When I set up the Optix for use in a controlled-lighting environment, its picture resembled that of many other high-quality single-chip DLP projectors. Whether the material originated as film or video, the projector's Pixelworks video-processing chip set delivered a detailed, artifact-free picture. The toughest materials from my test DVDs and Blu-ray Discs couldn't trip it up. Even standard-definition DVDs looked super-sharp - watching Entourage: The Complete Fifth Season, I could see the details of the weave in many of the characters' outfits. Color reproduction was superb, whether the scene was the muted décor of a highend Hollywood restaurant or a party full of garishly dressed SoCal babes.
Technically, the Optix's black level is only as deep as that of some midprice LCD projectors I've recently reviewed, which is to say that black parts of the picture look more like dark gray. With certain material, such as deep-space scenes in the high-def Star Trek episodes streamed through Netflix, I did notice the elevated black level. But generally, it didn't distract me the way it does with many LCD projectors. My guess is that the narrow iris setting necessary to get even a single 300- watt lamp down to a usefully moderate output gives the Optix picture an added dynamism missing from a less muscular projector.
I had only matte white screens on hand for use with the Optix, but I wish I had had the chance to try it with a gray screen. That particular configuration would have darkened the blacks substantially, and the projector's high output would have also assured brilliant whites.
When I switched the Optix to duallamp mode and opened the iris, the image brightness more than quadrupled. Even after I turned on all the lights in my home theater, the image still looked overly bright, like a typical LCD flat-panel TV at its factory settings. I opened a couple of curtains to let some afternoon sun stream in, and the picture was still quite watchable. Only after I opened all the curtains did the ambient lighting start to overwhelm the image. Of course, with so much light bouncing around the room, contrast suffered considerably - here again, a gray screen would have helped.
The Avielo Optix is in a completely different class from any projector I have tested. Its fundamental picture quality puts it in the upper echelon of single-chip DLP projectors, but its dual high-output lamps make it something truly special: a video projector that can provide a very watchable image in a brightly lit room. With the right screen and expert room/system design, the Optix opens new possibilities for media rooms and home theaters.
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