Best Home Theater Projectors
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Optoma UHZ65 Projector Optoma UHZ65
(add to Compare List)
Go to My Compare List

2000000:1 Contrast Ratio
3000 Lumens
PC 3D Ready
$3,999 Street Price
$6,999 MSRP

4K Review: Optoma UHZ65 Laser Projector

M. David Stone, January 17, 2018

Built around a 4K UHD 0.66" DLP chip and Optoma DuraCore laser technology, the Optoma UHZ65 delivers a unique combination of leading edge technology for $4,499 street. It is one of Optoma's Professional--as opposed to Consumer--projectors and the top of the line in the company's UHD (lamp-based)/UHZ (laser-based) series. More important, it delivers the visual impact you would expect at this price, with rich, saturated color and visibly high contrast.

Much of the credit for the superb image goes to the DLP chip's 3840x2160 resolution, for showing fine detail, and the light engine, which uses an RGBY color wheel. The UHZ65 offers 99% coverage of the Rec.709 gamut as well as support for Rec.2020 and DCI-P3. It also supports HDR10, and it delivers a rated 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio with its Dynamic Black setting. Also helping is that the HDMI 2 port is Full Speed 18Gbps and HDCP 2.2-compatible, which means it can handle up to 4K 60P (4:4:4) 10-bit signals for 4K HDR. A second port is HDMI 1.4a.

The laser light source is designed to last the life of the projector, with a rated lifetime of 20,000 hours in full brightness mode. In addition, although the UHZ65 isn't IP5X certified for dust resistance, Optoma says it is IP5X compliant. The two features together make it maintenance free. Never having to buy a replacement lamp also translates to lower running costs. The UHZ65 can easily be less expensive over its lifetime than a lamp-based model that costs less, but needs a replacement lamp every few thousand hours.

Optoma UHZ65 4K Laser Projector

Optoma UHZ65 4K Laser Home Theater Projector


Another key feature is the high brightness. To actually see the advantage of 3840x2160 resolution, you need a large enough image for the human eye to resolve the additional detail from typical seating distances. Optoma rates the UHZ65 at 3000 ANSI lumens, and it measured just below that at 2845 ANSI lumens. That's enough for a 16:9 image as large as 240" diagonal in a dark room, or 150" in a family room with moderate ambient light.

Optoma UHZ65 Picture Quality

The UHZ65's image quality for film and video is every bit as impressive as you would expect from the price. Along with fine detail, it delivers rich, natural-looking color and both a high enough contrast ratio and the subtle shading needed to add a convincing sense of three dimensionality. Surprisingly, given the visibly high contrast, a solid black image has a noticeable glow in a dark room. However, the black areas don't get any brighter if you add bright elements to the image, which is the more important factor for contrast.

There is also no visible change in black level when you change brightness by adjusting the power level, which has settings from 50% to 100% in 5% increments. So the higher the power level, the better the contrast will be. If you use the UHZ65 with a small screen in a dark room, you may have to settle for somewhat lower contrast, since the higher power levels may be too bright. However, this won't be an issue for the screen sizes you need in order to see all the detail available at 3820x2160 resolution, particularly in a room with ambient light.

Color accuracy with default settings for the Cinema color preset is good enough to use straight out of the box. There's a slight blue bias compared with a calibrated projector, but it is easy to adjust to neutral color. And unlike most color presets for DLP projectors, Cinema mode is designed to offer accurate colors with Brilliant Color at 10--the highest setting--for maximum white brightness. Most of the same comments apply to Reference mode, except that its default setting for Brilliant Color is 1, which translates to being off. Reference mode also has lower contrast than Cinema mode.

Bright mode has an obvious magenta shift with default settings, but color accuracy improves significantly if you drop Brilliant Color to 1 from the default of 10. Game mode maintains color accuracy fairly well and delivers good contrast, but it loses subtle gradations the eye uses as cues to three dimensionality. The loss in depth won't matter for games and animations, and the high contrast will be a plus.

There's also an HDR Sim mode that's meant to add an HDR look to SDR content by enhancing gamma, contrast, and color saturation. The enhancement goes a little too far, however, leading to oversaturated color. The actual HDR mode is available for HDR input only, and does a far better job.

