Vivitek H9080FD Projector Review

LED Light source

Above, I mentioned two benefits to the Vivitek projector using an LED light source:
Far longer life (and far lower operational costs), and secondly, no loss of brightness over the life of the light source.

Long life: Instead of getting 2000 – 4000 hours off of a lamp, the Vivitek H9080FD with its LED light source is rated 20,000 hours. Thus, if you are a moderately heavy user (25 hours a week), the light source would last you about 18 years, instead of typically from less than two, to 3.5 years. With lamps for expensive projectors typically being $400 to $1000, that can save a bundle over a long life. For a heavy user (40 hours a week), the savings in lamp costs could be $500 a year or more.

The brightness aspect is also very important. I realize I’m one of the few reviewers that focuses a lot of attention on projector brightness. Most people, putting in a home theater projector tend to end up with just enough brightness to do a good job. That’s great, but with normal lamps, the projector is going to lose about 50% of its brightness by the time the lamp is due for replacement. As a result, towards the end, many people are finding their projected image to be a bit dim by that time. A projector capable of, say 700 lumens with a new lamp, might only have 500 lumens by the time their 2000 hour lamp reaches 1250 hours.

The point here, is that while the Vivitek doesn’t measure particularly bright (about 400 lumens in best mode), it will still be cranking out those four hundred lumens for the duration. Another projector, with 700 lumens, when the lamp is down to its last few hundred hours life, likely wouldn’t be as bright as the Vivitek. For this reason, many folks with larger screens replace their lamps more frequently than they need to from a life expectancy standpoint, to get more brightness.

In general, it is said that LED light sources have a larger color gamut, which should allow for even better color. This may well be true, but, at the moment, we are working with standards. Until we see a new one, designed to take advantage of what the LED light source can “bring to the party”, the benefits are partially questionable. Yes you might be able to get a more intense red, for example, but, it just might be “over the top” because the content doesn’t have the color tables to take advantage of it. More on this, as well, later in the review.

Color Management System (CMS)

NOTE: for grayscale balance, the Vivitek supports adjustment of brightness/contrast for primary AND secondary colors. It’s been quite some time since I’ve encountered any projector that allows grayscale balancing using more than the primaries. Mike did the calibration, but limited his grayscale balance to the primaries.

Heads up: The image below is from the Stargaze HD Blu-Ray DVD. Some really spectacular imagery on this disc, for those with an interest in astronomy. The really intense primary colors (thanks to the LED light source?), really makes the astronomy images in this review, look spectacular on the screen in my theater.

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