Projector Reviews

Vivitek H9090 Home Theater LED Projector – Special Features 2

VIVITEK H9090 PROJECTOR SPECIAL FEATURES:  Image Enhancement Controls:  Brilliant Color and Adaptive Contrast, Lens Shift, User Savable settings

Image Enhancement: Brilliant Color and Adaptive Contrast

Brilliant Color

Most DLP projectors offer some variation of Brilliant Color options. Brilliant Color is a series of image enhancement tools provided by TI (maker of the DLP chips). Some projectors have On or Off settings, like this one. A few might have 5 or 10 steps in their Brilliant Color options. Generally Brilliant color produces aless purist quality image than turning it off, but it tends to add some pop, to the image, so most folks like it.

As is not overly surprising, it has some affect on color balance, as well as other things. I found that the “right out of the box color is a bit more accurate with it off. Skin tones lack a bit of red with it on. Of course, you are likely to calibrate any projector in this price range, so your calibrator can make sure both On and Off have the proper color balance (saved into two different user savable settings).

If we would have calibrated the projector before viewing, the slight loss of red might have been of little consequence, but with default settings on the sample being already a bit thin, it is noticeable.  Brilliant Color was turned on in some photos – The Fifth Element, and Casino Royale, and you can spot it.

Adaptive Contrast

Adaptive Contrast is a “pop” feature. It definitely makes a very visible difference. By comparison, on a typical daytime or well lit indoor scene, colors look more saturated. Switching Adapative Contrat at first glance makes many scenes appear to go from looking dynamic, to looking drab.

But, from experimenting and switching back and forth on a significant number of scenes, it is really the more natural picture with Adaptive Contrast turned off. Even watching sports, such as a football game, the grass, faces, uniforms, all tend to be a little over the top with Adaptive Contrast turned on. For almost all of my movie viewing, I have left it off, because of this. Even for my sports viewing in my home theater, and general HDTV, much of the time I have left it off.   That is, until…

I start dealing with more than just a touch of ambient light present. As soon as I have even modest, let alone “moderate” ambient light, then, like with Brilliant Color, that extra pop helps offset the natural tendency of ambient light to wash out the image.

For the way I like to watch my sports, with some of my window shutters partially open, generally I settled for Adaptive Contrast on.

In other words, both Brilliant Color and Adaptive Contrast can really help by providing a lot of pop and wow factor to the image, just what is needed when fighting some ambient light.

Now let’s take a look at the actual affect of these two controls, with some comparison images.  I intentionally chose an image that isn’t extremely bright, so the effects are more noticeable.

First a simple comparison of Brilliant Color On, and Off.

That is followed by four images showing the four combinations.  They are displaying in this image player in order:

  • Brilliant Color Off, Adaptive Contrast: Off
  • Brilliant Color On, Adaptive Contrast Off
  • Brilliant Color Off, Adaptive Contrast On
  • Brilliant Color On, Adaptive Contrast On.

All four of these images have been taken with the same exposure.

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, the projector is measurably brighter with Brilliant Color Turned on, about 20% brighter. The actual measurements will be found on the Performance page.   Adaptive contrast has no effect on maximum brightness.

When I’m talking about brightness here, however, that’s measuring full on white.

If one is working a more typical scene, but one that lacks an full brightness, adaptive contrast also seems to brighten the brighter areas, relative to the darker ones. There is probably some smaller increase in brightness on those brightest areas, than one gets from Brilliant Color when dealing with white.

Vivitek H9090 Lens Shift

The H9090 has a respectable, but not great amount of vertical lens shift, and it also has horizontal lens shift as well. Since Vivitek will be only selling these projectors through authorized installing CEDIA channel dealers – they are expecting these dealers to in most cases to properly install the projector (ceiling, or maybe high rear shelf mounting), they do not make the lens shift controls visibly accessible. Rather they are hidden below the large Vivitek plate on the top of the projector a couple of inches back from the front.

BTW, On my engineering sample, the name plate slides to remove (and is never really tight when on), but per Vivitek, and their manual, the final production versions will allow the rotation of the Vivitek name plate to access the controls. Hex wrench type tool was provided with my projector. All I had to do was remove the plate, insert the tool and rotate it to adjust the lens shit – the lens angle – up or down, or if I needed it, the other control for left, right.

Easy enough. I found the adjustment to be nicely solid, with no play, a good thing. Too many projectors have a fair amount of play in their controls. Of course, generally, the projector gets installed and adjusted one time. So a few extra seconds or even minutes, is not worth quibbling over anyway. Len shift amounts are reported on the hardware tour pages.

User Savable Settings

The Vivitek H9090 is old school. Unlike the typical projector today that gives you not only lots of controls over color and other picture quality settings, but lots of preset modes like Cinema, Film, Bright, Dynamic, Living Room, Photo, etc., this projector gives you all the controls, and when you have something you like, you just save it, and that mode a name. There are four user savable modes.

Since I already discussed Brilliant Color and Adaptive Contrast, consider:  You could create combinations of savable settings with those features on or off, as well as the iris settings and others. It’s simple to save a setting, and just as easy to retrieve it.  See the Menus section in the Hardware Tour for more info.