Vivitek H9080FD - Review Summary
A summary of our review of the Vivitek H9080FD projector, including pros and cons and capabilities.
8/19/2009 - Art Feierman
Vivitek H9080FD Projector - The Bottom Line
Most impressive. This is the first close look I've had at at a home theater projector with an LED light source. All considered, the picture quality is great. After our basic grayscale calibration colors were pretty close to dead on, with skin tones appearing natural, and rich, without looking over the top. Black levels are fairly typical for what I dub "ultra-high contrast projectors", which includes some home theater projectors starting just under $2500. The Vivitek beats out a lot of them in terms of black levels, but still comes up short of the best ones. Still it's black level performance is good enough that other factors become more critical.
Thanks to the picture quality, the uniqueness of the LED light source, and a few other points, the Vivitek H9080FD projector, receives our Special Interest award.
I had seriously considered our Hot Product Award, but the high price tag, prevents the Vivitek from having a good price/performance value proposition.
I spent almost all my time viewing the H9080FD in my large theater with the Firehawk G3 screen. Due to the long throw lens I could only project about 90 inches diagonal. I can tell you that it is reasonably bright with a screen that size. I was able to let in a little light from outside to watch sports (no sunlight), but the projector has few lumens to spare. The projector screen combination looked great, with the Firehawk helping keep the already dark black levels even blacker.
The projector's brightness range depends on settings, and varies from about 400 to a bit over 500 lumens maximum. That translates to not very bright overall. There's a "positive" catch though. Consider my JVC DLA-RS20 in comparison. While the Vivitek measures 407 lumens in "best" and my JVC measured 775 lumens, by the time the lamp in my JVC approaches 2000 lumens, the JVC will have dimmed down to the Vivitek's range. For brightest use, my JVC's 884 lumens will likely be around 450 near end of lamp life, vs. 500 for the Vivitek. So, while the JVC may be brighter most of the time, unless I replace my lamp earlier (I plan to), it wouldn't end up being any brighter, probably for the last 400+ hours on the JVC's lamp.
All that said, I really think the Vivitek will perform its best on screens of 100 inch diagonal or less. Push it larger, and while you may not be starving for more lumens, I expect some of the great qualities of this projector will be lost due to being slightly underpowered.
One really nice thing about the H9080FD is it's sharpness. The image looks very crisp and clear especially when I feed it some high quality 1080i digital content from HDTV. All digital source material looks great. The sharpness for example, while not the very best I've seen, is definitely better than my JVC's, which is average. I would be so much happier (its my biggest complaint) with my JVC if it was this sharp!
The Very Bottom Line on the Vivitek H9080FD Projector:
Expensive, but quality picture, ideal for smaller screens up to 100" diagonal, in dedicated theater rooms. In that enviroment the image will really pop!
If the limited lumens, or the high sticker price due to the LED light source haven't intimidated you, then you can be the first on your block, no, probably first in your city, to enjoy the picture, and the novelty of a most impressive, LED light source DLP projector.
Vivitek H9080FD Projector - Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities:
Vivitek H9080FD Projector: Pros
- Great overall picture quality
- Very, very, good color accuracy after calibration
- Thanks to LED light source, projector will not dim as "lamp" ages
- Very good black levels, definitely an "ultra-high" contrast projector, though blacks not as good as the very best
- Very good shadow detail performance
- Very bright colors are especially rich or rather "intense" without looking over the top. This projector does what other can't, for example, with an object that's candy apple red, it really looks exceptional.
- Single chip DLP projector without color wheel - no rainbow effect
- Two HDMI 1.3b inputs
- Outputs 24 frame per second sources at 48 fps
- Good layout on the remote control, bright near red backlight makes for easy reading, but not too bright either
- Relatively long lens throw makes projector practical for rear shelf mounting, despite limited 1.3:1 zoom ratio
- Lens shift with a good amount of range
- Possible, optional, shorter throw zoom may be offered, specs are already available
- Low Cost of Operation: Exceptional "lamp life" LED light source has life of 20,000 hours, no $400+ lamps to buy every couple thousand hours of use
- Although a larger "boxy" projector, it looks good, nice silver center panel, a touch of red around the lens ring, Not bad, and it really looks like it means business. Likely to draw a "whoa" reaction from friends the first time they see it.
- Good menus
- Warranty - three years is better than most 1080p projectors (average is two years)
- Very good documentation. There are still a few explanations missing, and some that use more detail, but much better than most projector manuals
- Cable cover
- "Novelty" LED projectors are new, and likely will replace lamps in the long run, be the first...
Vivitek H9080FD Projector: Cons
- The price tag - it's first generation LED projector, so its expensive
- Not a bright projector, its below average brightness in "best" mode. When you need maximum lumens it only has about one-third of the brightness of the brightest lower cost projectors. Not suitable for larger screens, this projector belongs in a dedicated theater
- A third HDMI input would be nice
- As would more than two user savable memories
- The H9080HD is a pretty large and heavy (36 lb.) projector
- Need tools to remove cable cover (ok, that's reasonable), but also special tool (provided) for adjusting lens shift (and more screws to remove)
- The Price Tag. Well, at $14,999 it's worth mentioning twice
Vivitek H9080FD Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Selection of inputs
- Lens shift - for a DLP projector that has this feature
- Audible noise levels
- Support for an anamorphic lens (almost all projectors over $5000 do support an anamorphic lens
Hmm, Not a whole lot of "typical, it seems, mostly Pros
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