Optoma HD20 First Sub-$1000 1080p HD Projector

Optoma HD20 First Sub-$1000 1080p HD Projector

Gregory Han
Sep 22, 2009

A couple years ago, after months of research, we splurged and purchased a peach of a deal: a DLP HD projector. It changed our home movie viewing experience a thousand fold (and it was a crazy good deal, with holiday discounts bringing the price around $700 with the inclusion of a 92" screen). But with the progression to 1080p content, we've always dreamt of upgrading to a full HD system, something that was but a dream until the release of the Optoma HD20...

The Optoma HD20 is the first major brand 1080p resolution projector priced under $1000, offering 1700 ANSI lumens (more like 600-800 lumens in actual use) and contrast ratio of 4000:1, up to 300" screen size, 2 HDMI ports, component, composite video and VGA, and powered by a Texas Instruments 1080p DLP® chipset and BrilliantColor™ technology.

There are a few reviews of the newest projector in the Optoma lineup, most noting excellent performance for the price (though not in the same league as higher end $3000 models, of course). Here's what PC Magazine had to say about the unit:

The HD20 handled our suite of video tests reasonably well at most input resolutions, the exception being standard-definition video, aka 480i. On the HQV Benchmark test, which is a measure of how well the projector can handle 480i signals, it scored 73 out of a possible 130. That's not a terrible score, but I've seen home theater projectors score as high as 116.

I didn't see any problems watching video at 1080p.

We've had our Optoma HD70 for awhile now, and haven't had any quality/build issues, though we note the HD20 comes with the same bare bones remote control as our model. The HD20 is rated for 3000-4000 hours of bulb life, which seems about right considering we've inched past that amount already, depending upon brightness used (and you'll want to calibrate it down for deeper blacks). The compact 12.76" x 3.82" x 9.21" and 6.7lbs specs make it a good ceiling mount option, and we're partial to Optoma's industrial design. And like our current projector, the HD20 offers a fairly good short throw performance, capable of producing a 92" picture at just 11.5' distance, making it a good small space solution for big home theater experience.

We hope to update with a hands-on review once we can procure either a test unit or purchase an HD20 ourselves. Hopefully some of you out there join us projector-lovers before that time...

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