Posted on February 20, 2008 Art Feierman
Check out how the Optoma HD803 fared in our comparison report.
Optoma’s HD803 is another variation of the Optoma HD80, and HD8000, however it uses a different DLP chip according to Optoma, and as such, delivers slightly lower contrast than the other two projectors. It is the least expensive of the three, and is available from online resellers, and, I assume, “big box houses”. In that regard, its distribution is similar to the HD80, while the HD8000 sells through local installing dealers, adds ISF certification (relating to calibrating the projector), and typically sells for at least $600 more.
I watched the HD803 extensively in my theater, and also viewed it side by side with both the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, and the Sony VW40. Those two are about as good as it gets for under $3000 projectors. While the Optoma, overall performed very well, it couldn’t match the Epson or Sony for black level performance, but was the sharpest looking image of the three.
From a placement standpoint, the Optoma is a classic DLP projector, sporting a zoom lens with limited placement range, and no lens shift. These two “limitations” pretty much limit the HD803 to ceiling mounting, or placing on a table top. Shelf mounting just isn’t practical.
The Optoma HD803 shares that DLP look and feel, that allowed DLP to dominate over LCD these past years. Today, though, the two technologies, from a practical standpoint, are now pretty much equal, with some preferring one technology over the other because of their different strengths. The overall picture quality was very good after my basic calibration. The HD803 offers more out of the box lumens than the LCD competition, but gives most, but not all, of that advantage back, after calibration.
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