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Optoma HD37 Projector - Picture Quality 2

Posted on July 2, 2015 by Art Feierman
HD37 PROJECTOR - PICTURE QUALITY page 2:  HDTV and Sports, Overall Picture Quality

HDTV and Sports

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Although the HD37 isn't near as bright as it claims, it is still bright enough (almost 1500 measured lumens at mid-zoom) to function as a projector with some ambient light present.

In other words, it's bright enough for sports and TV viewing on 100 inch or  if ambient lighting is reasonably controlled, even larger screens, and still do a good job.

Color is certainly good enough, especially post calibration.  Mike's calibration never completely cured the HD37 of a slight tendency to shift skin tones and says slightly to yellow (or yellow-green).  Thus, blue skies take on a slight aqua shade to them, and sometime faces show that yellow, or look a little too pale.  Fanatics might be unhappy, but no doubt the enthusiast willing to keep tweaking the color will end up very satisfied.

There's a good amount of pop to the image. Football games looked great.  Overall color saturation (lacking ambient light) seemed very good.

You have to like the sharpness of this single chip DLP projector.  That helps make sports look even better.  There is, however, no CFI - creative frame interpolation or "smooth motion" which a lot of folks like with their sports (and often TV viewing in general).  Optoma offers CFI as Pure Motion on their higher end projectors.

CFI is a nice "extra" but not a deal breaker kind of feature.

As to recommended settings, for my HDTV and sports viewing, I normally have had the Dynamic Black turned off. My concerts and recorded music festivals looked just fine!

In a fully darkened room, for example, viewing in my theater, I was most satisfied on this type of content.  Of course if you want to watch a very dark movie off of HDTV, the same rules apply as watching off of Blu-ray:  You would want the best black levels, to you would likely turn the Dynamic Black on, despite my reservations noted elsewhere in this review.

HD37 Projector: Overall Picture Quality

Picture Quality is pretty good for the $1000 price range.  Strengths particularly include sharpness, and having enough lumens to tackle some ambient light.  This HD37 is a worthy competitor when it comes to picture with the venerable BenQ W1070 and its replacement, the HT1075.

Black levels are entry level, although with Dynamic Black engaged, they can be slightly better than those BenQs.  Dark shadow detail, while good was not exceptional, with some small amount of the darkest detail disappearing from scenes like the Casino Royale night train, or Rue and Katnis sleeping in The Hunger Games.  Still not bad.

You will find that the HD37 does best the Epson HC2000 and HC2030 at blacks (a key reason why I don't at all consider them as home theater projectors, just home entertainment), but those Epsons do provide slightly more accurate color balance, and more dark shadow detail. Those Epsons are therefore pure "home entertainment projectors," and a good deal brighter.  By comparison, I count this Optoma HD37 as suitable for both home entertainment, and entry level home theater.

3D picture quality I liked a lot.  This is, however, where those extra missing 1000 lumens would come in handy.  100" diagonal in my darkened theater was about it for reasonable (but not great 3D brightness).  My attempts to go up to 120" diagonal found it to be definitely too dim for me to sit through a whole 3D movie.

Where the HD37 projector is strong on 3D is both sharpness and lack of crosstalk.   The downside to 3D though was using the standard DLP-Link.  This time Optoma did not send me one of their RF emitters so I had to get by with the inferior DLP-Link, with its lower contrast, and likelyhood of losing the 3D briefly if you turn away from the screen for more than a fraction of a second.  (That's true of all DLP-Link projectors).  So, spring for the $49 emitter.  RF glasses cost about the same as DLP-Link ones when shopping for affordable 3rd party brands.

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