Laser projectors continue to rewrite the rules of home entertainment on the big screen with their combination of high brightness, rich color and long life. And as Optoma’s new UHZ66 home entertainment and gaming projector proves, they’re also starting to become more affordable.
The UHZ66 ticks all the key boxes for a laser projector. It claims a whopping 4000 lumens peak brightness, it claims an effective life without the need for annoying lamp changes of more than 30,000 hours (enough for around 15,000 films) and it claims to be able to display more than one billion colors . Yet at $2999 in the US and a truly eye-catching £1799 in the UK, it brings these classic laser benefits to residential and media rooms around the world at a price that would have been unthinkable just a year or two ago.
The laser-based advantages I just described are also just the beginning of the UHZ66’s attractions. For starters, it claims true 4K resolution from its DLP-based optical system. Some will take issue with this claim, as 4K resolution depends on DLP ‘flashing’ its digital mirrors multiple times per frame to create the 4K effect, rather than the UHZ66 actually using 3840×2160 individual digital mirrors. However, this DLP approach to 4K is considered the real 4K deal by the powerful Consumer Technology Association (CTA) of the US.
Home theater fans will also be happy to see the UHZ66, which claims a high contrast ratio of 500,000:1 along with its 4,000 lumens peak brightness. After all, while high brightness can be an extremely useful feature for a living room projector (especially a living room projector that, like the UHZ66, supports high dynamic range images), if it comes at the expense of decent contrast, it could do more more harm than good when it comes to delivering a balanced and compelling movie experience.
The UHZ66 sports two HDMI 2.0 inputs (one with eARC support for passing audio to a connected soundbar or AVR), and to back up its claimed strong gaming credentials, it’s capable of rendering images it receives on its HDMIs with impressively little lag – just 4.4ms with 1080p/240Hz feeds and 17ms with 4K/60Hz feeds.
The 1.4:1 throw ratio makes the UHZ66 capable of producing large images (up to 300 inches) without needing a huge workspace, and finally the information Optoma has released about its latest projector marks the first time, when we see the projector brand that really insists on the environmental friendliness of the model.
So we learn that: 50% of the UHZ66’s chassis is made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials; 97% of the projector’s packaging is made from recyclable materials; the compact body of the projector (it is 34% smaller than its predecessor) allows twice as many devices to be installed in one transport container; the chassis of the UHZ66 is completely mercury-free; and the projector is claimed to consume up to 45% less energy than conventional lamp-based models.
The UHZ66 should be available now in both the US and the UK from a number of electronics retailers.
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