The digital world is moving to 4K. New TVs, computer monitors, and even smartphone screens and cameras are receiving filled with pixels. There’s just one single problem.

Hardly any 4K media actually exists. While a few streaming media sites and a select couple of movies on Blu-Ray support 4K resolution, it’s an exceptionally limited library. This will certainly change in the future, but if you’re searching for a TV or projector today, you won’t miss much by deciding on a Full HD viewing device.

True media enthusiasts risk turning up their noses at the mere suggestion of sacrificing resolution, but also for many users, newer technology posesses cost prohibitive price. Also, there’s far more to an excellent image than simply the pixel count.

The unusually named HD39Darbee 1080p HOME ENTERTAINMENT Projector may lack the high res of 4K competitors, but Optoma includes some advanced technology to improve the caliber of the picture displayed over merely boosting the number of pixels. Although it may sound blasphemous, most TV viewers don’t sit close enough to the screen to reliably distinguish between 4K and 1080p content. For the reason that all too common scenario, improved color and contrast would do more to improve the viewing experience when compared to a few million extra pixels.

Join us as we unwrap the technology driving the Optoma HD39Darbee. You will probably find you don’t need 4K in the end.

4K Resolution
Consumers latch to marketing. For some non-technical people, “4K” is a catchy, simple to remember marketing name exactly like “HD” was when it first rolled out. Start speaking with the common user about contrast ratios, color bit depth, high dynamic range, refresh rates, and other technical conditions and you’re more likely to see their eyes glaze over because they tune you out.

Now, “4K” plastered prominently on the marketing materials will surely grab their attention regardless if they couldn’t accurately let you know what this means. With 4 times the resolution of HD, there’s without doubt 4K is objectively better. The true question is, “Does it matter?”

This might sound counterintuitive, so allow us to describe. Most people’s initial experience with 4K will come in the showroom of an area electronics store. With a breathtaking display and perfect demo video, shoppers can ogle the display from a few inches away and marvel at the clarity. However, we’ve never met anyone who installs a TV in the home just and proceeds to sit inches away.
Scientific tests show us that the eye can distinguish approximately 60 pixels per degree. As you move farther from a display, you lose the opportunity to see minor details and at some range smaller pixels get started to merge into solid blocks of color.

In case you have a comparatively large 70-inch display, you wouldn’t start to see the full benefit for 4K resolution if you don’t were closer than 5 feet, and at about 8 feet away it could become completely indistinguishable from a typical 1080p HDTV. Since we’re looking at a projector today, a good massive 120-inch image takes a viewing distance of significantly less than 15 feet to determine a notable difference.

With regards to screen resolution, while most of us desire cutting-edge technology, the drive for 4K is probable unnecessary for some users who simply don’t sit close enough to the screen to recognize the difference.

Design and Specifications
The HD39Darbee projector measures 12.4 x 8.8 x 4.5 inches and weighs just 6.2 pounds. While this helps it be larger than a genuine compact, lightweight presentation projector, it remains small enough to go around in the event that you needed.

A 1.6x optical zoom provides HD39Darbee a throw ratio between 1.4 and 2.24. This signifies that as a way to achieve a 100-inch diagonal screen size, you’d have to place the projector roughly between 10 and 16 feet from your screen. The HD39Darbee can mount to a wall or ceiling, but will not enable replaceable lamps. This throw ratio helps it be suitable for use in small to mid-sized rooms. If you wished to project in an extended room you’d either have to mount it to the ceiling or pick a longer throw projector so that you can project from the trunk of the room.

Optoma lists the supported projection sizes from 26.2 inches to 301.11 inches. These incredibly specific numbers do rely upon other factors, generally the ambient brightness of the area. The HD39Darbee has 3500 ANSI lumens of brightness, so although it will continue to work acceptably in ambient light at smaller sizes, you will require darkness to accomplish visibility at larger sizes.

Power draw aligns with similar products with a 295-watt average in Bright mode and 210-watt average in Eco mode. With only 29 decibels in Eco mode, the HD39Darbee measures barely above a whisper. Lamp life estimates range between 4000 hours in Bright mode to 15000 in Eco mode. While standard, in the event that you expect extended daily use in Bright mode, you’ll have to take into account lamp replacement in a couple of years.

The HD39Darbee also supports 3D quite happy with the separate purchase of 3D glasses.

Darbee Visual Presence Technology
If you aren’t acquainted with DARBEE, the name of the project probably appears somewhat odd for you. Optoma has partnered with DarbeeVision Inc. to be the exclusive projector manufacturer embedding the Darbee Visual Presence solution of their projectors. So, what’s Darbee Visual Presence?

