Projectors

Optoma HD8200 Single-chip 1080p DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

The HD8200 is a single-chip DLP projector using Texas Instruments’ .65-inch DarkChip 3 device. The lamp is 220 watts with a rated output of 1300 ANSI lumens. The case is simply styled with a piano-black top panel and a horizontal grill pattern around the sides. The two front feet are independently adjustable. The lens is centered in the chassis with rings to handle focus and zoom adjustments. The only other control on the projector itself is a power button. There are LED indicators for Power, Lamp and Temp. The rear panel has a full compliment of inputs: two HDMI 1.3 (with deep color support), one DVI (HDCP compliant), one VGA (15-pin D-sub), and one each of component, S-Video and composite. Also included are two 12V trigger outputs and an RS-232 control port. IR signals are picked up by either a front or left side sensor and there is an IR transmitter on the front for use with Optoma’s Panoview motorized screens.

The remote is small and efficiently laid out. Discreet power controls are at the top followed by keys for brightness, contrast, Dynamic Black (iris), PureEngine, Brite Mode (lamp power) and vertical image shift. In the center is menu navigation and picture mode selection. Further down are overscan and edge mask buttons and controls for a motorized screen. The final block has discreets for the different aspect ratios and direct selection of inputs. The handset is fully backlit though most of the buttons have icons rather than text on them. The text labels are printed on the plastic face of the remote and therefore unreadable in the dark. The remote worked well however, bouncing its commands off the screen reliably. Also included is a tiny secondary remote with power buttons, menu navigation and an input toggle. This half-credit card sized unit snaps into the HD8200’s back panel and is designed as a backup.

Menu System & Options

The menu system of the HD8200 is logically laid out with nearly everything you need to produce a high-quality image in a wide variety of theater environments. The first sub-menu, Image, contains two pages of controls for all calibration adjustments. The first page has Picture Mode selection (Cinema, Bright, Photo, Reference and User), Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint and Sharpness. I couldn’t quite turn the Sharpness off as it defocused the image a bit. A setting of 2 was just right with no ringing present. The Advanced page has controls for Noise Reduction (not needed in my tests), Gamma, Color Temp presets, PureEngine, Dynamic Black (auto iris) and the RGB Gain/Bias adjustments. The PureEngine menu, which can also be accessed directly from the remote, contains a set of Optoma-specific image enhancements that include choices for Detail, Color and Motion. PureDetail adds edge enhancement which I found excessive. Even on the lowest setting, there was obvious ringing in a sharpness test pattern. The effect was more subtle on actual content. PureColor manipulates the brightness, contrast, color and tint to pump up the image’s vividness and saturation. The effect was pleasing on the first couple of settings but on 5, the maximum, the color looked overblown. PureMotion is Optoma’s take on frame interpolation with choices of Low, Medium or High. The different options govern how much of each frame is de-blurred. The Low setting had a noticeable effect and really increased the perceived resolution. Motion was much smoother as well. There were no artifacts that I could detect. Finally there is a PureEngine Demo option that lets you set up a split screen to compare the effects of the various PureEngine adjustments.

The Display sub-menu has all the options for aspect ratio to include 16:9 with no overscan, 4:3, Native (no scaling) and LBX for anamorphic lenses. Following that are controls for Overscan and Edge Mask. There are controls for Vertical Image Shift (digital, not actual lens shift) and Vertical Keystone. I always recommend avoiding the keystone correction as it does degrade image quality. The final control is called SuperWide. This is a zoom function that stretches the image proportionally to fill a 2.0:1 aspect screen. SuperWide can be set to Off, On or Auto in which the zoom is adapted to the different aspect ratios used in film content.

The System sub-menu lets you specify the menu location, the installation type, bring up focus grid and white-field test patterns, specify the no signal background color, and control the two 12V triggers. The B trigger can be set to fire when a 2.35:1 aspect signal is shown in order to activate an anamorphic lens sled, very cool! There is also a sub-menu for Lamp Settings which lets you choose the Bright Mode, view and reset the lamp hours, and turn on a lamp replacement reminder. This will warn you up to 30 hours before lamp replacement is needed. The final option is called Image AI. This varies the lamp power dynamically according to picture content. I found this effect a bit bizarre as the brightness pumping was very obvious. It also increases the fan noise noticeably.

The final sub-menu is called Setup. Here you can choose the menu language, disable unused inputs, engage the High Altitude mode to increase fan speed, set an Auto Power Off timer, change phase, timing, and other options for PC and analog signals and specify the color decoding matrix (RGB or YPbPr). Finally there is a factory reset that will return the HD8200 to its default settings.