The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Viewsonic Pro8200 – a First Look projector review

Update: The Viewsonic Pro8200 review has been posted!

Greetings all,

I must be brief.  Here are some tidbits about the Viewsonic Pro8200.  Technically I should have left for the Consumer Electronics Show about 10 minutes ago, but I still have another 30 minutes in my window to make the Sony press conference.   I’ll just have to drive a little faster, to be sure to make it on time.

The Pro8200 (and I will be brief), is a low cost DLP projector.  Although it sports a $1499 MSRP, street price seems to be close to $1000.

The Viewsonic Pro8200 offers a seven segment color wheel, but does not mention the color wheel speed.  As I am seeing rainbows without too much difficulty, on the kind scenes where they tend to show up, my best guess is that this projector has a 3x wheel, maybe 4x.  I will ask, when I meet with them on Friday, but not hopeful of an answer.  Bottom line, those rainbow effect adverse, will likely, like me, occasionally see the rainbows.  Each of us has to decide whether we want to deal with that. (I’ve owned various DLP’s and I consider it, in most cases, only a minor nuisance.)

As I said, I need to be brief.  The Viewsonic projector is bright – it measures about 1450 lumens in the one mode Mike could get to look really good.   Seems in this case, our ‘best’ and ‘brightest’ modes are the same.  More on that in the review.

The projector pushes, it seems a bit too much red, even then in the brightest ranges, which tends to make skin tones a bit too red. Dialing down color saturation is Mike’s recommendation.

So far, I’ve mostly watched football bowl games and pro games on this projector (but National Treasure last nite).  For sports, it does just fine, with a nice sharp image, color at least as good as the “typical” brightest modes of most other projectors.  For example, the brightest mode of the Epson 8350, is roughly comparable to the Viewsonic, but the Epson will look a lot better in best mode (but down below 500 lumens).

I’m having some minor HDMI interfacing issues, with my now 3D capable PS3′s when using longer cables.  I’m talking with Viewsonic support, which has been good.  They are going to send me a second one next week.  I’ve got another Blu-ray player – a low cost one, that is standard HDMI 1.3 and works much better.  Most likely the problem is this unit, but we will find out.

The short version.  This is a nice bright family room type projector.  Fan noise is a louder than most, but really, it’s rather typical of low cost DLP home projectors.  BTW, like some other lower cost, and “crossover” projectors, this Viewsonic has an onboard speaker.

Not a bad choice when you want a lot of lumens at a low cost.  As I work with it more, I’ll position it against the HD20, the BenQ W1000  - or W1000+, and the low cost Vivitek H1080, to figure out how it does against them.

Stay tuned. This review will post a few days after I get back from CES (figure next Wed.) -art

News And Comments

  • FOXY

    I would really like to see how good this projector is against Mitsubishi HC4000 and Epson 8350.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Foxy,
      Me too, I’m particularly curious about the black levels compared with the HC4000 since they both are supposedly using Darkchip3 DLP chips…

  • Darryl Lowe

    Hi Art

    Just curious. Do you know if there is any correlation between people who are prone to the rainbow effect of DLP projectors, and those who have a hard time with 3D (headaches, dizziness, etc.)..?


    • Lisa Feierman

      Great question Darryl!!!

      I would say, no, different issues, treated differently, different results. This is purely my best guess. I am rainbow sensitive, and probably about average for those who are. I can always see rainbows on the right material on 2x and 3x projectors – by 4x, it’s ocassional, by 5x it’s a few times a movie tied to the usual head movements, etc. The rare 6x wheel projectors I pretty much have to try to see rainbows most of the time, if I want to see them. I have no issues with 6x types (remember # of filters on the wheel, and the mix of them, affects this as well. Don’t expect two projectors with the same color wheel speeds to have the same amount of affect, if one of them is using a 3 slice color wheel, and the other a 4, or a better example would be a 4 slice vs. a 7 slice… -art

  • Roger

    I understand the projector includes an HDMI cable. Can you confirm the length please? Which cable lengths are giving you issues (I’ll be using a 16ft HDMI cable). Thank you.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Roger!
      Hmm, haven’t even noticed: SOP here, is open the box, remove projector and manual, and remote, and stuff everything else in a corner until it’s time to ship things back. Once in a while companies do include an HDMI cable, but it is invariably a short one, typically 2 meters or 6 feet, maybe even 3 feet. Not very practical lengths for a home theater setup, but, hey, you can always use that HDMI cable elsewhere in your setup. -art

  • Gerald Nielsen

    Why have Mitsubishi (HC4000) and Viewsonic (Pro8200) gone with very large vertical offsets (around 18 inches for a nine foot screen) for projectors without lens shift? Is a large vertical offset that much cheaper?

    • Lisa Feierman

      I’m not sure whether “easier” or cheaper, but basic single chip DLP projectors have traditionally had a lot of fixed lens offset. These two are typical, rather than the exceptions. It’s a bitch if you have a low ceiling, or an 8 foot ceiling and want a larger screen. There have been other single chip DLP’s over the years, with a bit less lens offset, but, again, these two are pretty typical. Of course spend almost another thousand, and you can buy a couple of single chip DLP projectors with real, adjustable, lens shift. -art

  • DrNegative

    A Viewsonic rep actually confirmed a 7200 RPM speed wheel speed for it but was unable to tell me the colors of the color wheel.

    The brochure states that it has 7 segments, one of which is a yellow. Its obvious it has a set of RGB primaries, so that leaves us with RGBXXXY. If the hidden X’s are a second set of RGB primaries, then it is a 4X at 7200 RPM, if they aren’t RGB, then this guy is only a 2X speed.

