Optoma HD50 Home Theater Projector – Holiday Treat #1

With Black Friday only hours away, it’s time to introduce all you projector fans to the first of two recently launched home projectors.  Both have been announced in the last month.  We haven’t received either for review yet, but will be reviewing both projectors.  Both are selling in the $1500 to $2000 range.

Photo of the front of the Optoma HD50 Projector
Optoma HD50 Home Theater Projector – DLP technology, 2200 lumens at a $1599 price point

This first blog covers Optoma’s new HD50.  It will be followed later today with a second blog about the new Epson Home Cinema 5025UB.  Looks like the HD50 will be a great replacement for the previous Optoma projector we’ve reviewed around this price – that would be the old HD25-LV.

The HD50 follows it its footsteps, claiming a very nicely bright 2200 lumens.  It also looks to do some nice black levels, as it is quoting 50,000:1 contrast.  Of course contrast claims are all over the place, we’ve seen projectors claim 200,000:1 that couldn’t match the black performance of other projectors claiming only 40,000:1 contrast.  Ultimately, when the HD50 projector arrives for review, I’ll get a close look at the black level performance and provide my usual subjective opinion, along with showing you all, the usual comparison images of the same dark scenes produced on competing projectors.

Based on reading Optoma’s press release and data sheet, this Optoma, like almost all Optoma home projectors offers Dynamic Black, which is Optoma’s answer to using a dynamic iris to improve black levels.  If this is the usual Optoma scheme, Optoma uses lamp dimming, instead of a dynamic iris.  In the past I’ve found Optoma’s Dynamic Black to be too slow, and therefore a bit too noticeable, but Optoma has been improving it over the years, so I’m hoping for a solution that helps a lot with those dark scenes, without being too obvious.  We shall see, when the HD50 arrives.

Placement flexibility is pretty good, thanks to an all glass 1.5:1 manual zoom and a modest amount of vertical lens shift – something I figure Optoma learned from BenQ’s success with their popular W1070, which was perhaps the first recent DLP projector in the lower price ranges to offer lens shift even if only a small amount, but enough to make many people’s lives easier, by virtue of making a lot of less than perfect room layouts practical.   The HD50 comes with the “usual” selection of inputs and connectors, including a pair of HDMI inputs, although there’s no indication that either support MHL the smart mobile HDMI capability.

Optoma HD50 inputs
Optoma HD50 rear view – inputs and connectors

Now consider: Optoma built this baby as a home theater projector, not “home entertainment”.  These days, that’s unusual for Optoma a company that on the home side is primarily offering projectors under $1000, including a lot targeting the gaming market.  One telling difference between home entertainment and home theater is sound.  The assumption in a home theater is that you’ll have some serious surround sound system, whether a basic $199 HTIB (home theater in a box) or some truly awesome $1000 – $10,000+ sound system.  As a result, the lower cost home entertainment projectors tend to have one, or a pair of speakers with some decent sound capability, but there’s only so much you can do with speakers in a small projector.

No issue in this case – no speakers for the HD50.  Optoma sees this projector as going in your home theater, to be used with a separate sound system.  Of course you can place the HD50 in a family room, living room, or bonus room type setup that has respectable lighting control.

The Optoma HD50, of course is 3D ready.  This Optoma comes with an outboard RF 3D emitter, rather than DLP-Link, which most older Optoma’s had built in.  We strongly favor RF glasses and general performance over DLP-Link, so that’s a plus.  Two pair of 3D glasses are included with the HD50!

New DLP projectors like this HD50 in this price range have been pretty few and far between, so I’m really looking forward to getting this one in (just awaiting its arrival), taking a quick look at the “out of the box” picture quality and then handing it off to Mike for a full calibration, followed by my review which should go live in the next couple of weeks!

It’s been a while since we really were dazzled by an Optoma projector in this price range.  Optoma’s definitely due, and I’m definitely looking forward to working with their HD50.  Stay tuned!  -art




News and Comments

  • George Attard

    I have a room 380cm x 285cm what is the maximum size screen can I get from this HD 50 optoma modle

    • ProjectorReviews.com

      That depends on whether you are putting the screen on the 380mm wall, or the other one. I think in feet, so: 380cm is about 150 inches = roughly 12 feet. That makes your other wall a bit over 9 feet. Assuming the screen is on the 9 foot (280cm) wall: A 100” screen would place the front of the projector just over 10 feet from the screen, and the back of the projector just over 11 feet back. Assuming you can place it close to the back wall, you are looking at about an extra 15%, so you could go with about a a 115” diagonal screen – that’s roughly a 250 cm diagonal screen which would, btw be about 125cm tall. -artt

  • JB0070

    I am tired of reading reviews and posting questions on AVS and other forums. Always get a mixed response. I was asked to connect with you for a professional advise. I have 2 options 5030 UB or Sony HW40ES. I don’t care about gaming. I have a dedicated media room and all I care about is great picture quality where I can enjoy 2D HD movies with solid colors and contrast. Picture and Image quality all that matters to me. Can you please recommend which of these I should be getting Epson 5030UB or Sony HW40ES. Thank you so much!