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The Perfect Party with my GT1080 Short Throw Projector

Is a 70” TV big enough? No it’s not!!

For people who have know me for a while, I am addicted to having parties. I'm not really interested in going out to the club, but more into finding all kinds of excuses to invite friends and familiy over to our 3-story townhouse to enjoy some good food, good drinks, and fun.

By calling myself an addict, I mean I am really into planning parties and making them perfect. I usually start planning the menu a couple weeks before, spend time shopping for that one set of stemware that I really don’t need, and drain my brain just to come up with some wow factor to entertain my guests and get that “Great party, Jessie! ” from my guests.

Naturally, our home is designed and equipped with lots of equipment and decorations for the purpose of throwing parties. We have a long dining table, wine fridge, cocktail counter, and a 70 inch TV in the living room that can be seen from the dining room on the second floor too. Guests were amazed by how big the 70 inch Sony TV was when we first got it, but then we all got used to it. So naturally, I was on the lookout for the next "Wow factor." One day I was staring at the side wall next to the TV, and had this thought: "What if we turn the entire wall into a screen?!"

So we did! Because we have super high ceilings and I love the throw ratio of short throw projectors, it worked out perfectly for us to get place a GT1080 short throw projector at one end of the coffee table on top of our Xbox. The projector is compact enough so it doesn’t really take up much space on the coffee table and I get to blend it into the table packed with snacks, drinks, and other party essentials.

I set up the projector by using the HDMI cable that comes in the box and connected it to the Xbox. As soon as it was set up I tested Xbox's Kinect sports I with my hubby. How do I describe it…? Previously we played the game on the big screen TV and we were definitely playing a video game. Now, with about a 160 inch image size, we were playing the REAL game. The volleyball net on the wall was actual size. The hurdles were actually waist high so that I felt like I really needed to jump high to clear them. Everything in the game came to life!

Our guests arrived at 5pm while it was still bright outside. A beam of the sunshine shot straight through the window into the living room, but the GT1080’s brightness and its short throw made the image still plenty bright allowing the kids to start enjoying the game. It was a Saturday night so we played college football on the TV while letting the kids continue playing theit game on the projector. I love having both the TV and projector on to really bring to the party to life. Everyone gets to look at something that they are interested in! 

During the dinner, my cousins started to make comments about how the house is “YA friendly” and so nice to throw parties at and then asked us how big the TV is. When my hubby told them 70”, no one believed it because the projector image next to the TV made it look so small! Then, of course, people started to ask about the projector and get excited about the short throw and the fact that it’s almost invisible in the entire setting. When I heard all the compliments, I was like “Yup! This is exactly what I was aiming for!”

One thing that sets me apart from hardcore gamers and techy geeks is that I enjoy the fact that the projector is 1080p high definition and I see it as a party set up, that I don’t need to have it on every day, or have a dedicated professional screen. What I need is just to take the projector from the shelf, shoot it onto the wall (which is actually textured), and still enjoy the 1080p image quality you get from the GT1080 projector. The projector does not intrude in my life or the house, but rather adds value when I need it. 

My set up might not be fancy and it might not be for you, but it is absolutely perfect for parties and casual entertainment in my home. I couldn't be happier.

About the Author

Jessie works at Optoma as the Senior Manager of Marketing and Planning.

Aspect Ratios and Native Resolutions

Aspect ratio describes the width to height relationship of an image. The width and height are measured in equally sized units and are most commonly expressed by two numbers separated by a colon (i.e. 16:9, 16:10, 4:3). So, for example, a 16:9 image that is 16 inches in width, would be 9 inches in height.

More specifically, NATIVE aspect ratio refers to the aspect ratio that a projector, monitor or television is designed to display. Many displays are capable of showing other aspect ratios, but will still always fill the space of the native aspect ratio. This is especially noticeable on flat panel displays like LCD or LED televisions and monitors which have physical frames or bezels around the panel. Projectors have a bit more leeway in this sense. When projecting outside of the native aspect ratio, the extra dark area (which normally would be seen as black space on a monitor) can be masked by that black space that typically surrounds the viewing area of the screen/projection surface.

When looking for the correct native aspect ratio on a projector, one must consider the source/content, as well as the projection surface (screen, wall, etc.). If you are viewing HD content (Blu-Ray Discs, HD television, etc.) you will want a projector with a native 16:9 aspect ratio. If you are specifically using a newer widescreen computer, you will want a projector with a native 16:10 aspect ratio. If you are using an older PC or analog video (VCR), you may want a projector with a 4:3 aspect ratio. More commonly, customers/clients will prefer a 4:3 aspect ratio, because they already have a screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Existing screen aspect ratios will always be a big consideration when choosing the native aspect ratio of a new projector.

