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Performance
Features
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Intended Use:
Home Theater
Acer H9500BD Projector Acer H9500BD
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Street Price: n/a
MSRP:$1,699
3D: Full HD 3D
Contrast:50,000:1
Lumens:2000
Weight: 15.9 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Color Wheel:3x speed
Color Wheel:6 segments
Lens:1.5x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:2,000 Hrs
2,500 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, RGB (x2), DVI Digital Input, HDMI 1.4a (x2), USB, RS232, 12Volt Out
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/24, 576i, 576p

Acer H9500BD
1080p 3D Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, February 27, 2012

Performance

Light output. The H9500BD delivers lots of light. Using an HDMI source, Bright mode measured 1513 lumens on our test sample with the lamp at full power and the lens at its widest angle setting. Bright mode's high light output makes it the best choice for standing up to ambient light, but it compromises color fidelity and contrast to get those extra lumens.

The next modes down the brightness ladder are Movie mode at 949 lumens and Presentation at 947 lumens. The two modes emphasize different aspects of the picture; Presentation boosts legibility of text documents by manipulating gamma, while Movie mode tries to provide a more balanced, film-like appearance.

Dark Cinema is the starting point for our preferred calibration, and it measured 909 lumens on our test sample. Dark Cinema has the most natural appearance of all of the H9500BD's modes, with the most realistic shadow detail and best color performance. If your goal is to watch movies, Dark Cinema is the mode you want.

Standard and Sports modes both come in at 880 lumens. Game mode is the least bright, at 789 lumens, while giving no appreciable improvement in input lag times.

Most of the H9500BD's image modes, you will no doubt notice, are quite bright. If you have a dark room or a smaller screen, Eco mode will help -- it drops brightness by about 16% in all modes while increasing estimated lamp life from 2000 to 2500 hours.

If you need to reduce light output further, your options are to use a neutral-density (ND) filter or move the projector and adjust the zoom. If you don't own a neutral density filter, you can reduce light output by moving the projector further from the screen and adjusting the zoom. The H9500BD's 1.5:1 zoom lens loses 36% of total light output at full telephoto, bringing Dark Cinema to 488 lumens with the lamp in Eco mode. That's above average for a 1.5:1 zoom, but in this case it can be an advantage, giving you 16 fL luminance with a 95" 1.0 gain screen and the projector about 15.5 feet from the screen.

Color. The H9500BD has only the most rudimentary of color controls, allowing a single axis of adjustment for RGBCMY. This makes it very difficult to make any kind of meaningful adjustment to color. Luckily, the H9500BD's default color is some of the best in its price class.

We tested the H9500BD with BrilliantColor disabled, since that tends to improve color accuracy on many other DLP projectors. In this case, it had the opposite effect, causing the picture to appear more blue. Switching BrilliantColor back on brought the picture more in line with established standards, so we left it that way.

(color graphs)

Color came in right around 6450K in the low end (0-50% illumination) and around 6600K in the high end. Again, this is at defaults, with no adjustment on our part -- mostly because the color controls don't lend themselves to a lot of fine tuning. Lucky for us, then, that the H9500BD doesn't need any fine tuning to make it watchable.

Sharpness and clarity. By default, sharpness is set too high, which makes the picture look a touch artificial. Lowering sharpness too far will soften the image, which is no good either. Our sweet spot was right around 10 or 11 on a sharpness scale from 0 to 15, with 13 being the default. Still, this is one control that it's easy enough to adjust on your own, so decide for yourself where you want it.

Contrast. In its price class, the H9500BD is quite the performer. Black level is equal to the best we've seen in this price range, as far as 3D projectors are concerned. Sure, it can't match the performance of projectors that cost twice as much, but no one is realistically expecting it to, either. Dynamic range is high, creating smooth, detailed shadows and sparkling highlights. While the projector's gamma in Dark Cinema is not the ideal 2.2, it comes close at 2.17, and most users probably won't notice the difference. Movie mode uses a more aggressive 2.27 gamma, and some users may prefer the more exaggerated contrast present in that mode.

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Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
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Reader Comments(12 comments)

Posted Dec 28, 2013 4:33:33 PM

By Ethen F.

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I'm haveing the same issuer with the 2d to 3d conversion not working as well. Did you manage to find a fix for it?

