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Optoma HD803 Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance - 2

Posted on February 20, 2008 by Art Feierman

Optoma HD803 Memory Settings

The HD803 projector has User settings in several, but does not offer formal saving of the settings. Image modes: Between the three User areas, plus ISF Day, and ISF Night (those two are for calibrators), there are plenty of savable areas. There is also user color temperature, and you can have different settings for each of the 5 modes.

Without formal Save settings capability though, you should definitely store what your settings are. For example, you might be using User 1 mode for movies, but find a particular movie needs some adjustment because the production qualities left something to be desired. So, let's say you increase color saturation, and reduce contrast. That is now part of your setting, and will remain until you change it. No big deal, when you want to return to YOUR "default" setting for user 1, and you know what it is, but if you don't record it, I hope your memory is very good.

Optoma HD803 Remote Control

One notable difference between the HD803 and their more expensive brethren, the HD81 and HD81-LV, is the remote control. I really like the blue LED lit remote for the more expensive Optomas. I'm less enthused with the remote provided with the HD803.

On the plus side, this Optoma remote has a fairly bright backlight. On the downside, the range of the Optoma remote control is, as reported before on the HD80/HD8000, rather limited. I can never manage to get a good bounce off my screen with this Optoma remote series. So, when watching in my theater room, with the projector about 16 feet from the screen, and about 4 feet behind me, I have to point the remote over my shoulder. With most projector remotes I don't have trouble with this type of distance.

Of course a slightly smaller screen and room, cut down your firing distance, but I stlll count it as a minor pain.

OK, let's quickly run through the features.

Top left, all alone is the Off/On switch (press once for on, and two for off). Next come six buttons that provide direct control for Brightness, Contrast, Image-AI off on, Iris control Gamma, and Brite mode.

Right below them, are the Image Shift up and down buttons. For those not familiar, this allows you to move the image up or down the screen digitally. Consider: You are watching a typical movie with a lettter box at top and bottom on your 16:9 screen. With Image Shift, you could move the movie down so that the bottom of the actual movie is flush with the bottom of the screen, instead of being 6 - 10 inches above. This would give you double the letterbox at the top, but some will like this trick.

Then comes the classic arrow key configuration with a center Enter button. Just below on the right, is the Menu Button, and the Preset mode button is opposite on the right.

Overscan and Edge masking are just below.

After some space, you get four buttons for different aspect ratios. And lastly, six buttons for the six HD803 inputs!

The layout overall is good, but I find the menu button, even though easy to find by feel, to be very small and wedged between the arrow keys and the Overscan button. My guess is that Optoma doesn't expect consumers to spend much time in the menus, with so many direct access buttons above. For me, though, I'm constantly in the menus, while reviewing, and it was a little frustrating.

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