Native resolution refers to the maximum displayable resolution of a projector, monitor or television. Native resolution is often confused with maximum resolution which refers to the highest resolution a display can recognize. For instance, our X600 has a native XGA resolution and a maximum WUXGA resolution. This means that the signal coming into the X600 can be as high as 1920 x 1200, but the highest resolution it can project is 1024 x 768. Native resolutions also directly correlate to native aspect ratios. Below is a list of common resolutions for our projectors and their corresponding aspect ratios. PCs:

SVGA (800 x 600) – 4:3

XGA (1024 x 768) – 4:3

WXGA (1280 x 800) – 16:10

WUXGA (1920 x 1200) – 16:10


480i – 4:3

480p – 16:9

720p – 16:9

1080i – 16:9

1080p – 16:9

About the Author

Tom Argus is a Service Engineer at Optoma.

Football Games on My HD161X-WHD Projector

There is nothing quite like the first football game of the season. If you’re anything like me, there are few things more annoying than not being able to get a good view of the game, whether it’s due to large crowds at a bar or due to the size limitations of flat panel displays. With my Optoma HD161X-WHD projector, I am able to project a game in 1080p in a size that is suitable to the occasion, all from the comfort of my own home.

One thing I’ve always wanted to do was to host a season opener with a few of my friends. We’re all diehard Niner fans, but when we can’t make it to the game, finding a suitable alternative is often pretty frustrating. Usually restaurants, bars, and lounges lack in some capacity. Whether it is due to poor visuals (lighting, small displays, poor quality displays) or audio (loud crowds, lack of sound all together), my friends and I have found that local venues just don’t cut it for a complete game day experience.

Combined with the NuForce DAC80 and STA200, I have a video and audio system that would surpass any sports bar. Setup is simple and took less than 20 minutes. All I needed was a HDMI cable, optical cable, RCA cable, a pair speaker cables, and a pair of speakers. The sound was detailed and brilliant and made us feel as if we were sitting in the announcer’s booth.

With setup quick and painless, I was able to invite my friends over and wowed them with the huge display on the wall. The image came out sharp and vibrant and was perfect for capturing all aspects of the game. With this audio and video setup, it’s as close as being at the game without actually being there. 

About the Author

Joey is a Business Operation Associate at Optoma Technology in California and owns an Optoma HD161X-WHD, NuForce DAC80 and STA200.

A Whole New Movie Experience – My New Amp and Preamp

I recently purchased the NuForce MCA18 multi channel amp and the NuForce AVP18 digital AV preamp as new additions for my home entertainment system. The new system delivers a premium sound and the whole family is pleased with the purchase.

The amp and preamp are very easy to install and the modern and simple design brings an elegant look to the living room. Since my speakers are also in black, the MCA18 and AVP18 blended in perfectly.

For the audio “beginner”, you can purchase the NuForce DDA120---the affordable integrated amp to boost up the audio experience. The DDA120 also comes with BTR1 Bluetooth receiver so it’s a complete set for any home stereo system.

However, I choose to purchase the MCA18 amp and AVP18 preamp because it will be easier to upgrade in the future---I will have the option to upgrade the preamp or amp separately later. For example, I can upgrade to the NuForce MCA20 multi channel amp, which offers more power (8x278W) if I decide to switch to more powerful speakers. 

The AVP18 preamp provides lots of input connections---including 4x HDMI! This means I am able to hook in my entertainment desktop, DVD player and Xbox one at the same time. The two knobs control the volume, power and switch of eight source component input channels.  I also purchased the BTR1 to add the bluetooth input.  With the BTR1, I can easily play the music on my phone with my home entertainment system.

The first movie I chose to play with my new system was San Andreas. My family watched the movie before, but this time the sound quality was definitely better with an improved surround sound effect.  Everyone was thrilled about the sound system and it was just like watching the movie in the theater.   We cannot wait to throw another home movie event at our house before summer ends!


Learn more about Vikki's audio system:

AVP18 digital AV preamp + BTR1 Bluetooth receiver (purchase separately)


MCA18 multi channel amp


About the Author

Vikki works as our Product and Business Planner at Optoma in California.

Impedance Matching

When interconnecting various electronic devices commonly encountered in audio systems, the issues of impedance and impedance matching between components usually arises. Specifically, impedance matching seems to be a common concern among audiophiles. Although one should not simply dismiss the matter, more often than not the concern expressed is far greater than the occurrence of any real problem encountered.

A common "rule of thumb" for matching the output impedance of a line-level device such as a preamp output to the input impedance of an amplifier is 1:10. This means that if the output impedance of the preamp is rated as being 1K-Ohm, then the amplifier being connected should exhibit no less that a 10K-Ohm input impedance. While this can be used as a good guideline, it is by no means a "rule."

