Optoma HD806 - Performance
12/15/2008 - Art Feierman
Optoma HD806 Brightness
The HD806 is an interesting projector when it comes to brightness. There is no really significant difference between the various preset modes, and strangely Cinema is the brightest of the modes.
Below are the brightness measurements for each of the Preset modes, plus one for User, which is the post calibration measurement. For each, the color temperature for white (100 IRE) is shown after the lumen measurement. The presets below were measured with lamp on full brightness:
Cinema: 1623 lumens @ 6594K
Bright: 1475 lumens @ 6496K
TV: 1330 lumens @ 7868K
sRGB: 1534 lumens @ 6557K
User: 1746 lumens @ 6447K
Post calibration, User mode (set up for best viewing), still yielded 1455 lumens.
Switching to low lamp, we remeasured the User mode, and came up with:
1393 lumens @ 6691K. That's a decrease in brightness of just over 20%. That 20% drop (for eco-mode) should be consistent, regardless of which preset mode you are using.
The HD806 has the option of auto (dynamic) iris, or fixed iris. Below are three measurements taken (User mode), with different fixed iris settings, to give you an idea of the brightness range:
Iris on 0= 1746
Iris on 8= 1437
Iris on 16= 680
Pre calibration we measured these color temperatures (target is 6500K) over the grayscale range, for User mode:
30 IRE (dark gray) – 6412K
50 IRE – (medium gray) - 6503K
80 IRE – (light gray) - 6528K
100 IRE – (white) - 6465K
The HD806 looks very good, both in terms of measured color temperature, and when viewed. More information is provided in the calibration section.
A sharp image has long been a strong point of Optoma projectors. The HD806 projector, which shares the same optics as other Optoma 1080p projectors, is definitely very sharp.
I found the default sharpness setting (7) to oversharpen, leaving the usual ghosts along bright lines against dark or vice versa. I liked the projector better with sharpness reduced to 3, maybe 4 on the menus.
The Optoma's sharpness gives the projected image a lot of depth, especially digital source material, be it a high def sporting event, or your favorite HDTV informational channel content, including Discovery HD, History Channel (HD), and so on. I've got the Giants vs. Cowboys Sunday night game on now, while writing, and it looks really crisp and clear. I know that neither my JVC RS1, or Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB is quite as sharp, not that I complain about either.
Close up of a computer monitor, from Space Cowboys (Blu-ray). Left to right: HD806, Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, Sanyo PLV-Z700, and Mitsubishi HC5500. Only the BenQ does a visibly better job. The HD806 is one of the sharper 1080p projectors out there.
Optoma HD806: Bottom Line Sharpness
Your content is the determining factor, not he HD806, when it comes to having a sharp image. The better the source material, the sharper the HD806 looks. There may be some much higher end projectors (with optics that cost more than the entire Optoma) that might be even sharper, but other than that, the HD806 projector can hold its own with anything anywhere near its price, including the very sharp BenQ and Mitsubishi projectors as well. It had the advantage over the Epson and Panasonic competition, and I might give it the slightest edge over the Sanyos.
All considered, though, I consider sharpness differences between most 1080p projectors to definitely be at the most, a secondary consideration.
There is light reflecting off of the lens internals, that puts some curved streaks of light in long curves, outside of the projected image. It's a little worse on the right, than left. The light isn't however as bright as the blacks. It's spottable on light colored walls, but nothing you wil notice while you are enjoying a movie.
Overall image noise performance is very good, using the HQV test disk. The Optoma did well on all the standard jaggie and standard motion artifacts tests. There is some slight background image noise, but at levels typical of DLP projectors. Overall, performance is more than fine enough for this projector's targeted usage.
The HD806 is, like most DLP projectors, on the high side of noisy, among home theater projectors. Those who are very noise conscious will generally not consider the HD806 to be acceptable for movie viewing, when in full power or Auto iris modes. Noise levels are better, though in low lamp mode. And for many, the HD806 has plenty of brightness in low lamp mode.
The real problem, however, is the noise the dynamic iris makes. It's a gravelly clicking sound for several seconds, which happens perhaps only a couple or three times a minute, due to the slow iris design. It is far more distracting than the fan would ever be. As a result, for movie viewing, most may want to not use it. I don't mind a little noise, but it's too much for me.
Bottom line: The Optoma HD806 is one of the noisier projectors for home theater, but it shares a lot of company where it is, most being very similar. For a family room environment, it's probably just dandy. Make your own call, regarding using the dynamic iris, if it bothers you.