Optoma HD 1080p Home Theater Projector

I’ve had this projector for a year so far and it’s been a good buy. I recommend.

I bought this when it was on moofi a couple months ago. A few things to say about it:

  • It’s really good. Light, compact, solid picture. Easily a projector I can see using until the 4K revolution.

  • It’s an DLP projector and uses a color wheel for projection, so if you don’t know a thing about projectors, find out what that means for your image. You get the “screen door” effect you’ve probably seen in presentation projectors, and you get a weird rainbow effect when moving your eyes quickly across the image. Wikipedia is your friend.

  • Look at where you’re thinking of putting it, and make sure no one is sitting in-front and to the right of the projector. Unless you intend on using this to keep warm in the winter, then put the family right there.

  • Very conspicuously missing from the specs is that this projector will not project VGA @ 1080p. Well, it does, but it does this weird “I’m not processing the data quickly enough” thing that makes the image look like you’re projecting in a disco. I called Optoma and confirmed this quirk, so just make sure you’re projecting video from your computer @ 720p.

Only thing I don’t like is that amazon just had this brand new for $660. Refurb for $20 less, no thanks.

I’ve had this projector for nearly two years, and I’m have nothing bad to say about it. Wonderful for this price, no problems on the bulb that has 1300 hours.

Is this overkill for someone who just wants to hook up a N64 to play Mario Kart 64 or maybe even a wii?? I know those systems aren’t too HD and this seems like a bit much.

Yup this is overkill, it is a great projector otherwise.

You can get one of Optoma’s Gametime or even Playtime projectors for retro gaming (which show up on Woot! often enough).

Despite being released two years ago, the Optoma HD20 projector is STILL in Projector Central’s top 10 home theater projectors.

Here is Projector Central’s full review of the Optoma HD20.

I’ve owned Optoma projectors for over the past decade. They constantly break price/performance barriers in the Home Theater projector field and hold their value for years. I currently own an HD33 which I highly recommend if you need 3D as well as 1080p.

What’s the difference between the HD20 & the HD180? They were produced a year apart but I can’t tell if they are different in any way.

I use the HD66 and let me tell you, I’d put it up against any 1080p pj ANY DAY. PLUS - it does games AND 3D!! The 66 is a 720p pj, but if you know someone that says they can tell the diff b/t a 1080p image, and a 720p image when projected on a 15ft screen that your sitting 10 or more feet away from, you can tell them I said they’re full of shite. I use the HD66 in my HT and at least 3 other people I know had been shopping for months, immediately went out and got a 66 after seeing the pic in my HT - 2500 lumens, 4k hr bulb, doesn’t turn the room into an oven, awesome picture, and it does 3D - what more can you ask for? and you can get a refurb for about 400. Even if you don’t use the 3d - it’s STILL a killer pj- hands down best 1 chip dlp I’ve ever seen - HD66, do yourself(and your wallet) a favor - get 1

Would someone who owns it recommend a ceiling mount for this?

Again with these? This is like the 50th batch of refurbs for this projector. I’m guessing it’s bulb issues. That’s why I’m patiently waiting for a HT LED projector. With an LED projector I’ll keep it on for thousands of hours with no fading or burnouts. I want LED!

You can guess all you want, but people who actually have one disagree. Which makes me wonder - what do you have against a good product at a good price being offered often?

Does anyone know how I’d go about getting the Square Trade extended warranty on this and pricing that before I buy the projector? It would be nice if that were an option at checkout.

I bought one of these off of Woot almost a year ago. I have had absolutely no problems with it.

We use the projector just about every day and the thing is still running great. The picture is phenomenal for both movies and video games. I use it for gaming with my Xbox 360 and Wii as well as watching Bluray movies. Just be sure you have a very dark room to get the best picture. Ours is in our basement, so there are no problems there for us.

The wife and I would much rather stay home and watch an HD movie on our 120" projector screen, curled up on our LoveSac, than go see a movie in the theater.

If you have the space, a dark enough room, and don’t care about 3D, this is a great projector, especially for the price.

After hunting for further info on a prior woot for this one, square trade doesn’t cover the bulb–just a heads up.
Finally in for one this time though.

I used this:

Wasn’t exactly a perfect fit. The projector has 3 mount points, and this is made for 4. It is pretty adjustable though, and I managed to get 3 of them positioned as necessary. It is a very solid mount, and has been working perfectly for me for 2 years now. Also, if I remember correctly, it didn’t include the right screws for this projector, so I had to stop by the hardware store. So I guess there may be a better option out there, but this one worked.

I think you’ve just described my basement lol. I’ve had the exact same experience.

