Optoma HD20 Single-chip 1080p DLP Projector



The HD20 is very lightweight at 6.4 pounds, and its white gloss curved shell makes it look like a more expensive unit. The back panel of the HD20 includes two HDMI inputs, as well as component video (Y, Pb, Pr) and VGA/SCART computer connector. The back panel also includes a 12 volt trigger. The manual zoom ring is on the top of the projector; the manual focus ring is on the lens, which includes a rubber lens cap. The side-venting fan was not as quiet as some of the other projectors reviewed in this series, but was never intrusive.

The HD20 has four image presets: Cinema, Bright, Photo, and Reference, along with a User adjustable preset. For my viewing, I chose the Reference setting, even in ambient light conditions during daytime viewing. There are two basic color settings, warm and cold. Advanced user-level video settings included separate R, G, and B gain/bias, and four pre-set gamma settings (film, video, graphics and standard) with the ability to offset the start level of base point in the gamma curve.

The HD20 does not have an adjustable iris, which is to be expected at its price. Instead, the Optoma has something called “Image AI,” which is supposed to adjust the lamp brightness according to the source material. I gave it a try, but the brightness ramping up or down took several seconds and I found it distracting. Also, the Image AI doesn’t work with scenes with both bright and dark segments, so I turned it off.

The small back-lit remote allows the user to switch between inputs, picture modes, contrast and brightness adjustments, and output image scaling (including 16:9, 4:3, and LBX-which stretches nonanamorphic 2:35:1 material to full screen width).

At $999, the Optoma doesn’t use one of the name brand processing solutions such as Faroudja or HQV. I don’t have an extensive DVD collection, so watch very little standard-definition content. When I do watch standard DVD, I usually let the HQV Reon-VX chip in my Integra DTR 8.9 handle upconverting of standard DVD images. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the HD20’s internal processing solution.