Optoma HD80 5 1 1080P DLP Projector
Projector Central Editor's Choice Award

Editor's Choice Award

Our Editor's Choice award goes to products that dramatically exceed expectations for performance, value, or cutting-edge design.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value

The biggest story of the past two years in the projector industry has been the rapid collapse of 1080p pricing. Three years ago you had to ante up $30,000 for 1080p resolution; today you can get 1080p projectors for as little as $3,000. As expected, the price collapse has been led by manufacturers using LCD technology. But with the release of the Optoma HD80, DLP suddenly takes the price lead, and it does so in dramatic fashion. At an official street price of just $2,699, the HD80 sets a new price/performance standard in the world of 1080p projection.

As is typical of DLP projectors, the short 1.2x zoom lens range and lack of physical lens shift means that the HD80 does not offer the variety of installation options that are available with its LCD competitors. Most users will need to ceiling mount it. However, those who can live with its installation restrictions will be rewarded with outstanding image quality that is currently unbeatable for the money.


ANSI lumens: 1300

Contrast (full on/off): 10,000:1

Light Engine: 1920x1080, native 16:9, single chip DLP with a 300W UHP lamp and a 6x speed, 7-segment color wheel.

Video Compatibility: HDTV 1080p/60, 1080p/50, 1080p/24, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i. NTSC/PAL/SECAM.

Connection Panel: Two HDMI inputs, one VGA input, one component YPbPr input, one S-Video input, one composite input, one RS-232C port.

Lens and Throw Distance: 1.2:1 manual zoom/focus lens. Throws a 100" diagonal 16:9 image from 13.5' to 16.2'

Lamp Life: 2000 hours standard, 3000 in low lamp mode.

Warranty: Two years.


The Optoma HD80 is a small, elegant looking video projector in a sleek, cream colored case. It will look unimposing when installed in a ceiling mount, which is the most likely deployment for most users. The light engine consists of a single 1920x1080 resolution DLP chip with a rapid 6x color wheel rotation speed. A 6x wheel speed, the fastest we've yet seen on a consumer home theater projector, is enough to make DLP rainbow artifacts impossible to detect by almost everyone. Rainbow artifacts, when they are present, are most obvious in black and white films since any momentary flash of color is quite obviously not supposed to be there. In watching Casablanca on HD-DVD, we saw no hint of rainbow effects on this projector.

As noted above there is a limited 1.2x zoom lens and no physical lens shift. This means that extra care must be taken in planning the installation. There is relatively little leeway for the placement of the projector to fill any given screen size. The projector has a comparatively long throw distance for any given screen size. To fill a 100" diagonal screen the projector must be set back to a distance of at least 13.5 and not more than 16 feet. The good news is that this means the projector will usually be behind and away from the viewing audience. Also, the longer throw distance provides for a narrower cone of projected light and a more even illumination of the screen than does a very short throw. The downside is that it will be a bit more difficult to fit into smaller viewing rooms while still having a large image, should that be desired.

Optoma HD80 Home Theater Projector

In lieu of physical lens shift, the Optoma HD80 has a fixed throw angle which causes the bottom edge of the image to appear about 37% of the image height above the centerline of the lens. This is a somewhat greater throw angle than we see on most projectors, and is good for ceiling mounting since it will frequently eliminate the need for a drop extension tube.

For example, let's assume you want a 120" diagonal image, and you have a nine foot ceiling. When inverted for ceiling mounting, the HD80 will throw the image downward such that the top edge of the image is about 22" below the centerline of the lens (Image height of 59" x .37 = 22". With an additional three inches clearance between the lens and the ceiling, this centers the projected image vertically on the wall, with roughly two feet clearance between the top edge of the image and the ceiling, and another two feet between the bottom edge and the floor. So in short, the fixed throw angle is designed to facilitate a ceiling mount installation in typical consumer homes with ceilings of 8.0 to 9.5 feet in height without the need for either vertical lens shift or a drop tube.

Optoma HD80 HOme Theater Projector

The light engine is sealed, and no air filter is required. This is great news for those who ceiling-mount the unit, as there is no monthly chore of climbing the ladder to clean or replace the filter. Once the HD80 is installed, the only maintenance access required will be to replace the lamp on occasion.