    I am still trying to figure out what those 3 segments are exactly.

    • Lisa Feierman

      I’ll try to find out. Most likely the other three are additional RGB. I don’t think there’s enough of a jump in brightness for this projector to have a large “white” (clear) slice, and that wouldn’t work out well for 7 segments, with one being yellow. From a more practical standpoint the projector definitely has me seeing rainbows. Not the worst – such as a 2X wheel. There are some other factors in play, with wheels, re how they work even if an RGBRGB wheel.

      Bottom line, for those rainbow sensitive, they will see some rainbows. I’ll let you all know if it can match the Mits HC4000 when I put the two side by side next week, but my guess is that the Mits has less of a rainbow tendency. More likely its like the BenQ W1000 or Vivitek range.. But I’m just guessing. With new screens, new lighting and new rooms, my guesses are less precise (accurate). So, short term as I learn all the new gear (even a brand new dSLR), and room conditions, I’ll be relying more heavily on side by side comparisons for firming up my impressions. -art

  • Corey

    Anxiously awaiting your full review of this projector, hopefully along with comparisons to others in similar price range (as usual) such as Mitsu HC4000 and Epson 8350. Love the site and great info. Just wanted to remind you about this one in case you forgot :) (I’m in the market for a new projector!)

    • Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Corey,
      I’m awaiting it too. Hate being bogged down. the first unit – a sample/pre-production, seems haunted. After days of using it, the onboard speaker would crackle and crackle with no live source. In fact, if I turned off the projector the crackling would still continue. (I presumed some sort of power supply problem). The only way to stop it for sure (it doesn’t always), was to physically unplug the projector! Over time, the problems got worse. While I was at CES, my wife reported that with the projector plugged in, and turned off, she was hearing voices from a program…

      But the real problem is with the HDMI input, which I believe also ties to the other issues. The first Pro8200 would not work with my PS3′s or a low cost Magnavox Blu-ray player with my favorite high quality 8 meter cable that works fine with everything else (other projectors). Even using a premium 2 meter cable, the Pro8200 projector couldn’t lock onto a 1080p signal from either PS3. I was able to get the low cost Magnavox Blu-ray player to work with the short cable, but obviously there’s a real problem, as I said, most likely power supply related, affecting HDMI, audio, etc..

      Viewsonic has promised another (working this time) Pro8200 projector to arrive, probably early next week. If it does the review will post next week (before end of January) – I need to move on to other reviews. This a a chronic problem with working with pre-production projectors, about 1/3 have some sort of serious problem, and none tend to work as well as the full production projectors (not as bright, not as even a background, etc.).

      Hey, other than that, the projector looks pretty good. But, the bottom line, is I’m stalled. I’ve already done the photo shoot (except for HDTV), as color seemed just fine, but need to confirm that all these strange problems don’t exist on a full production Viewsonic Pro8200 projector. -art
      PS. yes, there will be the usual competitive. I am waiting for the replacement model before doing the shoot out against the Mitsubishi HC4000.

  • Roger

    I already bought one… It does produce a very good image and is bright enough for most situations.

    Unfortunately, I’m also having an issue with the HDMI inputs.
    I’m experiencing 4 horizontal dots at the bottom part of the screen while sending a 1080p signal.

    The dots don’t appear if I select the Component Video or the PC input right before pressing the HDMI button on the remote.
    They come back whenever I go directly from Composite Video to HDMI.

    My unit also resets to factory settings when turned off. – Other users over the internet are reporting this issue, and we are all hopping it can be easily solved.

    It would be great if you could ask Viewsonic if a fix will be ready soon, and if these problems can be solved with a consumer-performed firmware update via the usb port.

    It’s kind of frustrating not being able to save settings such as ECO mode, keystone, user image presets etc.
    Until they solve the above issues I can’t fully recommend this device.

    PS. The included cable is around 6ft, the HDMI related dots also appear while using this short cable while sending a 1080p image (720p works just fine).

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Roger,
      I’m waiting for word that another Pro8200 is on its way. I will make a point of addressing the items you mention above. I didn’t encounter your dots, but then I never used the composite input, only HDMI. This unit does not return to factory settings. That’s definitely a problem, and no doubt will require some sort of firmware fix, or ?.
      Hopefully I’ll get some answers. The next Pro8200 will have the most current firmware, and if we’re all lucky, all this will already be dealt with, in which case the only issue is how to

  • Kevin

    Hi Art!
    I know that the review is almost done and I’m looking forward to it!
    Just curious if on either demo you have used if you experienced the issues with this model repeatedly reseting itself to factory settings as noted by owners on avsforum? And if so, if these issues will make their way into your review.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Kevin,
      As I noted on another comment – this unit doesn’t reset, but I’ve been alerted by others… -art

  • Steve

    Hi Everyone I have already purchased one of these PJ’s.

    I’ve had a MARE of a time with it.

    Despite being very “technical clever” and waiting for a long time to plump for a 1080p projector, I was completely blind-sided by the quality of this peojector.

    My first Pro8200 projector had a glitch where it wouldn’t power up properly. – white bars / stripes. This lasted 1 week.

    I returned that, and got another.

    The issues about the unit not holding settings is true.

    It really gets up my goat. My PJ is mounted on the cieling so you can imagine the difficulty of trying to set up the menu when it’s all upside down.

    I also tried a quality 15m HDMI cable and it will not drive it, so I’m having to totally change my AV room configuration so that I can use a shorter cable – let’s pray that a 4m cable will work (anyone… any clues ?)

    I find it noisy.

    It leaks light – quite a bit more than I expected

    It has some strange menu’s that canno be adjusted

    The manual doesn’t help in many ways (and I know what I’m doing !)

