Review Contents
Intro and Advantages
Best Home Theater Projectors
Performance
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Vivitek H9080FD Projector Vivitek H9080FD
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Street Price: n/a
Contrast:100,000:1
Lumens:800
Weight: 36.0 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.3x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:20,000 Hrs
Warranty:3 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component (x2), RGB, HDMI 1.3 (x2), RS232, 12Volt Out (x2),
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p

Vivitek H9080FD
1080p LED DLP Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, September 8, 2009

Many believe that the next major advance in front projectors will be the move away from high-pressure mercury lamps and towards LED light sources. LED technology has several perks, like cooler operation and much longer life than traditional lamps - sometimes on the order of 20,000 to 40,000 hours. As such, its arrival on the scene has been highly anticipated by home theater aficionados and enthusiasts.

The new H9080FD from Vivitek is the first 1080p LED projector to reach our offices, and the first time we've seen LED technology in anything but a pocket- or pico- projector. It is also the first time we've seen LED illumination which even begins to approach the brightness of a traditional lamp, at 800 ANSI lumens. However, the H9080FD is not just a technology demo - it's a serious home theater projector. It has a 1.3:1 manual zoom lens with vertical and horizontal shift, for added flexibility. The LEDs cycle quickly enough to eliminate the appearance of rainbow effects, as it is supposedly the equivalent of a 20x-speed color wheel. It has a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. While there are some quirks (there always are), the projector is not just a proof-of-concept. That said, it still has a price that's commensurate with an early-adopter product, at $14,999. While subsequent generations will surely come down in price, those who want the latest and greatest will have to pony up the cash.

Advantages

High lumen output. The H9080FD is not the first LED projector to hit the market, but it is the first one bright enough to be used in a home theater. Using settings appropriate for home theater, the H9080FD produced 360 ANSI lumens, which is enough for a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen in a light-controlled environment. Using BrilliantColor, lumen output was boosted to 467 ANSI lumens without significantly decreasing apparent color saturation or image quality. This increase in lumen output is useful if you wish to use a screen larger than 100" diagonal, or if you have some ambient light in your projection environment that cannot be removed.

A word about lamp degradation: it is common knowledge that the high-pressure mercury lamps used in the vast majority of front projectors lose brightness as they age. Projectors nearing the end of a lamp's life will appear half a bright as they did with a fresh lamp. One of the advantages of LED lamps is that they do not degrade like mercury lamps do. What does this mean for you? The H9080FD will appear just as bright in 20,000 hours as it does when you take it out of the box.

Contrast. The H9080FD boasts an on/off contrast rating of 100,000:1. In real-world terms, the projector's black level beats that of several traditional LCD, DLP, and LCOS projectors released recently. Since the LEDs can actually be turned off (or at least nearly turned off) when an all-black image is displayed, the H9080FD has an excellent black.

Where this projector really shines, though, is ANSI contrast. ANSI contrast describes the relative black and white levels that can appear in the same image at the same time - in other words, ANSI contrast measures the maximum contrast in any one particular image. In the past, the best projectors we've seen measured around 580:1 or 600:1, while many very good projectors measured 450:1 or lower.

This background information is provided in order to put the following number in perspective: the Vivitek H9080FD measured 844:1 ANSI contrast in our test lab. This is nearly half again as much as the next nearest competitor, and very impressive by any reasonable standard. The dynamic range on screen at any given time is broad enough to do justice to even the highest-contrast content available.

Review Contents: Intro and Advantages Additional Advantages Limitations

Reader Comments(15 comments)

Posted Feb 17, 2011 3:44:56 PM

By Bill

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Excited not to be concerned with lamp life soon. Of course old tech still off sets price for this baby. Can't wait till I can afford an LED set up. Dreams do come true!

Posted Nov 6, 2010 11:33:53 AM

By Cam

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Leds can turn on and off instantly, producing only the colour required for the pixel to be lighted... In contrast, the colour disk in the lamp style projector spins to allow only one colour at a time to get to the dlp array, but to get, say blue, you have to absorb, or BLOCK everything that's not blue, this is 2/3 of the light! 2/3 of the light output is being automatically blocked! NO wonder these lamps have to be so bright! They thrash themselves to death in no time! Only 1/3 is getting through to the dlp array. In contrast, 100% of each led's light is passed through to the dlp array, ONLY in the wavelength required at any given moment. So the led only needs 1/3 the brightness to achieve the same output brightness. This said, those are still some bright LEDS! This greater efficiency leads to- I guess about 1/3 the heat output, with much less cooling required= quieter operation. The wave of the future indeed! This is on my wish list when prices drop. My apologies for speeling, I am Canadian...

Posted Oct 21, 2010 6:12:06 AM

By Salvatore Vigliotti

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If I understand this correctly. The light stream combines color on the projection. Then if Strong enough LED can be produced. Creating a Rainbow of Colors. The picture would be more clear and boardering on 3D then any other projector in history. Light is processed in layers. All you would need to do is put them in the proper order. Such as nature already does. Once projecting the rainbow spectrum you would need to experiment with the strenght of each stream of light until you get the proper balance of light for each spectrum. Infrafred and Ultraviolet may or may not be and issue. But most likely will not effect the stream. In an outdoor enviroment it would be better to have. Also in a floresent enviroment you would need it as well as floresent projects ultaviolet. The only thing that will cancel an affect is and equal affect. Thankfully LED is much less exspensive now.

