Viewsonic Pro9000 Projector - Physical Tour
We will start our tour of the Viewsonic Pro9000 facing the front.
10/15/12 - Art Feierman
Viewsonic Pro9000 Projector - Appearance
Housed in the same, small, mostly shiny black case with some very dark gray trim, the Viewsonic Pro9000 is smaller than most of the 1080p home theater projectors on the market. The Pro9000 projector is definitely a full size smaller than projectors like the Panasonic PT-AE8000, and Epson Home Cinema 5020. It's even smaller still compared to projectors from JVC and the recently reviewed Sony VPL-HW50ES.
That's not surprising, single chip DLP projectors are far easier to build "small" than competing 3LCD and LCoS projectors.
This projector shares features with the commercial version. That's one reason why the Viewsonic Pro9000 has built in speakers
The lens of the Viewsonic Pro9000 is offset to the right (if facing the Pro9000). The focus ring is on the recessed zoom lens, while the zoom adjustment feature is on the top, above the lens.
Back to the front, you will also find the front infra-red sensor for the remote control. Underneath the front, are two screw thread adjustable feet. (Two more feet in the back).
The projector has its intakes on the side, and also the exhaust.
Moving to the top you will find the control panel.
All the inputs, and the power receptacle, are located on the back.
The projector comes with a tethered lens cover. This is removable should you want to mount the projector and not need it. For those that may be buying this projector for more portable use (it does have a pair of speakers, as mentioned), the cover is very handy.
Pro9000 Control Panel
The control panel of the Viewsonic Pro9000 is pretty standard fare. A nice blue LED color is around the power switch. Press once for on, twice for off. There are the usual 4 navigation arrows in a round formation. The Up and Down arrows double for adjusting keystone correction when not using the menus.
In the center of that circle of keys is the Menu/Exit button. Outside the circle, to the right, is the Enter button. Outside to the bottom is the Source button. Two indicator led lights are above the circle.
Pro9000 Projector - Input/Output
Not a whole lot of surprises here. There are, of course, the obligatory two HDMI inputs. Also to be found is a computer input which can double as a component video input. Not surprisingly, you'll find the traditional S-video and composite video input.
There is no 12 volt screen trigger, but there are mini jacks for audio in, and perhaps surprising, but a nice touch for some, an audio output.
Audio may come from the HDMI inputs, or the audio jacks. Nice that they allow an output, perhaps to feed directly into another sound system for more umph.
Finally, there's an RS-232 serial port for command and control.
That's all folks!
Menus are well thought out. There are four main menus including Picture, Video/Audio, Setting, and Options. Text size in not especially large, but very readable even at a distance. There are the usual menu controls including placement and opacity, for you to customize as desired.
Below, the Picture-In-Picture Sub-menu. It is indicative of a great many small sub-menus.
If I have one complaint, you toggle through choices you can't see. For example, here you see Off, but not On. For the Color Mode, you only see the name of one at a time, using the arrow keys to advance to the next choice. I'd prefer to see a list, which is fairly common. This is minor, but, everyone likes a better user interface.
Below, in the corner, the CMS sub-menu. You can see the usual individual color controls for Hue and Saturation, as well as gain.
Viewsonic Pro9000 Remote Control
The Viewsonic's remote is a very good one. It is a long, thin remote, about 10 inches in length. The remote's range is respectable, but not exceptional - between 20 and 25 feet range with a bounce off my 1.4 gain screen.
The remote is black but the keys are light colored. Not glow in the dark, but relatively easy to spot in a dark room. It's downright easy to find compared to locating my PS3 remote control.
At the top there's a red button to power on, and a green one to power down. OK, maybe I get it, that the green button represents being green, as the projector draws almost no power when turned off.
I may be wrong, but green is go - as in "on", and red is stop - or "off" normally. When I reached for the remote, for the first time (to turn the projector off), I hit the red button, but alas, nothing happened. That's a survivable detail.
Below those two buttons are two rows of input buttons. The two HDMI, the S-video, computer, and video. The sixth button is labeled Source which when pressed has the projector scan the inputs sequentially, looking for a live source to lock on to.
I should note that in my testing, the auto Source feature failed to lock onto either my PS3 or satellite box. I use a high quality 30 foot HDMI cable, but even more to the point, I haven't had that problem with these sources and cable with any other projectors in recent memory.
Quite possibly this is something not quite finished, in this early build projector, that will be better when they are shipping product.
The good news is that the manual buttons work fine. I press HDMI 1, and in the usual few seconds, the picture is up there.
The next two rows house Keystone correction, Volume control for the internal speakers, Aspect ratio, and Eco-mode.
Two more buttons next: Auto Sync (for PCs) and Mute
Then comes the navigation, with the Menu and Exit buttons below the ring. The Enter button is in the middle of the arrows.
Getting tired yet? Next come four small programmable keys. That's a nice touch, that many may use. I never got around to it.
Next - a Default button (factory reset!!!) and next to it, the User 1 and User 2 Color Mode memories.
The rest consist of an array of direct access to menu features. They include:
Overscan - Magnify - Lock
CMS - Color Temp - Gamma
Freeze - Blank - Pattern
Color Mode - Sleep Timer - Info
Yes, this projector has a sleep timer. That's a real nice touch for those who like to fall asleep in front of the TV.
Viewsonic Pro9000 Lens Throw
The Pro9000 projector's 1.2:1 zoom offers placement range similar to a number of other projectors with 1.2:1 zoom lenses.
To fill a 100" diagonal screen, the Pro9000 projector can be placed as close as 10 feet 10 inches, or as far back as 13 feet, 1 inch (approximate - based on a user manual.)
Many lower cost, and some high priced DLP home projectors offer a 1.2:1 zoom lens. That's sort of your basic minimum in flexibility. Many other projectors have far more lattitude. That said, if you are ceiling mounting, either it works for where you can place it, or it doesn't. For most, that's not a problem.
The Viewsonic Pro9000 lacks adjustable lens shift to keep those images nice and rectangular. Of course, the Pro9000 does have keystone correction, but optical lens shift is superior. Don't be too surprised that a projector in this price lacks lens shift. Keep in mind this is a DLP projector. DLP projectors without lens shift can cost upward of $5000. On the other hand, virtually every 3LCD and LCoS projector from $1000 up, will have lens shift. I'm strictly talking about home theater projectors.
The fixed amount of shift built in places the center of the lens of the projector almost 8 inches above the top of the screen (or below the bottom if on a table), for that same 100" diagonal screen.
That can give some folks whose rooms have low ceilings, some problem if they like larger screens. Otherwise, the Pro9000 has a judicious amount of lens offset, to make up for not having adjustable lens shift.
Anamorphic Lens - Wide Screen
The Viewsonic Pro9000 supports an anamorphic lens. This pre-production unit does not seem to have a second anamorphic setting, one to use when viewing 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio content, with the anamorphic lens still in front of the projector's lens. That means you will need a sled. It is the better way, but also more expensive.