    It has also reviewed badly in Home Cinema Choice…
    (loss of resolution in action shots, poor colour balance)

    Also, the white colour balance is all over the map (the correct settings are in another review, so not all is lost.)

    The so called “2000 lumens” is anything but !

    My unit is still with Viewsonic and I’ve been 100% clear:-

    “I don’t care how long it takes, but I do not want this back until you have fixed everything” – I’ve had heaps of e-mails from Viewsonic HQ in the far east and a few from Viewsonic over hear.

    In a way, I’m (sort of) pleased other people are having the same issues because I began to wonder if it was just me !

    I really (really) wanted my choice to be a good one, but it seems, I’ve bought a pupppy.

    However.. it’s been there 3 weeks and counting. Perhaps it’ll come back a different unit !

    Cheers.. Steve

    • Lisa Feierman

      Greetings steve, Just wrote a long response and accidently deleted it. So, I’ll reduce to 1000 words this time.

      1. sounds like you have the same firmware that the first unit we reviewed had, (our first was a pre-production model, but I was told it had the same firmware as the first shipment (at least in the US).
      2. Most of the problems you report – (other than white bars on your first) are the same ones we found on our first unit. HDMI that barely works, settings that don’t hold, BTW a 15 meter cable, even a quality one will give many projectors a difficult time. Generally as soon as you get past about 8 meter cable runs, problems are more common (spec is for 6 meters). But, as I said, the early Pro8200 has the problem even with some 2 and 4 meter cables…
      3. If you want really good (enthusiast accurate) color, not a great choice in a projector. Sure, it calibrates reasonably well, far better than the average consumer would care about. (remember only a very small percentage of home theater projector owners ever calibrate, or even adjust their projectors, they just watch them (like my wife, my daughter, and almost all of my friends). White balance was way off, out of the box, as we reported.
      4. Changes in firmware often change color tables, which means settings that worked great, can become useless. Not sure if the newer Viewsonic firmware is different from yours.
      5. Do you know your firmware, and have you confirmed that it’s the “old firmware”? In which case Viewsonic should quickly upgrade that.
      6. Brightness. both units we had, had reasonable brightness. We measured about 1650 lumens brightest, that’s about 17.5% down from claim, which is pretty much average. (we find no more than 5%-10% of projector it claim, and probably 3/4 do not get within 10% of claim, so the Pro8200 should be pretty typical.
      7. for more enthusiast performance, you probably would have been better served, with, say, a used Mitsubishi HC4000 or HC3800 (only firmware differences) of the sub $1000 projectors (US$) the Pro8200 is pretty typical, like all but the HD20 from Optoma have fairly slow color wheels. None do 120 hz or offer creative frame interpolation (to smooth fast action), etc. The HD20 is probably, slightly, the enthusiast projector of the sub-$1000′s but none really make the cut.
      8. Not familiar with Home Cinema Choice, so I assume an EU publication? Did they not calibrate the projector? (re color balance). Look, I know that few people calibrate under $3000 projectors, but hey, no one I’m familiar with has indicated great color out of the box on this model.
      There was a lot more, but I’ve got to get some writing done.

      Best of luck. I hope they update the firmware quickly, and you find the resulting Pro8200 to perform as we describe, and, more to the point enjoy it. Well, it’s your first… Couple of years – 3D, and who knows what else. You certainly have the “bug”… I suspect this will be the first of several home theater projectors in your future…

      PS. Since you posted to the first blog I did on the Pro8200, understand there are update blogs, and of course, the finished Pro8200 projector review, which I don’t know if you’ve seen (complete with color calibration settings. -art

  • Steve

    Update on this Art

    My PJ is now on F/w 1.18.

    It now remembers all the settings. Also the Datasheet from Viewsonic on the reasons for the revised f/w make very interesting reading. (see below)

    I’m still somewhat concerned about the colour temperature but will be plumping for the colour calibration settings on the review from the link you posted. (THANKS)

    So, herewithy (and apologies in advance about the poor formatting – just a straight “cut ‘n’ paste”) are the details.

    I strongly recommend all Pro8200 owners get an upgrade. ASAP



    Using PC source (VGA) unable to focus properly.

    If you focus left hand side, the right hand side becomes out of focus. If then focus right hand side, the left hand side becomes out of focus
    The situation is related to optical lens focus behavior. Physically, when focus a spot on the center of the image, the sharpness will be much clear than the corner. On Pro8200 (and other models), we adjust the lens performance to balance status. When we focus on the center or other part, the around area should not be unfocused that much.
    In industry standard, we will judge the projection with an image which is filled of “E” within 60 inches display area; resolution on Pro8200 and PC are 1920 * 1080. As a result of that, we’ll need to do the testing along with this standard then making a judgment.

    Using HDMI source and various Blue Ray players, the initial “handshake” seems to take a while and will flicker picture on and off a number of times before the image is displayed properly
    On Pro8200 older version FW, it might have lost HDMI signal when device change resolution or doing “handshake”. Nee FW improve this situation. We will suggest upgrading the F/W and checking it afterwards. (via Technical bulletin to release this information)

    Picture in Picture. It is not clear that you cannot use 2 HDMI sources for picture in picture..It appears you can only use 2 different sources. Customers are complaining that why do we include 2 x HDMI ports but you cannot use them for Picture in Picture?
    It is a hardware limitation. Pro8200 video IC provides 2 video channels for Picture in Picture function. One is for digital signal and another is for analog signal. Therefore it’s unable to project 2 video through HDMI/digital signal at the same time either from computer 1 and computer 2. We aware this demand and may have a change to implement this function on future models.