You can customize any of the preset color modes or the one User mode to taste. In addition, the UHZ65 is ISF certified, so if you pay an ISF-certified technician to calibrate it, the menus will also include ISF Day and Night modes. The color modes in the menu also includes 3D, but there is no support for Blu-ray 3D. The UHZ65 supports only PC-based 3D.

Optoma's version of Frame Interpolation (FI) is called PureMotion. As with any version of FI it introduces a digital video effect that can be a distraction for watching film but can enhance the crispness of live or recorded video.

With default settings for Cinema mode, PureMotion is on and set to 1, the lowest of its three levels. Level 1 smoothes motion only a little while adding a slight, but obvious, digital video effect. Both increase at each step, with judder completely gone at the highest level, and filmed content looking like live video in most scenes. I didn't see any motion artifacts at the lowest level, and fewer artifacts at the highest than with most FI features. You can also turn FI off if you prefer.

Optoma UHZ65


HDR. Because projectors have inherent limitations for HDR--particularly in a room with ambient light--they can be designed to handle HDR in one of two ways. One choice is to stay as close as possible to the technical specs for HDR, which will give you an image that's so dark overall it is almost unwatchable for many scenes. The other choice is to fudge a little on the specs to get as much of the benefit of HDR as possible for projector technology, while still offering an attractively bright image. The UHZ65 takes this second approach and delivers what it aims for: a sufficiently bright, compelling image for both bright and dark scenes.

When the UHZ65 detects HDR input, it automatically switches to HDR mode as the only color preset available. The mode uses gamma settings designed for HDR as well as Rec.2020. The combination, straight out of the box, delivered a highly watchable image with a Batman v Superman 4K HDR disc. Sun-drenched scenes were suitably bright, dark scenes were bright enough to hold shadow detail well, and colors were nicely saturated.

As advertised, the UHZ65 accepts input up to 4K 60p 10-bit with 4:4:4 subsampling. That translates to having sufficient bandwidth to work with all 4K HDR players and other hardware. It also supports HDR10. There is no support planned for Hybrid Log-Gamma, the HDR standard for broadcast TV.

Optoma UHZ65 Performance

Brightness. Rather than usual Bright power mode with one or two Eco modes, the laser-phosphor light source allows 11 settings, with 100% power the brightest choice, 50% power the least bright, and nine steps in between in 5% increments. The measured ANSI lumens for the 100%, 75%, and 50% settings, with the zoom lens at its widest angle setting, are as follows.

Optoma UHZ65 ANSI Lumens

MODE
Full Power
75% Power
50% Power
Bright
2845
2111
1361
Cinema
1633
1212
782
HDR Sim
1628
1208
779
Game
1550
1150
742
Reference
1080
801
517

Video Optimized Lumens. The Cinema and Reference color presets both offer close to accurate color without any adjustments. Cinema delivering the brighter image of the two, and it doesn't lose any brightness if you adjust it to eliminate the slight blue bias. At 1633 lumens, it is bright enough for a 185" diagonal 16:9 image in a dark room or a 115" image with moderate ambient light.

Presentation Optimized Lumens. The UHZ65 is obviously not designed primarily for presentations, but it can handle them well. Bright mode with default settings is the obvious choice for presentations that don't include photos. Some colors are significantly shifted, but the 2845 lumens can give you a 130" or larger image that can stand up to ambient light.

Low Lamp Modes. The 10 steps in power levels below 100% behave as advertised, lowering the measured brightness by 5% of the full brightness at each step down to 50%.

Zoom Lens effect. The 1.6x zoom lens offers good flexibility for how far you can position the projector from the screen, but with enough loss of brightness to notice. At the full telephoto setting, the lens curtails light by about 23% compared with the wide-angle setting. That's not unusual for a 1.6x zoom lens. But it is enough that for maximum brightness, you'll want the UHZ65 as close to the screen as possible.

Brightness uniformity. The 56% measured brightness uniformity is unusually low a home theater projector. The variation across the screen is easy to see with a solid white image, with the left and right sides obviously not as bright as the broad center swath. Fortunately, most film and video images break up the field of view enough to effectively hide the variation, and the eye will tend to interpret any visible difference as being part of the original image. It helps too that the brightness drops off only near the edges of the screen, where you're least likely to be looking while watching a movie.

