1080p 3D Home Theater Projector
February 27, 2012
H9500BD versus Optoma HD33
Both the Acer H9500BD and the Optoma HD33 cost less than $2000, and both are full HD 3D compatible. Both use DLP imaging engines. Despite all these similarities, the two projectors do have some salient differences. Rather than spend a lot of time going through lists of features and functions, let's talk about image quality.
In 2D, the Optoma's main advantages are color and natural appearance. The HD33 has more accurate, more vibrant color than the H9500BD, which is no mean feat as the H9500BD has solid color to begin with. More important is the smooth, natural, film-like quality of the HD33's image, which makes the H9500BD look slightly artificial in comparison. The H9500BD is brighter than the HD33, though not by much. The H9500BD also appears higher in contrast, with slightly better dynamic range in most scenes.
In 3D, it's a different story. The HD33 has deeper black and better color than the H9500BD, though it is a subtle difference even under the best of circumstances. However, the HD33 also has visible crosstalk, while the H9500BD has none at all. That's saying a lot; when the HD33 came out we praised it for its lack of crosstalk and clean 3D image. None of that has changed, it's just that the H9500BD is incrementally better in these areas. Both the HD33 and the H9500BD outclass the similarly-priced Epson Home Cinema 3010 when it comes to 3D image quality, as well.
When it comes to 3D brightness, the issue is not settled until we do a little bit of math. The H9500BD is brighter than the HD33 in 2D, but both projectors have dedicated 3D image modes that you must use, so that brightness advantage doesn't necessarily translate. As mentioned previously, the H9500BD's 3D mode measures a measly 689 lumens as opposed to the 909 lumens it puts out in our preferred 2D viewing mode. Meanwhile, the HD33 does not lose any brightness at all, still cranking out over 800 lumens in 3D. The HD33's glasses also transmit 32% of the image's brightness compared to 30% for the H9500BD.
The end result (drumroll please) is this: at the end of the day, the HD33 is ever so slightly brighter in 3D than the H9500BD, at 260 lumens versus 210 lumens apparent brightness, as seen through 3D glasses. On a 100" diagonal 1.0 gain screen, that puts the HD33 at 9 fL versus the H9500BD's 7 fL. A small difference, to be sure, but an appreciable one nonetheless. Then again, the HD33 has crosstalk, and the H9500BD doesn't.
One other point: the HD33 has a six-segment, 6x-speed color wheel, while the H9500BD has a 4x-speed wheel. If you are one of the unlucky few who is hypersensitive to rainbows and still sees them on a 4x-speed wheel, you have my condolences.