    Reports of poor colour and blurred images when watching fast motion movies scenes.
    It’s more oriented to personnel individual feeling. When the image been displayed motion movies, some people who is sensitive on frame translation may feel noises on the screen and it likes red, green and blue color square. We call that is Rainbow Effect. The situation is usually on DLP type projector and it is mechanical behavior. Try to adjust bright level down and contrast up may reduce the situation since we are unable to duplicate the same symptom in the lab.

    Forgets all settings after switch off. Like settings, Set Eco mode to ON, set Auto input scan to OFF, Set Menu to 50% transparency and RHS display, keystone, user image presets etc.
    Older FW version got this problem. Please help to upgrade the FW to the latest version then it will be fixed. (via Technical bulletin to release this information)

    HDMI inputs. 4 horizontal dots at the bottom part of the screen while sending a 1080p signal. (The dots don’t appear if you select the Component Video or the PC input right before pressing the HDMI button on the remote. They come back whenever you go directly from Composite Video to HDMI (No problems with 720p) It works okay if you FIRST select the PC 1 input and THEN switch to HDMI
    We tried to do the same process between PS3 (HDMI, 1080p) and PC (720p) but unable to duplicate the symptom. We assume this might be caused by HDMI cable. Sometime bad cable connection or poor cable quality may cause unexpected noise. Try to reconnect the cable or change another one may solve this problem.

    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi again steve,

      OK timing is right I see. I answered your comment, and apparently immediately after, or before) a unit with new firmware arrived (or did you have to install it (unlikely). I see that your new unit so far, behaves basically as we reported it, once we got the current firmware. Settings now hold, etc. good.

      I want to throw some comments at Viewsonic’s comments, so here goes – just some thoughts, clarifications and perspective for potential Pro8200 buyers.

      1. Focus of the lens. I’ve seen at least a half dozen lenses in my pro-AV career, that really are razor sharp from one edge to another. Problem is, all of them cost between 5 and 25 times a Pro8200. In reality, there are several issues.
      a) Optical Physics. If you measure the distance from your lens to: top left corner, far left middle, center of screen, bottom center (if on a table), top center if Ceiling mounted. etc. You will find that the difference in distance varies by more than a foot, assuming a 100″ screen an placement more than 10 feet back. So, if perfectly focused at the top center (ceiling mounted) (closest distance) the distance difference might even be almost 2 feet. So, if you are in focus on one point, you will be out on the other.

      Of course, the better the lens design, the more depth of field. For example, Viewsonic could stop down the lens with a much smaller iris, and probably dramatically reduce the softness difference, but, for it to be significant, you’d have to probably give up half to 80% of your brightness.

      The only question is “how soft”. We always recommend that users focus their projectors roughly 1/4 to 1/3 the distance from the center point of the image, to a “FAR” corner.
      By FAR corner, one of the two, furthest from the screen (lower left and right corners if you have ceiling mounted…

      HDMI on the older firmware “might have lost HDMI signal” ok, that’s just CYA… No question about it. the earlier firmware had a major HDMI problem. When it can’t lock onto a 1080p signal from either of two PS3 blu-ray players trying at least two premium 6 to 12 foot cables, that have worked with all of the last 20 or so projectors we’ve reviewed…
      That’s not a “might have” that’s a “fails to”.

      2 HDMI sources for PIcture in Picture…
      A) don’t hold your breath, even the $22K runco can’t do that – I don’t know of any projector (doesn’t mean there aren’t) that actually has two or more discrete HDMI circuits. When you have two on your projector it’s one circuit and a switch. Two circuits – twice the cost and probably more headaches too. But the tradeoff is you can’t have two hdmi sources on any PIP equipped projector that I’ve seen to date. The BenQ’s with PIP, won’t even take two HD res sources – it’s HDMI and either composite or s-video… etc.

      Best solution, of course is run a component video cable for your second source if you want it, too, to be high res… Point is, that a sub $1000 projector has any ability to do PIP is a plus. Want a projector with two discrete HDMI’s so you can do it… It’s probably going to be something with an outboard processor (if then), and, for that matter, even Runco’s top of the line processor won’t let you… But others might. Course those outboard processors probably cost several times the Pro8200. So, it may be a weakness, but not a fault, and you sure can’t find what you desire, on any projector near the price…

      Blurring and poor color… Hard to comment. It’s your first projector so I don’t understand what your expectations are. really “smooth action” is supposedly the result of CFI – creative frame interpolation a feature found on many more expensive projectors. That helps… But not necessarily what you were talking about. As to color, are you saying that the color changes if the action speeds up? or ?

      Never saw your four dots, though others reported. Was aware that it occurs on HDMI when switching from a low res source (ie composite), based on comments. We don’t use composite at all, and, again, I’m assuming you are in the EU somewhere, in which case your “composite” is PAL or SECAM, not NTSC. I do not know if the dots problem is only specific to just one of the lower level composites or all, and if it occurs from s-video as well. Since there’s a 1 button press work around, It’s one of those – at this point – “who cares” type of issue, as long as you are aware of the work around. Viewsonic should let people know the work around.

      Viewsonic should buy another player besides a PS3, to check. We used PS3′s and we didn’t have that problem, but interestingly we had more HDMI problems in general using my two PS3′s (both with current updates, 3D abilities)… Point is, multiple reports of the dots. not just you… The Pro8200 is now probably a good 1/3 through it’s product life (if a one year model)… don’t expect anything but critical fixes (like the main hdmi issue) beyond this point. As the man said about something – maybe next model..