Input Lag. Using 1080p content, the input lag with all color modes is 80 ms with FI off and 147 ms with FI on at any setting.

Low Rainbow Activity. With three different movies, I saw rainbow artifacts occasionally in one, less often in another, and exceedingly rarely in a third. Few people, if any, should find them bothersome.

On-Board Stereo. Any projector that costs as much as the UHZ65 pretty much demands being paired with a high quality external sound system. That said, the UHZ65 includes two on-board 4-watt stereo speakers if you need them. Sound quality is on a par with a typical large-screen TV, and the volume is enough to fill a good-size family room.

One minor issue with movies on 1080p Blu-ray discs is that if you jump ahead or back the audio and video fall out of sync with no easy way to match them up again. However, this happened only when I allowed the Blu-ray player to auto connect at 3840x2160 and upscale the image. When I set it to connect at 1080p, and let the UHZ65 upscale the image, the audio and video stayed in sync.

Fan Noise. Optoma rates fan noise at 33dB at 100% power and 29dB at 50%, which makes it a little louder than most home theater projectors. At 100%, you can hear it from 10 feet away at quiet moments as a steady, low-pitched whoosh. But even from 5 feet it will fade into the background for anyone who isn't particularly bothered by noise. At 50% power, the fan noise is low enough that it is unlikely anyone will find it bothersome from 5 feet away.

High Altitude mode, which Optoma recommends using at 5,000 feet and above, is loud enough at all power settings to notice in quiet moments from anywhere in a typical-size home theater. If you need to use High Altitude mode, and particularly if fan noise is one of your pet peeves, consider positioning the projector behind a false wall or behind the screen to help deaden the sound.

Lamp life. The laser-phosphor engine is meant to last the life of the projector. Optoma rates it at 20,000 hours in full brightness mode, and says it should last even longer at lower power settings.

Warranty. The price includes a three-year warranty for the projector, including the light engine, with express advanced exchange.

Optoma UHZ65 Set Up

The UHZ65's 1.6x zoom and modest vertical lens shift offers a modicum of placement flexibility for a ceiling mount or a flat surface. The size and weight--6" x 19.6" x 13" (HWD) and 25 pounds--all but rule out installation on a rear bookshelf, but you could place it on top of a high cabinet behind the seating area. Intake and exhaust vents are on the sides, and the back needs only 3.9" clearance. Also, if you want to use 4K HDR, you'll need a cable that's 4K HDR compliant.

Optoma UHZ65 4K Laser Projector panel


Throw Distance. The UHZ65's throw distance for a 150" 16:9 diagonal image is roughly 15.25 to 24.25 feet. Keep in mind that at the long end of the range, the lens will curtail brightness by about 23%. For highest brightness, you'll need the projector as close to the screen as possible. See the Optoma UHZ65 Projection Calculator to find the throw distance range for your desired screen size.

Lens Shift Range. The modest vertical shift is enough to provide some flexibility in placement. It can also let you correct for installing a ceiling mount a little lower or higher than you meant to, or, if you're replacing a projector, it can let you reuse a ceiling mount without having to move it.

The total vertical shift range is 21% of the image height. With the UHZ65 sitting on a table, and the lens in the lowest position, the bottom line of the image is 3% of the image height below the centerline of the lens. With the lens in the highest position, the bottom line of the image is 18% of the image height above the centerline of the lens. There is no keystone correction or horizontal lens shift.

Limitations

Limited lens shift and no keystone correction. With no horizontal lens shift and no keystone correction, the UHZ65 has to be at the vertical midline of the screen to avoid geometric distortion. The vertical shift is also limited, but any vertical shift is better than none.

Lens is not motorized. The manual lens means there is no Lens Memory feature for constant image height shifting between, say, 16:9 and Cinemascope 2.41 aspect ratio. If you want to set up this capability you'll need a separate anamorphic lens.

Limited 3D. The color modes in the menu includes 3D, but there is no support for Blu-ray 3D. The UHZ65 supports only PC-based 3D.

HDR support is for HDR10 only. There is no support for Hybrid Log Gamma, the HDR standard for broadcast TV.

