While we wait impatiently for Optoma’s debut 3D projectors to arrive in our test rooms, we’ve finally managed to prise out of the brand a 2D model we’ve been chasing for months: the ThemeScene HD87.
As the ThemeScene part of its name reveals right away, the HD87 belongs to Optoma’s dedicated - and usually very likable - range of home cinema projectors. In fact, it’s currently the flagship model, and as such comes sporting a pretty impressive-looking spec sheet.
It’s a full HD affair, inevitably, driven by a single-chip incarnation of Texas Instruments’ DLP technology that’s able to produce - it’s claimed - a more than credible contrast ratio of 80,000:1. Its brightness rating is high at 1700 ANSI Lumens too, raising hopes that we’re going to be enjoying really punchy, ‘poppy’ pictures that potentially much better than might normally be expected for less than £3,000.
There’s more good news from the HD87’s connections, as we find three HDMIs where far too many projectors still only bother with two. Plus you get a D-Sub PC port, an RS-232C control port, a component video input, and two handy 12V trigger ports that you might want to use in conjunction with Optoma’s optional ‘Constant Height Projection’ BX-AL133 lens system, which lets you switch between 2.40:1 viewing (if you have a 2.40:1 screen) and 1.85:1 viewing depending on which format a particular film has been shot in.
Another great touch for a £2,800 projector is the fact that you can get it with any of three different lens options: a standard one, a long-throw one, and a short-throw one. There’s a fair amount of optical zoom for each lens too, and tucked away under a pop-up panel on the projector’s top edge are two simple - though not especially precise - wheels for shifting the image vertically or horizontally.
The combination of all these features should ensure that nobody has to worry about using dreaded keystone correction (AKA image distortion!) to get the sides of their picture straight.
The HD87’s design is fair to middling. The promisingly large, centrally mounted lens helps create a good sense of symmetry, and the curved top panel is pleasant. But the grilled finish to all of the projector’s sides looks a bit over-busy for our minimalist tastes, and the build quality is somewhat plasticky.