The HD82 also registers a hit with its fine detail response. All the usual HD sharpness suspects are clearly revealed – pores, individual hair strands, clothing weaves and even film grain – without any sense at all that the sharpness is being forced. In other words, you get all the detailing without over-cooked edges or excessive dot crawl noise.
I’m almost ashamed to admit here after my colour confession that I even sometimes found myself reaching for the HD82’s PureDetail feature, for adding more sharpness to proceedings. This really does work exceptionally well for such a system, visibly making even a good quality HD source look markedly crisper without – crucially – making the picture seem noisy or forced.
This is presumably because unlike most sharpening processes, the one in the HD82 works in tandem with the projector’s de-interlacing and motion compensation circuits, resulting in a system more able to differentiate genuine detail from picture noise than most rival engines. Purists will still likely not touch the feature with a bargepole, but I maintain that you should at least try it once. You never know, you might just be surprised…
For me the most uncertain element of the Pure Engine is the motion compensation circuitry. Using the Medium or High settings of PureMotion is basically a non-starter, in my opinion. For even if you’re just watching something relatively static you’ll frequently see really distracting processing artefacts like flickering over fast-moving image elements, shimmering halos around slow-moving elements, and even a repeated twitching effect, particularly when watching Blu-ray.
To be fair, the PureMotion certainly does what it says on the tin in terms of making motion look more fluid; things move around the screen with amazing, almost disturbing fluidity, except for when those occasional twitches I mentioned set in.
Thankfully, with the Low mode the amount of artefacts the processing generates drops off enormously, while you still get a marked reduction in judder. For me, though, the picture still didn’t look entirely natural, so I have to say that ground-breaking though the PureMotion system might be for DLP, I preferred to leave it permanently off. Especially as the projector’s ‘native’ handling of motion is very good anyway.
The only other potentially negative thing I can think of to say about the HD82’s pictures is that they’re not especially bright. The projector claims a 1,300 ANSI Lumens maximum output, but the reality in ‘real world’ conditions seems well down on that. All this really means is that you shouldn’t use the HD82 in anything other than a blacked out room – not a big issue given anyone who uses any home cinema projector in anything other than a totally blacked out room is going to be selling themselves and their projector seriously short.
If you wanted to be really miserable, you could get your knickers in a twist about the fact that one of the HD82’s most high-profile features, its motion processing, doesn’t really deliver the goods. However, the core picture quality produced by the HD82, even without the motion processing in play, is so profoundly excellent that the projector is still worth every solitary penny of its £3,000 asking price…and then some.