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Optoma HD803 projector, Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities

Posted on February 20, 2008 by Art Feierman

Optoma HD803 projector, Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities

Optoma HD803 Projector: Pros

  • Slightly better than average brightness
  • Very acceptable black levels
  • Shadow detail is very good
  • Overall, very good picture quality (after adjustment)
  • Support for ISF Day/Night calibration
  • Optional Anamorphic Lens for those wanting a Cinemascope (2.35:1 aspect ratio) theater - with no letterboxing when watching movies
  • Three digital inputs, including 2, HDMI 1.3 inputs - very impressive, especially for an "entry level" 1080p projector
  • Very good (extensive) image control options on menus
  • Good menu system
  • Sealed light path, no filters to change or clean
  • Fairly attractive, relatively small, projector
  • Average value proposition

Optoma HD803 Projector: Cons

  • Placement flexibility: Limited zoom lens range (1.2:1)
  • Placement flexibility: No adjustable lens shift at all
  • "Out of the Box" color accuracy is not good, but fixable
  • Large lens offset, requires projector well above, or below screen surface - a problem for those with low ceilings (or normal ceilings, and larger screens)
  • Noisey! One of the louder projectors in full power lamp mode
  • Lamp door on bottom requires removal from a ceiling mount to change out
  • Remote has more limited range than most - hard to get a bounce off the screen in larger rooms
  • One year warranty

Optoma HD803 Projector: Typical Capabilities

  • Lamp life
  • Pixel visibility (for a DLP projector)
  • Documentation (needs better, more, explanations of features)

Optoma HD803 Summary

A classic DLP projector, both in terms of the good, and the not so good! The Optoma HD803 may be currently the lowest priced 1080p projector using DLP technology, and the look and feel of the picture from DLP projectors has always been highly regarded, and in fact, until recently (the last two years), many would say unchallenged. (Please, no hate mail from those still using CRT projectors.)

My point being, the HD803 puts a high quality, very watchable image on your screen. It isn't technically the best at anything, but well balanced, with no real issues with picture quality once calibrated.

The HD803 has many challenges in terms of competition. I think it would be a killer product if it was down at $1999 at this time, competing directly with the two projectors currently in that space. At its price however, it faces stiff competition, not just from a wide range of projectors including Epson, Sony, and Panasonic, but from its own two siblings, the HD80 and HD8000.

Bottom line: Good projector, really good image, and some real strengths, including sharpness and better than average brightness in best mode. Despite that, it won't find a large following (but it will be the right match for some folks), due to the usual DLP placement issue, and the heavy competition. It needs to be lower priced at this time, to be a formidable competitor.

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