Several weeks ago I was offered an early look at Optomas new video projector models, which are slated for a July release. I promised to keep this news a secret until June 4, and now I can finally share my enthusiasm for the manufacturers technical developments.
During the companys presentation, held in the home theater demo room at New York Citys DataVision retail store, Optomas marketing team showcased two new projectors. The first one was an entry-level model (called the HD80 that may be good for the overall projector market, but it was the second one that is more relavent to the custom channel.
Optoma's new two-piece HD81-LV 1080p DLP projectorThat second product, the HD81-LV, is a 1080p home theater projector most noteworthy for its optional Anamorphic Lens/Sled Kit. Much like existing products from Runco and Digital Projection, the HD81-LV can create a true widescreen cinematic experience when the anamorphic lens is installed with it. It creates a 2.35:1 widescreen image, without the loss of color clarity, brightness, or resolution.
Whats unique about Optomas 2.35:1 solution, however, is that its Auto-IRIS and Auto235 functions automatically detect the aspect ratio of an HDTV channel or optical disk movie, then formats the image for the anamorphic lens. I thought that was a very cool development and one that will simplify the installation of these types of solutions and keep an end-user from getting too confused. The automatic lense shift is on a slight delay to avoid too much back and forth shifting when the end-user is channel surfing.
The HD81-LV is actually a two-piece projection system that includes a native 1080p projector and studio-grade video processor, eliminating the need for multiple cables going from video sources to the projector. Only two cables were connected in the demo (HDMI and RS232).
The Optoma HD81-LVs light engine on steroids opens up new home theater environments. With its extensive connectivity options, personalized setting adjustments and a DarkChip3 chipset from Texas Instruments, the HD81-LV is able to deliver rich and deep textures with astonishing image quality. The HD81-LV sports 2,500 lumens and a 10,000:1 contrast ratio which makes it a unique system in non-light controlled environments. Just to push the limits of these features, Optoma ran a picture at 171 inches during CES.
The demo was provided on a 106-inch screen with anamorphic lense. The MSRP for the unit is $8,000 plus a $4,000 lense kit. RS232 codes are for the projector will be available on the Optoma website and the company sells its own mounts (though other universal projector mounts will work as well.) All Optoma 1080P projectors are ISF certified.
The HD81-LV, which Optoma is calling its Statement Piece will first be available in Magnolia stores on the west coast and branch out from there, but only to dealers who can properly display it.