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Fantastic Projector and Learning about HDMI
on July 10, 2017
This is a truly great projector, but getting the most out of it takes some planning and additional expense.
I purchased this through Visual Apex, because of stock issues with Amazon. VA is an Amazon merchant, so at least there's that. We purchased this to replace an aging Benq W1070.
The Projector is a little larger than expected, but size is not really an issue, and is clearly listed in the spec sheet. I ceiling mounted this with the Optoma OCM818W-RU mount, and mounting the projector only took a little effort. I highly recommend the Optoma mount. It is more expensive, but sturdy. It is much smaller than it seems in the picture. Mounting the projector only took minutes. The top cover on the projector is a bit flimsy and not up to the standards of a $2k item. Fit and finish here could be better.
I had read a bit about HDMI cables and the need to buy "good" ones for 4k, HDCP, etc., etc. I also read many articles claiming that HDMI is HDMI and any High Speed cable will do.
My issue was a 35 foot run from Onkyo TX-RZ800 to the projector. Our Benq worked fine with a 50' cable at 1080p, but I was aware that length could be an issue with 4k. I had bought the highest quality reasonably priced (Kolife) cable that was "high speed" rated, and said 4k, HDCP 2.2, 18ghz, 24ga, 4k@60. I was using a Sony UBP-X800 as the 4k source. I used the Optoma-supplied "high speed" HDMI cable going from the Sony to Onkyo. While I was able to see a 4k signal, I couldn't do so reliably. There were picture artifacts, flashes, dropped signals, and general poor image quality. I ran the long HDMI cable directly to the Sony and the issues got worse. So, the Onkyo was actually helping things. I also tried a signal booster at either end of the long HDMI run. That didn't work, either. As it turns out, HDMI is a poor platform for 4K@60. But, that's what we have.....
After doing some research and finding out that HDMI cables DO MATTER VERY MUCH when considering long runs and 4k@60, I bought the RUIPRO HDMI Fiber Cable 33 foot cable. The fiber optic solution fixed ALL signal drops, so we are in business. Any HDMI cable will not do the job, especially if you are going many feet. You absolutely need to spend the time to find the right solution to fit your budget and specific setup. Also remember that there is a difference in running 4k@60 vs 4k@30 or 24. You will experience more issues with inferior cables at the highest data rates. A cheap short cable may work for you, but absolutely did not for me. I highly recommend the fiber optic solution for long HDMI runs. The Ruipro seems to have great reviews and it worked wonders for my setup.
As for the projector itself, setup was a breeze. The large amount of zoom will help you find optimal placement in your space. This projector lacks keystone adjustment, so you'll have to have the vertical placement figured out. It does provide (15%?) vertical lens shift. The fan noise is moderate to low. I only notice it in a very quiet room. Even normal movie dialogue is enough to drown out the fan noise.
Images are stunning, to say the least! Fantastic colors, good blacks in a dark room. Sharpness that is hard to find anywhere at this price. For $2k, you get as big a screen as you can handle at home in fabulous 4K. Really amazing! Remember that this is a projector, though. It performs best in a darkened room, and will never be bright enough to compete against lots of ambient light. It is slightly brighter than the W1070. (3000 vs 2200 lumens). Movies, games, and TV are all great with this projector. I think the lag time is better than the Benq, because everything seems more synchronized, and gaming is great!
There are plenty of menu settings to play around with. I like Ultra Detail, but found that Dynamic Black seemed to add a little bit of noise to the image. The HDR setting seems to be the best (to my eye).
For me, this projector has a few minor drawbacks:
1- No keystone adjustment, placement must be planned. At least there's some vertical lens shift. Not a huge deal, but keystone is nice.
2- No 3D - For me this was no big whup. Our family decided 3D was more trouble than it was worth. Just be aware there's no 3D.
3- Limited to 8bit when running 4K@60. Must slow it down to 4k@24 or 30 to get 10bit and 12bit. Now, I'm no techie. I don't fully understand if this is a limitation of HDMI, the Projector, or what. I have seen some color banding in some images (gradient sky, etc.). I also don't know yet if this is cable related between the source and Onkyo. (better cables ordered). I can just see that color banding improves some when the feed is limited to 4k@24 and have read that color banding could be related to color depth. UPDATE: Better cables helped some of the color banding issue and it is far less noticeable.
4- This does not have an RGBRGB color wheel. It's RGBCY. For me, this makes the typical DLP rainbow effect a little more noticeable, but it does help provide the extra brightness. A tradeoff. I like the brighter image, so for me this is a good choice vs. the UHD65.
We have also added a 4K@60 Roku Ultra, and it is having the same signal drops using a 6ft "High speed 4K 2160p, 3D, 24awg, gold connector" cable (Farstrider). Based on the above experience and experimenting with several cables, I KNOW it's the cable, and have ordered replacements. Again, ANY cable won't do at 4k@60. The Roku Ultra is all 4k@60 all the time. I'll report back on the AudioQuest cables.
To sum up.... This is a great projector, and is the best deal on the market today. It does have some minor limitations. Also know that 4K@60 is not exactly "plug-and-play." You'll be buying some cables and doing some research.
UPDATE: The addition of 1m Audioquest Forest cables solved the issue of signal drops with the Roku Ultra. Using the AQ cables also seemed to improve the image coming from the Sony UBP-X800. There seems to be less color banding and dynamic range artifacts. They SEEM to make a big difference, but it is hard to quantify.
UPDATE AGAIN: After spending a month with this projector, I've decided that some of the image artifacts may relate to how the image was coded, as well as some of the conversions from SD to UHD. On the Sony UBP800, SD up-conversion gets set to 4K@24. If the source is at a higher frame rate, it passes through. The Roku Ultra is all-4k@60 all the time, and there's no way to change the Roku to a lower frame rate. Hence, there are still more image quality issues and dropped signals with the Roku. It's just flaky. As soon as I can get HBO and STarZ on the Sony, the Roku goes away! Image quality with the Sony Blu-ray is much better and much more reliable. There are still a few image artifacts that I can't explain, some slight color banding in some scenes, where other similar scenes are just fine. I'm beginning to believe it's mostly the fault of the source material? So far, the Optoma is working like a champ. The projector is still not quite as nice as a good 4k LCD TV or OLED, but the SIZE!!! This is still the best option for affordable 4K in a size where 4K matters.