Purchased separately, the Darbee Visual Presence unit is a tiny box that plugs in-line together with your HDMI signal. Optoma simply bakes the Darbee technology in to the projector right out from the box.

Inside, a custom processor and software analyze your video source and improve the picture. Here’s how they describe it:

“The integrated DARBEE Visual Presence image enhancement technology utilizes neuro-biologic algorithms to improve detail and depth in skin tones, textures, and reflective surfaces while noise filtering produces amazing image clarity. The outcome is video gaming, Blu-ray movies and HDTV programming that’s simply mind-blowing and larger-than-life.”

Now, filtering through the marketing pitch, essentially Darbee technology alters brightness, contrast, and color so as to improve image quality. While some may attempt to accomplish that effect simply by tweaking settings over the board, Darbee uses an object- and human-vision-based algorithm to investigate the scene on a per pixel level and make changes where appropriate instead of the whole image.

It’s a remarkable concept. As we discussed, manufacturers have put so much focus on reaching 4K resolutions even though most of the people don’t sit close enough to note. Darbee targets improving the image in ways that’s discernable from any standard distance. In addition they support user-adjustable levels for enhancement as different media sources, Blu-Ray movies versus video gaming for instance, may have different optimal levels.

As the technology impresses, it can face a lttle bit of a marketing problem. If the common consumer talks about two projectors, one boasting of “4K Resolution” and the other of “Darbee Image Processing,” it’s hard to assume them choosing the unfamiliar Darbee solution over the much-hyped 4K. As a company, Darbee must focus extensively on product demos so that you can demonstrate the features of their solution.

Image Quality
Any amount of advanced technology doesn’t matter unless it means real-world image quality. With some caveats, on the whole we were extremely impressed with the Optoma HD39Darbee. The image was bright, detailed, smooth, and the Darbee technology definitely presented additional depth inside our picture in comparison with playing the same scenes without Darbee activated.

Unfortunately, insufficient 4K support may have many persons looking elsewhere. We tested with in regards to a 100-inch diagonal image viewing from about 12 feet away. As of this distance, our experience matched what the science says. The caliber of the HD39Darbee’s 1080p image was practically indistinguishable in comparison to that of a 4K projector, and if we hadn’t been scrutinizing it’s doubtful we’d have even noticed.

Color quality was solid as the Reference Display Mode supports accurate color with 100% coverage of the state REC.709 HDTV color gamut. While 4K specifications do further enhance supported colors, the older REC.709 still impresses.

We’ve some mixed feelings about the DarbeeVision Image Enhancement Technology. Fortunately, you can choose different degrees of implementation. We definitely appreciated it at lower levels. Our videos took on an increased depth and realism even in scenes which were previously somewhat flat and beaten up.

However, higher settings appeared to produce some bizarre effects. Contrast seemed a lttle bit overblown creating an extremely surreal look. On the product facts page, Darbee recommends higher settings for video gaming as the results will most likely feel less off-putting within an animated environment than true to life footage. For our tastes, it had been still a little an excessive amount of. Darbee includes a sample video on the website showing a middle-aged female gaming character. Because they flip backwards and forwards between Darbee processing and original source, the Darbee effect causes every slight wrinkle, freckle, and shadow on the character’s face to pop out prominently and dramatically.

You could consider that “enhanced detail,” but it’s likely that the designers added these subtle touches to help make the character’s face more realistic rather than intended to create this overemphasized caricature.

Conclusion
The Optoma HD39Darbee requires a different angle on image quality than many competitors. While everyone scrambles for 4K, not to mention even Optoma has other 4K models, the HD39 utilizes Optoma’s strategic partnership with DarbeeVision to boost general image quality regardless of the lack of pixels.

Cost-wise, it will come in considerably less than most 4K projectors. If you want to remain future-proof and prefer leading edge technology, you’re unlikely to be dissuaded from a 4K unit. If you’re more practical in nature, evaluate your expected screen size in comparison to your viewing distance. Checking charts online, you might conclude realizing you don’t need 4K in the end. If that’s the case, it seems sensible to save the amount of money and pick a feature like Darbee to improve what you can easily see.

If you do just like the effect of Darbee on your own videos, it’s certainly nice to own it contained in the projector. The DarbeeVision solution also sells separately if you’d prefer to test together with your existing equipment, nonetheless it currently only supports 1080p. Because the processor performs per-pixel analysis, upgrading to a 4K signal would require 4 times the processing power. While Darbee may support 4K later on, it isn’t there yet.

The Optoma HD39Darbee offers excellent display quality, customizable image enhancement, and 3D support. It’s a distinctive substitute for breath additional life and depth into your video content and would make an excellent addition to any home entertainment given that you’re ready to accept having less 4K resolution.