Projector Reviews

Optoma CinemaX P1 Laser TV Review – Special Features 2

Optoma CinemaX P1 Laser TV – Special Features 2: InfoWall, SmartFit, Networking and Streaming, Five ISF modes, Gaming Input Lag, Media Player, Warranty.

InfoWall

Optoma’s InfoWall is what you see up on the screen when there’s no source, or if paused for a period of time. It is configurable using the Optoma Connect App. Put up time, weather, even a YouTube video channel, music from Spotify Premium, photos, or your Google Calendar. I think that’s great!  Unfortunately, for us Mac/Apple fans, InfoWall cannot access Mac/iOS calendars and Photos, and other items inside their “garden wall”.  As a result, without that access, InfoWall ends up pretty much basic.  Perhaps in the future…

InfoWall
An Optoma provided image gives you a look at one configuration of the Infowall. Limitations for Apple users, unfortunately

As it was explained to me by Optoma, Apple’s “garden wall” that creates their relatively closed system for security, prevents Optoma from accessing things like Apple Photos, or iCloud, or even Apple’s calendar.

SmartFit

SmartFit is an App that allows you to quickly align the projector’s image on your screen to get it nice and rectangular. The App offers both Auto and Manual modes.

One of the screens from Optoma's SmartFit App. In this case manual mode. There is also a quick auto mode.

I prefer not to use digital processing to get it rectangular so I invest a lot of time getting it aligned right by adjusting the projector’s distance, angle, etc., where even 1/32 of an inch makes a visible difference.

I recommend doing it my way if the projector isn’t going to be moved.  SmartFit would be a great, quick method to get set up though if the projector does get moved occasionally.

P1 Networking and Streaming

Networking menu
The Optoma P1 has extensive networking controls for both wired and wireless.

Wireless networking (or wired) is obviously critical to being a smart projector – or in this case, a Smart Laser TV. Without an internet connection, no streaming, and no access to the other smarts. The CinemaX P1 has both standard.

As will be the case for most owners of the P1, I have relied only on the wireless. That said, because we will be doing a remodel shortly (including replacing floors), I do plan to use the wired networking to hardwire into my router, for better throughput…

If you would like to quickly “cast” from your smartphones, tablets, etc. to the projector, you can download the Optoma TapCast app.

So far, Optoma is more focused on Android and Windows users, and their worlds, than it seems than they are on Apple products. (That’s tough for a hardcore Apple fan boy!).  I am using my 4K Apple TV with the P1.  But, by comparison the LG HU85LA supports Apple TV internally, so no need to buy an Apple TV.  Other than that, no issues.

Five ISF Modes For Calibrating

Like many home theater and home entertainment projectors, Optoma’s CinemaX P1 offers multiple ISF modes.  For those not familiar, ISF is the International Science Foundation, and it is the organization, that trains and supports professional display calibrators.

Three of the four calibrators I have used over the years were ISF trained and certified. The fourth was THX certified.

With ISF the projector comes with additional picture modes that, like most others, are adjustable, calibratable, but they come with password protection (the professional calibrator knows the password). That way they can calibrate your projector/laser TV, and you can’t accidentally change or delete those settings.  If you prefer to tweak, of course, and want to start with their calibrated settings, you can drop those into one of the many regular picture modes.  Enough modes are provided to do both Day and Night settings and HDR and SDR…

Gaming Input Lag

If you are a serious gamer, high-speed sports, team FPS, etc., we find the input lag speeds translate this way:

Over 60ms – too slow for most serious gamers, mildly annoying to some

50ms range – just acceptable

33ms range – good speed

25ms range – very good speed

16ms range – excellent

0ms — perfect, but I’m not aware of any doing less than about 9ms at this time (there are 0 lag gaming monitors out there, just nothing remotely the size of what any good gaming projector can do).

GTA - Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto, a verypopular fast game, but a little slow on the P1.

There will be speed differences in the input lag depending on the resolution. My hardware, for example only measures 1080p. A 4K projector may have 4K input lag, lower than its 1080p input lag. Turn off the types of processing that slow things down, like Pure Motion and SmartFit, and also Dynamic Black (I can’t confirm that turning it off helps, I only measured with Dynamic Black off, at 1080). With all that off, my gear bounced around 50-55ms, which is definitely not great, but not a total disaster either for more serious gamers.

Problem is, most folks will use SmartFit when getting the screen image properly rectangular. Turning that off will shift the image/shape. Personally I recommend the somewhat tedious path of physically aligning the projector’s image perfectly onto the screen.

Media Player on Board

The specs seem to vary from the manual and datasheet to the projector itself. But, since the projector shows there is over 9 Gig of storage, I’ll go with that. Some of that is overhead, but there are still over 8.5 gigs. That’s a healthy number of photos or a couple of serious videos. I only glanced at the player’s structure. It’s typical with folders for images, videos, etc.

media player preferences
Media Player Preferences. (Photo was taken handheld, off-angle with my iPhone, thus the tilt…)

 

There’s a USB on the side of the P1 which makes plugging in a USB drive with content easy to access.

Optoma CinemaX P1 Laser TV Warranty

Optoma provides a proper warranty! 2 years parts and labor on the projector, and 5 years (or 12,000 hours, which ever comes first) on the laser light source. That combination is not especially great, but I’d say better than most in this class.  There are 1 year warranties, 2’s, 3’s and longer. For example though one might have a 3 year parts and labor, but no extra warranty on the laser engine.

Good Eye Protection From The Laser

The Optoma P1 has a laser light engine, of course. UST laser projectors’ lasers pose a risk in that they are typically positioned where someone can lean over it and look into the light. Try that, however, and the laser essentially turns off. I did test this multiple times from different angles relative to the Optoma. I would lean into the light path with my eyes closed. Like magic, the light goes away. What will they think of next? In reality, all of these laser TV projectors should – and do have protection for the eyes.

laser engine P1
Looking down at the light from the laser engine. The P1 detects faces and dims the laser light to protect us.

 

Unlike the VAVA which seemed very sensitive, and even waving my hand in the light path would dim the laser engine, this system seems (not confirmed) to be looking for faces (my take), as holding my hand in front of the beam doesn’t shut it down!