Optoma's prime HD projector

Not long ago projectors were strictly the preserve of home cinemaniacs thanks to big price tags and fiddly setups. These days, though, there are high-

Not long ago projectors were strictly the preserve of home cinemaniacs thanks to big price tags and fiddly setups. These days, though, there are high-def DLP bargains aplenty – the new Optoma HD72 is a case in point.

It's the latest addition to the company's Themescene range which have made a name for themselves by undercutting the prices of big-name competitors. For around £1800 (there's no official price yet), you get an HD-ready (720p) unit with the new 1280x768 DarkChip2 chipset from Texas Instruments.

Combined with Faroudja video processing wizadry, this should serve up a very dynamic image, ideal for high-def broadcasts from Telewest and Sky.  In terms of noise and contrast ratio, it's nothing special – it emits an average 28 decibels and the latter is 3000:1 – but at this price level, its specs look fiercely competitive.

There's also a slim, ceiling-friendly build and colour, and it's endowed with plenty of socketry in the form of HDMI, Composite, DVI-I and S-Video ports.

The HD72 is scheduled to launch in mid-to-late January, and could dip below the £1800 mark. Optoma also says that all of its Themescenes will be HD-ready from now on, and that 1080P - the most detailed form of high-def - units are in the pipeline. Keep on eye on the official site for more info.

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