Optoma HD91 Home Theater Projector Review

OPTOMA HD91 PROJECTOR – HARDWARE TOUR PAGE 2:  Remote Control, Menus, Lens Throw, Lens Shift

Optoma HD91 Remote Control

The HD91 remote control is a nice one.  I find it’s blue LED blacklights to be attractive, but also a bit too bright for a really dark room.  The buttons are small but there’s some spacing, and the organization is good.  A number of buttons are essentially shortcuts to some submenus, as is typical.

Let’s run through the functionality from the top.

On the top right is the Power button.  Press once.  Unlike most projectors the HD91 has a separate power off button right below it.  Straight across on the left is Brightness, and below that Contrast, then CMS for the color management system access, and the LED Brightness which also controls Dynamic Black.  Below the power buttons is the Gamma menu, HDMI Link for controlling other HDMI devices, and Advanced which takes you to the Advanced menu, which provides access to other sub-menus including Pure Engine and LED Brightness.

Next comes the navigation, four arrow keys in a round formation, with the usual Enter button in the center.  Below to the left is a small Menu button, and on the right, the Mode button for quick access to change the color mode.

The next four buttons offer different aspect ratios.  You don’t often see that any more, simply because we don’t often need to manually change.  That’s at least true for folks sticking to Blu-ray and not DVD players where the need was greater.

Next on the left is Pure – takes you to the Pure Engine menu with Ultra Detail, Pure Color and Pure Motion submenus.  Across on the right is the 2D/3D button.

That only leaves the six buttons down near the bottom five of them are your choice of sources, and the sixth – upper right is re-sync should you need it with an analog computer signal.

I like that Optoma offers clusters, then spaces, and varies the button sizes as well, to make it really easy to remember the locations of all the ones you are most likely to use often.

If there’s one complaint, the pretty blue LED lighting is very bright.  A bit too bright in a dark room.  When you are trying to adjust color, it can be almost blinding.  OK, I’m being a bit picky.  Hold the remote upside down if that’s a problem for you.

Click Image to Enlarge

HD91 Menus

When you hit the menu button the first menu you see will be the Image menu.  And the first item is it are the Display modes.  Select and you’ll get a list of the modes displayed horizontally which you can toggle through.

Other items on the Image menu are the usual Brightness, Contrast, etc.  You’ll also find the very essential Advanced submenu.  Selecting Advanced brings up this menu which holds most of the special features, and key image controls.

There’s Noise Reduction which I really didn’t play with, the Gamma menu, for which we have recommendations later, and Pure Engine.  The Pure Engine sub-menu serves up Ultra Detail, Pure Motion and Pure Color controls Advanced also has the LED Brightness menu which houses Dynamic Black which might be considered Optoma’s equivalent to a dynamic iris.

Almost all of the HD91’s color calibration controls are in the Color Settings menu.

That’s it for the Image menu.

Display is the next major menu.  It features aspect ratios digital zoom, Edge Masking, but has submenus for digital Image Shift, and 3D.

The System Menu is next.

From here you can reposition the menus themselves, monitor LED hours and control the 12 Volt triggers.

The Setup Menu has sub-menus for HDMI Link (which allows controlling other HDMI link compatible devices from the remote, and allowing the projector to be controlled by other HDMI-link compatible devices’ remotes.  The rest is otherwise self explanatory.

HD91 Lens Throw - Closest and Furthest Placement

A 1.9:1 zoom is almost as good as it gets.  A number of projectors do offer slightly more range (2:1 or 2.1:1) but those are relatively slight differences.  The amount of lens throw range is a lot for a DLP projector.

As we usually do, here are the closest and furthest distances the projector can be placed from a 100″ diagonal, 16:9 screen.

The distance is measured from the front of the lens:

Minimum distance to a 100″ screen:  11 feet 5 inches (11.4 feet)

Maximum distance to a 100″ screen:  21 feet 3 inches (21.2 feet)

For perspective, it can sit about as far back as any competing projector such as the JVCs or the Epson UB series, both of which have just slightly more range.  The trade-off is it can’t be positioned quite as close, the Epson for example can get as close as 9 feet 8 inches, and the JVC falls between the two.  Still this should not be an issue.  The HD91 does have more range than the Sony HW55 (1.6:1 zoom)  or the new HW40, with their zooms that have less range.

Perhaps more important to mention is that like any other projector with a lot of zoom range, there’s a rather dramatic drop in brightness as you move toward telephoto (maximum distance).  With a projector like the HD91, that is not overly bright to begin with, I recommend mounting it very close to the minimum distance possible for your screen, to maintain brightness.

HD91 Lens Shift

Not only does the Optoma offer lens shift, which is still pretty scarce in under $2500 projectors, but they offer a healthy amount of lens shift range.

Optoma does not provide specific numbers for lens shift, other than stating that vertical lens shift is +/- 60% of screen height, and horizontal is +/- 10% of screen width.  Doing some quick math for our 100″ diagonal screen (which is just shy of 50 inches tall), that works out to the center of the projector’s lens being 10% (of a screen height)  above the top of the screen surface, or about 5 inches.  Or it can be up to 5 inches below the bottom of the screen if when placed on a table.

Now that’s not as much as you will find on most 3LCD or LCoS projectors but better than almost all other DLP projectors.  Typically, with DLP projectors lens shift is limited being even with the top of the screen.  Hey, an extra 5 inches for a 100″ screen can’t hurt.   Note, of course, when you are using some horizontal lens shift, that limits somewhat, the maximum vertical shift (and vice versa).

Bottom line on Lens Throw and Lens shift:  Very good range from any perspective, especially for a DLP projector!

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