I watch too much TV, that’s what my wife tells me on a daily basis. Things escalated when I recently purchased a new 65-inch 4K Sony Bravia! Why does it need to be so big? What was wrong with the 50-inch TV we had? For me, when it comes to home cinema, bigger is always better. So, being given the option of testing Optoma’s HD50 home cinema projector, I jumped at the chance. You should’ve seen the look on the wife’s face when she saw an entire wall of screen! I think the comment was “I hope you didn’t f**king buy that!”
Optoma HD50 design
The HD50 has the unusual dimensions of 286 x 266 x 124 (WxDxH).
The manual focus ring protrudes slightly from the HD50’s front edge making for easy adjustments.
Connections on the HD50’s rear include two HDMIs, 3D transmitter jack, and an RS-232 port for system integration. There is also a 12V trigger output which can be used to automatically fire up a motorised screen.
Optoma HD50 Performance
The HD50 is a full HD 1080p projector boasting great image quality and pure, vivid colours.
Set up and ease of use
In a nutshell, the HD50 is super easy to set up and use.
It took me longer to find a spare HDMI cable than it did to set up and start viewing. It’s practically plug and play.
I struggled a little to find somewhere to put the projector that would allow me to project on to the only wall that wasn’t plastered with wedding or baby pictures. Once I picked a spot, I connected, turned on and away we go… Oh… the picture’s upside down! I’m not sure if this is an out of box default setting or just left over from the last person to review it but it was pre-set to project from an inverted position on the ceiling.
If it wasn’t for this, I would have flipped the image in seconds but I kept on overshooting the options due to the lag. Annoying!
Once the right way round, the focus and vertical lens shift were quick and simple to use which meant I got a good, big, clear image almost immediately.
So let’s get in to the picture quality.
The Optoma website claims to use PureMotion and UltraDetail technology to provide a smoother, crystal clear image. And they were right! The image quality is phenomenal. On a projection of well over 100-inches the image is smooth, no juddering (actually better than my 4k TV when following the news ticker on BBC News) and is, as they say, pin-sharp. It’s a true HD image.
After watching 5mins of the news, I was thoroughly depressed and felt I needed to push the projector a little harder. After a quick switch of input, I was watching Guardians of the Galaxy!
The action scenes looked smooth and the colours really vibrant. I sometimes avoid watching big action movies on very large screens as I feel too much is going on and you can get lost in the image. Not with the HD50. The only observation here is that I noticed a slight lag on the audio. It was a distraction at the start but I soon forgot it.
Next I turned my hand to gaming. Quick switch of a cable and I was playing Battlefield 1.
Again, the quality of the image was amazing but I started to question the lag here. I seemed to be dying more often than normal. Was I experiencing an image lag too?! Or am I just that bad?! To be honest it’s probably more the latter.
The video below is not a great example of the quality as the map I was playing was very misty.
Unfortunately I couldn’t test the 3D functionality as I didn’t have any glasses. I watched BBC news HD, Guardians of the Galaxy Blu-ray and Battlefield 1 on Xbox One.
Now, on to the bad news…
The images above we’re taken at 7pm on a summer’s evening with blackout blinds on roof lights closed and shutters on windows closed. The image just isn’t bright enough! I trawled through the picture settings and tried everything; upped the brightness, no. Changed to cinema setting, no. Aha, this must be it… Bright Mode. No.
This is a projector that requires absolute darkness for it to be perfect. And in the real world, for everyday use, that’s just not doable. For me this is a deal breaker. I can only imagine how the 3D setting would impact the brightness as this normally dims the image, right?
I had people round for a BBQ on Sunday early evening and wanted to use the HD50 in the garden as an outside cinema but was put off the idea due to the brightness issues. Plus there is no inbuilt speaker which would mean moving more kit outside.
Optoma HD50 review conclusion
With the HD50 you do get a big, quality and clear image.
You do need a darkened room as the brightness does let it down.
With great curtains and a good film, it does have potential. However, for every day watching, I’ll be sticking with the back lit TV.
Optoma HD50 price and availability
You can buy the HD50 now from selected outlets for £999.
Check out the buy now tab on the Optoma HD50 web page for retailers.
Specs at a glance
|Native Resolution||1080p 1920 x 1080|
|Brightness1 (Bright Mode)||2200 ANSI Lumens|
|Lamp Life2 Dynamic/Eco/Bright||7000/5000/3000 (hrs)|
|Throw Ratio 3||1.39 – 2.09:1|
|Zoom Type||1.5x Manual|
|Lens Shift||Vertical: +15% (constraints apply see user manual for details)|
|I/O Connectors||2 x HDMI (1.4a 3D support), VGA (RGB/YPbPr), Component, Composite, 3D-Sync, 12V trigger, RS232, USB-A Power, USB service|
|Keystone Correction||±30° Vertical|
|Dimensions (W x D x H) (mm)||286 x 266 x 124|
|Aspect Ratio||16:9 Native, 16:10/4:3 Compatible|
|Offset||115% ~ 130%|
|Projection Screen Size||0.76 – 7.67m (30″ – 300″) Diagonal 16:9|
|Projection Distance||1.2 – 10m|
|Projection Lens||F/2.42~2.97; f=20.07~31.05mm, 1.5x Manual Zoom|
|Computer Compatibility||UXGA, SXGA, WXGA, HD, XGA, SVGA, VGA, Mac|
|Video Compatibility||NTSC M/J, 3.58MHz, 4.43MHz PAL B/D/G/H/I/M/N, 4,43MHz SECAM B/D/G/K/K1/L, 4.25/4.4MHz 480i/p, 576i/p, 720p(50/60Hz), 1080i(50/60Hz), 1080p(50/60Hz)|
|3D Support||Full 3D – The 3D features of Optoma projectors can only be used with compatible 3D content. Typical applications include use with 3D educational or 3D design and modelling systems. 3D TV broadcast systems, (SKY in the UK), Blu-ray 3D™ and 3D games from the Sony® PS3 or Microsoft® Xbox 360 are now supported as part of the HDMI v1.4a specification.|
|3D Compatibility||Side-by-Side:1080i50 / 60, 720p50 / 60
Frame-pack: 1080p24, 720p50 / 60
Over-Under: 1080p24, 720p50 / 60
|Displayable Colours||1073.4 Million|
|Noise Level (Eco mode)||29dB|
|Power Supply||Input: 110 – 220v|
|Power Consumption||270W Bright mode / 230W Eco mode (< 0.5W Standby)|
|Operating Conditions||5°C – 40°C, Max. Humidity 85%, Max. Altitude 3000m|
|Security||Security bar, Kensington lock|
|On Screen Display||23 Languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Hungarian, Czechoslovak, Arabic, Thai, Turkish|
|Standard Accessories||Lens cap, AC power cord, remote control, 2x AA batteries, quick start card, CD user manual|
|Optional Accessories||Wireless 3D system, Wireless 3D glasses, DLP® Link™ 3D glasses, wireless, ceiling mount|