Review: Optoma HD8300 3D HD Projector

Optoma made a name for itself early on by making high-quality, low-cost DLP projectors. But with the HD8300, Optoma isn’t going after the budget end of the projector spectrum. Instead, the company is aiming right at its new heart: $5k-ish 3D.

On paper, the HD8300 has all the right boxes checked. It’s got an attractive case, 1080p resolution, horizontal and vertical lens shift, a 30,000:1 contrast ratio, ISF calibration controls, and more. But there’s some stiff competition in this price range. Indeed, over the past year, we’ve reviewed similarly priced 3D projectors from Sharp, Sony, and JVC. The Sony and JVC in particular are strong performers, so the HD8300 has a lot to prove right off the bat.

Setup

Like the Sharp XV-Z17000 that I reviewed here, the HD8300 effectively requires ceiling mounting: Despite a (meager) vertical lens adjustment, the projector’s upward throw necessitates that it be installed above or below the screen. When projecting an image on a 100-inch screen, the HD8300 has a minimum throw distance of just over 10 feet. Because this is a pretty standard couch location, placing it on a low table could prove problematic depending on your room layout.

As if to demonstrate Optoma’s assumption of a ceiling mount, only three of the HD8300’s feet (the front pair and one of the rear ones) are adjustable. That means you can’t easily tilt the rear upward in an attempt to counteract the offset.

The remote is a refreshingly simple affair, with direct input access plus dedicated buttons for aspect ratio, picture adjustments, and more. It’s fully backlit blue, which fades out all classy-like.

The HD8300 requires an external emitter to sync with 3D glasses, a rarity for a 3D DLP projector, which usually emits a sync signal through the lens. This is actually a cool thing, as the BG-BC100 emitter ($49) uses RF, as do the aptly named 3D-RF glasses ($100). That means no annoying wiring or line of sight is needed to sync glasses and emitter. Just connect the BC100 to the projector and, if desired, attach it to something with the included double-sided tape. The sort-of Drew Carey/hipster-style glasses themselves are fairly light, relatively comfortable, and USB rechargeable.

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