The Optoma HD20 is one of a small group of projectors selling at about $1,000, and reviews say it clearly beats the competition. Blacks won't be as good as what's found on more expensive projectors, but they aren't bad, and colors are accurate -- even without extensive tweaking or a professional calibration. Brightness is also very good; it's high enough that the Optoma HD20 can be considered for use in a living room, family room or another room where some ambient lighting is unavoidable.
Reviews reveal some drawbacks, however. Best blacks and contrast are obtained using the projector's auto iris feature, but it works in a way that's so distracting that most say to not use it. The projector uses DLP technology, which means some people see the so-called rainbow effect. Finally, like many DLP projectors, the Optoma HD20 has only a limited zoom range and lacks lens-shift adjustment. That means that finding a good place to install the projector can be difficult in some rooms. You'll also have to add your own audio system and a signal source -- such as a cable TV box or Blu-ray player -- as neither a sound system nor a tuner are built in. Though they are more expensive and their picture won't be as large, the 55-inch Samsung UN55D8000 LED TV (*Est. $2,600) and 55-inch Panasonic TC-P55VT30 plasma TV (*Est. $2,400) are flat-screen TVs that ask less of their owners. They are loaded with features and might be a better fit in some viewing rooms.
We found a number of reviews for the Optoma HD20. The most comprehensive ones are at ProjectorCentral.com and ProjectorReviews.com. Reports at PCMag.com and Britain's TrustedReviews.com are also worthwhile reads. Amazon.com hosts a good selection of user reviews.
ProjectorReviews.com offers one of the more in-depth reports we've seen of the Optoma HD20. Colors are deemed great, at least partially offsetting black levels that aren't as deep as those produced by better -- and more costly -- projectors. The value is judged to be just about unbeatable. As a result, the HD20 earns a Hot Product award.
Review: Optoma HD20 Projector Review, Art Feierman, Aug. 2009
The review of the Optoma HD20 at ProjectorCentral.com is not quite as detailed as the one at ProjectorReviews.com, but it still covers all the essentials -- and then some. Bill Livolsi notes some faults, such as black levels that could be deeper and a distracting auto iris. However, those are offset by strong overall picture quality and a very low price for a 1080p front projector. The HD20 earns this site's Highly Rated award.
Review: Optoma HD20 Home Theater Projector Review, Bill Livolsi, Aug. 28, 2009
The Optoma HD20 is called a game changer among 1080p front projectors thanks to its price and picture quality. Bench testing reveals some faults, but those are mainly seen if viewing standard definition pictures. The rainbow effect is present, but it's not as bad as in some other DLP projectors.
Review: Optoma HD20, M. David Stone, Aug. 21, 2009
In his review of the British version of the Optoma HD20, John Archer says that although better projectors are available, the performance of this set tops what could be reasonably expected considering the price. The Optoma HD20 is compared with another $1,000 DLP front projector in the review and is called the easy winner.
Review: Optoma ThemeScene HD20 DLP Projector Review, John Archer, Oct. 7, 2009
More than 150 user reviewers team up to grant the Optoma HD20 a solid 4.4-star overall rating. On the down side, a couple of reviewers say their projector failed right out of the box or after a short period of use. Others say the same happened some time later and that they were unhappy with the company's customer service. Almost everyone else is mostly to completely pleased.
Review: Optoma HD20 High Definition 1080p DLP Home Theater Projector, Contributors to Amazon.com