had seen to date had a higher native resolution than the H31 so I think he expected the H31 would not fair very well. After the audition was over he commented that the H31 had the best picture he had seen so far. He asked the salesman how the Optoma could have better picture when the others he had seen had higher native resolution. I can't recall the exact explanation (I am not a projector expert)but it had something to do with the very good processing chip the Optoma uses that allows it to take an HDTV singal and reprocess it (scaling?). Something to that effect. Perhaps somebody else would be able to explain the process.

    In summation, my thougts were that the picture on the H31 was a significant improvement over H30; better color and better blacks. That is probably due to the improvement in contrast. Also, I had the salesman turn up the lighting during the audition and it seemed to me the H31 was able to handle more ambient light than the H30 was.
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Sid, they are both very highly regarded projectors. Did you read the reviews at Projectorcentral.com for these 2? Check the lumen output in the reviews, that will be important with ambient light. You want to keep the room as dark as possible.
     
  4. DanielJW

    DanielJW Extra

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    I'm glad this question was revisited because I'm also looking at these two units for the same purposes as SidBrown.

    Your review is very interesting, Mike. So, I assume that since you feel the H30 is superior to the 4805, you also feel that the H31 is a bit more superior to the 4805? I just ask because I always was told that the 4805 had the edge.

    My only reservation about the H31 is its lack of lamp life compared to the 4805 (3000 vs 4000 on economy mode). Besides that, it has higher lumens, higher contrast ratio, and otherwise identical specs as far as inputs and features go, for the most part.

    Dan
     
  5. Mike_Gr

    Mike_Gr Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, I favored the H30 over the 4805. Since I find the H31 to be a significant improvement over the H30, then logic dictates I would prefer the H31 over the 4805; unless the 4805 was improved since I initially auditioned it.

    All I can say is that I trust my eyes. Specs are meaningful, but they aren't an absolute. Some projectors have better chips than others which can account for visual differences even when all the other specs are equal.

    Secondly, you were 'told' the 4805 had an edge over the H31. Would you believe me if I told you my speakers had an edge over yours? My point is that you should take opinions, including mine, with a grain of salt. The best judge is yourself. I know that isn't always easy to do because you might not have dealers that carry them in your area. I was fortunate enough that the day I went in to a local store to audition the H30 they had just received the 4805 for evaluation. It was a Saturday morning and I sat in the room with the proprietor of the business as we both watched the 4805 for the first time. I must have been there for hours as he calibrated the 4805 and switched out several projectors for comparison, including the H30. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from the owner.

    By the way, here is an interesting review of the H31 that is worthy of reading.

    http://www.projectorcentral.com/optoma_h31.htm
     
  6. DanielJW

    DanielJW Extra

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    That's really cool that you got a "sneak peak" of the 4805 like that when it arrived for evaluation.

    Sorry if there was confusion in my last post. I never meant to contest what you wrote before, it just seemed like you touched mostly on the H30 vs. the 4805 than you did the H31, and I was curious on how exactly you felt about the two newer models head to head. No sarcasm was intended.

    But if you said your speakers were better than mine, why, I'd... I'd... I'd... [​IMG]

    Back on topic: I'll definitely take a closer look at the Optoma now, especially if it seems to at least be on par with the 4805 for a bit of a cheaper pricetag.

    Dan
     
  7. SidBrown

    SidBrown Auditioning

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    I have read the information from Projectorcentral.com and the information there was very helpful. However, the review was based on a comparison between the Optoma H30 vs the H31. I would expect the H31 to be the better machine since improvements to the H30.

    I have to say I really, really, really appreciate your help folks with this. The lumens on the H31 is greater than the 4805 which may help me out with ambient light. My only concern with the H31 is its maximum native resolution is a little lower.

    When discussing Maximum Native Resolution - is this a big factor when watching DVDs or even digital cable?
     