In all actuality, one will not experience much in the way of any negative effects if the "rule" is reduced to 1:4. In this case, a reduction of signal being fed into the amplifier will only be about -2.5dB. Although this is an extreme example, in most cases simply increasing the volume control of the preamp a little can easily accommodate for such a modest loss.

Only in those cases where an impedance miss-match results in either a significant change in the frequency response or an increase in distortion arising within the preamp, should there really be any concern. In those cases, unless an individual has detailed information regarding the preamp, there really is no way to know beforehand short of personal experimentation. If the user experiences audible distortion or a reduction of bass and/or high frequency response, then they will ultimately be forced to select either a different amplifier or preamp to eliminate the condition. One alternative to this would also be to insert a "line-driver" type device. This component typically does not provide any voltage gain, but it will often exhibit a much lower output impedance, which should remedy the issue. Nevertheless, most modern equipment is relatively immune to these effects, so the likelihood of encountering such problems is very slim and should not be a primary concern when selecting audio components.

For questions in setting up your NuForce equipment, call us at 888-289-6786 or live chat us.

6 Reasons to Buy a Projector Instead of a TV

While researching the best home entertainment center for our family we discovered two things:   

1. There are a TON of options out there and 

2. The really big screen TV’s are still insanely expensive.  

So we focused on a low cost alternative that would not sacrifice picture quality and overall cinematic experience.  Not an easy task unless you consider a projector over a big screen TV. It became a family debate but I held firm to my projector choice for a number of reasons: 

1. Money.  Cha-CHING! A projector is almost 50% less expensive than a big screen TV

2. Size.  It does matter. No TV at any price can duplicate the sheer size and quality of a projector and screen.  My 102-inch screen makes ANY thing we watch an epic cinematic event.

3. Looks.  A big screen TV is a permanent and massive focal point of any room no matter how big the room is.  Who wants their living room to look like a sports bar all the time?

4. Flexibility.  Maybe we want to watch a big screen movie in another room, or take it on vacation or outdoors for a summer theater? Not going to happen with a TV.

5. Easy on the eyes.  Okay, so I made the argument that watching the projector image on the screen is better for your eyes than watching a TV. I made that part up but upon further research I was right!  Something about filling a larger portion of your viewing field? Google it.

6. Money.  Did I say money already? A projector is so much cheaper,  I really think it deserves to be listed twice.

Sure there are other reasons like e-waste recycling. Someday that TV or projector will go to that big electronic landfill in the sky but my little 5 pound projector is more earth friendly than a 200 pound TV.

There are hundreds of projectors on the market that vary in brightness, technology, resolution, price etc. so you may need to do a little research and figure out all the options before you just buy any old projector. 

In the end I made my case (can’t fight logic and common sense) and we are now the proud owners of an Optoma projector and a “no brand” name screen. The screen is mounted on the fireplace mantle so you don’t see it when and the screen is retracted. I opted for that option so my living room can look educational and sophisticated when the big screen is not in use. (Which is all the time). My family and I can honestly say we never watch TV anymore. 

Still not convinced? Check out the 7 Benefits of a Home Theater Projector.

Job Openings at Optoma

Every single one of us has an imagination - that unique ability to visualize. To create. To innovate. But when was the last time you put it to work for you? If you'd like to do it more, you've come to the right place - and the right company.

Change the way people work, live and play with our projectors and audio equipment. Whatever you do at Optoma - from sales, marketing and design to logistics, finance or customer service - your transformative ideas can propel innovation and fuel disruptive collaboration. Sound like you? Join us!

We currently have the following career opportunities available. Click a link to learn more.

Breaking in Your New NuForce Equipment

It is commonly believed by audio enthusiasts that for achieving the best performance, most products benefit from a certain amount of initial operation, with the time required being referred to as the "burn-in" or "break-in" period. It is a fact of physics that over time, all things change to some degree, but the main controversy surrounding the break-in phenomenon is whether minute changes in circuitry and components ultimately converge towards better performance and if they do, whether or not such changes are audible.

While commonly accepted as fact by many, to our knowledge no rigorous scientific study exists validating the effect. Nevertheless, our own empirical listening tests confirm that the phenomenon is real and that many, if not most, products do benefit from some period of break-in. We suspect this is due to passive components such as the dielectric materials used in capacitors "relaxing" and thereby becoming faster in their response to signals over time – which does happen to be a documented fact. The same can be said for other components such as the diaphragms and suspension materials used in headphones, etc. 

This "relaxation effect" is observed in all areas of physical reality, and can even be seen occurring in something as simple as a well-worn pair of shoes becoming more comfortable over time. In light of this, we suggest that the user of any NuForce product first operate the device for at least 10 hours, up to a day (or two), in order to experience the best sound. Certainly, after a week or so of use the product will be performing at its best.

For more information about NuForce products go to http://www.optomausa.com/soundproducts.