Optoma UHD65 4K Home Theater Projector Review

OPTOMA UHD65 4K PROJECTOR – PERFORMANCE:  Measured Brightness / Color Temp – pre calibration, Calibrated Reference mode brightness, Affect of Zoom lens and Eco mode, As a Gaming Projector, Comments about Dynamic Black

The short version is that with good to great color, the Optoma UHD65 serves up a number of picture modes that deliver between 840 and almost 1400 lumens.  Only Bright mode (not to be confused with Normal lamp – the brightest lamp setting – available to all modes), is the only one that came close to the claimed 2200 lumens.  We measured – at full wide angle on the lens, 1929 lumens so down a little more than 10% vs claim.  That’s about typical of what we find most projectors do vs their claims.  Some projectors barely make 70% of claims and a few will beat claims by 20-30%.  Still most projectors miss their numbers by a little.

UHD65 Brightness

UHD65 MODES:  BRIGHTNESS AND COLOR TEMP – at Mid-point on zoom lens
Brightest 1828 7089
Vivid 1354 7168
Game 1366 7104
Cinema 1251 5937
Reference 846 4990
User 846 5990
HDR (for 4K…) 1108 6117

Maximum Brightness measured was Brightest mode which was terribly green, and mostly unusable, except under the worst possible lighting.  At full wide angle (placing the projector as close as possible to a screen of a given size), Brightest mode clocked in at 1929 lumens.

Reference mode, per Eric, was the best mode over all for 1080p.

Uncalibrated, Reference mode measured 846 lumens

That makes this Optoma a typical home theater projector, rather than a home entertainment projector like the lower cost UHD60 version. Although it’s rare that projectors get slightly brighter by calibrating them. Still, the difference is insignificant.

Remember, 4K HDR is very different from non-HDR, whether 1080p or 4K.  The “gamma” is very different, with more brightness saved for the very brightest elements being projected. Thus more punch / brighter, when there’s a flash of lightning, or a headlight on a dark night, or sunlight in the window of a dark room.  The dynamics of HDR are very different and call for having more brightness than non HDR.  In that regard, no projectors (not even Sony’s $60,000 VW5000ES with 5000 lumens, is technically, ideally bright enough.)  The same can be said for all but a very small handful of LCDTV’s.  Few of the OLED TVs are close either.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to HDR, but there are trade-offs.  For perspective, a bright Samsung 65″ 4K LCD HDR TV at Costco was about $3500 the other day, but a far less bright 4K Samsung – also 65″ was under $1000.

Post Calibration Reference Mode

Lumens!  Calibrated!!

870 calibrated  lumens in Reference Mode  is enough for 130″ screens under dedicated home theater  conditions and will do just fine with say 100 to 110 inch screens with minor ambient light, even for movie viewing. Brighter modes, of course, can be almost twice as bright for tackling more ambient light desired such as for watching sports, or maybe an HDTV comedy.

The two places more lumens would be nice are for HDR and 3D.  Of course this Optoma lacks 3D.  Since one can’t really expect more than about 1/3 of the lumens hitting your eyes when watching 3D compared to 2D, you’ll likely find the Optoma underpowered in Vivid mode if you try to push much above 110″ diagonal, and it doesn’t get respectably bright above 100″ diagonal.

Affect of Zoom Lens, and Eco mode, on Brightness

UHD65 Lens Setting vs Brightness (lumens) (Bright mode)
Wide Angle (closest placement to the screen) 1929 lumens
Mid-point 1828 lumens
Telephoto 1619  lumens

If you can place the projector so the zoom is at full wide angle – the closest you can place your projector to whatever sized screen you have, that will be the brightest.  Because the lens is a 1.6:1 – a moderate amount of zoom range, the brightness drops off less than with projectors with more zoom range.  Measuring at the mid-point of the zoom lens results in a very minimal drop of just over 5% (barely detectible by the human eye)  while going to full telephoto (typically for back of the room placement, results in a drop compared to wide angle, of almost a perfect 16%, still pretty minor (dropping from full power to an eco mode on most projectors means a drop of 20% – 40% in terms of brightness).