  8. SidBrown

    SidBrown Auditioning

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    I found this in the article Mike_Gr alluded to:


    Maximum Native Resolution on the 4805 is higher than the Optoma H31. I'm wondering if pixelation becomes a problem only when an image of 100" is attempted. Maybe I'm not understanding correctly, but wouldn't I want to avoid pixelation? The reviews at the same site said nothing about pixelation with the 4085 - however, I did notice that it's maximum native resolution is a little higher than the H31. I also would like to sit a little closer than 14" away from the screen - LOL!

    Your thoughts appreciated....
     
  9. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    The resolution for the 2 projectors are the same. They will be great for DVD's and Digital cable. I have to disagree wholeheartedly that the H30 is "better" than the 4805. They are 2 very different machines with the 4805 being the newer model. If you check out AVSforum and read some of the comparisons with these 2 projectors the results were not even close. What you have to keep in mind is that if the machines were not calibrated when compared that it was a useless comparison. With that said.....if it was between a H31 or 4805 it is a tossup. The H31 is newer so any "bugs" have not been worked out. It really should offer more than the 4805 but in comparing the number of both machines it really does not...other than some nifty aspect ratios. I am not against the H31 at all....it is a FANTASTIC machine but if you ask me it cam to the "danc" too late.
    If you were to compare the 2 some safe bets would be:
    Picture quality will be pretty much the same....both use same chip and color wheel.
    H31 reds will be on the orange side while 4805 yellows will be a bit off.
    H31 will be quieter.
    4805 will be better calibrated out of box
    4805 will have more "tweaks" you can do to improve picture
    4805 is great to use with HTPC - H31 has had issues
    4805 bulb should last longer.
    Bulid quality will be similar
    H31 has more placement options due to slight lens shift feature
    4805 has the Faroudja deinterlacer
    H31 also has a great deinterlacer.
    I would give the nod of better customer support to Infocus.

    In reality the H31 should be "better" and I am sure eventually it will. But if I were to buy one now it would be the 4805 since it has been put through its' paces and has a HUGE on-line cult following where you could get help WHENEVER you need it. I don't like to point people to other forums but again.....check out avsforum to see reviews and for great info on them. A few people are going to be doing a head to head with them both and they will be fully calibrated so you may definately want to check that out. Good luck
     
  10. Mike_Gr

    Mike_Gr Stunt Coordinator

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    Evan, you failed to mention that the H31 has 3000:1 contrast while the 4805 has 2000:1. That means the H31 will have better color and better blacks. That accounts for a lot of what you see. I also disagree with your stating the H31 has 'bugs'. I haven't read about any yet. Perhaps you meant to state "might have bugs". Even along that line of thinking, I am inclined to believe the opposite might be the case because the H31 built on the design of it's predecessor. If the H31 was Optoma's initial jump into the projector market or if it was a radical new design using all or mostly new components, then I would agree that the odds of any potential bugs would be increased.

    If somebody 'wholeheartedly' disagrees that 'X' is better/not better than 'Y', shouldn't that be based on actual first-hand experience? Had you actually auditioned both, especially back to back, then your opinion would have merit. People that respond to posts by regurgitating what they have read on forums doesn't add much value. If you want to add some real value, I suggest you go audition both projectors and revisit this post to let us know YOUR opinion, not the opinion of others at 'forum X'.

    I auditioned the H31 on 100" diag. screen; the width was 92". I watched from about 12' feet away. Maybe that is why I didn't notice any pixelation? Or maybe there was none? I honestly don't know which was the case. Also, I viewed the H30 and H31 in economy mode. I did have the guy switch to the brighter mode; but I actually preferred the economy mode.

    Higher resolution can be taken advantage of if the projector is fed an HDTV signal. If a person will only be watching regular cable TV and DVD's, then the higher resolution becomes a moot point. I know a few people that bought an expensive projector simply based on resolution specs they read; even though they only watch DVD's and regular TV and have no future plans to upgrade to HDTV. For people that are only (or mostly)going to be watching DVD's and regular cable TV, I suggest they focus more on other capabilities such as contrast.

    My response was not intended to knock the 4805 in any way. For the money, it is an exeptional value. I just thought the H30 did better. That opinion is not based on what I read or what others have stated; rather it was formulated by what I witnessed with my own eyes.

