What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Sat, 6 Jun 2009, 9:00am

Optoma Themescene HD82

Tested at £2000
80100
4

A slightly subdued picture stops this good projector being great

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For

  • Good looks
  • 1080p/24fps video
  • solid blacks
  • clean image
  • natural colours

Against

  • Doesn’t match dynamic colours of others
  • lacks subtlety of best

Optoma's Themescene has recently crashed £1000 in price, so if you'd been toying with splashing out on this machine, you might be happy to hear you can now save yourself a large chunk of your hard earned cash.

It was three stars at three grand, but it's not just a price cut here: the HD82 has had some performance tweaks, too.

Optoma has tuned the colour performance of the HD82 in an effort to deliver better out-of-the-box performance, for one.

There have also been adjustments to the dynamic iris (in an effort to improve black levels) and the frame interpolation (in a bid to improve motion handling).

Experiment with the setup
Optoma is also proud of its picture processor, the PureEngine. Within the advanced picture settings, simply turn various ‘Pure' settings on and off to see how they affect the image, or try the PureEngine for a quick comparative look.

Nevertheless, we prefer our own set-up and the processing turned off – though out of the box, it does require very little adjustment.

This is a DLP unit using Texas Instruments' DarkChip 3 technology, and sports two HDMI inputs, a component connection, plus DVI and PC inputs, and a handy little remote.

Watching Iron Man 2 there's a smooth, filmic feel to the picture, thanks in no small part to the cleanliness and stability of the image.

Solid and detailed blacks
Black levels are solid and detailed, though we don't get the same level of contrast as we've seen elsewhere, with brighter shades looking a little lacklustre.

The projector deals with more natural shades confidently, with Green Zone showing the projector in its element where a more relaxed colour palette is required.

Fast motion is handled largely without fuss – though none of the projectors here is perfect – but there's a little something missing compared to the best available.

That extra subtlety to colours, and punch when required, and an extra sharpness to edges to really draw us in to the picture, isn't quite here.

It deserves its four-star verdict at its new price, but it can't deliver enough to match the best in class.

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