Optoma HD33 3D DLP Projector


Setup of the Optoma HD33 3D DLP Projector

Installation required a bit more planning than usual. Without lens shift and a large zoom range, I had fewer options for placement. I finally settled on a small stand just in front of my chair with the projector right-side-up. Image offset is fixed at 116%, meaning the projector has to be 16 percent of the screen height below the bottom edge to line up. Zoom range is also small at 1.5-1.8 to 1 so I had to set the distance carefully. It would be best to ceiling-mount the HD33 I think. Once I had the image lined up, focus was fairly easy with the large ring on top. The zoom and focus controls interact so it will take a bit of back-and-forth to get things just right.

After burning in the bulb for 60 hours it was time to see what’s on the menu. If you’ve worked with Optoma projectors before, you’ll be instantly familiar. The first section is called Image and contains all the picture adjustments. Everything you need is there except for a color management system. Gain and bias controls are present for all primary colors along with an interesting gamma adjustment. Rather than a multi-point system, you select from four curve types, then fine-tune with a setting called offset. It’s a unique approach to setting gamma but fortunately, I didn’t have to tweak too much to get good results. Also in the Image menu are the PureEngine options. These are PureDetail, a form of edge enhancement; PureColor, which appears to adjust overall saturation; and PureMotion, Optoma’s frame interpolation system. This can be set to low, medium or high. The HD33’s max refresh rate is 120Hz. If you leave PureMotion off as I did, 24p material is shown using a 5:5 cadence with repeated frames.

The next menu, Display, has the aspect ratio control. Besides 16:9, there is a mode for anamorphic lenses as well as Native, which turns off any scaling, 4:3 and Auto. There is also a SuperWide mode which requires a 2.0:1 screen. This will cause some information to be cut off the sides on 2.35:1 content, and the top and bottom with 1.78:1 content. It also softens things a bit; but if you really hate black bars, it’s a viable option. Also in the Display menu is edge masking, zoom, vertical shift and keystone correction which you should avoid if possible as it reduces resolution. Finally, there is a 3D section which lets you manually select side-by-side, top-and-bottom or frame-packed formats. You can also swap the left and right images if your glasses get out of sync. This never happened to me.

The final two menus, System and Setup, include convenience adjustments like input disable, lamp power, language and the like. You can choose where the menu will appear if you like. There is a Signal sub-menu which helps to sync up with a computer-based source. Turning on the high altitude mode increases fan speed to provide extra bulb cooling. There is an auto power-off option which will shut down the projector after a selectable period of no-signal input. Finally, the Reset option returns all settings to factory defaults.

Calibration was quite easy. In fact, it was one of the fastest installations I’ve ever done. I used the Cinema mode as my starting point as it was pretty close to the mark. After dialing in brightness and contrast, I adjusted the grayscale. It tracked so well, it literally took me five minutes to achieve the result you see in the benchmarks. Gamma was equally simple requiring just one click of the offset control to get the average number to an excellent 2.29. My only complaint was the green luminance. For some reason this was quite low even though the other primaries were nearly perfect. I could see in test patterns that green seemed a bit pale but in actual content, it wasn’t really a problem. The HD33’s prodigious light output is probably responsible for hiding this flaw. Even with the contrast set at -10, max white was a very bright 29fL. If you want better blacks, a neutral density filter would help since there’s some headroom at the upper end of the luminance scale.