Lamp life in full power mode is the typical 2000 hours, and 3000 hours is estimated for low lamp mode. Low lamp mode reduces lumen output by 23%. Since this is a fairly bright projector, we anticipate that many users will opt for this operating mode to take advantage of a longer lamp life, especially considering that the price of the replacement lamp is $480 as of this writing. Many folks new to the world of projectors are surprised at the cost of replacement lamps. But the cost is a simple fact of life with today's current high pressure lamp technologies. No matter which projector you buy, it is prudent to set aside $15 a month for the replacement lamp, so that when the time comes, the cash is there to do it.

The HD80's lamp is a bit more costly than the average $350 to $400 because it is brighter than average. At 300 watts, it is almost double the wattage of lamps used in competing LCD projectors. That means that the projector will generate a reasonable amount of heat in the room when operated for hours at a time. Therefore, the room you install should be adequately ventilated or air conditioned, especially if the room is small.

With the hotter and brighter lamp comes more fan noise than usual as well. In Brite mode, the audible noise is low to moderate in volume, and more noticeable than it is on many competing home theater products. It isn't loud enough to be objectionable in our view-we spent hours viewing the HD80 with it mounted just two feet behind our seats. Even with the unit that close, the only time we became conscious of the fan is during quiet interludes in a sound track. Once it is ceiling mounted, the projector will be far enough from the seating that fan noise in Brite mode will be of little practical consequence for most users. In Low lamp mode, the fan noise drops considerably to a very quiet level.

The connection panel is straightforward and connection options are ample for an aggressively priced 1080p projector. As you can see below, there are two HDMI inputs on the right. To the left of them is an all-purpose DVI-I port that takes either DVI, VGA analog, or SCART. There are also the conventional S-Video, component video, composite video, and a 12-volt trigger.

Optoma HD80 rear connection panel

The HD80 has two features on board that can cause image brightness and contrast to vary. One is Image AI, which evaluates the content of each scene as it is being projected and adjusts the lamp's light output on the fly. The user can turn Image AI on or off, but the projector must be operating in Brite, or full lamp power mode, for Image AI to function. Once Image AI is selected, the projector will automatically put itself into Brite mode, and fan noise increases to the louder of the two operating levels. With Image AI selected, the user's ability to put the lamp into low power mode is disabled since the system needs the lamp's full range of power to operate.

The other feature that influences brightness and contrast is a manual iris that is controlled by the user. The iris can be set to "off," or wide open. This is the preferred choice with ambient light in the room, or if you are illuminating a very large screen and you want to maximize lumen output. Conversely, in a dark room or with a smaller screen, you may want to close down the iris to curtail lumen output and increase image contrast and black level. The iris can be set to any one of sixteen incrementally smaller fixed apertures depending on your particular needs and preferences. When it is set to its minimum aperture, the iris reduces lumen output by 60%.

Optoma HD80 remote control

The remote control is easy to use and has good range. The projector responded immediately to a bounce off the screen from at least eighteen feet. The remote feels good in one's right hand. The menu button is about as small as they get, and initially you find yourself staring at the remote to find it. But once you get the feel of it, it is easy to access. There are four aspect ratio control buttons, one for each format. It might be easier to have a single button that would enable the user to toggle through the options, but I suspect many people will like it just the way it is.

The remote also has controls for overscan and edge masking, which is unusual on a home theater remote. Overscan behaves in the typical fashion. When set to zero, one gets 100% of the signal image. When stepped through successive increments the overscan control digitally zooms the picture a few percentage points without changing the size of the projected image. On the other hand, edge masking will cause a black frame to encroach on the projected image, and reduce the active picture area by up to about 2%. This is a great feature to have for eliminating edge noise when you happen to be viewing a signal that has some. The fact that this feature is easily accessed via the remote is a definite plus.