One thing worth noting.  I detected a small amount of defocusing going on as the Optoma projector fully warms up.  It’s slight, but enough – on 4K content, that I needed to reshoot a couple of close up images – images used to show off the Optoma’s sharpness, because the defocusing softened the image just slightly.  Note, that a small amount of defocusing is hardly unusual.  Recommendation:  Refocus the projector after it’s been on about 20 minutes at full power (or lower power if you never use full lamp).  Then leave it like that.  The focus will be off a minor amount when you first power up after that, but you aren’t likely to even notice.

UHD65 Full Power vs. Eco (Bright Mode)
Mode Lumens
Full Power  1828
Eco Mode  1243

As long as we’re discussing full power (Normal) vs Eco, I should mention that the UHD65 is rated 4000 hours on the lamp at full power, and 1000 hours in Eco.  They even stretch the spec, as do many projectors, even further.  In this case, Optoma claims a maximum of 15,000 hours.  But for that, it’s assuming at times you forgot about your projector, it’s on, without content, or content isn’t changing, so the Optoma will dramatically reduce power, waiting for you to start using the projector again.

Optoma UHD65 as a Game Projector

Gamers, you will be disappointed with the UHD65.  I used my Leo Bodnar input lag tester on both HDMI 1 and 2.

Before I did, I turned off everything I could find that might be dynamic, and therefore increase lag.  I turned off Brilliant Color, Dynamic Black, all the Pure functions (Contrast, Motion, Detail) and so on, even before my first measurement.

I’m sure if I turn some of that stuff back on, the lag with further increase, but no matter.

The UHD65 measured in the 83ms range.  Generally we consider right around 50ms to be acceptable to most, but hard core folks, playing fast games, including team games, may get by with 50ms but they would like better.  around 33ms has to be considered pretty good.  If a projector is as low as 16-17 ms, that indicates only being 1 frame behind on a 60fps game, or 1/2 frame behind on a 30fps game.

While this Optoma has a number of skills and talents, attracting gamers won’t be one of them.

Gamers, you should probably look elsewhere, unless your idea of a game is more the speed of Scrabble.

The brightness difference between full power (Bright), and low power (Eco) works out to approximately a 32% drop. That’s pretty typical as 25% to 35% is what most projectors lose when switching to Eco.

Like many DLP projectors for home, Optoma offers up Dynamic Black – a lamp dimming scheme which uses lamp dimming to accomplish the same sort of thing dynamic irises do – lower black levels on the darkest scenes.

Dynamic Black is pretty subdued on this projector.  It doesn’t accomplish near as much as a good dynamic iris (not even close), but in this case, that’s not a terrible thing.

Over the years, I’ve routinely advised our readers to turn off Dynamic Black which has benefits in theory, but in previous iterations, created more problems (visible pumping of images) than it produced in benefits. My best guess here is that Optoma was wise to limit the reach of their dynamic black so that it proves nice and smooth are rarely noticeable, as compared with other Optoma’s where the dimming and brightening action was so obvious on many mid brightness scenes that I just couldn’t watch it.

So, while better blacks would have been even better, I’m pleased to report Optoma has found the sweet spot for their Dynamic Black.  They get improvement, but not great improvement, but in this case, that’s great – since with great improvement in blacks, using lamp dimming, invariably came very noticeable dimming action.  I still would have loved to see a dynamic iris, but happy that they have found a good compromise with Dynamic Black, even if it doesn’t rival what a good iris can do.

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News And Comments

  • Devin Thayer

    come on projector world give me a $3000 4k HDR bt2020 capable 3d 33ms gaming home theater projector, with black levels and PQ and features that best my Epson 504UB!!!!! Art, please make this happen ;)

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      Hi Devin, Yep, that works for me. Maybe someone will surprise us at IFA or CEDIA.

