Projectors

Optoma HD8300 3D DLP Projector

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup of the Optoma HD8300 3D DLP Projector

Installation was trouble-free. Since I use a shelf mounted above the screen, I had to invert the HD8300. I use a cradle for this which I fabricated myself. Typically, one would use a ceiling mount. With an 11-foot throw distance I was able to fill my 92-inch Carada screen with a nice bright image. Zoom and focus took a bit longer to dial in since they interact. I don't like to overscan the image more than a pixel so it took me some time to get it right. The super-sharp picture made it completely worth the effort. My only connection was a single HDMI cable. By the way, if you're wondering whether you need to upgrade your cabling to accommodate 3D; I am still using the heavy-gauge cable from Bluejeans I bought back in 2007. I have yet to experience issues with any of the 3D displays I've reviewed.

The menu system is just like the other Optoma projectors I've worked with, simple and concise. There are four major areas – Image, Display, System and Setup. Image is where you'll find all the calibration controls. There are eight picture modes including ISF Day and Night which can be adjusted and locked using a passcode. All the modes are fully customizable so I just had to choose which one provided the best starting point which was Cinema. The Image menu has every conceivable option to achieve an accurate picture including white balance, multiple gamma curves with editing, and a full color management system. There are also two auto-iris settings labeled Cinema 1 and Cinema 2. Cinema 1 provided superb contrast with deep blacks and no hint of its operation. I turned it on during my first viewing session and left it on for the duration of my review. It's the best iris implementation I've seen to date.

The Display menu has all the aspect ratio choices. These are 4:3, 16:9, LBX (for anamorphic lenses) and Native which turns off the scaler. You can use other controls for a digital zoom and image shift, keystone correction and edge masking. SuperWide is an auto-aspect feature that requires a 2.0:1 aspect screen and will eliminate black bars from cinemascope content. I was not able to test this feature. The final control is 3D where you can choose between VESA 3D or DLP Link which requires different glasses. You can choose the format (frame sequential, side-by-side, or top-and-bottom) or turn 3D off. There is no feature to convert 2D to 3D.

The System and Setup menus contain all other projector functions like lamp power, installation type and so on. Every convenience feature you could possibly need is in one of these two menus. The only thing I noticed that I have not seen on any other brand of projector is the Image AI setting in the Lamp Power menu. This will actually change the lamp brightness according to image content. I was able to see this taking place when I tried it out. You will always see the lamp changing brightness since it can't respond as quickly as an iris. I saw no need to use this particular feature since the auto iris works extremely well. I also could hear the change in fan speed which was a bit distracting.

Calibration was an extreme pleasure due to the excellent design of the image controls. You'll see when you get to the benchmark section just how accurate the HD8300 is. I used the Cinema picture mode to start which wasn't too bad out of the box. Brightness, contrast, gamma and white balance were quick and easy to dial in. The color gamut needed some work though and I was anxious to try out the new CMS. Using this was one of the most fun experiences I've had as a calibrator. Rather than the usual hue, saturation and lightness controls, Optoma lets you move the color points around the CIE triangle using x offset and y offset values. This is the same function I encountered on the HD8600 back in 2010 but now the brightness option has been added. It's simplicity itself to center each color point in proper spot than adjust the brightness. I wish all CMSs worked this way. The only flaw is the controls don't have quite enough range. I maxed the brightness for green and still couldn't quite get to the correct level. And blue didn't have quite enough y offset to get me centered. I came pretty close though and it's a huge improvement over the default gamut. I think if the defaults were a little closer to the target, the CMS would be able to produce perfect results. With an excellent calibration completed, it was time to watch some actual content.