Why is this a stop gap projector? Is it because it doesn't have lens shift? What digital projector out now is not a stop gap projector?
I would think the very large number of posters saying "I really want one, but it's out for me due to its unfortunate offset limitation" is a good example of why. The HD81 ia a bright DLP, meaning it has the larger screen potential that Ruby and other dimmer projectors lack. Yet, given its price point, it is aimed at the middle market of HT users (as represented on this forum anyway). While many can afford the $10k (or probably less), I would doubt most live in mansions with first floor HT's and 10' ceilings. Read the posts by Bob Sorel, John Kotches, Alan Gouger and see their ceiling height. I have 10' ceilings in my under-construction home - but my finished media room, while 20'W by 32' L, has 8' ceilings.
It's not specifically the lack of shift, but that the fixed offset is so darn large! By admitting the problem was known (thx for the honesty Optoma) but that they wanted to have a model ready, they are also admitting this is a "stop gap" solution with more to come to make it work better. It's not, IMO, simple evolution. It's a business decision to get a product out there with known limitations to staunch the bleeding from Ruby until they can improve it. That is why I call it stop gap and yes, there are many projectors out there that are NOT stop gap in this sense and have much longer anticipated lives with a greater potential user base.
I know if I saw this and it said PROTOTYPE. I would probably be not as interested. We want to look at the real thing, whats available now or very soon. Just enough time to hold back a purchase from a competing manufacture.
I'm not suggesting they put a big label on it as PROTOTYPE, but rather to introduce it as a "work in progress" rather than a totally finished one. I take your point on being scared off or delayed by the use of "prototype" but I think that's what it is in reality. Do you believe that once they have a very similar version with the addition of lens shift or, at least, much less offset, that they will still produce the current one and simply add the 2nd? I don't, unless there are other significant changes/additions.
I think this PJ will do quite well. Just about every client I deal with wants the PJ as close to the ceiling as possible and being able to place the PJ up and out of the way is great. Not that lens shift wouldn't be even better, but if it has to be fixed, Optoma probably made the right choice for the marketplace. As always, the wants of the marketplace as a whole do not necessarily remotely reflect the wants of the hobbyist.
I agree with much of that except where it seems to assume that simply wanting a "close to the ceiling" proj. solves the issue. It does (and is desirable, me included) right up until you have that lower ceiling but want the bigger screen. It just limits this apparently fine projector's market. And that is where I either disagree or misunderstand your last distinction.
I assume you mean the "hobbyists" (AVS) vs. Joe Normal (marketplace). But I would think even Joe Normal, who is about to spend $10k will want the "big screen experience" or he wouldn't be spending $10k. (Joe Normal is usually spending less). When he asks about that big Firehawk he saw and the dealer is forced to discuss his ceiling height.... Personally, I don't agree that the wants of the "marketplace" in this situation "do not remotely reflect" the hobbyist. This isn't about seeing rainbows or slight misconvergance, that the less-informed marketplace probably wouldn't notice. This is about - will it fit in my room and fill my nice large screen. I think the interests are far more similar in this case than you suggest.