Optoma HD50 Vs Optoma HD131xe.
The Optoma HD131xe has been replaced by the 141x model, this comparison is going to focus on various factors such as black levels, contrast and the overall performance of each projector compared to one another, remember the HD50 costs roughly double the price of the now discontinued 131xe.
Both projectors calibrate very well, although i calibrate the 131xe to 75% of Rec. 709 and the HD50 to full Rec. 709, the 131xe undersaturates when you choose full Rec. 709, it doesn’t matter as i can get the image looking very close on both, the differences come from the native contrast, black levels and the performance when dynamic black is switched on, there was a difference with sharpness, i actually felt the plastic lens of the 131xe had more natural sharpness compared to the HD50 lens, only when pure engine was switched on and the sharpness adjusted did i feel the image onscreen of both looked almost identical.
The bottom line is that once you calibrate a projector efficiently then it doesn’t matter if it has an RGBRGB wheel or an RGBCYM wheel, the image should look very close, only some minor differences will be seen, this projector comparison seeks to give out some raw data and image impressions of both.
To get some accurate figures i match each projector for light output, in this case to 16ft lambert, the 131xe has a native contrast of around 530:1 and native black levels of 0.026, with dynamic black on it’s around 2000:1 and a black level of 0.007, that’s a large improvement and i feel the 131xe needs dynamic black on to look good, the HD50 has a native contrast of around 1200:1 and a native black level of 0.013, with dynamic black on it’s a little over 4600:1 and 0.003 blacks, those are good figures for a low priced DLP projector.
There is a difference with dynamic black engaged on each projector, on the 131xe i felt scenes with lots of light, for example Rita Hayworth holding the torch in the Columbia logo or clouds in skies or some light blue sky scenes, these scenes would sometimes have visible artifacts, scenes would bloom and during the early rooftop chase in Skyfall the sky had ugly artifacts in evidence, in comparison the HD50 had none of these issues but had the problem with brightness occasionally changing half a second too late or subtle moments where it altered the brightness level and was noticeable, the 131xe didn’t have that issue, so pick your poison, the 131xe issue was not evident on all content, on some films it didn’t rear it’s head, the same goes for the HD50 issue.
The HD50 lens shift came in handy for me, it’s only small but it allowed me to fine tune the height to my screen, the HD131xe has no lens shift so depending on your room it may be slightly more difficult to set up.
I found lipsync a non-issue on the HD131xe but could detect minor issues with lipsync on the HD50, this is likely due to additional pure engine processing, as an example i found on my Yamaha Aventage receiver, which has an auto lipsync mode, it was mostly good but, very occasionally lips did not match onscreen content, i decided to set lipsync to 160ms in my AV Receiver, this cured the problem and lipsync was now perfect.
The HD131xe has speakers built in, the HD50 does not, this makes little difference if you use an AV Receiver and watch blu ray content, for casual satellite viewing those speakers on the 131xe may come in handy.
Fan noise can be heard on bright bulb on both projectors but only during quieter moments in film content, on Eco bulb and with dynamic black off they are both quiet, if you sit close to the projector it may be an issue but otherwise i think fan and colour wheel noise are typical DLP and aren’t a problem for me.
The Optoma HD131xe can go brighter in 3D, with 350+ hours on the bulb i can still get a calibrated 3.4ft lambert brightness, with the HD50 after just 150hrs the maximum brightness was 2.1ft lambert, this was too dim to make viewing 3D content fully enjoyable, so the HD131xe wins on 3D performance if that is important to you.
The Optoma HD50 has better build quality, better contrast and black levels, it has pure motion, it has great calibration controls, a two point white balance, better gamma curves can be chosen and there is the option to buy a wireless HDMI add-on, overall because of all this i feel it is worth the additional cost to the end user.
My final thoughts on the Optoma HD50 can be viewed by clicking here.