Optoma HD806 Projector Review

A summary of the Optoma HD806 projector’s pros and cons and capabilities.
12/15/2008 – Art Feierman

Optoma HD806 Projector - The Bottom Line

My opinion of the Optoma HD806 projector has evolved significantly since I first powered it up. My initial reaction was that this projector left much to be desired. It seemed to be a projector of so-so performance (other than brightness), that I would have a hard time liking, or recommending.

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Over the week of using it extensively, however, my opinion of the HD806 improved by leaps and bounds. Once I started watching a lot of sports, I recognized, that for its price, it has to be about the best projector around for sports viewing (and most non-movie HDTV/TV watching as well). I have always liked the punch, for example of Epson’s Home Cinema 1080 UB, which can produce about 1650 lumens in an improved (after a quick calibration) Dynamic mode. The thing is, though, the picture on the Optoma is just plain superior for sports viewing (and HDTV) when you need that much brightness. The Optoma has much better color accuracy, in “brightest” mode. The Epson, like many projectors in its brightest mode, pushes yellows and greens to cut through ambient light, but you pay for that with often slightly gaudy skin tones, and yellows that are almost neon like. Not so, the HD806, which almost looks like a “best” mode on other projectors in terms of color performance.

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Then there’s movie viewing. While I would pick any number of other projectors over the Optoma for filling a 100 inch or 110 inch diagonal projector screen with a movie on Blu-ray, in a fully darkened room, all of a sudden, I found I could enjoy movies including dark scenes, with lighting that I normally would not allow in my theater with my JVC projector, the Panasonic PT-AE3000, or any number of other home theater projectors. That small amount of ambient light that ruins dark scenes significantly with most projectors, is far less a factor with the HD806.

As a result, it can be an excellent choice for a family room, or a more dedicated room with a very large screen. You have to look to the brighter InFocus projectors (like the IN82 or IN83), to match the Optoma at its brightest, and those projectors don’t have as many lumens in their “best” mode although they also can rival the Optoma with other modes that are also very good in terms of color. The thing is, those are much more expensive projectors. Some of the 3LCD projectors can match the maximum lumens of the HD806, but as I said, not with the color accuracy, and they can’t begin to fill larger (over 110 inch screens) in their best modes.

As a family room projector, I expect many owners will pair the HD806 with pull-down or motorized screens, as opposed to the fixed wall screens that usually are only found in more dedicated environments.

Bottom line: The Optoma HD806 is relatively unique projector, that should work well for a significant number of people who are looking for a good solution for general use. Hard core movie/home theater enthusiasts will most likely buy other projectors, but there are plenty of folks out there, for whom the HD806 makes sense!

Optoma HD806 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities

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