Projectors

Optoma HD8600 Single-Chip 1080p DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

I had hoped since the HD8600 allows shift below the lens axis I would be able to install the projector on my high shelf. Unfortunately it was a little too high so I was forced to invert. In this configuration, the image can be shifted up to 110% above the lens axis. If you want to use a shelf it must be at least 20% below the top of the screen. Getting the projector aligned and focused was made more difficult due to the all-manual controls for focus, zoom and shift. A motorized system offers more precision and convenience. In the end I had a very sharp image that filled my 92-inch screen nicely.

After 50 hours of burn in to settle the bulb, I spent an afternoon exploring the large set of calibration options available. I took particular note of the color management system which allows adjustment of the five color space options individually. The HD8600’s picture modes can all be independently calibrated. The two ISF modes contain all the same controls as the other picture presets. I started in the User mode for my adjustments. After adjusting the brightness and contrast levels, I turned to the Optoma’s unique gamma control system. There are four presets all of which can be modified. I chose the Film option and worked the curve and offset sliders until I had flat tracking of 2.2. White balance was equally simple to adjust and when I was done, I had superb grayscale tracking with errors all below 1 Delta E. I also set the manual iris to 4 out of 9 steps (9 being the maximum opening). A nice feature of the iris controls is you can set the peak output with the manual iris then turn on the auto iris for greater contrast and lower black levels.

I wrapped up the calibration with the Optoma’s unique color management system. Rather than the saturation and hue controls I’m accustomed to, you can move the six color points along the x and y axes of the CIE triangle. This is a very slick and easy way to adjust the gamut. The only thing missing is a luminance or brightness control. For me, correct color brightness is as important as correct color points and I was sorry to see this adjustment omitted. I was able to get all the colors spot-on except cyan. I ran out of room before it hit the mark. This appeared to be due to the under-luminance of the green primary. If I’d had the ability to tweak this, I believe cyan would have been more accurate. I was glad to see the different color gamuts could be independently calibrated. Having the SMPTE-C option means you can watch DVDs in the color space they were mastered in. I calibrated this in addition to the HD (Rec 709) preset.