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Optoma HD72 Projector Review - General Performance

Posted on February 21, 2006 by Art Feierman


When you hit the menu button on the projector or the remote control, this first image is what you will see on the screen. There are four main menus across the top. Let's start with the Image Menu.

There are five modes, Cinema, for best viewing, Bright, when you have ambient light to fight off, TV, which enlarges the image slightly, and apparently affects the overscan, for regular non-HD TV viewing (and VCR's if you still have one). There is also sRGB for color matching (that few ever use), and lastly a User setting for saving your favorite combination of adjustments.

I better note it now, before I forget. There is also a Tint control that only appears on the Image menu when you feed it a video or S-video source, not the higher quality Component, DVI or HDMI inputs.

As you can see that is followed by Contrast, Brightness, and Sharpness, and lastly the Advanced Menu.

On the Advanced Menu you will normally want "Degamma" set to Film.

Brilliant Color adds zip to the image. I found 3 and 4 to work best, and preferred 4 for most of what I watched. By the time you get up to 8,9 and 10, the image does get really "Brilliant" but unnatural.

I didn't really work with True Vivid. When I tried cranking it up briefly, I didn't like the results, again not very natural I left it at 0 for all my viewing although 1 was ok too.

Color Temp should be a 1 for DVDs and movies. 2 works great on HDTV sports.

Image AI is discussed in the Image Quality section. I almost always ran this on. Since I didn't notice the AI's function of brightening and dimming the lamp to optimize each frame, to be visible or annoying under normal watching, and since this produces the best results in terms of apparent contrast, I could find no reason to turn it off. I

If, however you have a smaller screen, you could shut it down and put the projector into Low power mode, to make this projector less bright. Next, is the key menu for calibrating the projector. It is the RGB/Gain/Bias menu shown here.

There is also a menu for selecting your source (yes using the remote is easier)!

That takes us to the Display menu (shown here), but everything on it is rarely used, and can be controlled directly from buttons on the remote.

The Setup menu (no image) handles projection (ceiling, floor, rear screen..) menu language, and display type (16:9 or 16:10).

Lastly the Options menu, with lots of goodies, including where you want the menu to be on the screen, whether you want the projector to seek sources automatically or let you do it manually, a High Altitude option for running the fan at full speed at higher altitudes to keep the projector running cool, and Lamp settings.

The Lamp Settings sub-menu which tells you how many hours, and lets you toggle between Bright lamp mode or Low (if AI is turned off), plus a lamp reset.

The last item on the Options menus is the Reset. That's about it.

Overall the layout is pretty good, and easy to navigate. Text is large enough to easily read even if you are sitting pretty far back.

Menus Slideshow


Main Image Menu


Image Advanced Menu


Image Advanced RGB Menu


Options Menu


Options Lamp Menu

User settings

Optoma projectors all seem to inherently save settings based on the source. This saves Optoma from having to have 3 or 5 or more User settings. It was interesting. In my testing room I had one Oppo DVD player fed into the HD72 through the HDMI input. In my theater, I fed the HD72 directly from my other identical Oppo, but through the DVI input. It did not pick up the calibration settings I had used in the testing room. Guess I'll have to put the settings into the User area. (which I would recommend anyway) Per the manual there is no Save feature. It says User "Memorizes User settings" (that's all it says!) I will investigate and try to fill in the blanks here.

Remote Control

it's a nice little remote, very well laid out, but has one real flaw, and one item that might bother you.

The flaw is the remote's range. Sitting in my prime theater seat, with 11 feet to the screen, and trying to bounce the remote's signal off the screen (or wall) to the projector that is about 17 feet back, I just couldn't get the projector to notice the remote. I had to point the remote behind me at the projector. Of course, if you are going to buy a 3rd party remote to control all your devices, as many do, this becomes a moot point.

Even if I stand a foot from my screen, I can't get a bounce off of it to the projector. Pointing straight at the projector though, I was able to use the remote out as far as 18 feet (as far away as I could get in my room).

The other point, is that there is no LIGHT button. All the buttons on the remote are backlit, and glow brightly and are well labeled. Pressing any button will turn on the back light, but, hitting some of them will change things. The Enter key is safe however and easy to feel.So the lack of a separate back light button is a non-issue.

Let's look at the buttons:

As you can see, the power is on the top right. Once to power up, twice to power down.

On the next row, brightness and contrast. Once you select one of these, the left and right arrow keys allow you to adjust.

Next is the Digital Image Shift (up and down) buttons. This feature is described below. Right below them are the Horizontal and Vertical Keystone correction buttons (best to avoid, as they degrade the image slightly).

Then comes a nice large set of four arrow keys with the Enter key in the middle.

Immediately below - on the left, a very small menu button, and opposite it, the mode button (Cinema, TV, Bright). Small, but both are easy to feel in the dark, being near those huge arrow key buttons.

There is an overscan control (not covered) to remove edge noise often found on standard TV signals, and a digital zoom button, below the other keys. Then, four aspect ratio buttons, and finally separate buttons for each source (DVI, HDMI, Component, S-video, and Video.) Note there are two buttons for DVI, one for a digital signal, the other for an analog signal (such as your computer.

That about wraps it up. Nice, If only it had more range!

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