Posted Apr 14, 2013 9:22:16 AM

By Dave

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What 3D Blu-ray player was used for testing? I cannot get my Panasonic DMP-BDT220 to work at all - in 2D or 3D. I tried many setting changes on both the projector and player with no luck. Older 2D Blu-ray player works fine.

Posted May 28, 2012 3:08:21 PM

By jack benson

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good for movies?? or is there better

Posted Apr 24, 2012 9:36:17 AM

By Don J

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I second the concerns of the previous post. Also I'm worried about quality control and reliability -my first unit arrived DOA. Waiting for its replacement to arrive. Check the AVS forum owner's thread for a full discussion of these known issues. Acer is aware of the owner's thread and really needs to step up and resolve this.

Posted Apr 20, 2012 12:16:26 PM

By Brandon

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Everyone should be aware of 3 issues with the H9500BD: it has some softness over HDMI (no softness over VGA), it has a tearing bug when watching 3D content in Side-by-Side (SBS) format (used in some video games), and it has very high lag in 3D mode (OK for movies, bad for games). The first 2 issues, and maybe the third, could probably be fixed in firmware but Acer has not been cooperating with owners who have tried to raise this issue. In contrast, BENQ was very responsive to W7000 owners who reported the exact same HDMI softness bug, and they fixed it in a firmware update. The H9500BD could be a fantastic product with improved sales if Acer would show better support and fix these outstanding bugs/issues. [edited]

Posted Apr 3, 2012 5:09:57 AM

By Remmy

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It would be good if you could include info about the possibility of convergence offset (aka depth offset, or relative eye offset) for 3D content. The Acer H9500BD does not seem to have that. Actually all dlp projectors, i have looked at recently, don't seem to have it. It's pretty much a deal breaker for me.

Posted Mar 21, 2012 8:43:05 AM

By Kslope

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Thanks a lot Bill. I agree with Kent, in my case the specs I value most are: Minimum (I mean zero) ghosting and ability to do 1080p@60Hz@3D. These 2 parameters are fundamental for gaming, the resolution for obvious reasons and the ghosting as it is much more visible than in the movies because the content cannot be optimized to lower the ghosting (as it is dynamically generated) I come from a Dual 1080p polarized 3D setup which made 1080p@60Hz@3D and had some ghosting to an Acer H5360BD which does just 720p@60Hz@3D with almost zero ghosting, definitely a huge improvement. In my experience with the Acer H5360BD the ghosting is caused by the glasses (I have owned 4 models with different degrees of ghosting. Also in some areas of the glasses the ghosting is zero and in other is visible, so clearly the projector itself has zero ghosting). I would greatly appreciate if you reviewed different glasses models and inform us about the glasses performance itself.

Posted Mar 15, 2012 7:21:25 AM

By Kent

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Thanks! I have a Mitsubishi projector that’s 4+ years old and ~14000 hrs its performance and reliability have been amazing. (A pipe in the upstairs bathroom broke and water filled it for at least an hour and it survived!!). But that being said I am going to upgrade to the Panasonic primary because of its quick response time (brightness being the second consideration). I realize gamers are only a small portion of the projector market but for us gamming performance is top consideration when buying a new projector. It would be interesting to do a poll of PC readers to see what specs are the most important to them when selecting a new projector.

Posted Mar 13, 2012 4:13:36 PM

By Bill Livolsi

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Sorry folks - we measured frame delay at 2.5 frames in Game mode and mentioned it in Projector News, but never actually put it in the review. My fault.

Posted Mar 4, 2012 9:35:11 PM

By miahallen

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@ Kent, I agree fully....whats up PC? You said all future reviews would include this information?!?

@ Kslope, DVI must be "dual-link" to support the bandwidth needed for 1080p120 or 1080p60 3D....and it does appear that the H9500BD is dual link. So I agree fully, PC we need an answer on this please :)

Posted Mar 2, 2012 12:26:26 PM

By Kent

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I agree with Kslope, please post the lag times for gaming. Gaming is the main reason for my family owning a projector, movies and sports are just an added bonus. Thank you for your article on lag times you posted on Jan 31st, Keep it up!!

Posted Feb 28, 2012 10:09:02 AM

By Kslope

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Could you please review the gaming capabilities of the H9500BD?, I’d say that the gaming community is mainly interested in the possibility of gaming at 1080p@60Hz@3D. This could be possible through the DVI-I or VGA inputs (maybe through a future firmware update?). If this is not achievable with this projector I am really interested in knowing when this milestone will be achieved by the industry (at an affordable price).

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