If you want to fire up your 120-inch screen with a voice command like "Alexa, turn on the projector," Optoma's newest effort is at your beck and call.
When it goes on sale in April for $1,700 (roughly converting to £1,240 in the UK and AU$2,150 in Australia), the UHD51A will be the first projector to feature direct compatibility with Amazon Alexa, from an Echo or Dot speaker for example.
It uses Alexa's home entertainment API to enable voice control. Install Optoma's Alexa skill, which will be available by the time the projectors launch, and the UHD51A will respond to following direct commands:
- "Turn on/turn off the projector"
- "Change input to HDMI 1" [or other HDMI input]
- "Raise/lower volume to 7" [or another value. "Mute" is also supported]
I tried it in Optoma's suite at CES 2018 and it worked well, if not flawlessly. I really liked being able to issue the commands without having to include any extra trigger words like "Ask Optoma to..."; the phrases above worked pretty much verbatim. They did fail occasionally, but Optoma's rep said he expects the software bugs to be worked out by launch.
Using it reminded me of my time with the Alexa integration on a Sony TV, and I find it particularly useful for those times when the remote goes missing.
You can also adjust more esoteric settings including picture modes (from Dynamic to Movie for example) and how much Soap Opera Effect to apply. Currently the phrasing there is a bit clunky, and you'll have to use the trigger word.