Home Theater Projector Reviews:
Optoma HD8000 DLP Projector:
Summary, Pros, Cons
The HD8000 - finally an affordable, high quality projector you can buy from a local dealer who can install it, and help you get your media room or theater right.
Let's start with the award. I gave the HD8000's twin, the HD80 our Hot Product Award. In the case of the HD8000, ultimate performance really doesn't improve for the extra $500, but there is a longer warranty, and ISF calibration user areas.
Since, ultimately though, the HD80 gives you more bang for the buck, while the HD8000 will still be the right choice for many, I felt the Special Interest Award would be appropriate for the HD8000.
The best part is Optoma's marketing strategy: Optoma will sell the HD8000 only through local CEDIA dealers, and therein lies the value. This makes it a great choice if you are the person who just wants to find a really good projector solution, and hire a company to work with you and handle your installation - projector, cables, screen, audio, even lighting and motorized shades if you need them. If you are a DIY (do-it-yourselfer?), you aren't likely to work with those dealers, and will likely choose to buy the HD80 online, instead.
Optoma HD8000 projector, Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Optoma HD8000 Projector: Pros
- Slightly better than average brightness
- Fairly low price point
- A projector likely to be sold, and even displayed at many local dealers (it's so hard to find anywhere you can see an under $5000 projector, properly set up.)
- Very acceptable black levels
- Shadow detail is good
- Overall, very good picture quality (after adjustment)
- Support for ISF Day/Night calibration
- Optional Anamorphic Lens for those wanting a Cinemascope (2.35:1 aspect ratio) theater - with no letterboxing when watching movies
- Three digital inputs, including 2, HDMI 1.3 inputs - very impressive, especially for an "entry level" 1080p projector
- Very good (extensive) image control options on menus
- Good menu system
- Sealed light path, no filters to change or clean
- Fairly attractive, relatively small, projector
- Good value proposition
Optoma HD8000 Projector: Cons
- Placement flexibility: Limited zoom lens range (1.2:1)
- Placement flexibility: No adjustable lens shift at all
- "Out of the Box" color accuracy is not good, but very fixable
- Large lens offset, requires projector well above, or below screen surface - a problem for those with low ceilings (or normal ceilings, and larger screens)
- One of the louder projectors in full power lamp mode
- Lamp door on bottom, requires removal from a ceiling mount, to change out
- Remote has more limited range than most - hard to get a bounce off the screen in larger rooms
Optoma HD8000 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Lamp life
- Pixel visibility (for a DLP projector)
- Documentation (needs better, more, explanations of features)
- Placement flexibility is average (relative to most other DLP projectors, although some projectors are much, much, better)
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Optoma HD8000 Summary
The HD8000 is a projector aimed at a large market segment. It offers very impressive performance at a reasonable price. The "magic" though, is that it should prove to be readily accessable through local installing dealers. Because Optoma doesn't plan to make it available online, that also means that its likely that many local dealers will even be able to properly demonstrate one in their showrooms.
The key to getting the most out of the HD8000, I believe, is to get it properly set up. If your local dealer doesn't have a calibrator, they should at least be able to recommend one. Bottom line, you end up with a tuned projector that should easily impress everyone short of a video production engineer (and some of them, too).
The HD8000, when it comes to picture quality, is very well balanced. The HD8000 may not be the best at anything, such as shadow detail, black levels, skin tones, but it is good to very good at just about everything, with not a significant weakness anywhere.
This is what Optoma does, they provide a wide range of consistently competent, quality projectors. The HD8000 fits the role perfectly. Get out your checkbook, call your dealer, bring them over to see your room, and get your theater or media center, or family room done the way you want. The HD8000 should fit well for many of you.