The Anamorphic Lens Option. Many people these days are excited about the concept of the super widescreen 2.35:1 format, which is wider still than HDTV 16:9. The HD80 is configured with the necessary scaling to accommodate an anamorphic lens for a 2.35 constant image height set up. Optoma offers as an optional accessory a completely independent anamorphic lens with automated track to deploy or retract it depending on when it is needed. This option is priced at an additional $3,999, so it takes the entire projection system into an entirely different price class. If you are unfamiliar with the 2.35 option, we recently posted an article entitled 2.35 Super Widescreen Home Theater. This article reviews the advantages and limitations of a 2.35 CIH set up for home theater, and it includes reference to the Panamorph U380 lens and track that is available from Optoma for use with the HD80. You may or may not be interested in this option today. If not, it is good to know that the HD80 is configured to accommodate a 2.35 set up in the future should you want to move in this direction.


I want to restrain myself from using too many gushing superlatives. But it will be difficult, because the HD80 is simply a magnificent projector for the money. Excellent performance in contrast, black level, sharpness, and color combine to make it a riveting home theater experience. And it has ample brightness that can be varied and tailored to a variety of screen sizes and room environments.

As far as brightness is concerned, our test unit measured a substantial 687 lumens in it brightest video configuration. In optimal Cinema mode, with the iris open and lamp on low power, we measured 420 lumens. The short zoom lens has little effect on the lumen output-in its most extreme telephoto setting it reduces light output by 5%, so the position of the lens is of no practical consequence in installation planning.

Activating the manual iris will close down lumen output incrementally over sixteen steps, to a minimum of the low 200s. The right choice for the iris position will depend upon screen size and the darkness of the viewing room. There is incrementally better contrast and black level to be obtained with the closing of the iris, but these performance factors are already terrific even with the iris fully open.

The official contrast rating for the HD80 is 10,000:1. You would think that this projector would be comparable in contrast to competing LCD units rated 10,000:1 or higher. It is not. It is quite visibly higher in actual contrast than all LCD competitors carrying the same or higher contrast ratings. With the higher contrast performance comes more three dimensionality, incrementally better color saturation, and the impression of a sharper image.

In point of fact, the HD80 matches the sharpness of the Mitsubishi HC5000, which heretofore has been the benchmark 1080p projector for sharpness under $5,000. And when it was given a 1080p/24 signal from our Pioneer Blu-ray player, it delivered a spectacular razor sharp image that was unmatched by any other projector we've yet seen under $5,000.

This needs a side comment. In theory, 1080p/24 is the cleanest signal you can have for transmitting Blu-ray and HD DVD content from a player to the projector. That is because the movie material on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs is encoded in 1080p at the film capture rate of 24 frames per second. If the player is capable of outputting this native format, and the projector is capable of receiving and displaying it without converting to 30 or 60 hertz variants, the image should be maintained in its most pristine original form. Contrary to common myth, the 1080p/60 format is not better, faster, cleaner, or in any way superior to 1080p/24 when it comes to film source reproduction. We have seen several projectors that have very sharp and stable images with 1080p/60 that are not improved by switching to 1080p/24. However, in the case of the Optoma HD80, incremental image sharpness is the most obvious immediate benefit. A secondary benefit is a subtle smoothing of horizontal motion judder, but superior image sharpness is by far the most valuable improvement.

Therefore, to get the absolute maximum performance from the Optoma HD80, you must match it with a high resolution HD 1080p disc player that outputs 1080p/24. In the Blu-ray world, those would be the Pioneer BDP-HD1, the two Sony Blu-ray players along with the Sony PlayStation 3, and the Samsung BDP-1200. In HD DVD world, you should be able to get 1080p/24 on the Toshiba HD-XA2 and the HDA20 with an upcoming firmware update in early September. We hope that happens, because as impressive as Toshiba has been in delivering low cost HD DVD players, they have been slow to get their act together when it comes to delivering 1080p/24 capability. The need for them to do so is obvious when one hooks up the Pioneer Blu-ray player to the Optoma HD80, sets it to 1080p/24, then pops in something like the MPEG-4 encoded disc The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This is cutting edge home theater, pure and simple.

