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Optoma HD81 Home Theater Projector - Overview

Posted on December 21, 2006 by Art Feierman

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Optoma HD81 Specs
Price 9999
Technology DLP
Native Resolution HD 1080p (1920x1080)
Brightness (Manufacturer Claim) 1400
Contrast 10,000:1
Zoom Lens Ratio 1.20:1
Lens Shift No
Lamp Life 2000 hours full power, 3000 lumens eco-mode
Weight 10 lbs
Warranty 3 years

I've been looking forward to reviewing the HD81 since I had last seen it at CEDIA, doing Phantom of the Opera, in Optoma's fully darkened theater room in their booth. They had the HD81 paired with an anamorphic lens (not yet available), to do Cinemascope 2.35:1 aspect ratio, without lettterboxing (black bars at the top and bottom).

The projected image was truly impressive at the show, leading me to expect an excellent projector to review. I was also curious to see what additional capabilities the HD81 home theater projector offered, by virtue of its using a Gennum outboard processor. I wasn't dissapointed, plenty of gadgetry there, and overall a very nice solution.

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There is no question that the HD81 is an excellent 1080p single chip DLP home theater projector. Despite being the highest price of the "big name/high volume" projectors, it's very hard to argue with the value Optoma provides.

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In that light, I'm pleased to announce that the Optoma HD81 projector picks up our Hot Product Award. More on why the HD81 won our award, in the Summary section, although I'll start here by saying that the HD81 not only offers more than just an extremely sharp image. It produces extremely good color accuracy, and enough control of the image processing to please even the most enthusiastic tweakers out there, let alone, satisfy the average consumer.

There are some individual issues with the Optoma HD81, that we will point out in the review, however, all considered, Optoma has produced what, in many ways, may be the best under $10,000 selling priced 1080p projector yet, despite heavy competition from BenQ's W10000 (probably the closest contest), and Mitsubishi's HC5000, both which sell for less.

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