      PS. See, it’s starting to turn into a really nice sub-$1000 projector… Still want to hear details about color if the settings don’t help. -a

  • Steve

    Hi Art

    Thanks for the reply. I should point out that the issues I reported in my last post were not all on my machine and not specific to me. They were (I strongly feel) based on generic feedback from other users.

    In my case, I have seen the 4 white dots on 1080p content as well. The rest of the issues… were not from me except the loss of memory.

    I’m pushing hard on Viewsonic to come up with an answer to the Motion Blurring problem and poor colour temperature setting. Sure, it needs calibrating, but why so bad out of the box ?

    I have not seen the motion blurring yet (my AV room is still undergoing comissioning) but Home Cinema Choice did

    See here for more details (abbreviated from the published print version)

    If I finf anything, I wonder if you might consider starting a new page for users of the PJ ?



    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi (again) Steve…

      I’m going have to challenge a couple of things here goes. The main thing is this: “I’m pushing hard on Viewsonic to come up with an answer to the Motion Blurring problem and poor colour temperature setting. Sure, it needs calibrating, but why so bad out of the box ?”

      I think you are wasting your time, and more to the point, for the most part, I disagree. You are asking a company – Viewsonic, that makes a nice little cross-over projector (as I’ve explained, a cross-over projector is typically a business projector adapted to be more suitable for dual usage (biz and home), I doubt many crossover projectors can match the picture of even the worst true “dedicated” home theater projector, primarily for family room use, to have great color out of the box. (I’m sorry, guy an average color temp of 7800 is not terrible color. In fact, a lot of folks prefer 7500K to 6500K for sports viewing, (including me, if that 7500 gets me a brighter picture… Sure 7500K or 7800K is not ideal for movies, but it’s not bad. The author’s comments, remember are often based on torture testing, like the Buster Keaton film… Is that the kind of stuff you are watching… Not that many projectors even support the much lower color temps (5800ish) of older black and white…

      But, more to the point, the author doesn’t set this projector up as “movie first” more of movie last – gaming, other stuff first. If you read that review, or my review before buying, and were a movie buff looking for best color, least artifacts, not a top choice… Both of us describe it as more of a family room projector… I emphasize that it’s a crossover – a business projector adapted for home use.. If you wanted a great movie projector, neither review indicated that it is, so why did you chose that over the competition.

      It just seems like based on your writings – you don’t mention what you watch, but your comments about what Viewsonic needs to fix, are mostly things that Viewsonic had to compromise to get you something close to 2000 lumens, and the reviewers by and large are reporting that.

      As to color out of the box, same issue again. Look, few under $5000 come out of the box with color that any serious enthusiast will want to improve by calibration. There are $5K and $10K projectors that aren’t much better. I’d rather have 7800K with green in balance with R and B, than have 6550, but have green be dramatically too strong… It’s not the numbers, it’s the picture.

      We at least provide settings that actually on our unit (will be variation from lamp to lamp, and, hey, a perfectionist will be recalibrating every 500 hours because the lamp color shifts over time… (as well as losing brightness).

      But the point is this. this projector was never engineered to be a great movie projector, despite all the usual home “cinema” marketing, which everyone does. It’s a bare bones, entry level projector with a slow color wheel which gives it more brightness, probably more fringing, and more horiztonal blur issues. Ya should have bought the Optoma HD20, if you didn’t mind the much lower lumens. Same basic price, very out of the box color (for an under $2K projector (US$), faster wheel, less blurring. I fear you wanted the best of all worlds. A very bright projector, at a low cost, without wanting the sacrifices that come with that. With low cost DLP home projectors, a rough rule of thumb is most lower cost ones have the slow color wheels that add the brightness and result in the other problems. Too bad the review you read failed to point that out.

      BTW here’s a good rule of thumb. If a dlp projector has less than a 4x wheel, it’s business projector compromised to do decent home projection. That’s the Viewsonic all over.

      It’s not a videophile projector which seems to be exactly what you are asking for. motion speed comparable to a 5x home theater projector, color accuracy out of the box. If you want great color accuracy, out of the box, there are a few projectors under $3K, look for any one that is THX certified…

      There might be a cheaper one, but the 8700UB, or for those who are on a tight budget, an older 8500ub. Any adjustments we have made to THX units, we figure is more correcting for the lamp, and virtually no correcting for the projector itself…

      So, your intentions are good, but you are asking a fast food hamburger, to be a New York steak.

      Look, we all want the max for our money, but, If you got everything you asked for, including the lumens, I’d say, roughly, you’d have roughly, what today, is a $1800 – $3000 projector, which still wouldn’t be as bright

      Consider, even a personal favorite projector like the Epson UB, can’t produce color over 1000 lumens, that’s any better than the Viewsonic. It’s only when you are down in the 400-500 range that it has a truly excellent picture… And that’s at 2.2 times the price, and pretty much top rated by most folk at the price point, as the best or right up there.

      Well, best of luck… -art ps. didn’t proof this have to run right now (would have rambled longer)
      pps. I disagree, with the author of the other review, re rainbows… and reducing gamma, the best ways to reduce rainbow effect for those suseptible, are:
      a) faster color wheel (with more segments is good too), b) avoid DLP.

      Since the Viewsonic is probably either a 2x, or, a 3x color wheel, the correct move for people who see rainbows with projectors like the Viewsonic Pro8200, would be to go (I say again), with a projector with a faster wheel, and the resulting less visible rainbows… BTW, a 3rd way is to reduce brightness, if you have 1500 lumens and rainbows are annoying the hell out of you, then if you could drop it to 500 lumens, they might only annoy you slightly… Seems the brighter, the more the rainbows bother me, and many other rainbow sensitive people I know.

