Optoma HD70 Home Theater Projector Review

Remember, both were taken with the same camera exposure! The space background is darker above, (as is the letterbox area), and faint stars show up much better above. On the image below, because of the large bright area, you wouldn’t see a difference with Image AI, on or off.

The bottom line, is that the HD70 does some respectable black levels with ImageAI on, and the right type of scenes (the ones where better black levels are most appreciated). Compared to the competition, the HD70 cannot match the black levels of the lower resolution InFocus IN72, nor the Mitsubishi HC3000 which is exceptional. Comparing it to the most direct competition, Mitsubishi’s HD1000U, I would give the edge to the Mitsubishi overall, although it lacks AI. On the darkest scenes however the blacks will be a touch darker on the HD70. With ImageAI turned off, the Mitsubishi does a slightly blacker black, but both are “in the same league. I should note, that one reason why neither the Optoma HD70 nor the Mitsubishi HD1000U are overly impressive, is that they use a seven segment color wheel, to get out some more brightness, but that 7th segment is clear, and there is some minor light that will come through.

Ok, that was long! Time to get back on track with the rest of the menu section. There is a submenu off of the Advanced menu, RGB Gain/Bias. This is the area for fine tuning colors with a basic calibration disk, you can separately control reds greens and blues.

In the calibration section, I provide the settings that I felt worked best for movie viewing

Next comes the Display menu, which of particular note has a feature I’ve always liked on Optoma projectors. If you are working with a letterboxed movie (black bars at top and bottom), you can digitally move the content up or down, using the HD70′s Vertical Image Shift. . Imagine: If you have a motorized screen that you can set a stop on (so it doesn’t drop all the way down), you could set the screen to only come down far enough so that the surface you see is 2.35:1 – Cinemascope shape.

Now use the vertical digital control to move the image up, and, bingo, you see the the movie fill all of the visible screen surface – no letter box. Whether or not many will ever take advantage of this, it certainly is a nice capability!

Next is the Setup Menu (not shown. It lets you choose menu language, the projector orientation (front, rear, ceiling, table), and it also displays the firmware version of your projector.

Lastly is the Options Menu. Here you can select where you want the menus positioned. You can also set the HD70 to scan inputs for a source, or turn that off, so that it comes back to the last source used. For those in the higher elevations, there is the high speed fan mode. You’ll also find an Auto Power Off feature, which allows you to set a time for the HD70 to power down, if there is no input signal.

Perhaps most important, is the Lamp Settings option, which lets you choose between low and high power. Lastly, a Reset allows you to reset the settings used for the particular source you are working with, or return all settings to original factory default.

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