I have this with a mount from Monoprice. It’s the 3010 model. Mounts will kind of depend on where you’re mounting it. I used it in a room with very tall ceilings, and needed to drop the top of the screen 2 feet below the ceiling, and this worked great.

Only mounting tip for this projector would be before drilling, center the lens on the screen, not the mount holes.

(NOTE: Long post ahead)

For as often(?) as this projector comes up on Woot, I ought to simply save my previous posts so I can just cut & paste.

Bradley, Can you elaborate a little bit more on this? When you say “VGA”, are you referring to the spec max resolution of 800x600 pixels? Or are you talking about receiving a signal through a VGA cable to the VGA port on the projector?

I have the HD20 (recommended over the HD180) and it projected all my resolutions just fine. It’s connected to my computer and my digital cable box. So I run resolutions anywhere from 640x480 up to 1920x1080. Keep in mind a couple of things…
1) 1080p resolution refers to a fixed resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. “P” refers to Progressive Scan and “I” refers to Interlaced. So I’m not sure how you are mixing “VGA” and “1080p” in the same thought. For the record, my computer outputs 1080p just fine to the HD20.
2) If you are using a VGA cable from your computer, you may be running into signal loss problems as a standard 15-pin D-sub VGA cable isn’t spec’d to carry the data requirements of 1080p. And if you are using a VGA cable from your computer, for God’s sake, child, upgrade your video card! Even your basic $20 video cards will at least have a DVI port, and probably even an HDMI port. Unless you’re outputting from an older/basic laptop. Then I guess you’re stuck. But even then, I had my HD20 hooked up to a VGA port on a laptop and didn’t experience any problems.
(Stay with me here, Bradley, I’m gonna come back to you shortly.)

Another poster asked "What’s the difference between the HD20 and HD180?"
For all intents and purposes, just get the HD20. It has slightly better contrast and supports more formats.
Supposedly the HD180 doesn’t support 1080i and the HD20 does, which could be very important for people hooking it up to their cable box. Not many, if any digital cable boxes output 1080p. Most, as I was informed, output 1080i, thus making the HD20 the better choice.
Other little differences? The HD20 supports more international TV formats. Supposedly the HD180 supports two more computer resolutions, but I didn’t find that to be true. My HD20 outputted every resolution I threw at it. So essentially, there’s no reason to get the HD180. Get the HD20.

Now, "Is this a good projector for the price?" A year ago, it was a no-brainer. “YES!” Today? Just “Yes.” The market is heating up in the 1080p sub-$1000 range. BenQ, ViewSonic, and Acer are in this market now with competitive products. While I don’t have any personal experience with anything but my Optoma HD20, if I had to look for a new projector (and I may be, more on that below), I would carefully consider these other mfgs for a few bucks more and have a brand-new unit.

All that being said…
I bought my HD20 on Feb 7th, 2011 from sellout.woot. Today, I’m sending it in for warranty service, possibly for the issue that Bradley (“bjx”) mentioned previously. (I bought an extended warranty from SquareTrade and I highly recommend them for almost all electronic purchases!)
The projector has a vertical refresh spec of 24Hz - 85Hz. This is important for people that use this as a theater projector and for computer or game console output.
For the best movie experience, the source playing your movie should be able to output at 24Hz and your projector should switch to 24Hz since movies are filmed @ 24fps. The HD20 does this.
For computer output and TV output, those signals are typically output @ 60Hz.
And some computer games will switch the output rate to 50Hz. Again, the HD20 supports all these refresh rates at 1080p resolutions (with a 32-bit color palette.)
For some reason, my projector decided a couple months ago that it was only truly happy displaying 60Hz signals. Whenever it would switch to 24Hz or 50Hz, the video processor would no longer maintain 32-bit color depth and would drop down to 16-bit color. What this means is that when watching a movie, the colors are not smooth. Gradients show distinct breaks or color bands between colors and/or solid colors are simply displayed as a different color. Such as a light blue sky might take on a more greenish-yellow hue. That’s almost tolerable, but the flicker between 16-bit and 32-bit color palettes was most definitely annoying and thus made viewing a movie @24Hz unwatchable. (Is this what you were experiencing, Bradley? Did you notice if the projector was noting a different refresh rate when it changes signal? It always displays this in the bottom right-corner when switching.)
Yes, I simply switched the signal back to 60Hz, and very few people would notice the difference. But I’m a movie and electronics buff, so I noticed the difference. (24Hz is the reason movies look like they do in the theater. When you have a 133" projection in your home theater like I do, you should expect the same experience.)
So…since it used to work and now it’s flaky, it’s going in for warrantied service.
Again, most people would/will never notice this because most people have their signal input set to 60Hz or never bother to use other refresh rates. With that in mind, there would have been zero complaints with this projector.