  • Steve

    Hi Art. Well, that certainly told me didn’t it !

    I think I get the message. The PJ is what it is – no more, no less.

    FYI, the colour wheel is 7 segment. Would this tend to suggest (all things being equal) that it would spin faster or slower than a “typical” colour wheel ?

    Also, given that they claim 2000 lumens, could you please explain why everyone just accepts that it will never actually achieve this ?

    I do not agree with just living with it.

    It says 2000 lumens, so I expect to get it. Period.

    If I had wanted a 1466 lumen PJ, I’d have bought one. Sure, you can argue all you like about it being typical, suitable, acceptable, etc but that’s not the point at all.

    It’s misrepresenting the facts and that is illegal. With a long history of working with Trading Standards, I feel I have every right to expect what is portrayed.

    I guess this will be my last post in a while as clearly, you think I’m wasting my time (and perhaps yours) so thanks for all you’ve done up to now and I appreciate the support given.

    All the very best


    • Lisa Feierman

      Hey Steve, wasn’t trying to pick on you specifically, more of addressing the same points that show up in many threads. It’s just that you seem to be demanding things about this projector that you don’t do elsewhere in your life? Say, your car. Does it meet all the published facts, like gas mileage? As the EPA will tell you, under ideal conditions those cars get what the the EPA certifies for mileage ratings. Well, sorry, no EPA for projectors, but it’s the same idea…

      Well, if you are so sure, and offended by what I wrote, you’ll be missed. Still I have some responses to your points above. Hope you’re still around to read them. It wasn’t personal. But, I’ve got a pet peeve.

      Projectors are what they are.. I spend a good chunk of my time screaming at manufacturers about improving this or that. I want to see projectors be better, always. I want them brighter (usually), but I don’t care about claimed spec vs. performance other than to set READERS expectations. I congratulate companies mostly if their projectors measure even within 10% of claim, because I understand there’s always more lumens under the hood, they are just the ugliest ones and should never be let out to see the “light of day” or worse, illuminate your retina.

      1. re the color wheel. I’ve never been able to get a great explanation of how different segment numbers and designs (colors, different sizes of different color slices, etc.) affect rainbow sensitivity, ie. is a 7 segment 3x wheel worse or better than a 4 segment 4x wheel, and what the impact of white slices on the wheel are. With all that in mind, I am rainbow sensitive. Of the lower end projectors Vivitek, Pro8200, BenQ W1000, and Optoma HD20, the HD20 was the only one I’d say that was noticeably better than the other 3. That Optoma is probably more in line with the Mitsubishi HC4000 than the other sub-$1000 units, in terms of rainbows. That’s my observation. I can still see rainbows on the right scenes, even on 5x wheel projectors. It would be handy if there was an easy way to rank how different projectors will affect people in this regard, based on color wheel design, projector brightness, etc.
      2. Claims of lumens. A Pro8200 is capable of 2000 lumens. I believe that. With a particularly good lamp, with a custom calibration that would yield some seriously ugly color, I’m sure some of them will break 2000 lumens Do you want to watch it though? Viewsonic says 2000 lumens maximum. I have never met a projector that did it’s best color in it’s brightest mode – unless it has no adjustments.
      First – the brightest modes of projectors have the worst color. (high end projectors ie. the Runco LS10 we just reviewed, often provide two brightness ratings – max, and D65 – that is, lumens after calibrating to the desired 6500K. In the Runco LS10′s case, it beat it’s D65 claim (with 1465 lumens vs. 1445 claimed), but came up almost 300 lumens shy of the maximum 2100.
      On that same subject, most of our readings are taken at mid-point. We figure that’s the best compromise, but wide angle allows a brighter measurement up to 20% with some lenses/projector designs. Still, even the Runco at full wide angle didn’t hit its number (and that’s for $27,000).
      I have little doubt, with a very good lamp (at least as bright as average for that projector), and all the right settings, that these projectors will hit their numbers… It just won’t be watchable. for example, if your projector’s brightest mode measured 1700 lumens, but, you could increase green by 300% so that the color looks like total crap, you might well find those extra 300 lumens, but would you want a picture that looks like they almost forgot red and blue, and whites are just bright light greens?

      In other words as with other devices you get the theoretical best for a claim. Hey, that’s how our government does it. EPA mileage…

      I trust you drive? Own a car? Does it get at least as good mileage, both city and highway, as the manufacturer claims (and our EPA CERTIFIES)…

      And if you aren’t getting claimed mileage, why are you not sending your car back to the shop for replacement or repair…?

      And no, it’s not illegal. As I said, the projectors are almost certainly capable, if you tweak them. That the pictures might be unwatchable by anyone who cares about color, isn’t the point. Hell almost anyone buying a pico projector gets fairly lousy color for the money spent, and that can be $800 – almost as much as the Pro8200.

      Now if the projector said 2000 lumens at D65… then one would expect great color, close to 2000 lumens. Some projectors produce as much as 2.5 times the brightness in their brighter modes as their best (try any Epson Home Cinema projector), With Epson we’ve watched their claims fall shorter and shorter each year with the the HC’s in terms of meeting claims, but we’ve also noted that generally each year, their brightest mode has gotten a little dimmer, and it’s color has gotten better.

      Maybe you are right, maybe we need the manufacturers to all put in an “UGLY” preset mode: with the note:

      The insert in the manual could say: “Here are your 2000 lumens promised.” Per industry expectations, if you would like to have the best color choose other modes. There is a correlation between color and brightness, (not a pretty one). We feel you will find much better color though, if you choose to give up 20-30% of lumens, and if you want truly great color, expect to give up, up to 70% of maximum brightness.

