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Optoma ThemeScene HD82 - Optoma ThemeScene HD82
Shifting down a gear or two to more prosaic matters, the HD82 is really well connected for its level of the market. Two v1.3 HDMI ports lead the way, but they're joined by an RS232 port for system control and integration; not one but two 12V trigger outputs for driving, say, a motorised screen and a motorised set of aspect ratio curtains; a VGA input that can also take in SCART feeds via a provided adaptor; a component video input; a DVI-D input; plus the still seemingly de rigueur but actually eminently avoidable S-Video and composite video inputs.
As you'd expect for £3k, the HD82's DLP chipset is a 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD affair, able to produce a claimed 'full on, full off' contrast ratio of 20,000:1. What's really enticing, though, is the HD82's ANSI contrast ratio, which lies in the region of 600 and 700:1. This much more 'real world' contrast figure is actually very high for the home cinema market, leaving even the best LCD competitors trailing. Even the excellent Panasonic PT-AE3000 LCD model 'only' gets to around 450:1 on the ANSI contrast scale.
A trawl through the projector's weighty instructions manual and reasonably elegant on-screen menus uncovers a couple more unexpected but welcome surprises. Particularly intriguing is the appearance of a frame interpolation system, dubbed 'PureMotion', which calculates and then inserts extra frames of image data to reduce the judder common to 1080p/24 Blu-ray viewing. The HD82's system actually adds in one new frame for each single frame from the source, effectively turning 24p into 48Hz.
Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't currently think of another DLP projector at the HD82's price point that carries a similarly fully-fledged frame interpolation system.
The HD82 also delivers a couple of other 'PureEngine' processing benefits: a detail booster and a colour booster. More details on all of this will follow once we get into the actual testing phase of this review.
Other features of note in the HD82's menus include a variety of useful presets, including Cinema, Photo and Reference modes - the Reference mode being the one calibrated to get closest to the D65/2.2 gamma setting considered to be the industry standard for video settings.
I personally find it interesting - and telling - that the HD82 has a Cinema setting that's actually separate to the Reference setting. For it tells me that Optoma likely shares my view that contrary to what some reviewers seem to think, the D65 standard, however supposedly 'in tune' with the settings used in post-production on films, doesn't always actually deliver the most satisfying picture quality in a home environment. Oooh, controversial…
Anyhow, other tweaks that can be employed to optimise picture quality for your particular viewing conditions include a black/white extension, RGB gain and bias adjustment, and a DynamicBlack system that adjusts the projector's light output in response to the darkness or brightness of the image being shown at any given moment.