Posted on October 12, 2014 Art Feierman
The Optoma HD141X projector has native 1080p resolution, aka Full HD. With a street price between $599 and $650 online, this DLP projector is suitable for movie viewing, HDTV, and gaming! It will even double as a business projector in a pinch.
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!
I find hard to digest the following statement: “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.”
Using the same logic the Benq W1070, Optoma HD131xe and others in the same VFM category shouldn’t have been calibrated either before the review. Calibration is mainly about correcting some errors in order to demonstrate the max capabilities of the projector regardless of who’s going to buy the projector and what will be used for. Furthermore without calibration any comparison between the HD141x and the HD131xe or W1070 is absolutely useless as they do not use the same calibrated greyscale nor colour gamut. I believe you should calibrate the HD141x and update the review, otherwise and according to your logic people shouldn’t buy any “cheap” projector as it is not even worth properly reviewing it and they should buy only very expensive ones or even better only Epson projectors that you seem to favor so much all those years. With respect.
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. – See more at: http://www.projectorreviews.com/optoma/optoma-hd141x-projector-review/#sthash.1wWvZGxL.dpuf
I agree with some of your points, and perhaps I could have better explained. Ideally we should calibrate every home projector. Not to find out how ultimately well it calibrates but to allow people who will not spend the money to calibrate their projectors to use our settings! They won’t be perfect since there is some variation from lamp to lamp, but it is often very helpful. Of course if a projector lacks full controls (as the HD141Xe lacks full grayscale controls), it won’t calibrate as well.
And, I realize, even with the least expensive projectors, some folks will be interested. But at some point, because we pay a professional calibrator, a fixed amount for each projector he calibrates (Mike), I have to decide where the value is.
As I see the BenQ W1070 as a projector with excellent color capabilities and one that makes a really good entry level “home theater” projector (vs home entertainment), it makes sense to have it calibrated. And, it should be noted that the W1070, and HT1075 that replace it, have full sets of controls, including separate gain and bias (or gain and offset, or… pick your phrases depending on manufacturer) to adjust the grayscale. I see the HD131xe and HD141xe as more of home entertainment, more family, less “enthusiast” (other than gamers).
The HD141x has a single control for each of R,G, and B, not the standard two controls, so that allows for inferior adjustments, and can often result in a signficant shift in color temp from the brighter ranges to the darker ones.
But after looking at the numbers of people actually accessing our advanced calibration pages, I concluded that I probably shouldn’t have invested the hundreds of dollars to calibrate the HD131Xe.
I found that the W1070 overall had about 70% more page views than the HD131X but many times more folks were using the advanced calibration page than were for the HD131xe. Now maybe it’s because we charge $9.99, and that’ just too much “extra” for folks spending $599, but “reasonable” for folks spending $899+?
In a perfect world, I’d have Mike calibrate them all. It’s just not practical financially.
It was based on that apparent lack of interest, and the limited grayscale controls, that I decided to save resources and not do a calibration. I know there will be some disappointed folks who would have liked to get our calibration info by becoming subscribers, but I just couldn’t justify it.
Starting next year I may do things differently, such as changing separately for calibration info, and reducing the normal subscription which currently includes access to the advanced calibration info.
Hope that helps explain the why. And no, we’ll never know how accurate the HD141X would be after calibrating the individual colors and to the best possible grayscale considering only a single control for each color. -art
Thank you for your reply. It explains a lot. I didn’t know Mike was an external calibrator but thought he was more of a partner. Many people claim that although color inaccurate the HD141xe overall offers a better experience once “adjusted”(I don’t use calibrated) compare to the w1070 due to the lower black level so I was a bit surprised when the HD141x produced worse black level than w1070 and Hd131xe. Once calibrated I am sure it will be similar to the Hd131xe contrast-wise or slightly better.
