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Optoma HD803 Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance - 5

Posted on February 20, 2008 by Art Feierman

Optoma HD803 Lamp Life and Replacement

The HD803 is pretty much industry standard: 2000 hours in full power mode, and 3000 hours rated for low power.

When it comes to replacing the lamp, the lamp door is on the bottom of the projector. That means you are going to have to unmount a celing mounted projector to change the lamp. That's a pain, but typical of most projectors. Problem is, its competition includes the BenQ W5000 and the Panasonic PT-AE2000U, neither of which requires unmounting to change their lamps.

Optoma HD803 Projector Screen Recommendations

The HD803 has a healthy amount of lumens, yet I liked it best on mid-sized screens. At 110" diagonal size on my Firehawk, the Optoma looked really good. The gray surface helps out a bit with the black levels, and of course with dealing with some ambient light. However the overall image looked a bit dark. I found that I had to have the gamma set to 1, or 2 to best enjoy movies.

That said, when I used the HD803 in the testing room, filling the 106" Carada Brilliant White screen, it became a great little family room projector. It had a very dynamic feel. Not for the most critical viewer, but a very practical projector, with pretty good brightness.

Since this is a fairly well balanced projector - but, by no means, is it the best in class for movie watching, I would tend to think that many buyers of the HD803, would opt for a matte white surface or one with gain, resulting in a brighter than average projected image, suitable for general viewing.

As a compromise, one that provides for a slight improvement in black levels, a light gray surface with some positive gain, consider screens like the Da-lite Cinemavision or HC Cinemavision screens or Elite's high contrast gray (which is light gray and not particularly high contrast). They should both be a good compromise screen to match with a projector that is, itself, a good projector but one that has compromised black level performance a bit.

Tough call. Definitely consider your room conditions as a key factor in your screen choice for the HD803 projector.

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