Optoma"s Big Surprise

Optoma is not showing at the Home Entertainment show, but two days before the show they demonstrated two new 1080p DLP projectors for the press at DataVision, the company's dealer in midtown Manhattan.

The new HD80, at an estimated street price of $2999, is now the least expensive 1920x1080 DLP projector on the market. Expected to ship in July, it employs TI's DarkChip2 technology, with a claimed peak contrast ratio of 10,000:1. The specified light output is 1300 lumens. The projector does not come with an outboard scaler, but instead offers direct, rear panel inputs for two HDMI 1.3 (!) sources, a single DVI-I (with HDCP) connection, and component. S-Video, and composite video. It also includes Optoma's multifunction iris, which operates either dynamically or at one of several fixed settings.

Optoma's demo, however, featured another new model, the HD81-LV, a higher output version of the current HD81, 1920x1080p design. First shown at CES 2007, the basic HD81-LV (estimated street price: $7999) features a specified light output of 2500 lumens, a peak contrast ratio of 10,000:1, a DarkChip3 TI digital micromirror device (DVD), and an external video processor with a full complement of inputs, including three HDMI 1.2a connections. The HD81-LV also has the same iris features as the HD81 and HD80.

For an additional $4000 you can include an add-on anamorphic lens for equal height playback of 1.33:1, 1.78:1, and 2.35:1 sources. It includes auto sensing that automatically moves the anamorphic lens into place for 2.35:1 programming.

The HD81-LV will also be available in July.