Acer H9500BD Home Theater Projector – A First Look Review

Acer H9500 3D projector - $1699 MSRP

Greetings home theater projector fans.

Update 11/22/11 – the bulk of the review is posted, but for the competitors and screen recommendation pages.  Some more images (menus) and content to still be added.

Here’s the direct link to the Acer H9500BD home entertainment projector review. Enjoy! -art

I must admit, going into this review, never having seen the projector before, and not knowing too much about it, I didn’t have very high expectations.  As it turns out I was right (only kidding) wrong.

The Acer seems to have several  rough edges, as many under $2000 projectors do (MSRP is $1699), but it also had a couple of real positive surprises.

And the first of those is that this just might be an ultra high contrast projector.  I don’t think either the Optoma HD33 or the Epson Home Cinema 3010 are particularly close to the Acer H9500BD in this regard.  I took some side by sides, comparing to the the Epson 3010, and the Acer smoked it at blacks.    That alone makes this projector worth reckoning with.

And get this:  It’s got vertical and horizontal lens shift. The vertical is about 0 offset, so not a match for a typical LCD projector, but that’s still a nice touch, since few projectors below the Acer H9500BD’s price have lens shift.

The H9500BD is a single chip DLP, claims 2000 lumens.  3D brightness isn’t up to the Panasonic or Epson projectors but it seems to be closer to the Epson’s Dynamic 3D mode than to it’s 600 and change 3D Cinema mode.   The Acer H9500BD projector does have a dynamic iris, and CFI – smooth motion.  That’s more than most projectors under $1995 can claim, and they operate in 3D too.

There are not controls for grayscale calibration – I told you some rough edges. As a result the closest grayscale balance (per Mike) is right around 7000K, not 6500K.  OK, that’s it for now.   I’m still up in the air on this projector.  3D seems to have to be turned on, or off, manually (still playing) a mess sometimes up on the screen until you change the 3D setting.  A rough edge.  OK, I’ve got more homework to do.

Look for a good chunk of the review to post Monday late night.   I’m doing housekeeping on the Acer – still watching, checking out things, but already shifted much of my viewing to the Epson Home Cinema 5010 Projector which I’m going to try to have up late Wednesday night – well in time for Black Friday decision making.  (or Cyber Monday)

I’m going to try to get the Acer H9500 projector over to Scott S, for his take on the H9500BD’s gaming skills.  The H9500BD is Nvidia 3DTV ready so  Scott should be able to do 3D PC based gaming.  So far, all the other projectors we hoped would work, were too new, with nVidia not yet having released the drivers.

Happy holidays folks!   And good shopping.  Look for a few of our advertisers to be launching holiday specials banners, over the next couple of days.  Hopefully some really good deals, and your favorite projectors and accessories in stock!   -art

News and Comments

  • Coderguy


    Any idea on the color wheel speed, all of us in the Acer thread over at the big forum are having trouble figuring it out.

    Or if you also couldn’t find it, what do you think about how much RBE might have been seen compared to other projectors?

    • Greetings Coderguy,

      I rarely saw rainbows with the Acer, and it’s pretty bright. Not sure on the speed or segments, but I’d say it’s better than the usual 4X wheels, but probably not a 6X which leaves: 5X.

      But, that said, let me clarify – it seems to be have like a typical 5 – better than the sub-$1000 dlps. Things like the number of segments, use of white (clear) etc. all impact how some of see rainbows.

      I no longer have a Mitsubishi HC4000 here, which had a 4X wheel. However, it is my best guess that the people will be less likely to spot rainbows on the Acer, than the HC4000. Hope that helps.

  • InCali

    Hi Art,

    Thanks for the tip regarding the forums. As you can tell, I’m listening. Let us know if you hear anything on the Acer firmware fix and I’ll return the favor if I do.

    Thanks for the updates. Good luck.

  • InCali

    I just got independent confirmation today from Acer that they are working on a firmware update which will address the HDMI “blurring” issue. For those who aren’t familiar with this “problem”, it may or may not be noticeable while watching blu ray or hi-def cable content (we’ll see when the update is ready), but is certainly noticeable with desktop viewing and test patterns.

    The fix should be ready in about 2 weeks or so. I got a call from Acer saying the update needed some final tweaks. Because of some other problems I’ve had with my projector, Acer is overnighting me my projector, calling me when the firmware is ready, paying for shipping it back, and overnighting it back to me after the update.

    I really can’t (shouldn’t) ask for more?

    Thanks for all of your attention with regard to this issue. It was a big help.

  • InCali

    (Posted elsewhere)

    Hi Art,

    I have some (what I think is) pretty big news about the Acer 9500. The firmware is ready and has been approved by headquarters. In addition the hardware is now available. Here’s what it addresses (maybe more, but at least the following):

    * HDMI/DVI blurring
    * Add indep color management/saturation/gain (!!!)
    * Remove IR key “RGB” show no function (whatever the frell that means….but I think it has to do with item #2)

    What think???

    • I hear though, (took a peak at the forum thread), that now a cable is still coming? Arrgh!