      Wouldn’t change anything but provide more disclosure.

      But, why read reviews if you make your purchase decisions soley on published specs. And if your answer is, I take both into consideration, then you aren’t going in blind…

      I’m sorry, but, as much as my job is to help folks like you to chose the best projector for the money, and the specific requiremetns, I still am a capitalist, and believe ultimately that it’s our responsibility to do our homework and to make major purchases with “eyes wide open”… I don’t buy iPhones, and iPads on the first day they are out. I wait, I read, I try to make a logical decision, based on the facts available to me. I recommend the same to all home theater folks. My reviews are intended to do just that – help.

      But, debating whether you’ve been wronged, by buying a projector that doesn’t measure claims, after other sources have already documented that, is more wishful thinking, and lack of research. You are a researcher, so you went in with eyes open I presume. You just don’t like the way the industry does things.

      Look Steve, you bought a crossover projector. First, we measured 1653 lumens, not 1466. The lower number was after mike worked on the color, but no one says one has to improve on the picture. 1653 was what we measured, we do not try to see if we can get 1890 or 2017 lumens just for the sake of measuring lumens. Mike’s instructions from me, are: Measure all the modes – lens at mid-point. For our bright quick-cal, Mike’s assignment is to see if he can improve the color a bit, but without costing many lumens. Afterall, if we want a great picture, that’s “best” mode, not “brightest”. But, I assume most people prefer not to watch the absolute brightest POSSIBLE image because, with any projector, it will look lousy.

      It’s not illegal. You can try suing them… Good luck. You could return it (if not too late), but you say you want this model, not one’s that are likely more of what you say you want.

      So, if you are “out of here” sorry, it made for some interesting discussions. but, for the rest of the readers, a bright side, is, I can spend more time writing competitors sections, and a little less debating more philosophical issues such the moral obligations of projector manufacturers.

      Let me ask you this. If I could show you that a Pro8200 can be adjusted to do 2000 lumens would you be satisfied? Or do you also want every unit made to hit that claim. And if so, under what circumstances? ie. back to cars, city mileage. it’s going to be radically different in San Francisco, than in Topeka…

      OK, back to the Sony review… -a

  • Steve

    Art – Good shout.

    I’m a scientist, an engineer, a technologist, a sales guy, a marketing man and also, a student of life.

    I do actually care about specifications quite a lot and you might be glad I do.

    When my company does it’s work to specifications, thousands of aircraft take to the skies, fly land and taxi safely. When the pilot pulls the stick back, my business takes care of everything from that point on….

    I hope that when you next travel by air, you’ll think of me behind the control system and actuation system moving all those flight control surfaces.

    I’m also a very keen amateur astronomer, Hi-fi enthusiast and power engineer (fully qualified).

    So with this as a background and not at all shy to open the box and look inside, it makes me mad when the obvious “easy” job of building a projector just doesn’t achieve what it says – hence my almost pedant like approach to Viewsonic.

    Incidentally for all my gifts, I cannot see rainbows ecept the ones provided by nature (is that good or bad ?)

    But I can hear colour wheels, fans belching out air, and I can see colour cast (I’m used to working in very low light situations so have a keen sense of colour balance).

    My gripe with VS was that here is a company that makes its living portraying accurate colours to the human eye (note the english spelling). Yet, produces a PJ with an inaccurate colour cast. They also claim a certain brightness, which is almost impossible to achieve.

    They claim highly reliable image quality but have problems with horizontal resolution.

    I just wish manufacturers who we have paid so much to for their products would just spend a little more care over claims that cannot be achieved in the real world.

    It’s just sloppy – and entirely avoidable.

    So, back to the PJ, your forum and your efforts to review.

    For the record, they are probably peerless. a Little like the DP reviews for cameras – extremeley valuable and much valued.

    I’ve no wish to waste your time, but I’m still going to chase after companies that persist in putting products to market assuming people are all the same. I like to think that VS is not a bad compay per-se but merely launched the 8200 a little too early.

    I still have 4 black dots on hi-def images and will be looking for another f/w upgrade to fix this in the future. Fact is, “joe public” needs to get behind the art of gently but firmly pushing back on manufacturers to deliver what is specified – after all, they got my hard earned cash in exchange for the PJ.

    I didn’t give them “nearly £900″ I gave them exactly £900 ! (work that out in $ and you might see why I’m a little miffed).

    BTW Art… I do drive a car and my average MPG is more than the manufacturer claims. I’m very happy.

    I’ll keep soldiering on and when the next rev of s/w arrives, I’ll post up for all to learn.

    Cheers for now


    • Lisa Feierman

      Hi Steve,

      I understand. Viewsonic must play the same old marketing games as everyone else, and it oft results in exaggeration, or achieving a spec, but not in a useful real world way. I think your first error is the thought that Viewsonic “makes its living portraying accurate colours to the human eye” Huge assumption. Now, that I’m sure is something Runco or SIM2 would like to say about themselves, though. Consider this possibility instead (this is just an exercise, not anyone’s opinion): Viewsonic “makes a living providing display products designed to be an excellent compromise between technical performance, and price, to provide a product desired for mass market sales by big box houses, and large online resellers. Further Viewsonic has the engineering, to deliver better colour, etc. for a higher price, but we favor a strong value proposition that will serve the largest audience, at the lowest price. We do not target the enthusiast market, although that is a segment of the market that we may some day enter.
      As to auto’s and mileage, well, that’s only because you are there, not here. In the US, of course, the government sets the standards for measuring a cars gas mileage. Every car must post the city and highway mileage on the sticker. Nobody has a car here that meets the claims. We’ll maybe a hybrid or two until they noticed that the rating system for hybrids wasn’t exactly reasonable to use for hybrids without modification.

