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Optoma ThemeScene HD83 Mk2 review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Optoma HD83


Our Score



  • Runs quietly in low lamp mode
  • Looks great with bright content
  • 3D pictures are very good for the money


  • 2D dark scenes still struggle with shadow detail
  • Limited vertical image shift
  • 2D dark scenes look a bit grey

Review Price £2,399.99

Key Features: DLP projector; Active 3D playback; two pairs of 3D glasses included; Frame interpolation processing; RF 3D glasses technology

Manufacturer: Optoma

Today’s AV world is much more fluid than it used to be. The days when a product stays the same from the day it appears to the day it’s withdrawn are increasingly things of the past.

This is especially true in the projection world, where we’re increasingly hearing tales of quite radical changes being made to some projector models in the course of their shelf lives. Which brings us to the Optoma ThemeScene HD83.

It’s fair to say we weren’t exactly blown away with this 3D projector when we first saw it, criticising it for considerable problems resolving dark scenes. Especially with 3D. Fair play to Optoma, though; seemingly stung by our comments, over the past few months it’s been busy tinkering away with the HD83, introducing firmware improvements it believes are so significant that it contacted us a couple of weeks ago to see if we might consider revisiting a machine it clearly now feels proud of.

Optoma HD83

Naturally we said we would. Especially when we learned that Optoma also believes that the original review sample we had for test may have been suffering from a faulty lamp.

Keeping up with the Optomas

It wouldn’t be fair, after all, to leave a review on record that might now be out of date and not representative of the product currently available to buy. Also, we’re all in favour of supporting any brand that responds to criticism in such a positive fashion as Optoma has - even if that means doing a completely new review of the product in question.

Not surprisingly, though, the HD83 hasn’t changed at all on the outside. It’s still the same serious-looking elongated unit with a matt black finish and gently curved top edge. It’s hardly a supermodel, but its design and finish do help it become ‘invisible’ in a dark room - and that’s all that really matters on a projector that clearly hopes to appeal to fairly serious film enthusiasts despite its relative affordability.

Optoma HD83

Connections are the same as before too, with highlights of two V1.4 HDMIs, two 12V triggers, and a round socket where you have to jack in the provided external 3D transmitter. Some people might feel aggrieved that the Optoma ThemeScene HD83’s transmitter isn’t built into the projector’s body, we guess, but it doesn’t really bother us, to be honest. Especially as the transmitter itself is unfeasibly tiny.

The main reason it’s so small is that it uses RF transmission rather than Infra-red. This approach was ahead of its time when we first reviewed the HD83 back in November, though now most other 3D brands are starting to follow the RF approach due to the fact that it consistently delivers much more stable transmissions.

3D glasses included

You also get two pairs of 3D glasses with the projector, which is actually a pretty good deal when you consider that the whole package only costs £2,400.

Setting up the HD83 reveals that it still uses rather vertical and horizontal image shift wheels rather unhelpfully positioned under its front edge, and that there still isn’t as much range in the vertical shift arrangement as we would like. This could cause problems for people wanting to mount the projector behind them on a shelf or dedicated projector stand.

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June 22, 2012, 9:04 pm

What kind of price we looking at for extra glasses? I have a family of 6, and there'll be the obligatory breakages to consider.


September 29, 2013, 2:48 am

I had this HD83 as a replacement for a Panasonic PT 5000 which whilst brilliant in 2D was awful in 3D. I was not disappointed. The 3D picture on the Optoma HD83 is as described in this review, excellent. At least it has little or no cross talk and is relatively bright with the glasses supplied. Only weak point is that although the pictures in both 2D and 3D are great in a darkened room (not blacked out though) they are washed out in ordinary daylight and even worse in a bright sunlit room,
Probably because the lumens @ 1600 isn't great. Overall pretty satisfied with my swopped purchase. It is 12 months old now and I see there is a new raft of projectors out there that will claim to be better but I will not change unless something dramatically better pops out and proves itself as more entertaining and pleasing on the eye.

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