Posted on October 12, 2014 By Art Feierman
With companies like Optoma bringing the price of true full HD – 1080p resolution down to the $600 price range, sometimes I wonder why folks bother to buy LCDTVs. OK, we do know the reason – LCDTV’s are relatively easy. In the old days, home projectors – rather home theater projectors, demanded very dark rooms to produce a respectable picture, or as we like to describe them – a dedicated home theater or cave. Those rooms ideally had dark walls, ceilings and floors. After all, most home theater projectors produced 900 lumens or less at their brightest.
But, home entertainment projectors now proliferate from $399 (for lower resolution 720p), up to the $2000 price range, and we’re even seeing some very serious home entertainment projectors that can cost $5000 and up. What they have in common, is a lot of brightness, so that they can function well in rooms that aren’t really dark – we’re talking your family room, living room, a spare bedroom, basement, or bonus room.
The Optoma HD141X claims a massive 3000 lumens, that’s over 4 times my expensive but now 5 year old JVC “home theater” projector that was $7999 new, and measured less than 900 lumens at its very brightest. (In truth, I rarely ever use that projector anymore since I always have multiple newer projectors here for review.)
The point being that while you might still want a very dark room for critical movie viewing, that’s not normally the case for sports viewing, or watching your favorite sitcom.
OK, so what’s this HD141X have? I mean, I described it as entry level, but it does have a couple of step up features.
It’s got a gaming mode, and as I expected, some pretty low input lag numbers (important for serious gamers). Details on that in our summary.
It has two HDMI inputs, which is no surprise since virtually every projector has at least one. Of note though, is the hot new trend, which is having an HDMI port that supports MHL – which we can call “mobile HDMI”, as it allows projectors to get smart, that is connected, with devices such as Roku sticks for streaming content from the web.
It’s got some respectable sound built in, which when you also consider MHL, makes it easy to go portable, say for an outdoor movie night.
There’s a manual zoom lens – with limited zoom range, but enough to fine tune the position of this projector to your screen, so you can easily fill the screen.
The remote control is backlit, a real plus when you are watching a movie and the room is dark.
Below are some photos giving you an idea of what the HD141X is capable of. Note please that with a street price that’s mostly at $599, we realize that people aren’t going to buy an HD141X, and then separately spend $300 to $500 to have it calibrated for best picture. That considered we didn’t calibrate this projector. The images you are seeing below are taken with settings right out of the box, except for minor adjustment of brightness and contrast, which anyone can do quickly.
The first three images in this photo player, were taken when I first fired up the projector, which means it was in what Optoma calls Vivid mode. If this were an LCDTV, that would probably be the equivalent of many LCDTVs “store mode”, which is to say, the settings are tweaked for a very “vivid” image, one that’s not as natural as an ideal one, but one that can look extremely good when you have ambient light present.
First thing that came on my satellite box to be viewed on the HD141X turned out to be a pre-game show for Thursday Night Football. My room had the rear window shutters mostly open, yet the Optoma HD141X did a very respectable job punching up an almost 100″ diagonal image in Vivid mode. Bright mode was brighter, but not needed, especially since Bright/Dynamic modes are famous for ugly color.
I then took a few other images in Cinema mode and Standard mode. I won’t break those out for you now, but later. Let’s say that without me shuttering the windows a lot more, Vivid mode was the way to go.
The Optoma HD141X projector picks up one of our Special Interest Awards. It’s particularly strong for gaming, has MHL for the “cut the cord” (to cable/satellite) crowd, and offers overall solid performance despite the rock bottom price for a 1080p home entertainment projector!
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