Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
DIY Home Theater
ViewSonic Pro9000 Projector ViewSonic Pro9000
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Street Price: n/a
MSRP:$2,129
Contrast:100,000:1
Lumens:1600
Weight: 9.4 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:20,000 Hrs
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, RGB, HDMI (x2), RS232
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p

Viewsonic Pro9000
LED/Laser Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, November 30, 2012

Limitations

Lumen degradation. One of the purported perks of LED/laser projectors is that, unlike traditional arc-lamp models, their light output does not degrade over time. We have not found this to be strictly true. After running the Pro9000 for just over 120 hours, our test sample shows a loss of about 10% of its initial light output. So after 120 hours of use, the maximum light output in Theater mode became 427 lumens compared to the initial 478 lumens out of the box.

In the past we did extended burn tests of a first-generation Casio LED/laser hybrid projector and found a 25% lumen degradation over the first 200 hours of operation. We were only able to run the Pro9000 for 120 hours, but that test indicates that lumen degradation on this model is not as severe as on those early Casio models. Only time will tell how much light output may be curtailed over many thousands of hours of use.

Color. Most home theater projectors can be calibrated fairly easily. However, there are two problems with the Pro9000. First, the default calibration -- the settings the projector ships with from the factory -- is visibly incorrect. Secondly and more importantly, the projector's color controls are simplistic and difficult to use, such that we could not calibrate our test unit to the desired 6500K.

By default, the projector's white balance pushes magenta, which makes the entire image appear purplish. To counteract this, one must add green, which is the opposite of magenta in the additive color model. But that doesn't fix the problem completely, since the Pro9000 only provides one axis of adjustment. The Pro9000 has controls for Red Gain, Green Gain, and Blue Gain, while other projectors typically split these adjustments into Gain and Bias, allowing you to independently adjust highlights and shadows.

Locked Image Modes. The Pro9000 has a number of image modes, but the projector does not allow complete calibration of these modes. You can freely change brightness, contrast, and color saturation, but if you attempt to alter Color Temperature, you are prompted to save your changes to either of the projector's two User modes. Since the projector's default calibrations all have significant white balance issues, most people will find themselves in User 1 or User 2 mode before long.

Placement Flexibility. The Pro9000 has a 1.2:1 zoom lens and no lens shift. As such, it is best placed on a low table or in a ceiling mount. It is typical for low-cost home theater projectors to have this type of lensing, and it is likewise common to see the same setup on many business and presentation projectors. However, on a home theater projector priced at $2999, it is unusual.

No Frame interpolation. Most home theater projectors in this price range feature some kind of frame interpolation, which smooths out the judder created by fast action and camera pans. Some of those systems are less successful than others, but there have been $1500 home theater projectors that still managed to include FI systems. The Pro9000 does not have any frame interpolation on board.

No 3D. Love it or hate it, almost all home theater projectors these days are able to display 3D. The Pro9000 is, so far, the only home theater projector around the $3000 price point released this year to lack 3D.

Value. The primary attraction of lampless technology is, obviously, that users no longer need to buy lamps. Unfortunately, the Pro9000's $2999 asking price is just as much as the most popular models in today's market, and despite this the projector lacks now-common features that appear in many other projectors. Click over to the Competition page to learn exactly what the differences are.

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Performance
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Competition
Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
  Competition Conclusion

Reader Comments(11 comments)

Posted Mar 22, 2014 8:37:48 PM

By JackII

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Bill,

I am well aware of what input lag is and this projector handles it well. I have had a very good experience with this projector so far. There was one blackout during a game online with my brother. Still not sure if it was the projector of my machine but have not been able to duplicate the problem.

I have seen all the other projectors out there and I am having a hard time justifying the price of some machines. My projector is throwing at 15' onto a 120" custom silver and Matte white spandex screen. The picture quality is simply amazing.

Posted Jan 26, 2014 6:52:42 PM

By Jack II

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Far too much emphasis is being placed on 3D. Who in their right mind thinks 3D is a must have feature. It is nothing more than a fad that will be all but forgotten in 6 mos. I bought this projector for 3 main reasons; 1 it's LED! Which means fewer if not no lamp replacement. Traditional lamps are simply unreliable and expensive. 2 Viewsonic always has a good or very good picture. 3 Input lag for games. This projector simply meets all my tick boxes.If your rich and want to pay for lamps and 3D high end light cannons you'll likely never use, have at it.

Posted Nov 27, 2013 3:20:43 PM

By Stunko

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I am sorry, but this particular review is way too long an tedious, about 80 percent longer than hat it should/could be. Most of us hava no time reading a review of this length on each and every projector out there that we may be considering inquiring about and/or acquiring. This particular review would have been much better and snappier if it as about 02 percent as long as it had actually turned out to be. Way too long.

Posted Nov 24, 2013 2:43:24 PM

By Mike B

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I'm moving into an off grid house and looking to replace my old Optoma hd70 with something 1080p and more energy efficient due to wanting to keep the power consumption as low as possible (because I'll be living off batteries). Are there any other LED projectors available or should I wait a few months and see what comes out?

Posted Nov 7, 2013 10:33:13 AM

By Kiran Kayen

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Can this projector be used for mini color grading setup like fcp color or resolve lite Kiran Kayen

Posted Dec 30, 2012 7:07:46 PM

By gary

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How far away are we from having Epson and Panny use the new LED technology in their annual feature home projectors? Later this year? Or 2014? Or never ???

Posted Dec 21, 2012 9:10:03 AM

By Bill Livolsi

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Jack -- they are two different things.

Input lag measures the time between when a signal is sent to the projector and when that signal is actually displayed, compared to an external reference monitor. The signal that makes it to the projector is still in its native frame rate and can still have all kinds of problems with judder and motion.

Frame interpolation smooths out motion in film and video by analyzing the frames of the signal and creating new interstitial frames between them. This makes video appear smoother and drastically reduces judder, but it also increases processing time and thereby also makes input lag worse.

Here's an analogy: if you order a pizza from a national chain, they will have it to your door very quickly, but it probably won't be a very good pizza. On the other hand, you can get a really delicious pizza from an actual pizza parlor, but you won't have it in 30 minutes. Increasing quality (by creating interstitial frames) increases delivery time (input lag). The analogy has its limits, one of which is that I'm now hungry for pizza, but I hope that helps.

Posted Dec 10, 2012 3:27:18 PM

By Jack

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The high speed of 17ms of the 9000 would seem to remove the necessity of frame interpolation. Is this true or are we mixing two separate functions?

Posted Dec 4, 2012 11:28:28 AM

By Bill Livolsi

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Saied - No, we did not see rainbows.

Palmer - The projector uses a combination of light emitting diodes and lasers to create red, green, and blue light, which are used to create the image. While this does not require a color wheel, it is still a sequential-color, single DLP chip technology.

Posted Nov 30, 2012 2:36:25 PM

By Palmer Woodrow

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Interesting, but this still doesn't explain what a "hybrid LED/laser" engine is. Lasers and LEDs are both light sources. How are they used together in one of these?

Posted Nov 30, 2012 2:31:16 PM

By Saied

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Please could you say if there was any rainbow effect, thanks.

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