Optoma HD806 - Physical Tour
12/15/2008 - Art Feierman
Optoma HD806 Physical Appearance
The HD806 projector looks like all the other 1080p projectors from Optoma. They all share the same box, although the HD81 and HD81-LV are finished in black, while the HD806 and the rest have a milky-white appearance. Facing the projector, the zoom lens is mounted to the left, and extends out from the front of the projector at the top, and is flush with the lower part of the projector which comes more forward that the top, thanks to its sloped front. The large chrome looking lens barrel turns for focus, while a zoom ring is recessed on the top back of of the lens barrel. An infra-red sensor for the remote control is mounted on the front, just below and to the center of the lens.
The control panel runs along the top back of the projector, and has a very bright red led light when the projector is off. When the projector is on, and there is no source being projected, several bright blue LED lights are lit. As soon as the Optoma HD806 locks onto a source, those lights all go out, so as not to affect the image. Powering down, has all the blue lights blinking, nice and brightly.
Below the front are two push button drop controlled adjustable feet. The buttons are actually located on the sides, just behind the front of the projector.
The input panel is located on the back of the HD806.
Hot air exits the projector on the right side (looking from the front). It throws quite a bit of hot air, angled to the rear, (which isn't a problem since the HD806 is not designed to be rear shelf mountable).
HD806 Projector - Control Panel
The control panel of the the Optoma HD806 is laid out in a straight line, on the top, along the back edge. This means that the menu keys are not laid out in the traditional diamond shape, which is unfortunate. That said, of course, you would normally be using the remote control, not the control panel, so it's not a big deal. The buttons have very bright blue LEDs that can partially light your room up, but they turn themselves off automatically when the projector is showing content. When you power down, they flash while the Optoma HD806 projector is cooling down, and it's almost an impressive light show.
On the far left, is the power switch (once for on, twice for off). Moving to the right, next is the Menu button, followed by the up and down arrows, then the left and right, and finally, the Enter key. The left arrow doubles as the Source select button when the menus aren't in use, and the right arrow, doubles as the re-sync button, primarily for locking on to a PC analog source.
Optoma HD806 Inputs and Outputs
The HD806 projector has the same complement of inputs and outputs as the other HD80xx projectors. There are actually three digital inputs; two HDMI 1.3 inputs, and a DVI input with HDCP compatibility. In addition, there are the usual S-Video (DIN plug) and composite video (RCA jack) inputs. The HD806 has one component video input as well (3 color coded RCA jacks).
Other connections include an RS232 serial port for control by a computer or room control system (and it should be usable for controlling the motorized sled for an anamorphic lens). There is also a 12 volt screen trigger.
Optoma HD806 Menus
Again, the Optoma HD806 takes its cues from the other HD80xx projectors.
The main image menu is first, and shown to the left.
The Modes include Cinema, Bright, TV, sRGB, and a User defined mode.
The Advanced option on this menu takes you to a second screen, which is shown below.
The Advanced menu features noise reduction control, gamma adjustment, the degamma modes including Film, Video Graphics and PC. True Vivid mode can boost the dynamics of the image, but can easily be over the top.
There are also controls for Edge Enhancement, and for stretching the black and white levels for more contrast.
The Color Temp area for calibration is found here, and you set the the individual color settings when in the Color Temp User mode. Selecting Color Temp, brings up this menu at the bottom of the screen.
Selecting User, brings up the individual color settings shown here.
Please note, none of the settings you see in the menu images reflect our post calibration settings that are found in the calibration section of this review.
The other main menus on the HD806 include Display, which has aspect ratio, Overscan control, for "overscanning" - zooming in slightly on the image to eliminate image noise that sometimes appears at the edges of TV and HDTV source material. There is also a separate edge mask, which, unlike overscan, still maintains 1:1 pixel matching, so using edge masking actually gets rid of those outside lines, by cropping the image slightly smaller.
The System Menu, has a variety of features, including where you want the menus positioned. and the projector's orientation (front rear, ceiling, table). From a performance standpoint, however, it also contains the Lamp settings - Bright Mode, on or off. If, however, you have Image AI engaged, the Bright Mode choice is not present.
The Iris control is also on this menu, giving you a choice of Auto, or manual (on manual, you can dial down the 17 step iris to the desired brightness). You will find our brightness measurements for 0 (wide open), 8, and 16 settings, in the section on Projector Brightness. The control for the 12 volt screen trigger is also on this menu.
The last menu is the Setup Menu, which contains choice of menu languages, Input Source, Source Lock (whether you want the projector to scan inputs to find a live one, or just come up pointing to the last source selected). Also on Setup are High Altitude mode, an Auto Power Off setting (projector automatically powers down if no source present), and a projector Reset.
Overall, the menu structure is pretty good. I favor having things like lamp controls and dynamic iris on the same menu as all the image controls, but few put it there. Navigating is quick. For some features you do end up going down three levels (to get to the individual color settings, for example). I've seen a lot worse, and while I like a few better, it's far closer to the best, than the worst. Not bad at all!
Optoma HD806 Remote Control
Optoma provides the same remote control used in the other HD80xx series projectors. The remote has very good range, which surprised me as I was not impressed with its range on previous models. Perhaps it has been improved or the IR sensor on the projector is more sensitive. The backlight comes on by pressing any key. It is a yellow green in color, and very easy to read.
Here's a quick rundown on the button layout:
Top left, all alone is the Off/On switch (press once for on, and two for off). Next come six buttons that provide direct control for Brightness, Contrast, Image-AI off on, Iris control Gamma, and Brite mode.
Right below them, are the Image Shift up and down buttons. For those not familiar, this allows you to move the image up or down the screen digitally. Consider: You are watching a typical movie with a lettter box at top and bottom on your 16:9 screen. With Image Shift, you could move the movie down so that the bottom of the actual movie is flush with the bottom of the screen, instead of being 6 - 10 inches above. This would give you double the letterbox at the top, but some will like this trick.
Then comes the classic arrow key configuration with a center Enter button. Just below on the right, is the Menu Button, and the Preset mode button is opposite on the right.
Overscan and Edge masking are just below.
After some space, you get four buttons for different aspect ratios. And lastly, six buttons for the six HD806 inputs!
The layout overall is good, but I find the menu button, even though easy to find by feel, to be very small and wedged between the arrow keys and the Overscan button. My guess is that Optoma doesn't expect consumers to spend much time in the menus, with so many direct access buttons above. For me, though, I'm constantly in the menus, while reviewing, and it was a little frustrating.
HD806 Lens Throw
This Optoma has a 1.2:1 zoom lens, which is typical for DLP projectors. This provides limited placement flexibility. We expect most owners will ceiling mount the projector.
To fill a 100 inch diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio screen, the HD806, as measured from the front of the lens, can be placed as close as 13.4 feet to the screen, as far back as 16.1 feet, or anywhere in between.
The limited placement range, and the lack of adjustable lens shift, preclude using the HD806 projector on a shelf in the back of a room, so typically, this projector will be ceiling mounted.
HD806 Lens Shift
The Optoma HD806 does not have adjustable lens shift. The projector's fixed shift places the projector below the screen when upright, or when inverted for ceiling mount, above the top of the screen.
For a 100 inch diagonal screen, that distance (above or below) is 17.6 inches. For larger or smaller screens you can compute the offset just by adjusting both numbers the same percentage.
HD806 Anamorphic Lens
According to the Optoma data sheet, the HD806 does support an anamorphic lens. The throw distances with an anamorphic lens are closest - 1.38x screen width, and 1.66x screen width for furthest placement. To get the correct aspect ratio for an anamorphic lens you would select the LetterBox aspect ratio.