Optoma's BIG Screen

There weren't a lot of video projector demonstrations on the show floor at the convention center (booth prices are reportedly up significantly this year, and projector demos appear to gravitate increasingly to the custom install CEDIA EXPO in September). But one of the best demos was put on by Optoma. The projector was the HD81 LV (about $10,000, available late spring). A special version of the current HD81 1920x1080 projector, the new model is similar to the old, but uses a more powerful lamp, a different color wheel, and a different iris. It may also be equipped with an optional anamorphic lens ($12,999 for the HD81 LV projector with lens, $4000 for the lens if bought separately). The lens may also be used with the basic HD81. The HD image from Phantom of the Opera, from Blu-ray, with the anamorphic lens in the system, was stunning.

Addendum Jan 11: I stopped back here again today (on the last day of the show), and was doubly impressed. Both Phantom and Eight Below were on the program in the last hour of the day (both in Blu-ray on, I believe, a Sony player), and while Eight Below wasn't quite as jaw-dropping as Phantom, it still clearly outperformed the image you'll see in most movie theaters. And the screen here was huge by home theater standards—a 171" diagonal (that's 157" wide), 2.35:1, Stewart Studiotek 130. The high def image was gorgeous from the middle row of seats, 16' away. The projector's iris was in fixed mode (not Auto), somewhere (I was told) around mid point, and there was no lack of brightness.