Acer H9500BD Home Theater Projector Review

The main thing to report here, as mentioned elsewhere, is that the Acer H9500 does not allow you to calibrate the grayscale. Now we calibrate the grayscale for every home theater projector we review, if it allows. In this price range, the lack of full color controls is not quite surprising, there are a number of sub $2000 projectors without, but, only one or two others, in the over $1000 price range, that lack this feature.

Still there are other things we adjusted. Read on for that, and more measurements, not to mention, Mike’s comments about the Acer H9500 projector, as he attempted to get the most out of it.

Let’s first take a look at the numbers we started with:

Acer H9500BD Color Temperature

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE: (Start with Dark Cinema, end up in User)
Bright 1502 @ 6952
Presentation 1140 @ 6984
Standard 1095 @ 7023
Movie 1101 @ 6994
Dark Cinema 1106 @ 6951
Game 1018 @ 7060
Sports 1073 @ 7042

Before we provide our settings, let’s see what we started out with: Pre calibration, these are the color temperatures over the grayscale range:

Pre-Calibration measurments of color balance (grayscale). Target: 6500K

Note that all of the modes have similar color temperatures when white is measured (100 IRE). Mike reports though, that the underlying color gamut and settings make them very different looking. The two best, per Mike, to start out with, are the Dark Cinema, or Presentation. He found Dark Cinema to be better, as a basis for his work, so with no significant boost in lumens by going to Presentation mode, Dark Cinema easily made the most sense for him to use as a starting point

Effect of Brilliant Color on lumen output (Bright mode):
BC On (default) 1502
BC Off 760

With this projector – since it is more home entertainment, than Home Theater, despite the impressive black level performance, I went with Mike’s recommendation which is to leave BC – Brilliant Color – turned on.

As with other dynamic type features, try it out, default is on. Ultimately there are so many features today, that if you are into it, there’s tons of things to play with and analyze. You might even find the time to enjoy the movie.

Acer H9500BD Basic Settings

Settings for measurements (default values are in parenthesis)
Bright Presentation Standard Movie Dark Cinema Game Sports
Contrast (50) (50) (50) (50) (49) (48) (48)
Brightness (50) (50) (50) (50) (49) (49) (48)
Color Temp (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)
Degamma (0) (1) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Saturation (56) (52) (50) (50) (50) (50) (50)
Tint (50) (50) (50) (50) (50) (50) (50)

Once any of the above are adjusted, it becomes User mode, so all settings were left on default. All other settings at default (untouched)

Acer H9500BD Post Calibration Grayscale: User Mode

The Acer does not allow the Grayscale to be calibrated as I have previously noted. This is most unfortunate, as a really good CMS (color management system) could have taken the color performance up a notch, and appeal a lot more to many folks, who want the potential improvement in color.

I don’t normally show Mike’s CIE charts, which show the projectors color gamut. Since there are some controls, this might be helpful to a serious “tweaker”:

 

Color Temp over IRE Range (Post calibration if we could calibrate): User

This is an expanded version of the one above: Calibrated color temps, 20 – 100 IRE:

User

Color Temp over IRE Range (User mode)
20 IRE 7015
30 IRE 7083
40 IRE 7030
50 IRE 7086
60 IRE 7047
70 IRE 7030
80 IRE 7069
90 IRE 7079
100 IRE 6951

Average gamma = 2.22

Lumens at 100 IRE:  1106

This is the “best” mode Mike created – still the same color temps – just more detail. Gamma’s very good, and 1106 lumens. That is with Brilliant Color engaged. Remember, turning off Brilliant Color will cost you about 50% of brightness, be less accurate, but also be a bit more natural.

H9500BD RGB Settings and Recommendations

H9500BD Post Calibration settings:
As noted above, no RGB settings to calibrate the grayscale.

Mike’s comments: Grayscale calibration is not possible as there are no RGB gain and offset adjustments available.  There are some basic CMS adjustments available, but they don’t affect grayscale.  

Overall, the CIE color chart looks pretty good, especially for a lower priced DLP projector.  From the measurements, Saturation should be increased to 55, but skin tones are too red to begin with at the default setting of 50.  So, Saturation was turned down to 44 for more natural skin tones.

Bright mode, despite the color temp reading, is way out of RGB balance (too blue and green).  After Dark Cinema, Presentation mode has the best RGB balance, but doesn’t really give you any more lumens than Dark Cinema.

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