By Philip Boyle
Optoma Technology, the number one 4K UHD projection brand, and DLP projector brand in North America just gave all of us an early Christmas present, and it looks to be a good one. Today Optoma announced a new 4K laser projector called the UHZ50. As I went through the product information on Optoma's website, I couldn't help but get excited about the opportunity to get a test sample ASAP and put it through its very well-credentialed paces.
The UHZ50 uses Optoma's DuraCore Laser Technology. It wasn't that long ago Optoma utilized DuraCore lasers almost exclusively for their business and education projectors, including fixed lens models with 4,000 to 6,000 ANSI lumens and interchangeable lens models with up to 10,000 ANSI lumens of brightness. This laser technology has been put through its paces in the professional market.
Optoma DuraCore is a hybrid laser and phosphor light source that uses a single blue light laser diode that passes through a phosphor color wheel resulting in an additional yellow light beam. Both the blue and yellow beams pass through a filter/color wheel converting, creating red and green light beams to go along with the blue light beam. This process is how the UHZ50 can generate the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) needed to bounce off the DLP chip, then finally through the lens and onto your screen.
Optoma says that the DuraCore laser used on the UHZ50 is engineered to deliver exceptional, lifelike images for up to 30,000 hours of operation in Eco mode or 20,000 hours in Bright mode. It also provides stable color and brightness levels throughout the projector's life.
The UHZ50 DuraCore Laser Light Engine is ECO friendly because it is mercury-free. DuraCore also means there is almost no warmup or cool-down time, so turning the projector on and off is a television-like experience, especially when compared to light sources like lamps. Optoma projectors that use DuraCore Laser Technology with its sealed light path have an IP5X/IP6X certification meaning the projector is protected from dirt and dust fouling up the light engine.
Utilizing Texas Instruments' DLP® technology and Optoma's DuraCore laser technology, the UHZ50 should deliver sharp, high-quality images. The DLP Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) used in the UHZ50 is the same 0.47 Digital Light Processing (DLP) imager found in a wide variety of Optoma DLP projectors, including the CinemaX P2 I recently reviewed. Click the link on the model number to see my full review.
The Optoma UHZ50 is very close to its Laser TV brother the Optoma CinemaX P2 that I recently reviewed. Click on the link to check out that review.
"With the introduction of the Optoma UHZ50, we are bringing true 4K laser technology home to even more consumers by reducing overall costs without compromising the quality of their personal home entertainment experiences," said Billy Harrison, Product Manager at Optoma.
"As consumers are seeking more home entertainment and content options that fit their unique needs whether they're gamers, streaming movies or viewing personal photos, we remain focused on delivering versatile and innovative solutions that take the home theater experience to new levels."
The Optoma UHZ50 laser projector also features HDR10 and HDR brightness adjustments with 100% Rec. 709 and DCI-P3 wide color gamut compatibility, designed to produce lifelike, vibrant colors for cinematic experiences at home. The UHZ50 is capable of receiving and displaying both HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) HDR content. This Optoma projector should allow you to see far more detail and texture in displayed HDR content versus SDR content. Objects look more solid and lifelike, and the 4K extra detail creates a greater sense of depth.
Adding to its line of revolutionary and award-winning 4K resolution projectors, including the ultra-short-throw CinemaX P2, the Optoma UHZ50 features 3,000 ANSI lumens of brightness. Since this is not an ultra-short-throw projector, I expect to see a more accurately displayed image even in the corners of the screen.
The UHZ50 is rated at a 2,500,000:1 contrast ratio to produce razor-sharp images with exceptional clarity and vibrancy for movies, TV shows, games, and sports.
The UHZ50 is a smart projector with built-in access to android applications from a wide variety of entertainment streaming platforms. Part of the smarts of the UHZ50's built-in smart technology is connected to both the internet and external compatible casting devices. With the Optoma Creative Cast app, users can continue the home entertainment experience by wirelessly sharing videos and images on a bigger screen and sharing from up to four devices via ultra-fast 5GHz Wi-Fi.
Featuring warping capabilities, four-corner correction, 1.3X zoom, keystone, and vertical lens shift, the Optoma UHZ50 provides flexible and hassle-free installation and can fill virtually any screen or wall. The Optoma UHZ50 also features three HDMI 2.0 inputs, with one port supporting eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) audio out for crisp, clear audio integration. The UHZ50 also features two USB ports for media sticks and dongles for easy connectivity to additional content sources and home entertainment hardware. You can also run sound through the Otoma's 2 x 10W built-in stereo speakers.
On paper, the UHZ50 is a formidable home theater projector. The features I've described above would make it an impressive value, but Optoma decided to go a little further and build in an Enhanced Gaming mode with very low Input Lag. The UHZ50 does not support 4K 120Hz gaming, but it does allow gamers to enjoy fast-moving action with a 16.7ms response time in 4K at 60Hz and a 4ms response time in 1080P at 240Hz.
The Optoma UHZ50 looks to be every bit a dynamic 4K (displayed) laser projector designed to elevate home theater experiences in any room. Featuring 3,000 ANSI lumens of Lights On high brightness, DuraCore laser color, rich blacks, and pretty much all the connectivity options you will need, Optoma's UHZ50 is priced to enable even more people to experience stunning 4K picture quality.
Resolution: 3840 x 2160 4K UHD
Brightness: 3,000 ANSI lumens
Contrast Ratio: 2,500,000:1
Light source: Laser, for up to 30,000 hours of maintenance-free performance
HDR mode brightness adjustment
Media Player: Built-in and supports 4K HDR and HLG
Speakers: 2 x 10W speakers
Noise: Quiet at 26 dB
Built-in vertical lens shift
I/O: Two HDMI 2.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 port with eARC, HDCP 2.2 support; 2 USB ports for media sticks
The Optoma UHZ50 is available for purchase for an estimated street price of $2,799.
For more information, please visit www.optomausa.com/product-details/uhz50. Also, be sure to check out our full review of the Optoma UHZ50 when our review sample arrives. www.projectorreviews.com