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Acer H9500BD 1080p 3D Home Theater Projector

Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projector
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Acer H9500BD Projector Acer H9500BD
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Street Price: n/a
3D: Full HD 3D
Weight: 15.9 lbs
Aspect Ratio:16:9
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, VGA In (x2), DVI, HDMI 1.4a (x2), USB, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/24, 576i, 576p

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.

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Key Features
Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
  Shootout vs HD33 Conclusion
Comments (12) Post a Comment
Kslope Posted Feb 28, 2012 10:09 AM PST
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).
Kent Posted Mar 2, 2012 12:26 PM PST
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!!
miahallen Posted Mar 4, 2012 9:35 PM PST
@ 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 :)
Bill Livolsi Posted Mar 13, 2012 4:13 PM PST
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.
Kent Posted Mar 15, 2012 7:21 AM PST
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.
Kslope Posted Mar 21, 2012 8:43 AM PST
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.
Remmy Posted Apr 3, 2012 5:09 AM PST
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.
Brandon Posted Apr 20, 2012 12:16 PM PST
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]
Don J Posted Apr 24, 2012 9:36 AM PST
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.
jack benson Posted May 28, 2012 3:08 PM PST
good for movies?? or is there better
Dave Posted Apr 14, 2013 9:22 AM PST
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.
Ethen F. Posted Dec 28, 2013 4:33 PM PST
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?

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