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Optoma HD7100 Projector - General Performance - 3

Posted on May 3, 2006 by Art Feierman

SDE and Rainbow Effect

Screen Door Effect is typical for DLP projectors, pixels are a little more visible than on some other DLP projectors - I think in part, it's the Darkchip3, but it could also be the optics. The HD7100 seems sharper than most (except for the BenQ PE8720, which also has more noticeable pixels).

For those (like me, who don't mind seeing pixels in the white letters of titling, and perhaps occasionally notice it in a large light area (if looking for pixels), I would say that 1.1 x screen width is your closest seating. If you really want no sign of pixels at all, you'll need at least 1.6 x width. Dont' confuse being able to spot pixels with SDE, the real SDE problem comes when the data in the content creates an undesirable pattern as it meshes with the pixel structure - like moire' patterns, etc. Rarely would you really notice SDE even at 1.1 x. (Usually on a grass playing field with a low def TV source.)

Below is a closeup of text that shows the pixel structure, and right below it is the full image so you get some idea of how small an area you need to get close to, to see the pixel structure clearly: (ignore the color shift)

Rainbow effect - Optoma again has decided to go with a 4X wheel (6 segments). Most DLP's above entry level are using 5X wheels (as did the older H78 and H79). Why the shift - other than cost? I don't know. I am on occasion susceptable to Rainbows as brief flashes - especially when I'm tired, but it's rare enough for me to be a non-issue when watching. I can't say that I notice rainbows more than with my PE8720 which is a 5X - go figure. It would be nice if we really knew what percentage of people actually notice rainbows in HT DLP projectors, but I've never been able to find a number. My wildest guess would be under 5%, based on my experiences selling projectors and how few returns there were...

Light Leakage

Very little light leaks out of the projector. There is some out the front vents, but it is very diffused, and essentially not detectable. No problem here at all.

Audible Noise Levels

Ouch, well, no $3500 projector can be perfect, and this may be the biggest problem the HD7100 has. Rated 32db noise level (full power?), doesn't sound to bad, but it is a bit loud in full power compared to most. It is definitely noisier than the H78. It's much better in Low Power mode, but still above average.

I don't think any but the most critical will be sufficiently unhappy with the levels at low power, to pass on the HD7100, but I imagine a few people will. In high power mode, the fan is going to be noticeable - not terrible, and no problem for TV/sports type viewing, but I find it, for example to be a bit louder than our central air conditioning in my "great room" viewing room, and I notice the air when it comes on with my own projector.

So, the bottom line, is that the audible noise is probably the only aspect of performance that can stand some improvement. If both were 4-6 db quieter, everyone would be more than happy, including the most critical. Alas!

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