Optoma has upped the bar with its release of the HD20 DLP Projector. This $999 projector is full 1080p, has more than enough inputs for most applications, and gets you into a front projection system for an unbeatable price.
Value shop for a power retractable screen and a mount and you’re only out around $1700. I know lots of people who have paid that (and more) for a 50-inch flat-panel TV.
The Optoma HD20 is white, has a lens cover, security bar (for locking the projector), and top controls. The body is constructed out of white plastic with grey highlights. The lens is mounted on the right (if the projector is upright and you are facing it) with a series of vents on the other side.
The unit feels well-built and sturdy. The top of the HD20 has everything you need to control it if you lose the remote or have the projector table mounted. There are dedicated source, power, and menu buttons along with directional controls for accessing and navigating the menus. There is a 1.2:1 manual zoom control near the lens.
The back of the HD20 sports a VGA input for HTPCs, composite and component video, and two HDMI inputs. There is a USB port as well as a 12-volt trigger for controlling a screen - a great feature at this price point. The bottom has three adjustable feet for leveling.
Setting up the HD20 is fairly straightforward. Make sure you visit the Optoma Web site to ensure you have the right throw distance for your screen.
The HD20 does have vertical image shifting but no true lens shift so you’ll want to make sure you have the right placement centered to the screen. The manual zoom is only 1.2:1 which is typical.
There is a feature in the Display menu called Edge Mask, which essentially cuts off the side/top/bottom of the image. This is great if you have some visual overscanning artifacts you sometimes find with settop boxes. It does not, however, take the place of a digital zoom. This really limits your placement options with the HD20 and should be taken into consideration. Also in the Display menu is Vertical Keystone. We highly recommend you stay way from any digital keystoning as it can add a number of artifacts.
The most important menu is Image, which has all the normal top level display controls like Brightness, Color, Contrast, Sharpness, etc. We recommend immediately switching the HD20 into Cinema mode and reducing the Sharpness as low as it will go. Depending on your ambient light, source device, and other considerations, your Brightness, Contrast, etc. settings will vary.
Click here to read the entire review on Audioholics.com.
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