Superwide is Optoma's name for their image "cropping" concept. We all know how much letterbox you get at the top and bottom when watching a typical "Cinemascope" 2.35:1 aspect ratio movie on standard HDTV devices (16:9 = 1.78:1).
This Optoma offers a compromise not too different than found on many LCDTVs, but somewhat rare on home projectors. With that movie, the Optoma will zoom in, enough to eliminate about half of the letter boxing. In exchange though, it does crop off just a very small amount on the left or right. This is generally a better idea than fully zooming so there's no letterbox, which results in a lot more cropping of the sides of the image. This works automatically if you are set for Auto.
Borrowed images from Optoma, show how Superwide works:
Above - a 2.35:1 image displayed on 16:9 screen.
Below I've added a red line (sorry, not quite straight) to indicate a partial zoom.
Finished image below! The letter box is noticeably smaller, but only a small amount has been cropped from the left and right sides. An interesting compromise! I like having the option, as will a lot of you, especially those that are used to having your LCDTVs doing some similar compensation. This will not distort the shape of objects though, like what most LCDTV stretch features offer. (I'm tired of oval shaped basketballs - you won't have that problem here, nor one of basketball players looking like dwarves from Lord of the Rings! (really wide)
Gaming with the Optoma HD23
This projector has fast lag times as is typical of most DLP projectors. One of our hard core gamer / bloggers, will get to work with the HD23, and will report back in his blog, with a review of his gaming experiences with this projector.
HD23 Superwide Slideshow
2.35:1 image displayed on 16:9 screen.
Here I've added a red line (sorry, not quite straight) to indicate a partial zoom.
Finished image! The letter box is noticeably smaller, but only a small amount has been cropped from the left and right sides.
Optoma's ImageAI dynamically dims the image, for better black level performance. I find that in operation it too often, at the change of a scene, tends to do a visible snap, which when it happens is usually after a significant shift in brightness from one screen to another. I find it annoying, and don't personally consider the trade-off worthwhile. I've left it off for almost all viewing. On or off, the black level performance is entry level, that's not why you are buying this projector.
Make the call yourself. If it doesn't bother you, leave it on.
OK, how about a quick tour of the projector? We'll also check out the remote control, and most of the menus. After that, it will be time to discuss how good the picture quality is. Proceed!