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Optoma HD803 Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance - 4

Posted on February 20, 2008 by Art Feierman

Optoma HD803 Audible Noise Levels

Audible noise levels is going to be a problem for some. In all fairness, it shares this flaw with most (but not all) DLP home theater projectors. It is the usual formula: if you are really adverse to any fan noise, you are probably, just probably, going to be OK, with the HD803 in eco-mode (low lamp brightness). With the lamp in full power, these projectors will drive those really noise adverse, crazy!

The HD803 is simply the noisiest projector I've reviewed, since the previous Optoma projectors, when in full power mode. I recently commented that the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB (with lamp on high), was a bit noisey, and similar to DLP projectors in that regard. I had the chance to run the two side by side, and I think I owe Epson an apology. In reality, the Epson may be about average in noise, however the Optoma is a step up in noise. With my ears about 2 feet from the Epson, and 5 feet from the Optoma, the Optoma was still the noisier.

Overall, not a problem for most of us, but your sensitivity, size of your room, and acoustics could make it an issue. If you think your are particularly noise adverse, this projector isn't for you.

Optoma HD803 Brightness - Measured Lumens

The Optoma HD803 brightness performance is good, overall - brighter than average. Using default settings (degamma = film, gamma set to 1, Color Temp = Warm) the projector measured almost 750 lumens in "best mode".

Please note, I set gamma to one, because I found the image to have what is probably a too high gamma, making scenes often seem a little dark. Changing the gamma, however, should have no impact on measured brightness.

Unfortunately, the default Cinema (best) mode, isn't that good out of the box! After calibrating the grayscale the end result was a significantly improved image. The adjustments, however, took a significant toll in terms of brightness, measuring 506 lumens. These measurements were taken with the iris open.

Still, you can't complain. The average 1080p projector in best mode (full lamp), tends to offer between 400 and 450 lumens, so this Optoma is still brighter than most, although not by that much.

Low lamp mode has me baffled. I think I may have erred in my measurement, or in the recording of it. I found the low lamp mode to be about 30% dimmer, however that is not consistent with the HD80 and HD8000 which dropped off less than 20%. I don't know what to tell you. I intend to check with Optoma to see what amount of drop they say it should be. If they concur with the HD80/HD8000 measurements, then figure I botched it, and use those numbers.

Brightness Comparison

Cinema mode
Bright mode




In Bright Mode, the HD803 measured an impressive 1193 lumens, whether you set the color temp to Mid, or Warm. I favored Mid, for sports viewing while Warm worked better for movies when you have ambient light to deal with.

TV mode clocked in at 927 lumens, again with a cool default setting great for sports and non-movie content, and it dropped to 694 lumens after adjusting to close to 6500K.

The two images below are of the same frame from Casino Royale. The exposures are also the same, to show the relative difference in brightness between the modes. First is Cinema mode, followed by Bright mode:

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