Optoma HD8200 - Physical Tour
3/29/09 - Art Feierman
Optoma HD8200 Physical Appearance
The HD8200 is a physically good looking, medium sized home theater projector with a black piano finish.
The center mounted manual zoom lens, surrounded by a chrome looking trim ring, is slightly recessed. Along the bottom front, are mostly recessed wheels to control zoom, vertical and horizontal lens shift. There is no control panel, but a power switch (and an IR sensor for the remote) are located on the left side (looking from the front). The door for the lamp is hidden nicely on the side of the HD8200 as well. That means if you are ceiling mounting, you can change out the lamp, without having to remove the HD8200 from its mount.
The inputs and outputs are located in the back, recessed significantly from the top panel, to hide much of the cabling.
HD8200 Projector - Control Panel
There is no control panel. The remote control is, other than power on/off, the only way to control the projector (other than the RS-232 port for control by computer or room control system.
Optoma provides a separate credit card sized remote as well, which is attached magnetically to the bottom of the projector and can be used if the main remote is misplaced.
Optoma HD8200 Inputs and Outputs
The HD8200 is basically a little better equipped than the standard home theater projector. It has two HDMI 1.3 inputs, and in addition, a DVI-D input which can be used for a third HDMI source. The image immediately below may look a little strange. I shot the image with the projector upside down, then flipped the image. You can see the full input panel, and also the holder for the back-up, credit card sized remote control:
In addition, there's a VGA analog computer input (which can alternately be used as a component video input. There is also a standard component video input, the usual S-video and composite video, and the RS-232 for remote command and control. Finally, there are two 12 volt (screen trigger) outputs. Why two? You could use one to control a motorized screen's up and down functions, and the other to control a lens sled for an anamorphic lens, or a motorized masking system. Basically you've got two 12 volt signals to "spread around" as needed.
Optoma HD8200 Menus
Classic Optoma menus, and they are well laid out. The Optoma HD8200's Image Menu is the first main menu. It handles just about everything image related except lamp settings, and things more setup oriented.
There are layers of menus. Selecting Advanced, from the Image menu brings up options such as access to the individual RGB settings, dynamic iris settings, color temperature and gamma choices.
The Display menu offers overscan and edge masking options along with digital vertical image shift and keystone adjustment (avoid using keystone correction).
The System menu, shown here, handles lamp controls, their Image AI, setup of the 12 volt screen triggers, background color, and even a couple of test screens.
Finally, there is the Setup menu, it includes, among other items, menu language choices, selection of the high altitude fan mode, and an auto power off feature (if no source signal). In addition there is a Reset for that screen, or the entire projector (be careful!)
Optoma HD8200 Remote Control
Overall, the HD8200's main remote is nicely laid out. Strangely, if I have one complaint, it is almost blindingly bright in a dark room. It can actually be bright enough, when trying to make minor adjustments, to make it hard to see subtle changes. I have to settle for holding the remote so that the lighting faces away from me, using the light to find the appropriate button, but then working from touch.
Since the Optoma remote lights up, with the touch of any key, you can't use it with the blue LED lighting off, as you can on some other remotes.
In fairness, as a reviewer, I'm constantly playing with settings, so I'm sure I use the remote control quite a bit more than the average owner.
A typical user primarily gets things set up, and uses the remote very little except for powering up/down, and changing the picture modes.
The HD8200's remote has separate buttons at the top, for Power on, and Power off. There are direct access buttons for common image settings like brightness and contrast, as well as buttons for iris control, and lamp mode. In addition, still above the navigation section are a pair of buttons for digitally moving the image up or down on the screen. An example of using that might be to lower the projected image of a letterboxed movie, so the bottom of the actual movies is flush with the bottom of the screen surface.
Next comes the navigation area, with four arrow keys in a round configuration, with Enter button in the center, and the menu button to the lower left. The picture mode button is across from it in the lower right. There are two buttons one for each 12 volt screen trigger. You might use one of them for a motorized screen, the other for controlling a masking system or the motorized sled for an anamorphic lens.
Below all that are buttons for different aspect rations, and finally, six direct source buttons.
Overall, it's a really well laid out remote, and has very good range. Just don't forget your sunglasses!
HD8200 Lens Throw
The Optoma's 1.5:1 zoom lens will allow you to place the projector as close as 10.9 feet from a 100 inch screen (measured from the front of the lens), or as far back as 16.6 feet. This range is fine for ceiling mounting. Those with larger screens, relative to room depth, should have no trouble rear shelf mounting. Those with deeper rooms and smaller screens probably will not be able to shelf mount. For example, if you go with a 110" screen size, it will work shelf mounting, if your room is no more than about 21 feet deep: 16.6 feet x 1.1 (for the larger screen size), + 19 inches of depth puts the back of the projector about 10 inches from your back wall (assuming your screen surface is two inches off the front wall.
HD8200 Lens Shift
I've spoken about the HD8200's lens shift earlier. Here are the numbers for the working range. The HD8200 has very limited horizontal lens shift, which is fairly typical. It's shift is measured in inches, not feet, good if you need to mount the projector slightly off of the center point of your screen horizontally. Assuming you don't use any horizontal offset, then for a 100 inch diagonal screen, the projector can be mounted as low (measured from the center of the lens), as 17 inches below the bottom of the screen surface). The more horizontal shift you use, the more it limits the vertical movement (and vice versa).
The "problem" with the HD8200 is that it's lens shift is not balanced. While there's a lot of lens shift available to allow the projector to be placed well below the screen bottom, the opposite is NOT true.
As it turns out, with the projector in the normal "right-side up" position used for shelf mounting, the bottom of the image can only be placed slightly below the center of the lens. As such, you cannot shelf mount the projector any higher than a few inches above the bottom of the screen.
And since most folks will have the bottom of their screen 24 - 44 inches above the floor, the projector cannot be placed high enough so that it is above eye level, or for that matter, much above waist level. This means that, yes, you can put the HD8200 on a shelf, but you'll be walking through the projected image if you pass in front of the projector.
Bottom line on the HD8200 projector's lens shift, therefore, is that it still isn't practical for rear shelf mounting in the traditional sense. As previously pointed out, the lens thow is such that the majority of people will not be able to place the projector on a rear shelf because their room is too deep, but to the point, even those who have a suitable room depth relative to the screen size they want, won't want to shelf mount the projector, say 36 or 50 inches off the floor.
In other words, the HD8200 despite lens shift, still isn't really viable for rear shelf mounting.
HD8200 Anamorphic Lens
Yes, the HD8200 supports an anamorphic lens and motorized åsled. Having the two 12 volt triggers should be helpful, in terms of controlling the sled.