[UPDATE 8/6/07: Today, one week after the posting of this review, Toshiba has announced two new HD DVD players with 1080p/24 capability--the HD-A30 for $399.99, and the HD-A35 for $499.99. They are scheduled to commence shipments in September. EP]


On occasion we find projectors that represent a substantial leap forward in price performance, setting a new image quality standard for a given price range. The Optoma HD80 is one of these rare machines. At an official estimated street price of $2,699, it delivers a remarkable 1080p image that will undoubtedly affect the price structure of the competition in the months to come. It does not have anywhere near the installation flexibility of its competitors, so it takes more effort and planning to get it installed. But those who have the right viewing room to accommodate the HD80 will be rewarded with outstanding 1080p image quality for an amazingly low price. From the moment we lit it up, we had no doubt that we'd be giving the Optoma HD80 our Editor's Choice Award.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Optoma HD80 projector page.

Comments (33) Post a Comment
ken Posted Aug 1, 2007 6:44 AM PST
Another excellent article. Thanks. Would love to know how the HD80 stacks up against the latest from JVC and Mitsu. JVC is a lot more $$, but the projector product roadmap is covered with frame-breakers that outperform much more expensive competitors.
FFrrEEddRRiiKK Posted Aug 1, 2007 12:48 PM PST
Any comment on how the HD80 compares to the BenQ W9000?

W8ING4SED Posted Aug 1, 2007 8:42 PM PST
A nice article, however it did not mention how the HD80 compares to the panasonic AE1000U for regular DVDs. I have a significant collection so standard DVD performance is very important to me.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
peter-sr Posted Aug 2, 2007 2:06 PM PST
I'd like to echo the comment by W8ING4SED:

It would be nice to know how this unit's SD playback compares to the AE1000U.
TopQ Posted Aug 4, 2007 4:30 AM PST
Hello I was going to get the Epson Home Cinema1080 but then this projector came along and is making my life more difficult ;-)

Any way since I will be using this projector with the XBOX360 with a VGA output, will it be compatible with it? I read that some projectors can't handle well the Xbox in VGA format. I really didnt see any VGA connector in this projector so I am assuming that the DVI (label as VGA) comes with some kind of adapter to accept VGA input? I also read that the Xbox wont output 1080P using component mode. Also will the image quality be that much better than the Epson?

Thanks for your help, TopQ
Supineru Posted Aug 7, 2007 9:53 AM PST
The following are listed as standard accessories from Optoma's website: AC Power Cord, Composite Video Cable, RS-232 Cable, Remote Control, Batteries for Remote, Lens Cap, User’s Manual, Warranty Card and Quick Start Guide.

So looks like you will have to buy the DVI-to-VGA adaptor. The connector is a DVI-I so should be able to handle the VGA's analog signal.
MDahmad Posted Aug 9, 2007 8:51 AM PST
How does it campare with HD81? is it better than HD81
Nuke Posted Aug 9, 2007 2:40 PM PST
Like TopQ above, I was all set to buy an Epson Home Cinema 1080, then the HD80 came out and made my decision a little tougher.

I realize that the placement options are a little bit more limited with the HD80, but other than that, which projector is the better value overall?

- Nuke
docgregt Posted Aug 11, 2007 7:42 AM PST
One thing that was not clear is whether this projector supports Deep Color. After searching the Optoma web site it would appear that it does not.

I think this is a significant difference between this projector and the Epson Home Cinema 1080.

Any thoughts on this feature and why your review did not mention it?
Noli Posted Aug 19, 2007 12:45 PM PST
I think the 'Overscan' button on the remote is great. Overscan (or really the lack of it) is becoming more and more important in this more-and-more HD sophisticated world.

People a] want (at least the option) to see the entire frame, as the director intended etc b] want pixel perfect processing - scaling, even when done well, means some loss of image quality and c] this is important for games too when you can lose gaming information at the edge of the screen for example.

This button also allows you to turn it off instantly too, if for example the lack of overscan results in something unsightly (eg a single green line was observed with Sky HD's image when not overscanned due to the way they broadcast their hi def).