Conclusion

At $4,499 street, the Optoma UHZ65 is the least expensive projector by far that offers both true 3840x2160 resolution on the screen and a laser-phosphor light engine designed to last the life of the projector. It also offers 99% coverage of REC.709, supports HDR10, and accepts input at up to 4K 60p (4:4:4) 10-bit, giving it the bandwidth to work for HDR with all Blu-ray players and other hardware.

Most important, the UHZ65 delivers images notable for their high contrast, saturated color, and sense of three dimensionality. The default settings for Cinema mode need only a little tweaking to match the colors from a calibrated projector. And for spot on color, you can have an ISF Certified technician calibrate it. It is also bright enough in Cinema mode for a 185" diagonal 16:9 image in a dark room or a 115" image in a family room with moderate ambient light

For HDR input, the UHZ65 supports REC.2020. And unlike some models--which make HDR content unwatchable by damping down the overall brightness--it takes as much advantage of HDR as possible while keeping brightness high enough to deliver a compelling picture even in dark scenes.

The lack of a powered lens limits the UHZ65's usefulness for a CIH setup unless you add an anamorphic lens, and the limited lens shift combined with a lack of keystone correction limits flexibility for positioning the projector. However a motorized lens and greater lens shift would also drive up the cost significantly, so it is a fair trade off.

Ultimately, the UHZ65 is a unique choice in today's market. There is simply no other home theater projector that offers true 3840x2160 resolution and a laser-phosphor light source for anything like the price. That combination along with the top tier image quality--high contrast, eye catching color, and three-dimensionality--makes the Optoma UHZ65 a bargain at $4,499.

You support ProjectorCentral when you buy the
Optoma UHZ65 from these authorized resellers.
Thank you!




OR get competitive price quotes
by email direct from Optoma dealers

E-Z Quotes

Reader Comments(15 comments)

Posted Apr 16, 2018 10:14 PM

By Larry T

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
No 3-D support is such a huge omission on a projector that I’m tempted to believe the commenter that suggested it is a response from Hollywood. At this exact moment in 2018, most of the great action & adventure movies come out in 3-D. Those of you who think it was a fad need to go to an IMAX certified cinema and experience it. I was sort of dragged to Guardians of the Galaxy II with my friend and his kids, and the 3-D (plus incredible sound) was so impressive that it felt like a new generation of cinematic achievement. I know that’s a bold claim, and if I read it here on the Internet I would think that the poster (me) is a bit thick, but the huge screen, high resolution, incr double sound (and definitely the 3-D) was a shock. The movie actually wasn’t bad either.

That’s maybe a long winded way of saying that in no way do I think 3-D was a fad. I think it can be a very immersive tool when used to fit the story (especially the wave of ****** comic book and sci-fi movies that just keep coming).

I understand not including 3-D on a 50” television, but the people who go to the trouble of buying a projector for a more cinematic experience, are EXACTLY the consumers that should have 3-D display as an option. Like others have said, the exclusion of 3-D makes this a no-go. Otherwise it looks like a high value option. And this makes the Sony 3 chip SXRD 4K projector with 3-D look like the best option. It’s quite a bit more expensive, but I hate DLP rainbowing anyway. Why can’t TI make a true 4K chip? I guess it doesn’t matter.

Posted Apr 16, 2018 1:11 PM

By Stu

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Why is so difficult for manufacturers to add decent horizontal and vertical lens shift to their DLP projectors?

Posted Apr 6, 2018 4:39 AM

By William Hargadon

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I can’t believe it doesn’t support Blu Ray 3D - if it did I’d buy it today so the search goes on. Also where have Panasonic gone in relation to releasing a 4K replacement for the excellent PT-AE8000...this is the one I’m waiting for but again if it doesn’t support 3D I don’t know what I’m going to do. Also the lack of Dolby Vision support in most 4K projectors is worrying - to actually find a 4K projector that’s ticks all the boxes is an impossibility it seems ?

Posted Feb 12, 2018 5:59 PM

By Doug Culmone

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I have the UHD65 and I love the picture but I hate the fact that there is no keystone adjustment. It is necessary in most environments and I’m baffled by the fact that it is absent in the new Z65! What gives Optoma?