Depending on your definition of calibration, it won’t make any difference to contrast or is will make it significantly worse. Simply adjusting brightness and contrast settings by eye with a test pattern will already net you the best possible contrast. Actual accurate calibration would require turning brilliantcolor to minimum in order to balance color brightness with white brightness and doing so will cut contrast down to almost 1/3 of its previous ratio because lowering brilliantcolor will stop the projector from using the white-segment of its colorwheel which lowers peak-white to proper levels but doesn’t lower black-level.
A truly calibrated and color-accurate non-RGB DLP will have significantly lower contrast than any RGB DLP for this reason.
Agree with most of what you say. Brilliant Color, however is different typically from brand to brand, sometimes model to model. TI provides a set of tools. Different manufacturers choose to do things differently. Some offer multiple Brilliant Color options, ie. 1-10, others a single one… Brilliant Color setups, per MIke, our calibrator, often typically affect color balance. Mike tells me, for example, that he always looks at the CIE results with it off vs. on. Most often he tells me that the projector has a much better starting point, with BC turned on. With a projector like the HD141X we “presume” that the room is less than ideal, that there’s usually ambient light present, and that the extra brightness of a typical Brilliant Color engaged projector, is needed to cope with the ambient light. -art
Then he would have to be looking only at the white point rather than the RGBpoints.
The white-balance may start off better with BC engaged on certain budget projectors, but color luminance levels will always be worse. The 1-10 option allows you the choice of having primaries 30%-300% too dark compared to peak-white which is a nice option, but I have yet to see a DLP that uses this version without suffering odd visual noise from higher settings.
I agree, but then these are home entertainment projectors. In theory, they are built for best functionality in rooms that cannot be fully darkened etc. Along with the flaws that come with high Brilliant Color settings, comes a whole lot of “cutting through ambient light” ability, and generally an image that’s punchy – extra wow/pop. Not correct, but looks good when the room isn’t fully darkened.
In other words, typical owners of this class of projectors tend to need the lumens more than a more perfect picture. I realize some folks trying to keep to this budget are really enthusiasts who will want the best possible picture. Some of you may even have a great room with dark surfaces etc., but that’s probably a very, very, small slice of the folks that buy under $800 projectors.
If time and money allowed, it would be interesting to analyze several of the settings, but sadly, neither the time nor the money is available. Since I contract out to Mike (THX certified) to calibrate the projectors, I can just imagine him saying – sure we can do it at BC 0, 3, 6, and 9. But that’s going to cost you three times what we normally charge for a single calibration. -art
Hi Art,thank you very much for your review hd141x. I have learned alot from your input over the years and your reviews are often a deciding factor for me when purchasing a new projector. I just purchased a optoma hd26 and after testing for several hours,i have just boxed back up. Its killing my eyes,i dont know if its too bright or color wheel. It sharp evenly accross the screen,but the image is soft. You probably will not review the hd26?,because of simular specs to hd141x. Do you think you will ever review the optoma dh1011?. i here from forums that its a much better unit,like the older hd25,it uses a brighter bulb and better color wheel. I just purchased a benq w1070,but havent tried it yet, thanks again for all you do
Hi Art, do you know if the hd141x offers hdmi split screen? I can’t find that info in the specs, or pip? Thank you.
Art, we now have 4 Optoma DLP 3D HD projectors in a similar price range: the HD26, the GT1080, the HD25-LV, and the HD141X. Which one gives the brightest 3D image, which one has the least rainbow effect, and which one is the quietest?
I’ve been waiting over a year now to see if anyone has an answer to the question. Anyone?
Hi, Must have missed the original question last year. I don’t have all the answers since we only reviewed two of the four projector, but:
HD25-LV is brighter than the HD141X (and it costs a lot more than the 141x too). The 141X has a 2X color wheel. I believe that the HD25-LV has a 4X. It’s in the review somewhere, I’m pretty sure. The HD26, is a 4X as well, to the best of my knowledge. I can’t speak to it’s brightness though, having not reviewed it. Generally though, although we find Optoma’s tend to underperform their claims (hardly a rare occurence), like with most manufacturers, they tend to be consistent. So, I would say use Optoma’s claims of maximum brightness as a usable if not highly accurate guide. If, say the GT1080 is claimed to be brighter than the HD26, then it probably is…
We’ve never seen a GT1080, so I’ll defer to the forums or Optoma’s site for the answers re that one.