      Finally, yes, joe public can push back as you say. Go for it. I favor using my own push backs to try to drive progress forward in terms of projectors better designed to do what they are intended for, be it brighter, or 3D… I yelled a lot for smoother irises, and am screaming for far brighter projectors (2x to 3x the current ones) for 3D whenever I meet with the manufacturers. etc.
      You hang in there. -art

  • Raj

    One thing that I have learned from the Steve-Art exchange is: I am not going to touch a Viewsonic Pro8200 or any Viewsonic PJ for that matter. Thanks you two, for helping me reach that decision. I was about to buy a Viewsonic Pro8200, but now I am not going to.


  • bryncomeaux

    yeah all that i read the whole thing everybody’s right everybody’s wrong. so what , 360 degrees of perspective. avoid the narrow view. understand what your dealing with and what the situation needs to get the result you want. keyword understand. that being said i just bought the view sonic from amazon tonight. ill open it up tweak the color and look at it . if i like it i’ll keep it’ if i dont i can only get the hd2o from optima. everything else on 1080 is another 3-400 im not going to spend. thats for the blue-ray and a sound bar.
    i like the pip can accept the need for analog. i like to play video games and surf the web while watching a movie. so its ok.
    i do hope the firmware remembers my color setting and especially keystone although i could remember to set the lamp to eco mode.
    i really like the warranty and that it is portable.
    epson must really think i think alot of their name to only give a 1 year warranty. they just made it how do they know how long their stuff will last. there making a n educated guess. probably reasonable considering but still unless that models been around they really don’t know how long it s going to go for. they don’t “owe ” me a warranty but for all the ” capitalist” logic there is an equal and opposite” consumerist” logic. frances bacon wasn’t playing favorites as much as some would like us to believe an no that doesn’t make me a godless communist just someone with a more rounded perspective of what the market is really supposed to do.
    so yes it matters alot that they’re a three year warranty. until there a more trusted brand they should probably keep it.
    i like the 6000hr lamp life
    i wish those putting up reviews would include videos of thees projectors in use. against test screens and next to other similar cost/spec projectors and using a hd camera. A picture is worth a thousand words nd apparently worth a thousand dollars to alot of people as well.
    thees one grand projectors for home use are what are going to make the the market. they need to sell a great screen paint to go with the projector. i think the sub 1000$ people would rather paint and if that paint lets the screen work in daylight better then wife will go for it a lot more.
    so to review i bought the viewsonic pro 8200for
    the price
    the warranty
    the pip
    the lumens
    lamp life
    other specs looked good
    more color wheel colors seems nice
    and of course because its 1080p.
    by the way i have probably spent more hours looking at projector reviews that i spent earning the money to buy the thing.
    i probably would have got the viewsonic pro 8100
    but im not sure how long lcd panels will last even though they are inorganic. and apparently there are uncorrectable horizontal line in too many of the machines apparently all of them have this problem so i don’t know why that not mentioned here. hopefully i’v missed something.if it weren’t for that horizontal line problem i probably would have bought it. but it looks pretty fancy with lots of stuff to go wrong and plenty of expensive repair. in other words i don’t think i could afford a free rolls royce!
    my big disappointment here is the horizontal resolution or motion blur. im no videophile i can ignore rainbows, black levels, placement limitations, menu issues firmware updates. even returning a bad unit for a good one. but if i can’t keep my eye on the ball and my buddy on the other end of the line with a flat panel can then buddy you just don’t have a product! And i don’t even watch football. i just don’t want to loos track of Gandalf cracking some ork on the hear with that stick. whats that thing made out of anyway? is that hickory.
    anyway i leave you with this thought. the secret of happiness is to avoid all things that make you unhappy. the brain makes its own happy juice all by itself and plenty of life’s problems and other people want to steal it just to balance out their negative equation. pleasure is an entirely different thing than happiness. its not the movie that brings happiness that brings pleasure. sitting in a dark room unvexed by small and petty viscous people. that brings happiness. unless you get depressed in the dark. thats another issue altogether but then your probably not going to be buying a projector.
    p.s i still think “alot” should be a word!

    • Lisa Feierman

      Greetings bryncomeaux,

      Well, I don’t know where to start with your comment. Not sure if you are asking any question? Besides projector stuff, you are all over the place. But I will comment on some of the reviewer stuff.

      First, regarding side by side demo videos. Challenging to say the least – Neither my pro Canon DSLR, or the video production company we use for Projector Reviews TV have pro video cameras with the dynamic range to capture the subtleties of these projectors. Even our intentionally overexposed black level video is iffy. What would you watch these videos on? A color calibrated monitor with at least 25,000:1 native contrast? Maybe when we have OLED displays, it can become practical. Our capturing of projected movie scenes deteriorate noticeably by the time you are watching them on a monitor, for any number of reasons.
      Another reason, though, is cost. As some of you know, we’ve just launched Projector Reviews TV, which will be mostly informational videos – Why Black Levels are important, choosing the right screen, choosing a projector for the family room… But we are doing summaries of the reviews. Quite honestly the costs are rather prohibitive. We (publishers) can’t make any money putting them on YouTube, and its difficult even on our site. In other words there’s a great cost to doing good videos, far more than text/photo.

  • bryncomeaux

    right now amazon has a refurbished pro8100 for $650! and “new” it about 800.
    if i hate the 8200 should i get it or the otima hd20 the looks of which i hate and it doesnt’ look good on paper either. but apparently the pictures pretty good.
    im not considering anything over $1000.