posted on Monday, 27th June 2016 by Steve May
Ultra Short Throw projectors have been a staple of the education and corporate AV market for some time, yet they’ve never really crossed over as entertainment solutions. Yet for custom integrators, they solve a myriad of problems and are particularly suitable for media room projects, where space typically prohibits big projection.
Optoma hopes to change that with the GT5000, a hybrid of sorts that doesn’t entirely disguise its boardroom roots, but is a compelling proposition for CI.
An Ultra Short Throw projector can easily cast a 100-inch image from a distance of just 30cm. And that means your clients won’t be casting shadows and lacing up HDMIs presents no more of a challenge than the average games console or Blu-ray player.
Optoma GT5000 Ultra Short Throw projector: Build quality and features
Design is definitely living room friendly. The projector has a clean white chassis with grey highlights, and is a compact 385(w) x 310(h) x 120(d)mm. Connections comprise two HDMIs, dual VGA inputs, 3.5mm and stereo phono inputs, component video and Ethernet. There’s also RS232 control and a 12v trigger for screen or AV system integration. The projector is also DLP 3D compatible, via a 3D sync DIN, but no 3D glasses are supplied in the box.
Setup is refreshingly quick. Just to square the projector to the display area. Vertical keystone correction offers +/- 20 degrees of adjustment, and there’s helpful Image Shift. As this is an UST projector, there’s no focus ring to spin, instead there’s a paddle slider protruding from the base. The throw ratio is quoted at 0.25:1.
The projector does have a sound system onboard, but it’s at best only functional. While the 16w amp has volume, it’s not a great thing to listen to. Of course, most will installers most likely specify a modest 5.1 surround system with it.
Optoma GT5000 Ultra Short Throw projector: Performance
As you would want from a media room projector, the GT5000 is extremely bright, at 3000 lumens. You’ll have no problem getting a usable image in even a moderately bright room.
I was pleasantly surprised with picture quality. This1080p projector offers rich colours and bright peak highlights. Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak boasts plenty of rich, lush cinematography which the GT5000 is happy to deliver.
Of course, this isn’t a direct competitor to a dedicated home theatre projector. As you scale the image outwards, it becomes harder to manage edge definition. Optoma specifies contrast of 23,000:1, but shadow detail is crushed and there’s no genuine deep black in the image But this is largely about impact not absolute fidelity.
Display modes comprise User, Movie, Bright, Presentation and Blackboard, with the usual adjustable parameters available - including Brightness, Contrast, Colour, Tint, Sharpness, Colour and variable gamma (1.8, 2, 2.2). To avoid over saturation, stick with the Movie or User modes.
Inside is a single 0.65-inch DarkChip 3 DLP device. I was aware of some rainbow fringing, a typical DLP trait, but it was only sporadic and not overly intrusive. Picture processing is none too fancy. There are no image interpolation modes, so there’s no clear retention of motion detail in fast moving scenes.
As a gaming display, the GT5000 transpires to be enormous fun. Optoma specifies lag at 33ms, and I didn’t feel the projector was adding any unwanted delay to my gunplay during Overwatch.
For those that insist on mixing business with pleasure, the remote control doubles as a laser pointer. This is unfortunate as it rules the projector out from being used in kids bedrooms and the like.
Operational noise can err on the high side, a consequence of its high brightness. To keep a lid on things, ensure the lamp is running on Eco, which gives around 28dB. Optoma quotes 310W Bright mode and 260W Eco mode. Lamp life in the latter is said to be a 6,500 hours.
Typically an Ultra Short Throw projector would be used with nothing more than a white wall. However the manufacturer is also offering an Ambient Light Rejecting screen, which enhances image quality in rooms with natural light. The ALR100 (pictured below on demo in Richer Sounds) is just the ticket if you’re looking to create a more televisual experience.
The ALR100 is a fixed frame 100-inch screen that can be purchased separately for £899 or as part of a bundle with the GT5000 for around £1800. It has a silver grey finish and is designed to reduce contrast and improve colour performance in rooms in well lit rooms.
This an interesting low cost alternative to similar ambient light rejecting screens like the Black Diamond. Optoma argues the ALR screen rejects 90 per cent of ambient light, and therefore is more affordable than a large flatpanel display. Gain is rated at 0.42.
While the ALR100 isn’t a total panacea to contrast issues, I found it does help with subjective black level performance. This is particularly evident on sci-fi movies (all that space!), for example. The fabric fixes to the frame with tension springs (pictured above).
Optoma GT5000 Ultra Short Throw projector: Verdict
The GT5000 is an intriguing option for those media room projects in awkward, unconventional spaces. With no requirement for long room throw, it’s a snip to accommodate, and picture performance is on the right side of entertaining – images are colour rich and bright. You’ll want some level of light control (the more you have the better, obliviously), but you’ll be surprised how much ambient light you can get away with. And if you have the budget and space for a fixed screen, then Optoma’s ALR100 makes for a great accessory.
The Optoma GT5000 is available now
Retail price: £1,000
Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics
industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.