Vivitek H9080FD Projector Review

A detailed review of the Vivitek H9080FD 1080p home theater projector.

H9080FD Projector Highlights

  • Extremely impressive color, with very intense, yet not over the top, bright colors
  • Very good shadow detail
  • Black level performance is very good, but typical for “ultra-high” contrast projectors, not up to the best ones out there (like the JVC RS20)
  • Limited brightness 400 – 500+ lumens depending on settings
  • LED light source – 20,000 hours (lower cost of operation), and it maintains brightness, while conventional lamps typically lose 50% brightness by end of life (2000 – 4000 hours).
  • No rainbow effect – for those sensitive to traditional single chip DLP projectors, due to no color filter wheel
  • 1.3:1 zoom lens is longer throw than most DLP projectors, which combined with lens shift, makes the Vivitek usable in a rear shelf mount, in most people’s rooms, and a possible shorter throw zoom may become available
  • Overall, very impressive picture quality – excellent
  • A larger, and heavier projector, than almost anything not 3 chip DLP
  • Expensive – at $14,999 MAP pricing you are paying for the novelty of new technology in the form of an LED light source. Of course if you keep it for, say 10 years, you might just save $5000 in lamp costs if you are a heavy viewer, but for almost all, pricing will not be the reason for purchasing this Vivitek projector

Vivitek H9080FD Projector Overview

Before we get started with the review of the Vivitek H9080FD home theater projector, I need to comment about the photos posted in this review. I’ll also go into the issue in further detail in the Image Quality page.

Here’s the scoop: Whether the H9080FD or any other home theater projector, I always remind our readers that they need to take the photos provided with a grain – no, maybe a pound, of salt. In other words, the photos taken normally give a good, but not a great idea of what the projected image looks like on the screen.

For example, 3LCD projectors tend to look like they have stronger greens in the photos, than in reality. Typical DLP’s and LCoS projectors also tend to be off, with LCoS similar to 3LCD, and DLP having far less shift to green.

This Vivitek though, uses an LED light source, and the photos for this shoot came out nothing short of horrible, with the same camera settings I use for all reviews.

The bottom line, is that there is way, way, too much red in all the Vivitek H9080FD images (or too little green and some blue). For about 2/3 of the images, I even readjusted the camera, and also tweaked the tint. The result was definitely, considerably better, but still (compared to images in other reviews) rather bad. (More on this later.)

OK, let’s begin our overview of the LED powered H9080FD home theater projector:

The Vivitek H9080FD is an expensive home theater projector, by almost all measures (except when comparing to 3 chip DLP home theater projectors). With a $14,999 MAP price, it is almost twice as expensive as our top rated projector (under $10,000), the JVC DLA-RS20 and it’s twin, the HD750.

The thing that makes the Vivitek projector expensive, and essentially unique is that it is one of the very first home theater projectors with an LED light source, instead of a conventional lamp., This immediately provides two advantages: First, no lamps to change, second, the projector maintains brightness. Both are discussed below, in the Special Features section. Oops, one more advantage. Since the LEDs can cycle, there’s no need for a color filter wheel with this single chip DLP projector, and therefore, no rainbow effect for those bothered by such things.

The LED light source definitely makes a difference. I’m seeing color intensity in some cases that other excellent projectors can’t quite match. This is generally a very good thing, but only one factor in the Vivitek projector’s image quality.

Physically, the H9080FD is a tank. It’s big, it’s heavy, and has solid construction. The H9080 has a good amount of lens shift adjustment, a rarity among DLP home theater projectors. It’s 1.3:1 zoom lens provides just a little more placement flexibility than most DLP’s and less than almost all 3LCD and LCoS projectors. Still, the Vivitek can be shelf mounted, and it’s longer than average lens throw, should allow the projector to work on a shelf on the back wall of most rooms. There’s an optional shorter throw zoom, for those that want to mount closer.

The Vivitek H9080 is not one of the brighter projectors out there, and will serve you best in a dedicated home theater. Because it’s barely brighter in its brightest mode, than it’s best, it doesn’t have those extra lumens for allowing a lot of ambient light if you want to watch that football game with the “boys”. Still, when viewing at 90 inches diagonal it did fine for my HDTV sports viewing, with a decent amount of controlled lighting.

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