As such, this feature is a big draw for me. What I really want to know is if Projector Central (or anyone else) can confirm to me which of the batch of the new 1080p projectors (JVC DLA-RS1, Mitsubishi HC5000, Panasonic PT-AE1000U, BenQ W10000, Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1080 in particular) have this capability (to disable overscan) too - whether on the remote or otherwise.
Pierre Posted Feb 7, 2009 8:27 AM PST
I love your review of this projector, and I just went out to Best Buy and picked one up for 600$ even. I thought that was a steal. I could not agree more with the review, now I am running the projector right now on a table top settings and without a screen, and the picture is still great.
Jon Posted Feb 7, 2009 3:20 PM PST
I also just brought one home from Best Buy - they are selling the demo units in the magnolia rooms I guess. The bulb has about 200 hours on it. I paid $1,400 which is cheaper than I've seen this going anywhere online or in a store. I can't believe the guy below says he got one for $600 - that's way below the used price. I think the price I paid was decided by some kid, though. The clerk asked an early twenties looking girl if it was ok to sell it for $1,400 when I was checking out. I guess discontinued demo products don't have corporate enforced price guidelines so you can get a great deal once in a while.

It replaces an Optoma hd70 that I've had for a couple years. It is definitely a big step up. The picture is brighter, higher resolution, and has higher contrast. I'm no videophile but I normally watch a couple of movies a week and like a big engaging picture. This picture is definitely good enough for me. I can't see upgrading again until something goes wrong. This is my third projector so I'm familiar with the progress that they've made over the past 7 years or so. From a consumer standpoint I think this technology is mature. I'm sure there are better projectors out there but I don't think that many people will care much beyond this point.

One irritation is that I'm going to have to move the ceiling mount back a couple of feet to fill the screen. I wouldn't have expected this since it's replacing another home theater projector of the same brand.
Kevin Posted Jun 5, 2009 7:23 PM PST
Help!! I am experiencing the problem below. There is no further explanation as to what is going on.

When the “LAMP” indicator lights solid red, the projector will automatically shut itself down. Please contact your local reseller or service centre.
Al smith Posted Dec 6, 2009 11:28 AM PST
Getting a purple / green hue on games and blue ray films(using PS3) after a few minutes of crisp 1080 viewing, and now the OPTIMA HD80 is shutting itself down after 10-15mins. Tried changing HDMI cables, re-setting PS3 . Can anyone help ?????

Dan Posted Dec 27, 2009 10:31 AM PST
I have a Optoma HD806. I'm starting to notice a purpleish,greenishand,and blueish background on my screen. The people skin looks tutone. I changed the bulb and it still does the same thing. I wanted to know if anyone else had the same problem.
jeremy Posted Mar 18, 2010 11:13 AM PST
I purchased an optoma hd80 about a year ago. nothing but a headache. shuts off all the time . loses signal with new hd cables and burns 4 lamps in a year! go buy a regular TV , cheaper and better.
keith Posted Mar 31, 2010 6:26 AM PST
hi anyone getting excess fan noise ? the tone of the fan changes with the rise in noise. ive got 450 hrs on the lamp. any help
dave stylous Posted Apr 10, 2010 10:59 PM PST
you must have bought a lemon, I've got mine for over a year..it works flawlessly..anyone that thinks a tv can even come close to a projection system delivering a picture measured in feet rather than inches are pure ignorant! this projector is compareable to ones costing ten times the price. I've seen them all and I am laughing my butt off at how amazing this projector is and how affordable it is...my reference Bluray is The Transformers revenge of the fallen, those Imax shots puts every single theatre to shame!...forget the tv!
Chris Posted May 12, 2010 3:07 PM PST
I see a lot of random errors on this forum related to unexpected shutdowns. I had this same problem with mine after using it without problem for about a year and a half, no explanation. Customer support wasn't much help, but there is a 'reset' option in the menu, buried under a few levels (IIRC), that will reset the projector to factory default settings. This cleared up my unexpected shutdown problem without issues.

In my case, the projector would shut itself off every time my PS3 attempted to change screen resolution.
Deen Posted May 25, 2010 3:18 PM PST
Hey Chris, I'm also having the same problem now. My projector shuts down unexpectedly. and the lamp light goes on. my lamp is only at its 1228 hour. can you walk me through on how you reset your projector? re you still having problems? thanks!
Robert Conley Posted Jun 21, 2010 8:40 AM PST
projector runs 30 seconds,red light appears over lamp and lamp shuts down What can be done?
CHARLES Posted Jun 29, 2010 8:38 AM PST
Jim Posted Aug 1, 2010 7:53 PM PST
Love the HD80 but I now have a roblem with only 1200 hrs on the bulb, it shuts down and if you unlug it and replug it then it stays on about 3inutes and shuts down again. I have reviewed several post tat have the exact same problem. It has to be a design error for so any people to experience the same fault. Don't buy one of these without a written guarantee for this problem. optoma should not sell any more of these until this problem is corrected on existing units as well as the new ones.
Marc Posted Dec 18, 2010 7:03 PM PST
I've owned this Projector for over 3 years now. Its my 3rd projector, been using them as my primary TV for 10 years now. As I read below, I have had most of these problems, and I can help with what I have learned. What is written below has saved me from buying a new projector twice.