      BTW, since you mention gaming, do you have the current X-box? Someone emailed me the other day, saying it doesn’t work with the 5040UB. I’m checking with Epson -art

      • Devin Thayer

        I do yes, I have ps4 pro, gaming pc and xbox one S to a denon receiver then to the Epson. the xbox one s works, just not with HDR, because of the 10 gbps chip restriction on the projector is the culprit I believe. but even if we get HDR working on a future model it sounds like bt2020 and HDR need more lumens. This post on AVS forum seems to sum up a lot of the confusion with different devices.
        Baseline info:
        • The HDMI chipset within the Epson has a bandwidth limitation of 10 Gbps
        • There are limitations to the signal that the Epson can accept due to this chipset
        • 4k Blu-rays are encoded as 4k24 / 4:2:0 / 8-bit Rec709 (non HDR) or 10-bit Rec2020 (HDR10) neither of which are supported by the HDMI 2.0 specification
        • Some form of signal conversion must occur in order for any device using HDMI 2.0 to accept a 4K Blu-ray signal
        • The signal transmitted by the device must fall within the Epson’s 10Gbs HDMI chipset limitation for it to be displayed on the projector

        Samsung K8500 4K Blu-ray Player & Xbox One S
        • Both convert Blu-rays to 4k24 / 4:4:4 / 8-bit Rec709 which Epson can support
        • HDR movies with Rec2020 color are reduced to Rec709, so HDR is stripped
        • The resulting image for HDR movies generally appears too dark on the Epson
        Phillips, Panasonic, Oppo (hopefully)
        • Each convert the signal to 4k24 / 4:4:4 / 8-bit Rec 709 which the Epson supports
        • HDR movies with Rec 2020 color are converted to 4k24 / 4:2:2 / 12-bit Rec2020 which the Epson supports
        • The resulting image generally appears appropriate other than the Epson not having enough lumens to display HDR as intended
        Fury & Oppo (hopefully)
        • Both send an Epson compatible signal, but have the ability to strip HDR, while leaving the expanded Rec2020 color intact for those who feel the Epson is too dark for HDR
        Roku Ultra (4K)
        • Sends 4k24 / 4:4:4 / 8-bit Rec709 which is supported by Epson
        • HDR movies with Rec2020 color are reduced to Rec709, so HDR is stripped (despite the screen showing 8-bit HDR BT2020, HDR BT2020 requires at least 10-bit color – is Rec2020 color really being preserved here? )
        Amazon Fire Stick
        • HDR signal is downgraded to 4k / Rec709
        • YouTube 4k videos are natively up to 4k60 / 4:2:0 / 8-bit
        • If your player can send that native signal, the Epson can handle it
        • Players that send the signal properly include: ????
        • Netflix’s 4k videos are natively ?????
        • If your player can send that native signal, the Epson can handle it
        • Players that send the signal properly include: ????
        Gaming (PCs, 4k games on PS4 Pro & Xbox Scorpio)
        • The Epson’s HDMI chipset (10 GBPS limitation) will only accept 4k60 at 4:2:0 / 8-bit color
        • It is unknown whether these gaming devices will send 4k signals in this format. If for example they send the signal as 4k60 / 4:4:4 / 10-bit, the signal will fail or be downgraded to 4k60 / 4:2:0 / 8-bit color
        • Either way, 4:4:4 will get downgraded to 4:2:0 and/or color will be downgraded to 8-bit (non-HDR) assuming the source was HDR to begin with
        Future video devices:
        • High Frame Rate (HFR) 4k Blu-ray will display with nothing higher than 8-bit color on the Epson
        • If a future format support 4:4:4, color can be no higher than 8-bit for it to work on the Epson
        • Dolby Vision’s goal is to be 12-bit color. This should work with the Epson, assuming the player can send the signal as 4:2:2