Acer H9500BD Home Theater Projector Review

We discuss the Acer H9500BD projector’s brightness in various modes of 2D plus 3D. Also find images showing the differences in brightness (and color) between those modes. Further down we get into the H9500BD’s sharpness, image noise, audible noise, etc.

Acer H9500BD Brightness

Lumen Output and Color Temp at 100 IRE
Bright 1502 @ 6952
Presentation 1140 @ 6984
Standard 1095 @ 7023
Movie 1101 @ 6994
Dark Cinema 1106 @ 6951
Game 1018 @ 7060
Sports 1073 @ 7042

The Acer is fairly typical of a lower cost DLP projectors when it comes to brightness. Its measured lumens are likely in the middle of the range of 1080p the more affordable DLP projectors – 2D ones that start around $800 with basic features, and 2D / 3D projectors like the Acer H9500, the Epson, Optoma, etc. For example, it’s not as bright as the Epson in either “best” or “brightest” 2D modes, it’s about the same brightness as the Optoma HD33 in “best”, but is a good deal brighter in “brightest” mode. Its single mode in 3D seems to fall in between its “best” and “brightest”, but closer to “best” – probably the equivalent of around 1200 lumens, before, all the losses incurred in the process for 3D and the glasses.

3D brightness is discussed in more depth, a bit further down

Those numbers are all “right out of the box”, without any adjustments, to settings like contrast, which can affect overall brightness.

Post Calibration: User "best" mode = 1106 lumens

Consider – we believe that this H9500 is first and foremost a home entertainment projector – and it does look good to almost all but some of us enthusiasts. Brilliant Color when on does add a lot of dynamic pop to the image, but skin tones appear oversaturated, and transitions in shades of skin tone are coarse by comparison.

From his testing Mike points out the H9500 projector’s underlying CIE – individual colors, were better with Brilliant Color turned on. Brilliant Color shows up on most DLP projectors. It means that TI – make of the DLP chip, provided the core set of performance for BC, but the manufacturers that license it can modify it. Some have as many as 10 BC modes others, just one, or two. I favor multiple modes that sort of transition you to from non-BC with it’s more natural look, to one with a whole lot of pop – usually way over the top. When a projector has only one or two settings, their options are more limited. The Acer is definitely a bit “over the top” in colors with BC on, but the colors look respectable, if a touch cool.

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Dynamic mode)

Effect of zoom on lumen output (Bright mode)
Zoom out 1713
Mid-zoom 1502
Zoom in 1245

Take note, that’s a significant drop in brightness over the range for a projector that has a 1.5:1 zoom ratio. When I speak of the Acer’s brightness from a viewing standpoint, I did most of my serious watching of content in the theater – with the projector placed maybe a foot closer than the mid-point.

Remember, we publish the projector’s brightest we measured, here (1713 lumens), but everything else, including discussions assumes roughly mid-point.

Effect of Brilliant Color on lumen output (Bright mode)

Header Content
BC On (default) 1502
BC Off 760

Acer really ramps up the Brilliant color. A doubling of brightness is rather uncommon with most Brilliant Color implementations. For the family room, and non-critical viewing the Brilliant Color is just fine. For more serious movie viewing though, you’ll get a more natural look with it off.

H9500BD Eco-Mode vs. Full Power

Lumen Output, Lamp modes
Full Power 1502 lumens
Low (eco) Power 1311 lumens

That’s a surprisingly small drop, of  about 12%.  Most projectors lose between 20 and 30% of their brightness when switched to their eco-modes.

Acer H9500BD Pre-Calibration Color temp

Color Temp over IRE Range, Best starting mode – Dark Cinema
30 IRE 7083
50 IRE 7086
80 IRE 7069
100 IRE 6951

H9500BD, Post Calibration, Best Mode

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 (Best mode, with BC on): 1106

The grayscale balance is almost perfect it would seem, in terms of the projector being consistent from darkest to brightest.

But it’s the wrong color temperature! It is a bit cool.These measurements would have been perfect – if they were all 500K lower.

Below, the same frame taken with the same exposure so you can get a handle on the relative brightness and color aspects of most of the major modes. Of course, since the exposures are the same, the darker modes like Cinema (“best”) would look better properly exposed:

These will be posted tomorrow.The CNBC images below are from a different projector. -art

User/Dark Cinema:
Bright:
Presentation
Standard
Game
User/Dark Cinema:
+Bright:

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