Vivitek H9080FD Physical Tour
8/19/2009 - Art Feierman
Vivitek H9080FD Physical Appearance
It's BIG, it's mostly black - with a large silver plate running down the center of the top, from almost the front, to the back. The manual 1.3:1 zoom lens is recessed, with manual focus and zoom on the lens' trim ring. Screw thread adjustable feet allow the projector to be leveled nicely for those not ceiling mounting.
The control panel is located on the top (in the middle of the sliver plate, while inputs are located on the back. The H9080FD comes with a large cable cover, that makes this somewhat massive projector look even larger.
It is, to say the least, and intimidating looking projector, larger than even the BenQ, Sony, and JVC entries, though smaller than most 3 chip DLP home theater projectors.
The projector has filters that recommend cleaning every 500 hours. They recommend using a small vacuum cleaner placed up against the vents to pull out the dust.
Since it has an LED light source rated 20,000 hours, there is no lamp door issue to consider. Many projectors must be unmounted to change their lamps (if ceiling mounted). Since it is unlikely that even the heaviest users will own the projector longer than the light source lasts, it's a non-issue.
The H9080FD comes with a cable cover to keep things nice and neat. Here is an image of the back of the projector, and a second one, with the cable cover installed.
The Vivitek logo pops out to pull cables through, but it also looks like you can pull the cables through the bottom of the cover.
As noted, he H9080FD's control panel is located on the top. In the image on the right, you are viewing the panel from the back of the projector.
Toward the front of the control panel are the four arrow keys in a diamond pattern, with a center Enter button.
Below are three buttons, the first for Menu, then Source, and finally Power. Press once for on, and also, only once for off.
Despite being a rather expensive projector, the selection of inputs and outputs is pretty typical for home theater projectors. Perhaps the most notable deviation from typical, for the Vivitek projector is that it has two "screen triggers". We have seen this on a few other projectors, and having two, for example would allow one to control a motorized screen, while the other might operate a screen masking system.
The Vivitek has two HDMI 1.3 inputs, an analog computer input, two component video inputs (one has 3 BNC connectors, one has three RCA projectors. Of course it also has an S-video input, and a composite video input.
In addition, there's an RS-232 for command and control, and two screen triggers. Finally, there is a connector for hard wiring in the remote control, as one might do in a rear projection environment, or if the projector is mounted where a good bounce of the signal isn't possible, or possibly for direct connect to a room conrol system.
Vivitek H9080FD Menus
Menus are very straightforward and well organized. One complaint I have is their choice of handling final selection of certain features. For example, if you want to use the dynamic iris, you scroll down to that menu selection, and it shows the current setting. To change it, you use the right or left arrow keys. This means, though, until you memorize the various choices, you have to scroll through one at a time, until you find the one you want, instead of launching a pull-down menu that shows all the choices.
That, however is my only real complaint, and it's not that uncommon on other projectors, even if pull-down menus are more widely used. Remember, you can access a number of direct controls right from the remote. (That said, the dynamic iris controls do not have a direct access button.) Above to the right, is the General menu, which has everything from PIP - Picture In Picture, to controlling backgrounds, test patterns and user saveable memories.
The Image menu and also the Advanced menu (below), between them have all the image controls. The basic ones (ie. Brightness, Sharpness, Contrast) are on the Image menu. Also there is the Overscan control. I like this one, it offers tw choices: Traditional overscan (enlarging the image slightly to eliminated the outmost pixels of the image where noise or lines are common on TV, HDTV signals. There is also cropping, which I prefer. This doesn't require rescaling, it simply maintains the 1:1 pixel ratio, and crops off the last few pixels all the way around. You get a very slightly smaller image, but a cleaner one than abandoning the 1:1 pixel mapping with the typical overscan.
The setup menu controls projector positioning (front/rear/ceiling/floor), the screen triggers and auto On, and Off operations, as well, of course as choice of language menu. Finally, not shown, is the Info menu, which pretty much tells you what's going on - resolution, source, etc.
