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Optoma HD81 DLP Projector Review

by November 21, 2006
Optoma HD81 DLP projector

Optoma HD81 DLP projector

  • Product Name: HD81 DLP Projector
  • Manufacturer: Optoma
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStar
  • Review Date: November 21, 2006 19:00
  • MSRP: $ 9999
  • Buy Now

Brightness: 1400 ANSI lumens (high power mode)
Contrast: Up to 10,000:1 (full on/off)
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 native HD resolution
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen native 16:9 aspect ratio (4:3 compatible) 1.85 – 2.22:1 throw ratio
Supported Screen Size: 30-300 inches diagonal (theoretical)
DLP Technology: Single 0.95” DarkChip3 LVDS DMD
Video Processing: Gennum GF9351 chipset
Optical System: 6x speed (180Hz) 7-segment color wheel (RGB, RGB, W)
Iris: 16-step auto iris (defeatable)
Offset (of vertical height): 27%
Computer Compatibility: SXGA, XGA, SVGA, VGA Compression; VESA Standards; PC and Macintosh Compatible
Scanning Formats: 480i/576i/1080i and 480p/576p/720p/1080p/24/60
Video Inputs (projector): HDMI, RS-232
Video Inputs (processor):
Three HDMI (plus one HDMI expansion), dual component video, dual BNC (YPbPr/RGBHV) video, three s-video, three composite video, VGA
Misc Connections: RS-232, IR port extension, two +12V triggers
Projection Lens
: 1.2x Manual Zoom and Focus; F = 2.6 ~ 2.82, f = 39.12 ~ 46.94mm

Lamp: 300W UHP; 2000 hr life
Mounting: ceiling, desk, front/rear (menu configurable)
Keystone Correction: +/- 5 degrees vertical (digital)
Power Supply: 90-264 volts, 50-60Hz
Power Consumption: 250 watts (maximum)
Operating Temperature: 41 – 95 degrees F (5 – 35 degrees C); 80% max humidity (no condensation)
Fan: 32dB noise level
Projection Method: Front/rear/ceiling mount/table-top
Uniformity Ratio: 90% (center-to-corner)
Remote Control: Backlit IR remote Control with source selection, AAA x 2 batteries
Standard Accessories
: Two AC Power Cords, Two HDMI Cables (one jumper), Component Cable, Two RS-232 Cables, Remote Control, Batteries for Remote, External IR Module, User’s Manual, Lens Cap, Warranty Card and Quick Start Card
Optional Accessories: Ceiling mount, carrying case, GrayWolf II series screens, and Gold Service warranty
Dimensions (projector): 16” x 4.6” x 12.2” in (406 x 117 x 310 mm)
Dimensions (processor): 17” x 2.5” x 12” in (432 x 63.5 x 305 mm)
Weight (projector): 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
Weight (processor): 9.2 lbs (4.2 kg)
Warranty: 3 years limited parts and labor; 90 days lamp


  • True native 1080p DLP
  • Deep blacks, rich colors
  • Outboard video processor with numerous inputs and Gennum VXP processing
  • Consumer adjustment of RGB gain, cut and gamma
  • Backlit remote


  • Weak 1.2x Zoom Lens
  • No lens shift
  • Slow switching between formats/inputs
  • Manual zoom/focus
  • Loud fan
  • Loud auto-iris with delayed response
  • Requires long RS-232 serial cable for proper installation (not included)
  • Frequent HDCP errors
  • Locked ISF picture modes


The HD81 is not just a projector. It combines an excellent optical display system with an advanced external video processor that handles, among other things a host of inputs from composite all the way up to HDMI and RGBHV/component.
djarvik posts on June 19, 2007 12:25
The price wend down big time on Optoma HD81

Check this out:


and $300 rebate.

BMXTRIX posts on November 28, 2006 15:03
You will never get HD quality from anything less than 720 formatted material. The HD minimum spec is 720 pixel resolution in the vertical axis. Depending on the scaler involved, you can get very close. In other words, you must provide HD material to a HD display to get a “TRUE” HD picture.
That's not true - stand far enough away from ANY display and it'll look HD.

The non-marketing version of what defines an image as high definition is that when you add one more line of resolution to the image, it doesn't appear to be one bit sharper. So - a 20" display, from 20 feet away, may not look any better to someone with 20/20 vision whether it is fed the VHS version of King Kong or the HD-DVD version.

But, marketing has warped that idea so that people overly tie the 720p (or better) resolution with the exclusive meaning of HDTV.

HDTV is about image size, image quality, display quality, seating distance, and room conditions, as well as some other factors I may have missed. Simply sending 720p HD source material to a compatible display may give a defined version of HD, but doesn't promise the best possible image.
AVRat posts on November 28, 2006 14:53
You will never get HD quality from anything less than 720 formatted material. The HD minimum spec is 720 pixel resolution in the vertical axis. Depending on the scaler involved, you can get very close. In other words, you must provide HD material to a HD display to get a “TRUE” HD picture.
BMXTRIX posts on November 28, 2006 14:51
No - you get HD quality from HD and ONLY HD.

Everything else is a cleaned up version - the best possible version really - of the lower quality format.

In order (pretty much) standard analog cable and VHS are about the worst original video sources. Digital cable and satellite (DirecTV/Dish) are next. Then DVD comes into the mix as the best non-HDTV source available.

Finally, we get HDTV from cable, satellite, and Blu-ray/HD-DVD disc formats.

So, what happens when you run a VHS tape through this machine? Well, you get a really big VHS image. It will look NOTHING like HDTV - but it won't necessarily look ‘bad’ or even ‘so-so’. It MORE depends on your acceptance of the quality. If you know VHS won't look great and aren't nitpicky, then it may look really really good - to you.

If you are picky, then they will look lousy.

It has been said, no less than 10 million times, that converting non-HD material, to an HD format does not make the original source material HD quality. But, this is moreso true with poor quality standard sources such as VHS tapes. This leads to a bit of not-so-typical sarcasm from our beloved Mr. DeBoer here. If he acts up again, just slap him.

I still have about 30 or 40 VHS titles - I am simply replacing them all with DVD titles at this point. In fact, I am thinking about selling or giving away my VHS collection this year. I'll try eBay first - then I'll donate them somewhere.
loose tool posts on November 28, 2006 13:14
Such a Noob

Sign me up for one of those new-fangled VHS deck thingies!! All kidding aside, you will not get HD quality pictures from your old analog video tapes.

If I get a SD-DVD player with “clean 480i” over HDMI can I get HD quality?

Sorry for the dumb questions but other threads are unclear.

:o loose tool :o
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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