    My advice to Evan or anybody in his shoes would be to get out there and audition both projectors. You can read the forums all you want, but nothing can substitute for an opinion formed by your own eyes.
     
  11. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    hi guys

    Mike, the ratios you are quoting are in BOTH cases far from accurate.

    Both PJs have lots of tweekability with the edge going to the Optoma.

    Historically the Optoma brand has a lot of weirdness so I generally try to avoid them.

    You cant go wrong with an Infocus product they have gone to extreme efforts to excel within the industry.

    Happy viewing,

    Gregg
     
  12. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    Gregg is one of the best calibrators in the business.....I would listen to what he said first Sid.......and what the rest of us say second. Good luck to you.
     
  13. Mike_Gr

    Mike_Gr Stunt Coordinator

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    Gregg, I am only quoting the manufacturer specs. Since you state the manufacturers specs are far from accurate, you must know what they actually are. Would you please share with us the accurate specs for the H31 and 4805? I, and probably others, would like to know what they are.

    Evan, I clearly stated in my original post that I only auditioned the H30 and 4805 back to back. Since I found the H30 better than the 4805, and also found the H31 better than the H30, logic dictates I would find the H31 to be better than the 4805. I don't need to audition the 4805 & H31 back to back to figure that out. Basic deduction. At the very least, I can say I have auditioned all 3 projectors with my own eyes. You have only seen 1 out of the 3.

    All the projectors were calibrated. As to what he uses to calibrate his projectors, I know some of it. I know he uses the Digital Video Essentials disc. I also know he uses a light meter. Maybe he uses other methods/tools as well. If you are interested in knowing exactly what he does to calibrate projectors, I suggest you give him a call; I can provide the number. I am sure he will answer any questions you may have.

    What really irritates me is that you made several wild assumptions. You stated the projectors were not calibrated. Then, you stated maybe they were calibrated, but that you 'highly' doubt they were calibrated with a 'real' calibration disc (as if 'non-real' calibration discs exist). Then you continue to concede that maybe some were calibrated with a 'real' calibration disc, but not EVERY projector. So which is it? I don't know why I bother asking because the fact is you have no way of knowing what was actually the case. All you can do is offer baseless assumptions. It's rediculous.

    You asked "why on earth would he calibrate a machine he doesn't sell to compare with one he does". He was asked, by an Infocus rep, to consider selling the Infocus line and gave him the 4805 for evaluation. That is common business practice. He calibrated the 4805, compared it to the H30 (the only other projector he offered in the entry-level range), liked the H30 better, and told the Infocus rep 'no thanks'. It is no different than when he initially evaluated the Optoma H30; except he decided to carry that line.

    It is also irritating when people pass off the opinions of others as their own. How can you have a valid opinion regarding the two projectors when you have only seen one of them? Maybe when the H31 vs 4805 thread fires up at the AVS forum you can come back here to tell us the opinion of the folks at the AVS forum; which I am sure you will adopt as your own.
     
  14. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    LOL!!! I am not even going to ask what you are talking about!!

    Maybe re-read what I said.....on second thought....don't bother....I wouldn't want you to get irri...never mind...

    And where do you get off saying I pass info off as my own?? Again...read my posts. I suggested the OP go to AVS to find some more info to read. I never said .....this is where I get my info and I am going to use it as my own. When I made a list of some of the positives and negatives....these are all common characteristics of EACH brand. None of them were PQ issues that one would gain by looking at the 2 images they produce. I was talking about things like noise, build quality, common calibration issues, deinterlacer, lens shift. I was not talking about PICTURE QUALITY. If I were able to view a H31 I would have but since I did not I posted what is known about it other than PQ. Again read before you comment. If you would have done that in the fist place your irritation could have been avoided.
    I am also not the one who said one is better than the other. I actually said that eventually the H31 should be better once it has been put through its' paces a bit but it is still very new. When you say one is better than the other than you should expect a differing opinion on an open forum. But again....re-read what I posted and you will see I NEVER said that THE 4805 was BETTER than the H31. I don't know why on earth anyone can be offended.
    Oh yeah....before I add you to my ignore list......you still didn't state which projector you own. Maybe you can suggest it to the OP since you own it and didn't just view a bunch of different ones for "a few hours". I know I would rather get opinions about machines from a person who has owned and has a lot of experience with one or a person who works with them. Not a person hanging out in a shop for a couple of hours....
     
