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Review: Optoma GT5000

Optoma GT5000

Bringing the big-screen experience to your home is possible and doesn’t necessarily require a dedicated space. What Optoma proposes with the Optoma GT5000 is a very unique model which, thanks to its ultra short-throw, wide-angle projector lens, can be installed very close to a wall in your living room.

Seated three or four meters away from the screen – or even less if preferred – the viewer can enjoy an HDTV 1080p picture measuring 2½ meters in diagonal. This resolution is the same as that used in movie theaters and offers incredibly high definition. The Optoma GT5000 video projector implements Texas Instruments DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology. Used by over 80% of movie theaters worldwide, DLP technology relies on a chip containing over more than 8 million micromirrors, all oscillating at a rate of several thousand times per second in order to create a high-quality image on the projection surface. The .65” DLP Darkchip 3 chip used in the Optoma GT5000 is paired with a 260-Watt lamp. The latter can function in any one of four modes, with the Eco Mode guaranteeing a lamp lifetime of 6,500 hours, or enough time to watch a 2-hour-long film every day for over 10 years.

Optoma GT5000

The Optoma GT5000’s lamp is positioned in front of a mirror

Short-throw

Video projectors are traditionally fitted with long-throw projection lenses and are thus designed to be placed at the back of a screening room or behind the glass pane of an adjoining room. Most optical blocks are designed to project an image over a distance of 5 to 10 meters. Using a standard video projector in a small living room – a room measuring 4×4 meters, for example – implies installing the device above the viewer’s field of vision and has the unpleasant effect of making the video projector’s ventilation system clearly audible. In fact, in order to project a richly contrasted and bright image, a video projector relies on an extremely powerful lamp which, incidentally, generates a lot of heat and must be cooled down. On the other hand, placing a video projector very close to a screen or wall makes it possible to either use a less powerful lamp or else obtain a very bright image, which is an ideal solution for a screening in a partially lit room. If this type of video projector has only recently appeared on the market, this is due to the fact that perfecting the ultra-wide-angle projector lens was a complex process and both optical distortions and chromatic aberrations were a long-standing woe associated with these optical blocks. Thanks to the use of on-board processors, geometric distortions can be corrected with remarkable efficiency. The Optoma GT5000 video projector is thus capable of projecting an image with a diagonal of 2.5 m while positioned only 30 cm away from the screen.

Optoma GT5000

The controls, situated on the Optoma GT5000’s top panel, are easily accessible for greater user comfort

Choosing a projector screen

Both the projector’s technical characteristics and the user’s personal preferences are important factors to consider when calculating the ideal size for your projector screen. The Optoma GT5000 has been designed to display an image measuring anywhere from 180 to 236 cm wide, which makes it compatible with most fixed-frame, mechanical or portable projector screens. Several different types of canvas exist, including the classic matte white and the high-gain gray varieties, and choosing the right type is important. For use with the Optoma GT5000, we recommend using a low-gain matte white canvas as the video projector projects a very bright image (due to the shortness of the distance separating it from the projection surface). With regard to screen format, a 16:9 model is a must as it corresponds to the DLP matrix’s format. Manual pull-down projector screens present the advantage of being easy and quick to install, whether attached to a wall or a ceiling. Meanwhile, motorized models present the advantage of being operated via a remote control, and acoustically transparent screens allow the user to install in-wall speakers behind the screen.

Optoma GT5000

The ceiling mount: a possibility worth considering

Video projector mounts constitute a simple and practical solution which guarantees that your video projector will be ideally positioned in front of the screen. Allowing you to easily integrate your video projector into a dedicated home theater room or conference room, video projector mounts are also a worthy candidate for your living room or bedroom when using a video projector regularly: gone are the days when video projectors were haphazardly propped up with a TV magazine! Gone with them is the interminable wait associated with adjusting zoom and sharpness at the beginning of each viewing session! And forget about the risk of tripping over cables or knocking over precious equipment while going to get the popcorn or the ice cream! Thanks to the projector mount, the video projector is installed and configured correctly, once and for all. It’s easy to select the ideal settings and hide cables in cable raceways. You can begin a viewing session in no time flat: simply unroll the screen and turn on the video projector… As far as the Optoma GT-5000 is concerned, the ceiling mount is certainly the most flexible solution as it ensures a perfect distance and ideal alignment in relation to the screen. Using a tilt mount is possible as the video projector features a keystone correction function (plus or minus 20°).

Optoma GT5000

The back of the Optoma GT5000 offers a comprehensive selection of connections

Zooming in on the Optoma GT-5000

In terms of esthetics, the Optoma GT-5000 is very different from most other video projectors. Its lens does not protrude from the rest of the unit but is housed snugly inside of it, and the light beam is cast through a narrow opening. The optical block is thus protected from being inadvertently touched. It’s easy to install, since all you need to do is place it on a piece of furniture which is not too high and positioned about 30 cm away from the projection surface. Nonetheless, the video projector must be positioned in parallel with the screen and, naturally, set perfectly flat in order to avoid producing a geometrically distorted image. The Optoma GT-5000’s four adjustable feet have been designed to facilitate this task. The video projector offers a wide array of connections specially adapted for home theater applications with two 1080p- and 3D-compatible HDMI inputs. Compatibility with DLP Link 3D glasses is also ensured. However, a 3D Sync output may be paired with an RF transmitter in order to watch movies with compatible 3D glasses (optional). Analog A/V inputs and outputs are also proposed. Although the video projector has a built-in driver for audio restitution, its quality isn’t on par with optimum viewing conditions. Lastly, the Optoma GT-5000 is delivered with a remote control which can be used to adjust its many settings.

Optoma GT5000

Viewing impressions

We paired the Optoma GT-5000 up with a variety of sources, including the high-end Panasonic DMP-UB900 Blu-ray player and the more conventional PopCorn Hour A-500 player. This setup allowed us to pinpoint the differences between the two sources while watching films in Blu-ray 1080p format as well as a few 1080p MKV files. We installed the video projector in front of a white wall and used it both without a screen and with the Lumene Eden portable screen. When projecting onto a white wall, the Optoma GT5000 immediately impressed us by its very large image while positioned only 30 cm away from the wall. In Bright Mode, the image was perfectly enjoyable in a partially lit room, although this understandably reduced contrast as true blacks are impossible to obtain in such conditions. In a dark room, the Eco+ Mode reduced the brightness level and made the deepness of black tones much more appreciable. The Revenant, Star Trek Beyond, Independence Day Resurgence, Muse Live at Rome Olympic Stadium, Stranger Things, The Sopranos…all these films and TV series are sure to impress anyone who is used to watching HDTV. In Cinema Mode, a breathtakingly immersive experience becomes possible and it is easier to appreciate the composition of each image. The rain and rising waters scene in The Jungle Book (2016) takes on its full meaning thanks to an image with a 2.5-meter-long diagonal: the viewer is naturally entranced by the rising water level and much more emotionally involved than would be possible when viewing the same scene on a TV screen. Moreover, the image is much smoother than it would be on a TV, and without the need for smoothness enhancing technology. Comfortably seated 3 to 4 meters away from the projection surface, we undeniably enjoyed the image projected by the Optoma GT-5000. We also appreciated the discreet ventilation system in Eco+ Mode which, while audible, was easily drowned out by the sound emanating from our speakers. Lastly, moving around the back of the room didn’t disrupt the cinematic experience for those around us. This short-throw video projector is truly full of enticing qualities.

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