Optoma H27 – Overview

Pixels were not really visible at 12 feet on a 98″ diagonal image (my other screen size), although you can just barely spot them on large bright (stationary) areas – mostly white – such as clouds, if you are looking for them! This means you can sit much closer than any of the LCD projectors of the same WVGA resolution. For general purposes, I would say that to avoid seeing the pixels, you’ll want to be sitting back about 1.5 times your screen diagonal. (100″ diagonal screen x 1.5 = 150″ or 12.5 feet). Many won’t mind sitting closer – say as close as 10, maybe even 9 feet away!

Flesh tones, as mentioned previously, come out very natural looking, with only the minor changes in settings that comes of calibrating with the Avia disk. The two shots here from the Hi-Def DVHS tape of the Hawaian Tropic contest do have the flesh tones coming out a bit dark, but that was more of my digital camera’s fault than the projected image. In both cases the backdrop was much brighter than the foreground, and the camera compensated appropriately. Had the camera captured the flesh tones properly, then the white dress and background of waves would have been blown out. Watching live, both looked very, very good.

What we really have here, in the Optoma H27, is an entry level priced home theater projector, that performs – well – like a far more expensive projector – much like their own H78DC3, an InFocus 7210, or similar projectors, but without the 720p resolution. But it does this for about 1/4 – 1/5 the cost of these higher end projectors. If you are sitting far enough back so that seeing pixels (screendoor) is a non issue, then this projector, really becomes a great deal.

Of course next year we’ll have new, higher resolution DVD’s – either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray, both 720p resolution. And of course, today, you can enjoy HDTV with 1080i resolution. The Optoma H27 projector won’t be as sharp on these sources as the more expensive projectors, but it sure is great to be able to enjoy similar overall picture quality – color hanlding, saturation, black levels, etc!

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Black levels and Shadow Detail

With Optoma’s AI engaged, the projector claims a dazzling 4000:1 contrast ratio, which should translate into excellent blacks and the ability to resolve details in dark areas. We put the Optoma projector against the InFocus Screenplay 4805, and found it to excel in these areas. Technically, if you are a purist, you may find some fault with contrast enhancing AI, for it is altering the original content. Of course, all projectors alter the original content, in that they cannot perfectly reproduce it due to limitations in projector design. My point is, overall contrast enhancement AI circuitry seems to be of significant benefit, and some of the best selling home theater projectors use it. Considering the rock bottom price of the H27 projector ($999 street price?), and the much greater image quality limitations of competing products, Optoma’s AI is a very good thing!

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