Optoma HD806 - Competitors
How does the Optoma HD806 compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?
12/15/2008 - Art Feierman
This section compares the Optoma HD806 home theater projector to the competition. Here you will find our impressions of the Optoma projector as it stacks up to existing projectors we have reviewed, and a couple that are about to ship, and not yet reviewed.
HD806 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB
True, the Epson is officially discontinued this month (12/2008), but one can expect them to be available at some dealers for the next few months. The pricing on the Epson closeout puts it no higher than the Optoma's pricing.
The Epson, my favorite "lower cost" 1080p projector for the last year, may not have anywhere near the brightness in best movie mode as the HD806, but can match it lumen for lumen in brightest mode. The Optoma will have the more color accurate picture when both are at maximum lumens, but that's when it's less critical. The Optoma has a bit sharper image.
While we see the HD806 as a family room projector where at least a little ambient light is almost always present, and moderate amounts are common, we see the Epson as projector equally at home in a fully darkened room as a family room.
The one area where movie watchers might favor the Optoma is for large screen use. True, Epson has multiple movie modes, and Theater has a fair amount of lumens, even in that mode, about 125 inch diagonal is about as far as you can push it without going to the lower image quality bright modes. The Optoma, on the other hand, in its best mode, would hardly consider a 128" screen a challenge to fill, if the room is fully darkened.
That said, the Epson has phenomenal black level performance so highly prized for movie viewing, while the Optoma isn't bad, with its (for most) too noisy to use dynamic iris on, but with the dynamic iris off, it's not even remotely in the game, compared to the Home Cinema 1080 UB.
Placement flexibility is an Epson strength, and their two year warranty comes with an overnight replacement program, compared to the Optoma's standard two year warranty.
Optoma HD806 vs. Mitsubishi HC5500
The Mitsubishi's impressively bright (compared to most) best mode of over 600 lumens isn't even in the ballpark when compared to the HD806 which is at least twice as bright. When you need maximum lumens, the Optoma doesn't get any brighter than best mode, while the Mitsubishi jumps to 1061 lumens, still less than 2/3 the brightness. Of course we measure 3LCD projectors (HC5500) with the zoom at mid-point. If you ceiling mount the HC5500 at the closest position, you'll get an extra couple hundred lumens, but it still comes up short.
Both projectors are roughly the same street price, but target a different home audience, with the Mitsubishi a very good movie projector in dark rooms on average sized screens, and the Optoma being a "light cannon" for HDTV/TV and Sports viewing.
Both have two year warranties. The Mitsubishi has two additional advantages. If you don't need the all the lumens it offers for movie viewing, its low power lamp mode extends lamp life to 5000 hours. The other advantage, is of course, the huge difference in placement flexibility that is so typical when you put a 3LCD projector up against a DLP projector.
Optoma HD806 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z700
The Sanyo is far less expensive as the least expensive 1080p projector around, and it, being a 3LCD projector, wins the placement flexibility battle hands down. Black level performance between these two probably isn't too far apart, even with the Optoma's noisy dynamic iris turned off.
When push comes to shove, though, it's a very bright Optoma HD806 vs. a Sanyo projector that is well below average in brightness. Other than from a price standpoint, it's hard to imagine that anyone would have both of these on their short list, considering the strengths of the Sanyo for movie watching and the Optoma for bright viewing of sports and TV.
Optoma HD806 vs. BenQ W5000
DLP vs DLP. The BenQ has a placement advantage thanks to adjustable vertical lens shift, which gives you placement height flexibility, as well as in many rooms, the ability to rear shelf mount.
When it comes to picture quality for movie watching, the BenQ definitely has the advantage. When it comes to sports and TV/HDTV viewing with ambient light present, the Optoma has the advantage of being about 400 lumens brighter.
Enthusiasts and purists will definitely favor the BenQ W5000, especially since the excessive image noise issue found in our early review unit has been solved with newer firmware that's been out for months now.
Optoma HD806 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6100
I'll reserve judgement on this shoot-out until I've reviewed the Epson in the next couple of weeks (late December 2008). To take a guess though, my money is on the Epson overall. I expect it to beat the black level performance of the HD806, as users will engage its dynamic iris.
When it comes to sports and general HDTV/TV viewing, the Epson almost certainly will match the Optoma lumen for lumen, making it just as versatile in a family room with ambient light present. Of course, the Epson Home Cinema 6100 is a "classic" 3LCD projector, with lots of the placement flexibility the Optoma lacks.
As an added benefit for the Epson, it is likely to be slightly less expensive, with an MSRP of only $1999!
HD806 vs. InFocus IN82
An interesting comparison. The InFocus is almost as bright as the Optoma projector, but is a more refined projector, and overall, better for movie viewing. The HD806's noisy dynamic iris is loud enough to have most people not want to use it, and its slow operation, often in the middle of scenes, probably will convince the rest to skip it.
When it comes to watching sports with a fair amount of ambient light present, the Optoma has the advantage, and for most non-movie HDTV/TV as well. The advantage, however is small.
The InFocus IN82 is the better choice if you can fully darken your room for movie viewing.
The big advantage of the Optoma is that it is significantly less expensive than the InFocus.
Optoma HD806 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
Different strokes for different folks. Once again, the Optoma is at its best in a family room or other setting, dealing with ambient light. In this regard, it is brighter than the Panasonic.
The other advantages of the Optoma, are a lower street price, an extra year warranty, and a slightly sharper image.
After that, however, it's all Panasonic PT-AE3000. It ultimately has better color accuracy, much better black level performance, and all those extra goodies like 96/120 fps support with creative frame interpolation. If you are into movies, and image critical, it's no contest. If you don't need the lumens of the HD806, consider the HD80/HD8000 Optoma's with their faster color wheels, lower lumen output but slightly better overall image quality. Those are more direct competitors to the Panasonic than the HD806.
NEXT: Optoma HD806 warranty