Acer H9500BD Projector - Performance
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.
11/21/11 - Art Feierman
Acer H9500BD Brightness
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
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
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
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):
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
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.
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 = 2.22Lumens at 100 IRE (Best mode, with BC on): 1106
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
Acer H9500BD 3D Brightness
Unfortunately, the Acer seems to lose more brightness when switching to its one 3D mode, than any of the other 3D projectors. Comparing it to the Epson Home Cinema 3010 in the Epson's 3D Dynamic mode does have you wondering where all the brightness went.
Consider that there's only a 200 lumen difference in their ratings. In 3D, however, the difference seems much brighter. The glasses and balance of the color which includes how the background appears without the glasses, is sort of yellowish green, and vanishes with the active LCD glasses.
Acer H9500BD Sharpness
The H9500BD looks very nicely sharp. Optics seemed fine, a nice clear image. No lens gives you a perfectly focused image from center to corners, but the Acer seems fairly typical, with little to note. As a single chip DLP Projector, there are no convergence issues, unlike LCD and LCoS projectors, which helps keep the Acer nice and sharp.
Top left: Acer H9500BD, Top Center - Optoma HD33, Top Right - Mitsubishi HC4000.
2nd row left: Epson Home Cinema 3010, center: Viewsonic Pro8200, Right: BenQ W1200
Acer H9500BD: Bottom Line Sharpness
In this price range, the Acer H9500 projector is more than fine. Digital content looks really sharp, and of course there are enough artifacts in movies (starting with film grain), to make small differences in sharpness harder to notice.
Bottom line? Sharpness won't be a factor!
A little out the side venting. Should not be an issue, unless you are sitting with eyes level, and alongside the projector. (In which case, if you are close, the heat of the fan blown exhaust will be a much bigger problem)!
As I write this, I admit, I never took a really close look for through-the-lens light leakage, but I'm confident that there is no noteworthy issue, or I should have spotted it.
DLP's tend to be a touch more noisy, and I'd say that for 2D, the Acer works well enough. I say that because I stuck to Brilliant Color, which also tends to magnify such things. No overt problems here, but not the cleanest around - usually an LCD.
As a well under $2000 home entertainment projector, let's add this item to the list that typical owners simply don't notice, and should they, they don't care.
I mean who's looking at image noise when watching Cars 2, 3D with the kids?
Consider this too: The amount of digital noise, from compression and decompression of cable and satellite is at least a whole magnitude larger! Same likely for almost any download. That means only Blu-ray discs and your own 3D content from your 3D camera or camcorder, are going to be clean enough for you to even begin to worry about the image noise.
Not bad for a DLP. As with most, projectors it's fan.
Like the Epson Home Cinema 3010, you can hear the dynamic iris working at times. Like the Epson, most people won't notice unless there's no sound, except at start up, and during source changes and who cares then.
I'd put the fan noise to be slightly higher than the Epson, but like the Epson again, these are not an issue for casual viewing. There are folks out there who really object to 30 db fan noise, and this one is probably a touch higher.
The good news, for the really noise adverse, is that in low power lamp, the fan gets pretty quiet, and you're only losing about 13% of brightness. (As noted, there is some color shift between high and low power).