Blotchy, flat, dark, wrong, etc color issues. Heres a key (secret) sequence for you to know: POWER -> LEFT -> LEFT -> UP. This is the key code to the factory system menu. Use the test templates provided to recalibrate your color wheel index (CWI) about every 6 months (mine was 30deg off when I discovered this gem). Also use the other features they don't want you messing with. By the way, theres more more menus than this...

Shutting off after 4 minutes, independent of the bulb life. Keep the intake filter clean (yes this means opening the cabinet), temp gets to high for the board, and the lamp driver shuts down. Shows up as a lamp problem not an overtemp because its the board not the bulb. Before I did this my vent was completely plugged and my board temp was running 74 (units I don't know). After its running 52. Another neat feature of the Factory System Menu
jerry Posted Jul 17, 2011 12:45 PM PST
I have had my HD80 for nearly 3 years. We use it 3 to 6 hrs, 3 or 4 days a week. My projector is also over heating, I took it down cleaned vents and it worked 10 mins. and that is when I decided to go to this site. I looked through the manual under maintenance, service etc. I found nothing about cleaning vents, maybe this is general knowledge, but they should say it. This could save alot of bad comments and unhappy people. I paid $2500 and that is alot of money for this short amount of time. But it was nice while it lasted. If anyone has any input, please let me know. Otherwise I will take it to local shop next week.
Dave Johnson Posted Aug 30, 2011 5:49 PM PST
I find that my projector is having problems converting 480 resolution to a decent picture. 1080 looks great, but anything in 480 looks like junk. I have a brand new pioneer receiver, and I still have the problem. Is it the projector or the reveiver?
Marc Posted Sep 3, 2011 6:43 AM PST

Open the factory system menu (per previous directions), if your board temp is still running hot 60's 70's then the ventalation is still blocked somewhere. I dissasembled the entire unit, including removing boards, to clear mine. There are many places the flow can be restricted. Moderator: I know this sight is for reviews but I have no way of getting an E-mail to just Jerry.
Rob Posted Sep 6, 2011 4:46 PM PST
I have an HD 80. The lamp kept going out after only about 1400 hours and didn't give any of the indication it was a bulb issue as described in the manual. The lamp indicator would go solid red indicating call your service rep. I called and the guy told me it was likely just the bulb needed to be replaced but I could send it in if I wished. Bought a new bulb and it's been perfect ever since. I also was experiencing excessive noise and took the thing completely apart and cleaned it and it got much quieter. Also noticed when I was in there that the color wheel had a heavy film residue on it. Cleaned it also and the picture got much sharper. I probably got about 3000 hours on it total now and it's been great. Very impressive 120" picture.
jeff Posted Oct 23, 2011 12:45 AM PST
My Optavision HDMI projector was has being on for over 100hrs now,but it losses its colour suddenly yesterday during the liverpool match.I removed it,cleaned the filter and the lens,but it still produce pictures almost without colour.Can any one save me as this is the only thing I have to operate my cinema.
Lasse Posted Nov 29, 2011 3:25 PM PST
Hey Keith, it might be your color wheel, try changing input refresh rate to 50hz, that solved it for me, now it's really silent!
Jerry Posted Mar 25, 2014 10:15 AM PST
Regarding projector running for a bit, then shutting down. Replaced bulb and worked fine again
Pierre Posted Jul 4, 2014 9:15 AM PST
I have the same problem. What did you do to fix your problem? Thanks for your help!
premamrita fox Posted Jul 18, 2014 1:37 AM PST
Hi, dose anyone know if this can be used as a 3d projector & if so what do you need to set it up?

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