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Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Product Review

Optoma HD33 DLP Video Projector - Great 3D For a Reasonable Price

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Front View With Accessories - 3D Glasses not Included

Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Front View With Accessories - 3D Glasses Shown Require Optional Purchase.

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
With an MSRP of $1,499, the Optoma HD33 is a very reasonably priced 3D-capable video projector. In addition to 3D capability, the HD33 has a stylish design that is compatible with almost any decor. Under the hood, the HD33 features a native 1920x1080 (1080p) resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, 1,800 lumen output capability, two HDMI inputs, and an RF 3D emitter. The HD33's fan noise is not excessive and it also has a very quick turn-on and cool down shut off time. Optoma HD33 provides great 2D and 3D performance and is also easy-to-use. After reading this review, check out my additional HD33 Product Photos and Video Performance Tests.

Product Overview

The features of the Optoma HD33 include:

1. General Description: DLP Video Projector with 1,800 Lumens of light output, 1920x1080 (1080p) Native Pixel Resolution, and 120Hz refresh rate.

2. 3D Compatibility - Supports all HDMI 1.4a mandated 3D formats, including Side-by-Side and Top-and-Bottom.

3. Lens Characteristics: F=2.55-2.87, f=22.4–26.8mm, 1.2x Manual Zoom and Focus

4. Image size range: 37.6 to 301.1 inches - adds flexibility for both small and large screen sizes and room environments.

5. Projection Distance: 4.92 feet to 32.8 feet.

6. Aspect Ratio: Can be set for both 16x9 and 4x3. The 16x9 aspect ratio is desirable for widescreen films and HD sources. The aspect ratio can be switched to 4x3 for projection of material shot in the 4x3 format.

7. Contrast Ratio 4000:1 (full on/full off).

8. Lamp Characteristics: 230 Watts, 4,000 hrs/bright mode, 3,000 hrs/standard mode.

9. Color Wheel: Six-segment 3X speed color wheel (3X speed based on 120Hz refresh rate - equivalent to 6X speed at 60Hz refresh rate).

10. Video Inputs and Other Connections: Two HDMI, and one each of the following: Component (Red, Green, Blue), Composite Video (Yellow), RS-232 (for custom control functions), Mini-din (IR emitter), and VESA 3D Port.

11. Input Signal Support: Compatible with input resolutions up to 1080p. NTSC/PAL Compatible.

12. Video Processing: Deinterlacing and upscaling to 1080p via Pixel Works-based video processing. Upscaling can be bypassed by activating the "native" function.

13. Controls: Manual Zoom and Focus controls, On-screen menu system for other functions. Wireless remote control provided/

14. Input Access: Automatic video input Detection. Manual video input selection also available via remote control or buttons on projector.

Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Lens Close-up

Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Lens Close-up

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
15. Dimensions (WxHxD): 14.17” x 4.52” x 12.24” (360 x 115 x 311 mm)

16. Weight: 7.7 pounds.

16. Power Consumption: 330 watts (bright mode), 270 watts (standard mode), Less than .5W watts in standby mode.

17. Included Accessories: AC Power Cord, Composite Video Cable, RF Emitter for 3D Glasses, Remote Control, Batteries for Remote, Lens Cap, User’s Manual, Warranty Card and Quick Start Guide.

18. Optional Accessories: Ceiling Mount, Cables (HDMI, Component, VGA), Panoview Series Screen, RF 3D or DLP Link Active Shutter 3D Glasses-Transmission/Synch systems.

Setup and Installation

First set up a screen (size of your choosing). Then, position the unit at the optimal distance from the screen (your choosing or refer to Optoma's HD33 screen distance calculator). I chose to place the unit on a mobile table to make screen distance calculation easier, but the HD33 can be ceiling mounted with an accessory mount.

Next, plug in your source component(s). Turn on of the components on, then turn on the projector. The HD33 will automatically search for the active input source. You can also access the source manually via the remote control. NOTE: There are no controls on the projector, all functions (except focus and zoom) can only be access via remote control.

At this point, you will see the screen light up. To fit the image onto the screen, raise or lower both the the front and rear of the projector using the adjustable feet. You can also adjust the vertical image placement using the Vertical Image Shift (shifts image electronically) and Keystone Correction functions via the onscreen menu system. NOTE: The HD33 does not have a physical lens shift function.

Next, use the Zoom control on the lens to get the image to fill the screen properly. Finally, use the manual focus control to Optimize your image.

Hardware Used

The additional home theater hardware used in this review included:

Source Components: OPPO BDP-93 Blu-ray Disc player (2D and 3D), OPPO DV-980H Upscaling DVD Player, and Samsung HT-D6500W 3D Blu-ray Player/Home Theater System (on review loan).

DVDO EDGE Video Scaler used for baseline video upscaling comparisons.

Home Theater Receivers Harman Kardon AVR147.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System (5.1 channels): EMP Tek E5Ci center channel speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell and Atlona cables.

Projection Screens: SMX Cine-Weave 100² screen and Epson Accolade Duet ELPSC80 Portable Screen.

Software Used

The software used in this review included the following titles:

3D Blu-ray Discs: Avatar, Despicable Me, Disney's A Christmas Carol, Drive Angry, Goldberg Variations Acoustica, My Bloody Valentine, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Space Station (IMAX), Tangled, Tron: Legacy, and Under The Sea (IMAX).

2D Blu-ray Discs: Across The Universe, Battle Lost Angeles, Hairspray, Iron Man 1&2, Kick Ass, Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, Sherlock Holmes, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, and Transporter 3

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

3D Performance

Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Zoom and Focus Controls

Optoma HD33 3D DLP Video Projector - Zoom and Focus Controls

Photo (c) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The HD33 produced a bright image for both 2D and 3D viewing without the need for much adjustment. When viewing in 3D mode, the projector automatically activates a special 3D settings preset that optimizes brightness and contrast in order to compensate for the natural brightness loss that occurs when viewing through 3D glasses. However, if you prefer a picture setting, or wish to tweak individual color and contrast characteristics to your own viewing taste, you go into the image settings menu and do that as well.

To evaluate the 3D performance of the HD33, I enlisted the OPPO BDP-93 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc player and a Samsung HT-D6500W 3D Blu-ray Player/Home Theater System (on loan for a forthcoming review), in conjunction with the Optoma 3D RF Glasses provided for this review

I found that the 3D viewing experience was excellent, with very few instances of crosstalk, and only minor glare and motion blurring. In fact, 3D performance was better than I would have expected, especially considering that the HD33 is about $2,000 less (at the time of this review) than the next lowest-priced 3D DLP or LCD-based video projector. Also, the RF glasses stayed in synch, even with head movement or when changing seating positions.

The titles that provided the best 3D viewing experience were Avatar, Resident Evil: Afterlife and Tangled. Drive Angry was very good as well, the whites were a little hot, which has more to with the disc transfer than the projector (refer to my Drive Angry Review).

However, where the HD33 really showed its 3D capability were on the films My Bloody Valentine and Space Station, which often exhibit crosstalk (ghosting) on some scenes when viewed on some 3D TVs and other active shutter 3D glasses I have used. On the HD33, the crosstalk was greatly minimized.

As a final 3D performance example, the 3D Blu-ray Disc Goldberg Variations: Acoustica, which is actually mastered in 720p, also looked good as well (albeit a little softer in appearance), showing the flexibility of the Optoma HD33 with both 720p and 1080p 3D source material.

Proceed to Page 2: 2D Video Performance, Pros, Cons, Final Take

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