I should note that documentation happens to be very good, much better than many projectors. This is one of the few cases where I can mention the manual, under the "Pros" section on the Summary page of the review, instead of "typical" or "Cons".
It is of particular note that Vivitek actually explains the differences in the options for a number of features. They didn't quite go far enough, however, in that, for some reason, a few of the features, especially relating to the dynamic iris, go without explanation. I had to contact Vivitek to find out what the different DI features did (the difference betwen On, Ultra-DI, and Infinity).
Vivitek H9080FD Remote Control
I like this remote. It fits well in my hand, it's bright red led backlight make reading the buttons pretty easy, and it's not "over the top" like some using bright blue LEDs (which really can be annoying).
From the top: Left side is the On button (which works well as a "backlight on" button, although any key will turn on the backlight). On the right is the off button - press only once.
Next comes six source buttons including the two HDMI's, RGB (analog computer), two component video buttons and a video button (which I assume toggles between S-video and Composite video?)
The arrow keys are organized in a circular fashion, with the Enter button in the middle. The Menu button itself is just below to the left, and across from it, on the right, is the Aspect ratio button (I like it there). When you are in the menus, pressing the Menu button backs you up one level in the menus.
Below those are four rows of three buttons. The first two (left, left-center) are for accessing the two user saved settings, then come a bunch of direct access buttons: Color Temp, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Gamma, OS, and noise reduction. Finally the last three are for the Picture in Picture: Picture in Picture, Swap, and MP (multiple - two side by side).
I like having a projector with PIP type functions. I used them with my old BenQ projectors and miss it on my JVC.
Again, a very nice remote control, very good range, too.
H9080FD Lens Throw
As previously mentioned the zoom ratio is 1.3:1. It is an unusually long throw zoom lens for one with only a 1.3:1 ratio. As a result it will allow shelf mounting in many rooms. In addition, the manual mentions (on the Specs page) an optional, shorter throw zoom lens (with a 1.2:1 zoom ratio), suitable for those that want to ceiling mount the projector closer to the screen. I spoke with Vivitek, and as of this time, they are not certain, if, or when, the shorter throw option will become avaialble. (Remember, I'm reviewing a pre-production unit, so that lens may well become available in the future. Vivitek has no information on what that lens might cost.
With the standard zoom lens, the throw ratio is listed as 1.85 to 2.4. The optional lens, if it becomes available is 1.56 to 1.86.
For the standard lens, with a 100" diagonal, 16:9 screen, the front of the projector can be placed as close as 13 feet, 5 inches, or as far back as 17 feet, 5 inches. Should the optional lens become available it would allow the projector to sit as close as 11 feet three inches, or as far back as the other lens minimum of 13 feet, 5 inches. (Note - distances based on chart/specs provided by Vivitek)
H9080FD Lens Shift
This Vivitek projector has a good, though not exceptional amount of lens shift. It is particularly good, compared to other DLP projectors with lens shift, and about average compared to 3LCD and LCoS projectors.
For a 100" diagonal screen (approximately 49 inches high), the projector (measured from the center of the lens) can be placed as high as 9.8 inches above the top of the screen's surface (or up to 9.8 inches below the bottom), and of course, anywhere in between. That much range works great for shelf mounting, and ceiling mounting, and you'd only need more if you have a high ceiling and want the projector as high up as possible.
To adjust the lens shift, you remove a couple of tiny screws, slide back that whole silver center panel on the top, by about 5 inches, and that lets you access the two holes. You use the provided tool, to adjust the shift for vertical and horizontal. It's a nuisance, compared with many projectors with either motorized lens shift, or simple, easily accessable dials. But then, this fits in with its "commercial construction" feel.
The H9080HD has the necessary aspect ratio, and support, for using a third party anamorphic lens and motorized sled. I believe a Panamorph lens will be available, as well as potentially, other brands.