Optoma HD8600 DLP Projector Reviewed

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Optoma HD8600 DLP Projector Reviewed

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Optoma_HD8600_projector_review.gifAnnounced at last year's CEDIA, Optoma's HD8600 is currently the top-shelf model in the company's custom-installation line. It's loaded with Optoma's most advanced imaging technologies and recently earned the CEA's Mark of Excellence Gold Award for Video Product of the Year. We have not performed a hands-on review of the HD8600, but here is an overview of its features. This 1080p, single-chip DLP projector has a rated brightness of 1,600 ANSI lumens and a rated contrast ratio of 50,000:1. It uses Texas Instrument's DarkChip3 DLP chip and features 10-bit processing, a new color management system, an automatic iris and Optoma's PureEngine image processing technologies--which includes PureMotion2 to reduce film judder. ISF calibration modes are available, and you have a choice of three lens options, for a standard, short or long throw. The HD8600 uses a 280-watt P-VIP lamp and has a rated noise level of 29 decibels in the standard lamp mode.

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In terms of physical setup tools, the HD8600 offers adjustable feet and manual lens-shifting dials. Depending on projector placement, you can get between 30 and 110 percent vertical shift and 5 percent horizontal shift. The standard-throw lens includes 1.25x manual zoom, while the long-throw lens offers 1.5x manual zoom (the short-throw lens has no zoom). All three lenses have a manual focus dial. This projector weighs 19 pounds.

The connection panel includes three HDMI 1.3 inputs, as well as a single component video, PC, S-video and composite video input. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals. The HD8600 also sports dual 12-volt triggers, a USB service port, and an RS-232 port for integration into an advanced control system. The package includes two remote controls: a primary, fully backlit remote that offers dedicated input and aspect-ratio access, as well as direct access to numerous picture controls, and a backup remote with on/off, menu, source and directional buttons.

The setup menu has a thorough assortment of picture adjustments, starting with nine image modes (including ISF Day and Night modes that are accessible by a professional calibrator). Other adjustments include: six color-temperature presets, plus RGB gain and bias controls to precisely tweak white balance; an advanced color management system with the ability to individually adjust each color point; four adjustable gamma settings; incremental noise reduction; five color gamuts; two lamp modes; and the ability to engage the auto iris and manually adjust its range. The PureEngine sub-menu has three controls: PureDetail is an edge enhancement tool, PureColor affects the picture's "vividness" and PureMotion2 uses motion interpolation to produce smoother movement with film sources (low, medium and high options). For those who don't like the look of motion-interpolated film sources, if you leave PureMotion2 turned off, the projector will output 24p Blu-ray at 48Hz, showing each frame two times.

The HD8600 offers four aspect ratios, including a native mode for viewing the image without any scaling and an LBX mode for viewing 2.35:1 content without black bars (this requires an add-on anamorphic lens system to view without distortion). There's also a SuperWide zoom mode that produces a 2.0:1 aspect ratio that allows both 1.78:1 and 2.35:1 movies to be viewed without black bars. You have the option of adding overscan or using an edge-masking system to hide noise around the edges of the picture, usually visible with TV content. Vertical shift and vertical keystone adjustments are also available.

Read about the high points and the low points of the HD8600 on Page 2.

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