Optoma HD8600U Projector: Performance, HDTV and Sports
As I write this section I'm watching the College SEC Playoff Game between Florida and Alabama.
The grass looks great, not too much saturation, or too little. Skin tones are really very good for a "brightest" mode, the announcers look great, as do the occasional closeups on players. The picture is pretty bright.
In addition I've got 6 recessed lights on, partially dimmed. The room lighting is fairly low, I wouldn't want to read with this lighting, but the image on the screen is sizzling. It's bright, filling about 116" diagonal of my slightly larger screen.
I even need to turn down the color saturation, which normally I keep set higher for sports with ambient light. Here's that same shot as seen in the room image above
Being brave, I opened the shade on the large window by the screen. With the gray day outside, the projector still looked pretty darn good, with reasonably bright colors, The ambient light is washing out any blacks and very dark colors a bit, but still very watchable as seen in the photo immediately below:
Now, we must all realize that if this was a bright sunny day, with sunlight coming in that window, the results would be completely different, it would be unwatchable. Having said that, with just over 1150 lumens, the HD8600 is definitely one of the brighter home theater projectors around without getting up into the big bucks for a 3 chip DLP. Brighter, although not sensationally so. Just a good bright projector. Not quite as bright as, say the Epson UB projectors, but about half way between them, and the average home theater projectors.
While the HD8600 does offer creative frame interpolation (CFI), it doesn't apply it when receiving standard 60fps content like a nice football game. As a result, I do like turning on some CFI these days for sports, but, I got by just fine without, and would hardly consider getting rid of my JVC RS20, for example, for the HD8600, just to get CFI. So I put the lack of CFI for HD sports down as a "too bad" but it shouldn't be a deciding factor in the grand scheme of things. In fact, I'd rather watch the game now, on the Optoma without CFI, than on the JVC RS25 I have here, with CFI. I'd gladly have the Optoma's extra 250 lumens and the slightly sharper image.
We could wish for just about any projector to be brighter for watching sports, but within the limits of its brightness, the HD8600 is a great projector for HDTV, be your tastes run to sports, regular programming, or interest channels like Discovery HD, SyFyHD, Paladia or History HD. And on that note, I do watch a fair amount of those Discovery and Science channels. The HD is breathtaking