I don’t know whether this helps, or not, relative to budget, but the best Optoma in terms of price performance of the ones I’ve seen, is the HD50, HD161X but it’s a lot more than some of these mentioned as it’s typically around $1200 or so. It’s got the best blacks, but isn’t as over contrasty as some other optomas… The HD25-LV is still around, but it is getting rather old in the tooth! -art
Thanks for the response! I’m a little disappointed about the 2x color wheel on this model. I’m very sensitive to RBE, and even on a 4x model with 6 segments I notice it but not as bad. Would you say the HD26 would be my best bet if I need minimal RBE and 144hz 3d with a budget of under $600? I’m even willing to sacrifice some resolution in favor of a faster color wheel, so a wxga ot 720p would be fine too.
Hi Joe, I just don’t see enough projectors under about $800 to tell you anything definitive, and the BenQ’s (W1070…) are normally closer to $800, and has a decent speed color wheel. But since the HD26 claims 4X, yes, that’s probably about as good as you can expect at that price point or below. Of course “plan B” could be a 3LCD projector – then you have no rainbow effect worries at all, and I think you can find 144hz 3D speed there as well. The DLP’s will have a slight edge in native contrast and black levels, and re 3D crosstalk, so you’ll have to sort through the trade-offs. ie. more crosstalk, less great black levels on 3D vs RBE on everything? -art
I’ve considered 3lcd, looking at the Epson Cinema 2000 or 2030. My concern with those is that they utilize a non-sealed light path, which brings the risk of dust blobs. I also hear that they have components which are more likely to degrade a lot quicker than dlp. If the newer ones have fixed those issues, then it may be an option. 3d crosstalk is a concern, depending on severity, but I don’t imagine it could be any worse than on my LG 3d tv. The ghosting on my tv os pretty bad, unfortunately, or else I’d probably be satisfied with it for my 3d viewing.
Hi again Joe, ah, always trade-offs. It’s tough call between DLP and 3LCD under $1000. I think 3LCD easily is the better choice around $2000 and above, not because of the tech, per say, but from comparing finished product. Few DLP projectors are even playing in the over $2000 range, for reasons I won’t get into except to say, that Optoma should come up with a real dynamic iris…(BenQ has one on the W7500, one of my fav projectors under $3K. But back to your issues: The issue with LCD panel degradation pretty much went away some 5-6-7 years ago with the switch to “organic” from inorganic” panels. If there’s still a problem it’s likely at very high hours – probably well over 5000 hours. You just don’t see complaints anymore. As to dust blobs, you are correct. A 3LCD projector is more likely to end up with one than a DLP, although after lawsuits, DLP stopped claiming to have a “sealed light path”. More of it is sealed, but I recently saw a dust blob appear on the BenQ I just reviewed (first one really for a DLP).
I can only tell you this, with the Epsons, their two year replacement program would at least provide you a free option if a dust blob appeared during the two year warranty… Dust blobs, btw can definitely be removed b a tech. Your call. -art
I would line to know how to hook up surround sound to the 141x
whatever you’re using as your media player is what you should be concerned about hooking up to surround sound. IE if you have a bluray player then you’ll connect the video line to the projector and the audio lines to your surround sound system. same goes with gaming consoles and laptops; you should never use the audio out on a video device. regardless though look up the optoma projector on amazon and there’s a clear picture of the audio out port (even though, in a properly built system, should not really be used)
this projector does NOT have horizontal keystone
good to know, was trying to find an answer to this for few hours now – so in that case, the BenQ1070 seems to be a better option if you want to place it non-centralized with the screen, right?
You hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the info, super helpful. You will be surprised how easy it can be to fill forms. Try fillingl GA Complaint for Divorce Without Minor Children through the online sowtware https://goo.gl/J8k766.
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