Viewsonic Pro9000 Home Theater Projector Review

Viewsonic’s Pro9000 projector is one of the rare home theater projectors to sport a hybrid, solid state light engine – in this case, an LED/laser light engine claiming a life of 20,000 hours.  This Pro9000 is a DLP projector, with a better than most warranty.

The most important thing you need to know up front, is that this review projector we’ve been working with is an early pre-production Pro9000 projector.

We are already aware that Viewsonic has much newer firmware which correct for a number of issues we’ve encountered.

We received a full production Pro9000 projector after this review was written.  While it addressed a couple of previously spotted problems we would call flaws typical of pre-production projectors, we found the full production version still weak when it came to calibrated color.

Viewsonic Pro9000 Projector Highlights

  • 20,000 hour led/laser hybrid light source
  • Significantly more energy efficient than conventional projectors
  • Light source means less dimming, more consistant color
  • Single chip DLP technology
  • Dynamic Iris for improved black performance
  • Picture in Picture (small window)
  • Relatively small and portable projector – if need be
  • Can double for business presentations (though not a great value proposition for same)
  • Two 2 watt speakers on board (uncommon on home theater projectors)
  • Three year warranty with a first year replacement program
  • Claims 1600 lumens in brightest mode

Viewsonic Pro9000 Projector Overview

A few months ago, one of our other reviewers (Mike) looked at a “business version” of thePro9000 projector.  That model, the Pro8300, looks the same, but performs very differently.  Thiss Pro9000 is geared for better contrast and blacks, as one would expect from a home theater projector, while the business version has far lower contrast (and blacks) but also more lumens. The real difference is the LED/Laser light source of this Pro 9000, compared to the conventional lamp in the Pro8300.

Essentially, our job here is not just to see how well the Pro9000 projector performs compared to the competition.  We also want to help you determine value:  How the light sources advantages – long life, very slow loss of brightness and very slow to have color shifts – trade off with the primary disadvantage: The higher cost due to the light source.

By our reckoning, this Viewsonic projector will be a much better value for those planning on keeping it years – say 4-5 years or longer, than the hobbyist type who replaces a projector every year or two, or maybe three.

If you own this projector long term, you will get your value out of the light source, and likely save money overall.  You’ll be saving big on electricity too.

Rated 20,000 hours it should last as long as 5 to 10 conventional lamps depending on the projector you are comparing it to. Note that the Pro8300 mentioned above is rated 2500 hours on its lamp, when running at full power.

Let’s not worry about those issues of price vs. life, for now, and instead concentrate on the features that this Viewsonic Pro9000 projector offers.

The Pro9000 is (lightsource notwithstanding) a fairly typical single chip DLP projector that one would find in the $1500 up to perhaps $2500 dollar range in terms of overall features.  As with many single chip DLP’s for a great many years, the Viewsonic Pro9000 has a basic 1.2:1 zoom lens.  Most folks buying this projector will either ceiling mount, others will place on a table top.  As is typical of lower cost DLP projectors, this Viewsonic projector lacks lens shift.

Unlike a great many new home theater projectors, the Viewsonic Pro9000 is 2D only. While a fair number of projector buyers are really into 3D (myself included), a lot of folks say they can take it or leave it, or aren’t in any hurry.  That decision is yours.   If nothing else, that simplifies some of your decisions.  If you really want 3D, you will be looking elsewhere.

You’ll find that the brightness of this Viewsonic projector is about what we’ve called average for dedicated home theater projectors over the years.  That’s about 500 lumens calibrated, and about 1000 lumens in a “brightest” mode that has been tweaked a bit to provide better color, as long as there is no dramatic drop in brightness, by doing those adjustments.  Note that, as most new home projectors sport 3D, those newer ones tend to be brighter than average, with a number of them outputting close to, or even more than 2000 lumens in their adjusted “brightest” modes.  Those guys are equally suitable for more “living room” or “family room” type environments where lighting control isn’t as good.

In a dark room a a proper screen the Viewsonic Pro9000, should have no problem filling 110″ diagonal screens, or perhaps a little larger.

The Pro9000 has a dynamic iris for improved contrast and black level performance.

CFI – Creative Frame Interpolation – smooth motion –  is found on most over $2000 projectors, but few under $2000 projectors.  You won’t find it on this Viewsonic, which isn’t surprising.  I suspect that if Viewsonic built a version of the Pro9000, but using a conventional lamp, it would sell for about $1000 less, money you would recoup over the life of the projector. Personally if I’m working with a projector that has CFI, I primarily use it for sports, never for movies (except to confirm that I don’t want it on). I’ve never conisdered CFI to be a particularly key feature to have, more of a “nice touch” that has some trade-offs.

Lot’s to cover.

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