Posted on December 20, 2017 By Ron Jones
Optoma’s new UHZ65 home theater projector is positioned at the top of Optoma’s lineup of UHx6x models of UHD projectors sporting the first Texas Instruments consumer 4K UHD chip, and targeting home users. We previously reviewed the entry-level home theater model UHD65 (review is HERE) that is priced at $2000 less than the UHZ65 reviewed here. The most obvious difference between these two models is the light source. Instead of the lamp used in the UHD65, the UHZ65 uses a laser light source..
No matter where you are in the “FauxK vs true 4K” debate, one thing is for sure: The UHZ65 produces a visibly sharper image at $4499, than any 1080p projectors we’ve seen. That’s even true for the 1080p pixel shifting models.
Without a doubt, the compatibility with 4K/UHD video sources combined the sharpness of the image along with the long-life laser light source are the highlight features of the UHZ65.
January 7, 2018 Update: Some additions and corrections have been incorporated into this review since it was originally posted. While the focus of this review of the UHZ65 is for its use as a home theater projector, Optoma is also be marketing the UHZ65 as a projector suitable for business and education applications. This update adds some information addressing those potential applications for the UHZ65 .
As we see it, the competition to the Optoma UHZ65 comes in multiple flavors – at or near this price point you will find 1080p projectors with pixel shifting, while for an extra $500 we now have Sony entry-level native 4K projector (model VPL-VW285es reviewed – HERE). Finally, there are the other DLP projector manufacturers, that are, or soon will be, offering up competition using the same TI 4K chip set combined with a laser light source (e.g., Acer VL7860).
When moving to UHD, there are 3 video enhancements that are offered. Increased resolution is one, and the UHZ65 has that covered fairly well, even without having true native 4K resolution. High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) are the other two UHD enhancements and while the lamp based DLP 4K projectors we have reviewed do support HDR, with some limitations, they have not supported displaying images with WCG. WCG simply provides richer, more intense colors than the REC 709 standard we’ve enjoyed all these years for HDTV and Blu-ray movies. Just remember, almost all Blu-ray UHD movies support not only 4K, and HDR, but also that expanded color space of BT2020, or the more practical, obtainable DCI-P3 “subset”, as used in commercial cinemas.
Optoma says in some of the literature for the UHZ65 that it:
“produces….striking, life-like colors courtesy of wide color gamut support featuring REC 2020 and DCI-P3 coverage.”
For how well the UHZ65 really does for supporting WCG, we will cover that later in this review.
The big features of the UHZ65 are:
The rest of the Optoma UHZ65 is a pretty typical home theater projector. What’s missing are power focus, zoom, lens shift and lens memory which are becoming more common for home theater projectors in this price range. This projector is intended for use with a 16 x 9 screen and without the power lens features it is not well suited for use with wide aspect ratio ‘scope’ screens.
I mentioned the lower cost UHD65 above. In addition to a bulb vs. laser light source, there is a difference is the color filter wheel and that’s discussed later in this review.
Please use “16:9” for the aspect ratio (16 to 9), rather than “16 x 9” (16 by 9, which would need the number of pixels or a unit of measure for each axis to make any real sense), it is after all, a ratio.
Every time I see 16 x 9 I think “wow, what a low resolution”. 😉
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