Posted Feb 12, 2018 4:27 PM

By Mike

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Given DLP projectors totally ace 3D projection it is truly bizarre that Optama and all the other DLP consumer projector manufacturers have dropped 3D Blu-Ray support. This must be a limitation of Texas Instruments 4K solution or perhaps it's pressure from the professional division and theater owners to stop producing consumer DLP 3D projectors that deliver a way better 3D experience than you will ever see in a movie theatre. A DLP 4K projector without 3D support is a no sale for me.

Posted Feb 10, 2018 7:36 AM

By Nathan

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
I ended up here googling for information about the rainbow artifacts. I had my UHZ65 working for less than 20 minutes before the rainbowing was driving me crazy. I sure hope I can find something to mitigate the issue.

Posted Jan 26, 2018 11:32 AM

By Evan Powell, Editor

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Haim, a lot of people never did care for 3D in the first place, and many more who were into it initially got weary of it and no longer care. Some still like 3D and want it for sure, but for those who don't it is a nonissue.

Posted Jan 25, 2018 10:50 PM

By Haim

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
The lack of 3D is a major drawback. Even though is a great projector that I would buy in an instant I don't understand why the feature of 3d is not included. Even now there is a continued release of movies in this mode. The problem with Optoma is that they don't get it and this in my personal opinion will cost them in sales!

Posted Jan 19, 2018 3:40 PM

By M. David Stone

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Jason: Maybe not so long. I don't get DirectTV, but it apparently started using HLG HDR on its 4K channels last month.

Posted Jan 19, 2018 3:29 PM

By M. David Stone

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Brad: Unfortunately, there are too many variables for me to answer that question. The best I can suggest is to first click on the link in the article to the Projections Calculator and see if the projector can give you the image size you need at the distance the mount currently is from the screen. If it will, you can then use the numbers I give in the review to calculate the available vertical shift for that image size, and see if that will let you shift the image far enough to match the screen position from the current height of the screen and mount. Keep in mind that if you mount the projector upside down in a ceiling mount, you'll have to reverse my references to up and down in figuring the shift. Also keep in mind that these are only approximate numbers, since the amount of shift will vary from one unit to the next.

Posted Jan 19, 2018 12:21 PM

By Jason

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
If this projector supported bluray 3D, I would buy it in a second. I know that 3D seems to be on the wane, but it's still good to have support for the legacy media I already own. You also mention the ATSC 3.0 HDR broadcast standard, but is there any reasonable timeline for when that might be actually broadcast? With the speed in which the government and the FCC works, I'd imagine we're realistically years and years away from that being reality?

Posted Jan 18, 2018 10:02 AM

By Evan Powell, Editor

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
kcrectus, the UHD65 and UHZ65 are both true 4K in the sense that they deliver 8.3 million addressable pixels to the screen. Vendors are using the term "true 4K" to draw attention to the actual picture resolution on the screen. The term "native resolution" typically refers to device level resolution. The device resolution on both of these models is 1/2 4K, but with the new technologies there is no longer any correlation between device resolution and picture resolution like there always was in the past.

Posted Jan 18, 2018 6:56 AM

By krectus

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
man things in 4K world are confusing. So this is true 3840x2160 but the UHD65 isn't?

Posted Jan 17, 2018 6:38 PM

By Brad

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Hi David,

Very nice review! I am currently in the market for a 4k projector and I'm really looking forward to a shoot out with the JVC. Unlike buying a tv which you can compare down at a big box store, buying a projector is difficult. Most of us really rely on these reviews and comparisons to help understand the real world differences beyond just the specs.

One quick question regarding placement. My current projector resides above the screen position by a few inches. Will the limited vertical screen adjustments cause any issues with this placement?

Posted Jan 17, 2018 6:02 PM

By Alan

Post a Comment Alert Moderator
Wow, very nice and certainly with merit, I was really seriously considering the UHD65 but the laser light engine has me thinking, that and the overall operating cost, hmmmm, but still twice the money of what essentially appears to be the same projector with a different light source?

Post a comment

Commenting on this article is easy and does not require any registration. Your email address is necessary for you to activate your comment once it has been submitted. It will not be shown to other site viewers. ProjectorCentral reserves the right to remove any comment at any time for any reason. Foul language is not permitted, nor are personal attacks. No HTML allowed. All comments should remain on topic.

Name:

Email Address:(used only to confirm your comment)

Your Comment:

(Enter the numbers as they appear to the left)