1080p 3D Home Theater Projector
February 27, 2012
The Acer H9500BD is one of the least expensive 1080p projectors available that is capable of handling full high-definition 3D content. As such, it has garnered a lot of attention. This DLP projector has the brightness and punch necessary to put up a compelling 3D image, the image clarity to display HD film and video at its sharpest and most detailed, and the price tag to make the whole endeavor worthwhile. The H9500BD costs $1699 with one pair of 3D glasses included.
The Viewing Experience
With inexpensive projectors like the H9500BD, how they look out of the box is especially important. At this price range, few users will go through the hassle of a full calibration, so having solid preset image modes, even if only as a starting point, is paramount.
After setting up the H9500BD and turning it on, we switched to Dark Cinema mode, which is the projector's least bright, most color-balanced preset. Initial readings put Dark Cinema at 6600K without any adjustment or calibration of any kind, which as far as factory presets go is about as good as it gets. We went with Dark Cinema due to the lack of ambient light in our viewing space and the size of our screen; Movie mode produces similarly accurate results with a brighter image.
With the H9500BD's manual zoom set at its widest angle, even Dark Cinema mode comes out to a hefty 909 lumens with Eco mode off and 763 lumens with Eco on. At the standard 16 foot-lamberts (fL) luminance target for theater dark lighting and a 1.0 screen gain, that makes Eco mode just right for a 120" diagonal screen. Users of smaller screens will want to either invest in a neutral density filter or place the projector farther from the screen to allow the zoom lens to cut some of the projector's light output.
The image itself looks superb for a projector in this class. Grayscale is well balanced, as we already mentioned. Color saturation is spot-on. Sharpness at defaults is a touch high, so we lowered it. Users will want to be careful, as the sharpness control when lowered too far will artificially soften the image. Contrast is strong, giving the image a good sense of three-dimensionality while black levels are in line with other home theater projectors in this price range, most notably the Optoma HD33. The projector's AcuMotion system, while effective for video, was a touch too strong for use with film, so we left it disabled for the bulk of our testing.