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Vivitek H9090 Home Theater Projector - Performance

Posted on October 15, 2015 by Art Feierman
VIVITEK H9090 PROJECTOR - PERFORMANCE:  Brightness in Lumens, Other Factors affecting Brightness, Audible Noise, Image Noise 

Brightness of the Vivitek H9090 in Lumens

Vivitek claims 1000 lumens for the H9090 projector.

Because this is an LED light source projector, we allowed it to warm up for 30 minutes, before measuring.

Note that we do this not so that it achieves full brightness, but rather, in the past, with Casio's hybrid LED/Laser projectors, and a couple of LED powered pico and pocket projectors we discovered that they are at their brightest almost immediately after power up, and lost some brightness over the first 20 minutes.  In the case of the Casio's they lost up to 20%.

So, to play it save we gave the Vivitek 30 minutes to stabilize.  We did not bother to measure it right after power up, just to see if it lost power

Remember that the H9090 doesn't have preset modes such as "Cinema" or "Theater Black" or Dynamic, or Living Room.

The H9090 also does not have an Eco mode.

As a result we focused on only two settings:

Brightness, Color Temp 6500K, Brilliant Color On:  1011 Lumens

Brightness, Color Temp 6500K, Brilliant Color Off:   793 Lumens

In addition, I looked at the brightness at 7500K and found it to be almost identical, within the margin of error.  Since a slightly cooler color temp than 6500K is preferred by some for sports and other HDTV viewing, I thought it worth a look.

Adaptive Contrast has no effect on brightness on full white (where we measure, but it will make scenes without any full white or other full brightness colors seem slightly brighter.  I did not attempt to measure that.

A roughly 25% increase in brightness by engaging Brilliant Color is a lot, but not surprising.  On low cost DLP projectors Mike often calibrates and measures them with BC turned on.  Note: only DLP projectors have Brilliant Color, since that is tech provided by the DLP chip maker - Texas Instruments.

In the case of the H9090, however, engaging Brilliant Color doesn't provide nearly as natural an image as with it off.  Remember though, we did not calibrate this projector due to the color tables being not yet finished.  It is possible that with the full production versions of the Vivitek projector, that BC On will still look fairly natural.

On this engineering sample, however, I much preferred viewing with Brilliant Color turned off.

800 lumens (approximate) with Brilliant Color turned off, is plenty of lumens for a typical home theater type environment.  That's a bit brighter than the Epson 5030UB in its best mode, but more to the point, it's easily enough for 2D viewing on a typical screen up to 135 inch diagonal.  I could say higher, but even an LED light engine will dim somewhat over time.

3D and Brightness:  No 3D.  I mention that here, because when I first asked Vivitek why the H9090 is not supporting 3D, they responded, that they didn't believe this projector was bright enough to do that.

I would have to agree, as 3D will typically require at least 3X the brightness, so, by most standards, it would come up rather dim even on a small 90 inch diagonal screen.  Personally, I would have included 3D and given users the choice.

Other Affects on Brightness

As mentioned, there is no Eco mode.  Not sure why they didn't give people a choice.  Still, their point that this projector is not so bright that anyone would need a lower power mode, is valid.  The other major reason for having an Eco mode, would be to reduce fan noise, which is discussed below.

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A lens also affects brightness.  With projectors sporting zoom lenses of at least 1.5:1 range, we normally report on brightness measured at mid-point on the zoom, and provide the difference between maximum (closest positioning) and minimum (furthest back placement of the projector).

But the H9090's standard lens is a 1.3:1 zoom.  Variation across the entire zoom range is not likely to vary by more than about 10%, so measuring would not have provided significant info.  It's when you have long range zooms such as 2:1 or 2.1:1 that you see drops of 30 or even 40% from full wide angle to full telephoto.  In that case, the info can be critical to a good setup.  We did not get a chance to "play" with the other three lenses.  It is likely that the very long throw zoom (which few will need) is noticeably less bright as it is about a 1.6:1 zoom, and probably also has more elements to the lens.

H9090 Audible Noise

One thing is for sure, and that is, this Vivitek H9090 is one of the quieter projectors around.  It's not surprising on several levels.

Vivitek claims 25 db.  That "sounds" just about right, that's full power, because the H9090 only has a full power mode, no Eco.  With many of today's home theater projectors running slightly upward of 30 db at full power, and as high as 34db, that is a substantail improvement.

At 25 db, it's about as quiet as most projectors running in their eco modes, and I certainly consider 25 db to be more than quiet enough for all but the most noise adverse.  This level of quiet definitely puts it in the same range as the JVCs and the Epson LS10000, LS9600e - when all of them are in Eco mode.

Of course, there are reasons.  First, it helps to have a large box, and, easier to baffle the noise.  And, it should be noted that the Vivitek isn't as bright as its competitors.  So, perhaps Vivitek could have pushed out another 10-25% more lumens, in part, in exchange for more audible noise.  But no way to determine if that light engine really could be pushed for more brightness.

H9090 Image Noise

Considering this is an engineering sample I wouldn't have been surprised to encounter some Image noise issues, and at first I thought I found one.   I was watching some HDTV off of DirecTV and noticed a large number of interlaced looking scan lines trailing moving objects.  First reaction was "big time problem."  I quickly snapped a lot of photos to show you. Considering though that this Vivitek uses Gennum processing, a very well respected, and long timer provider of quality image processing, I figured that this was something that certainly would be fixed by first shipments.

It turned out to be a problem with that specific DirecTV channel, at that time.  Once I tried other channels, no problem.  Next day - no problem on the same channel.  The problem was both on content, and ads, so it wasn't specific to the content.  We'll here's a picture.  Easy to spot those lines:

I was surprised by the limited amount of background mosquito noise visible.  I've always thought DLP's showed more than the other technologies, but this particular DLP projector was very clean for a DLP, and more in line with that of the Epson I keep here for all types of comparisons.

Of course, as previously noted, the H9090 doesn't offer 3D, Creative Frame Interpolation, Dynamic Sharpening, etc., all things that can have their own image noise issues.

That said, as a core, 2D projector without those "extras", the bottom line is:  Nicely done!

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