  15. PeterMano

    PeterMano Stunt Coordinator

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    There's some major fanboyism going on in this thread, not to mention major misinformation. A higher contrast ratio is not going to yield more accurate color.

    Auditioning projectors and claming one projector easily beat a similarly speced projector just leads me to believe the person is talking out their ass and attemtping to justify their own purchase.

    I have complaints about my 4805 but PQ is not one of them. The infocus 4805 needs no defense from me. Enough reviews attesting to its honest specifications, accurate grey scale tracking and well calibrated out of the box settings speak for themselves. How the h30, a projector with OTB settings that vary with each unit, greyscale tracking not on a par with the 4805 could possibly beat the 4805's picture in every aspect is beyond me.

    People can search the net for reviews from impartial third parties, or put their stock in a guy who auditioned projectors back to back, whatever the hell that means. Imo, it means virtually squat. A lot of guys buy projectors that yield the biggest pop, not the most accurate picture and the electronics chains know this, that's why the contrast settings on sets are always cranked to the max.

    People need to make thier own informed decisions, bring test material with them to a dealer and arrive at what best suits them.
     
  16. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    Very well said Peter and I apologize to you and the rest of the viewers of this thread for my part in this "debate". I will no longer partake in it as things got carried away.

    Sid, to get back to you and your question. When viewing DVD's or basicaly any other source the resolution should be the same. If there is a difference it will be soooo slight you probably will not notice. Especially if you sit the 2x the screen width away....which you should with any 480p projector. They should yield similar images as they use the same Darkchip and the same colorwheel. I would not hesitate to highly recommend either projector. If you get the chance to audition one than like Peter said.....bring material you are familiar with. If you can't audition either one than go with the one you feel most comfortable with and buy from an authorized dealer with a good return policy just in case. I am not sure of any Optoma dealers but TVAuthority is a forum sponcer and they have a GREAT policy and deals on Infocus products. Good luck to you.
     
  17. SidBrown

    SidBrown Auditioning

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    Thank you all so much for this information. My goodness it was just a wealth of knowldge and so important. I didn't compare the H31 to the 4085, but I was able to comapre in my on space with varying degrees of ambient light the H31 and the Mitsubishi HC3.

    I know this is slightly different from my original proposition, but these were the two I was able to get my hands on. The HC3 is LCD and the colors are richer and it's much brighter - but I was just absolutely stunned - STUNNED with the detail of the H31.

    I'm not loyal to either projector - but I was just absolutely stunned at the detail that I could see from the H31 and absolutely forgot it as being projected on a wall in the the conference room at my job at 5:00PM - the room has 5 windows with mini-blinds. Although closed, I couldn't believe how ambient light didn't stop the detail.

    My test were three movies on DVD - Matrix Reloaded, The Last Samurai and Ninja Scroll. Particularly in the Matrix Reloaded in the first chapter "Trinity's In", I could see every shard of glass that broke free as she crashed through the window backwards: two words - IN-SANE. And I still couldn't believe this was on a wall with sunlight creeping through the mini-blinds.

    The only advantage I found with HC3 is that it's picture throw was a lot wider. You don't need to be as far back to produce a large image vs the H31.
     
  18. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I really think the H31 is just going to give more of the WOW factor than the Mits. Whenever someone sees my setup they get angry when I tell them I got the projector and screen for under $1000 because they just shelled out $2000+ for a "small screen" tv. Sure FP is not for everyone, but if more people saw what is possible with it I think it will change sales quite a bit......and maybe make some of those t.v's with rediculous prices drop some.
    I know the projector still looked decent with ambient light but remember that ambient light effects the blacks first. Digital projectors do not produce black. whatever the shade is of the suface is that you are projecting on....that will be the "blackest" it will get. Good luck to you one whichever model you choose.
     

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