Optoma EP1690 Widescreen Projector Review
EP1690 Projector Menus
Pressing the Menu button the projector, brings up the Main Menu, shown here, on the right. The EP1690‘s menus are organized into 4 groups: Image Display, Setup and Options.
Selecting the Image menu launches the menu you see immediately below, which allows you to control most of the settings that image picture quality.
First of these is Mode, which we discussed in the Image Quality section. Here you can choose between Bright, Cinema, Bright, TV (which many projectors might label Video), sRGB, and User Defined.
Of course you’ll find the usual Contrast, Brightness and Color (saturation). In addition there is a Tint control (only works from certain types of inputs, such as S-video, composite video…, Sharpness, and then there is the Advanced controls.
Here you can see the Mode selection menu, which appears close to the bottom of the screen when selected.
In the image below, you are looking at the Advanced sub-menu.
The Degamma setting adjusts the overall balance of the image in “brightness”, without affecting the birghtest and darkest areas, so basically it allows you to lighten or darken the mid areas. For movie viewing you normally select the darker gammas, such as film.
Next comes Brilliant Color, Texas Instruments image algorthm, for increasing the dynamics of the image. In reality it affects a number of aspects of the picture. From a practical standpoint it makes the image stand out – with what appear to be richer colors, etc. For typical business settings, settings of 8-10 are desireable. For movies, and videos more in the range of 3 or 4 work best, otherwise the image becomes “over the top.”
True Vivid is another enhancement feature, although I really didn’t get to spend any time with it, and used the default 0 setting.
RGB Gain and Bias, shown here, let’s you control the brighter and darker balance of Red Green and Blue, for calibrating the projector.
This is a common control on almost all home theater projectors and on most business projectors.
Moving right along, below is the main Display menu.
First is aspect ratio control, followed by digital zoom capability. There is a masking control as well, although I did not work with it. The Horizontal and Vertical Image shift are interesting tools. I’ll describe the Vertical for you, to give you an idea of usage. Imagine you are viewing a movie, that is the typical 2.35:1 aspect ratio. On normal 16:9 projectors you expect to see the top and bottom (approximately) 10% of the image on the screen to be black – letterboxed. With image shift you can move the viewable area up or down, if you moved it up, you would end up with 0% at the top of the screen and about 20% at the bottom.
So, why do that? Let’s say you have a motorized or pull-down screen which allows you to control how far down you drop the screen. You would be able to lower it only 80% of the way, so that the image would fill the entire visible part of the screen. Voila! No letterbox.
The Display menu also allows you to use keystone correction, to maintain a rectangular image, should your projector be positioned above or below the ideal placement, correcting the potential trapazoidal keystoning. Keystone correct degrades image quality slightly, using similar technologies to those used for compressing a higher resolution source.
The Setup Menu, controls menu language choices, type of projection (front, rear, table, ceiling mounting), and also a setting to toggle between 16:9 viewing and this DLP chip’s slightly “taller” 16:10 aspect ratio that better matches today’s widescreen laptops.
There is also the Volume control, and the ability to set a unique Projector ID for command and control of the EP1690′s features from a computer.
Lastly is the Options Menu, shown here.
Some of the features allow you to determine where the menus will appear on the screen, Source Lock, which chooses between the projector, when powering up, comes up set to the same source as the last usage, or to allow it to scan through all sources, and lock onto the first one it finds. There’s a high speed fan mode for high altitude use, to keep the projector running cool, and An Auto Power Off, which lets you set a time for the projector to turn off automatically, if there is no source, thus saving lamp life. This menu also has the manual control of lamp mote – Brite or Low Power, Lamp settings to reset the lamp counter when the lamp is replaced, and Security options. Lastly a projector Reset control returning the projector’s settings to the default. That about covers the menus.
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