Posted Jul 30, 2010 8:04:48 AM

By Colby

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really? Way to expensive for something like a projector. You have to be an idiot to buy this

Posted Mar 11, 2010 2:38:35 PM

By Medenyx

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Agree with that, Bjorn!

Still, think you are a little bit 'honest', ;-D , but can not be patient enough, to wait (for) that out ...

Posted Jan 25, 2010 5:26:20 PM

By youboubob

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just to make a note that the LED's are not white there will be 3 groups of red, green, blue LED's turning on and off in order to have full colour picture

Posted Sep 12, 2009 10:29:57 PM

By Doniz

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Thre primitive 1.3x range MANUAL ZOOM and MANUAL FOCUS lens alone ensures that this is NOT a PJ that could seriously compete with LCD, CMOS, D-ILA, and SXRD HT projectors, all of which cost much, much less than this here white elephant. Color wheel or no color wheel, I would not get any single-chip DLP projector, and the 3-chip DLPs are still, and probably forever will be, price prohibitively.

This looks like an $1,750 DLP PJ, tops, with a $13,250 light source affixed to it. Now, even at $400 a UHP lamp, you would go through 32 or 33 lamps before this PJ would gets its money back for its ROI. At 2,000 hours a lamp, that would come to 66,000 hours of up time for the PJ itself. By which time this PJ would be most likely be dead, anyhow. Also, you would have had to replace the 20K hour LED panels twice already by then!

Changing the V-H lens shift seems to be a laugh riot. Doing this routine may have been acceptable in the early 1980s for a PJ, but not today.

Eric, what you say cannot happen, because the LED lamp is an ARRAY of LED lights and is much, much larger overall than what would fit into a normal PJ body.

Bjorn, see you in the screening room in the year 2025! :-))

Posted Sep 9, 2009 10:35:58 AM

By Dan Wells

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With this price and low brightness, this thing IS just a proof of concept. From the review, it sounds like it's a pretty darned good $5000 projector with a $10,000 light source attached. The one case where the extremely high price for the light source would most likely be warranted is as an auditorium projector for museums, National Parks, etc... where the projector is likely to be running the same movie in a loop all day long (therefore eating bulbs MUCH faster than in a home theater application - even worse than the pure hour rating would indicate, because the bulb gets less chances to cool, and therefore blows much faster). Unfortunately, it's not bright enough for most such venues... If it were $15,000 but 3500 lumens, it would have the high end of that market (and also some advertising displays and the like where the projector runs 12 hours per day). If it were $5000, the LED illumination has some real advantages for home use, but when it's neither bright enough for the obvious commercial uses nor priced so that a home user would ever use enough bulbs to pay off the difference, it's really just a (successful) proof of concept.

Posted Sep 9, 2009 9:58:39 AM

By borromini

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My sentiments exactly Bjorn...particularly the brightness. I would want 1,600 lumens minimum.

Posted Sep 9, 2009 9:57:03 AM

By Dave B

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"Wouldn't it be nice if the manufacturers would sell us white led replacement bulbs for existing projectors. If they are bright enough to use as headlights on Audis, they are bright enough to replace 1200 lumen mercury lamps."

The inaccurate color spectrum of "white" LED bulbs makes them unusable for projection. Sorry! Otherwise, that would be a great idea.

Posted Sep 9, 2009 9:54:58 AM

By Dave B

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LED illumination (along with laser) is the future of projection technology. It's refreshing that the HT industry's first real LED contender is such a competent machine. As generations pass and more manufacturers abandon bulbs in favor of LED, LED will quickly replace bulb illumination across the board. My guess is that within five years, all serious HT machines will be bulb-free.

LED also allows DLP to finally let go of the "rainbow" that has been its one real negative for viewers who are sensitive. Now that DLP can drive a screen rainbow-free, the negatives of LCOS and SXRD will make them a harder sell as their current advantages are largely measured against the rainbow-disadvantage of DLP.

Posted Sep 9, 2009 4:43:32 AM

By Mike D.

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I don't see who this projector is marketed to. Someone wanting to spend $15k on a projector is surely going to have a screen that is 120"+ so the H9080 isn't an option.

They should have priced this thing in the $5000-$6000 bracket as right know I can't imagine it selling well unless someone gets duped into buying it for their 150" screen.

Posted Sep 8, 2009 10:08:00 PM

By Eric Olson

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Wouldn't it be nice if the manufacturers would sell us white led replacement bulbs for existing projectors. If they are bright enough to use as headlights on Audis, they are bright enough to replace 1200 lumen mercury lamps. Of course the never will, because they want us to buy new projectors. I hope some enterprising capitalist sells led replacement bulbs, because I would love to have a cool operating replacement bulb in my Optoma HD72 that did not lose brightness, that used way less electricity, and that would outlast the projector.

Posted Sep 8, 2009 6:19:33 PM

By Dan

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Phtalight LEDs are used in cheaper LG mini-projector:

LG Electronics HS-101 (2007) 100 lumens 800x600 $1000

LG Electronics HS-200G (2009) 2lbs 200 ANSI lumens 2000:1 contrast

Posted Sep 8, 2009 5:53:30 PM

By Bjorn

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Wow, now THAT is the future of projection!!

Now give me this in a third to fourth generation product with 500,000:1 CR, 1200 Lumens and a smaller 20lb body at a price point of $5,000 and this bad boy is MINE :-)

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