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Optoma H78 DC3 review

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by fraggle, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. fraggle

    fraggle
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    Hi all.

    First of all a VERY big thanks to Joe Fernand who loaned me his demo H78 for a long weekend - a very very very nice man! :smashin: :smashin: :smashin:

    Equipment list:-

    Arcam DV88+
    Sony VPL VW10HT (3 panel LCD)
    Bretford motorised screen, I think it has a 1.2 gain. Approx image size 7~8 foot.
    Unicol projector mount.
    DVD connected directly to PJ using YPrPb signal.

    (rest of gear isn't related to video)

    Arcam outputting PAL or NTSC signal, progressive, all conversion (e.g. PAL -> NTSC, progressive AUTO conversions) turned off.

    First off the H78 is a bit wider than the 10HT, light cream case, box shaped. The lens is offset from the middle of the unit, which gave me a little problem in that when mounted on the Unical bracket, the lens was then offset by about 5" to one side, which gave me a slightly trapezoidal image. Nothing that wouldn't be cured by moving the bracket mounting point on the ceiling.

    Turning it on it takes a while to power up and produce any image, longer than the Sony, and its a bit disconcerting as you get a second of what I assume is a calibration image, then a very brief flash of the video image, then nothing, then the manufacturer logo, then it searches for the video signal, and auto calibrates it to it and then displays it.

    Good points:

    Contrast ratio : leaves the 10HT for dead. Blacks are very black (but not quite totally), bright whites seem extremely bright. But when seen with ambient light in the room the output is a fair bit dimmer than the Sony 10HT. I happily use the 10HT in the daytime with blinds drawn to play games on, the H78 wouldn't be so good at doing this due to the lower lumens output.

    Image resolution : Essentially the same as my 10HT - very good.

    Screendoor : none evident. I'd actually gotten used to the 10HT, and going back to it now I notice the screen door on the 10HT quite a lot - must de-focus it fractionally to get rid of it again :)

    Colour rendition : Excellent. Had to tweek the "Green Brightness" to -5 to get rid of a very slight green tinge to dark scenes, but after this it was perfect to my eyes. And after a brief calibration with Avia to tweek the contrast and brightness they were set up fine.

    One very good point is that adjusting the gamma level does *not* affect the contrast/brightness settings, it just affects the range between black and white points and doesn't move them - excellent!

    Rainbows : Well, this is the first time I've seen a DLP projector and given it a serious watching. I can see rainbows, but only when I move my eyes quickly round the picture. Just watching one point on the screen there was no evidence of rainbows at all, on scrolling white credits, fast moving scenes, anything. And the rainbows I could see didn't bother me (much).

    Fan noise (cinema setting) : With the lamp Brightmode set to Off (i.e. dim mode) the fan noise was very quiet.


    Bad points :

    Fan noise (bright setting) : In the bright mode, the fan noise was easily audible, more so than my 10HT. You would need to use this mode when watching films with ambient light in the room IMHO.

    Fast action scenes : (Please note that this criticism is very subjective, and what I notice most others wouldn't) This was my major stumbling point. In all fast action scenes that I watched, the scenes just seemed to be very confusing. I couldn't follow the action, it just seemed as if my brain was being fed with far too much action to take in, or maybe as if the film was being played at 25Hz rather than 50Hz and it was jerky. Switching back to the 10HT and viewing the same scenes again, they were perfectly watchable and I could take in everything that was going on. I tried switching off progressive on the DV88+, but it made no difference.
    I suspect this is simply due to the fact the H78 is using a single DLP panel and a colour wheel, so its outputting an interlaced video signal, 1 frame of red, 1 frame green, etc, etc, through all 6 colours, and my subconcious could see this and it just confused the heck out of me!?

    Remote sensor (or remote control output power) : The range of the remote control was really poor. I was constantly waving it around trying to get the projector to do anything. Whether this was weak output from the Remote, or weak reception in the PJ I don't know, I suspect the remote rather than the projector?

    Headaches : I'm not sure (as I'm getting headaches a lot lately due to too many painkillers) but I think they were worse after watching the PJ for hours. But this varies with each individual, YMMV.

    Other odd visual oddities : I noticed that in dark(ish) scenes with bright light points (for example street lights, room lights, etc) the bright points seemed to actually stand out, *in front* of the projection screen. A very odd effect. This may sound cool, but for me it was disconcerting, and it was a little bit of a strain to watch scenes like this. Switching back to the 10HT this "effect" totally disappeared.


    Conclusion

    The H78 DC3 is a brilliant projector, IF you are in the majority of people who do not suffer from the DLP/colourwheel problems (rainbows/headaches). But you definitely must demo this PJ before buying it (or know you are happy with DLP technology, i.e. you're upgrading from another DLP)

    Brilliant contrast, blacks, colour rendition, connectivity, setup, zero screendoor, quiet fan in cinema mode.

    I know now I'm unfortunately in the group of people who don't get on with single panel DLPs, which is very annoying as otherwise I would have bought it.

    But for me its try to borrow a Sony HS50 or wait for 3 panel DLPs to drop in price a lot :)


    Many thanks again to Joe for loaning me the projector.
     
  2. n0s

    n0s
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    Nice review, shame you see Rainbows, im one of the fortunate few that really cant see them at all (Owned a IF5700)... But to be honest i have neve even bothered looking at LCD but i saw the AE700 the other day and was impressed buy it, but its not in H78DC3 league...
     

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