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Best Home Theater Projectors
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Features
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Vivitek H1080FD Projector Vivitek H1080FD
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Street Price: n/a
Contrast:4,000:1
Lumens:1800
Weight: 7.8 lbs
Resolution:1920x1080
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Technology:DLP
Lens:1.2x manual
Lens Shift:No
Lamp Life:2,000 Hrs
3,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:n/a
Warranty:1 year
Connectors:  S-Video, Composite, Component, VGA In, HDMI 1.3 (x2), Audio Out, USB, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 576i, 576p

Vivitek H1080FD
1080p DLP Home Theater Projector

Bill Livolsi, October 7, 2009

Vivitek's new H1080FD is their latest 1080p projector, and one of the first 1080p projectors to be priced at $999. This small, bright DLP projector has a wonderful high-definition picture, solid contrast, and accurate color after some calibration. Performance does not match more expensive 1080p projectors, nor does it have the feature set to compete with higher-priced models. But as an entry point to high-definition big-screen theater, it is a good product and a great price performer.

The H1080FD has several potential uses. High maximum lumen output make it good for HD sports or video games in ambient light. Accurate, well-saturated color (post-calibration) could be useful for those wishing to display high resolution photography on a budget. And strong contrast performance is always useful in home theater. The H1080FD has its weaknesses - a 3x-speed color wheel and some user interface quirks - but for $999, it is an attractive value proposition that should appeal to first-time buyers looking to get into 1080p projection.

Advantages

High lumen output. The H1080FD is rated at 1800 ANSI lumens in its brightest mode. The projector's bright mode is helpfully named "Bright," and our test sample produced 1607 lumens when using the high lamp setting. This is 89% of the stated specification, and more than enough light for a 100" screen in ambient light conditions. Color performance in this mode is not well-balanced, and you lose some contrast in favor of more lumens, but ambient light typically throws off color accuracy and contrast anyway.

Movie mode, which has superior contrast and color accuracy that is more appropriate for home theater, measured 712 lumens on our test unit. It also had much higher color saturation than Bright mode did, along with better visible contrast and deeper black levels. For home theater in a light-controlled room, this is enough to power a 150" diagonal screen. Alternatively, you could use Movie mode on a 100"-120" screen in mild to moderate ambient light, such as for more 'serious' video games that benefit from a more cinematic presentation.

Low lamp mode, which on this projector is called "Standard" (as opposed to "Boost"), reduces lumen output by 15%. This brings Bright mode to 1360 lumens and Movie mode to 605 lumens. Be aware that the specified lamp life of 3,000 hours is in Standard mode, not Boost, so using Boost mode may in fact shorten lamp life.

Contrast. Contrast specs have undergone some inflation in the last two or three years. In days past, it was not unusual to see a projector like the Panasonic AE-700, rated at 2000:1, become the hot product of the year. These days, there are several projectors rated at or above 100,000:1. I'm here to tell you that a projector rated at 5,000:1, like the H1080FD, can indeed produce a picture with excellent snap and sparkle that is perfectly suitable for use in an entry level home theater. Will it have a black level approaching that of deep space? No. Will you be clearly able to see the borders of the projected image, even when projecting a black screen? Yes. You may have to adjust the picture settings to avoid losing some detail in the low end, but the picture looks very good, and dynamic range is impressive for a product at this price.

Color. After spending some time with the color adjustment controls, the H1080FD is capable of well-saturated, accurate color. Some adjustment is absolutely necessary, because the factory default settings in Movie mode are noticeably unbalanced. If you are just getting into home theater projection for the first time, you probably don't have a calibration disc or any familiarity with optimizing the picture adjustments. No matter. The adjustments needed to get a good picture from the H1080FD are easy enough.

Using the default settings on out test sample, colors were oversaturated to the point of looking artificial. Thus, reduce the Color control to the point where colors and skin tones look natural and not overdriven. Next, you'll want to move the Tint control towards the magenta, which on this projector means moving it to the right. You will also want to adjust the gamma setting--the default is 12 in Movie mode; we preferred 7. After these adjustments have been made, the H1080FD has a very nicely balanced picture for a projector in this price range.

If you are interested in displaying photography, the H1080FD's solid contrast and vibrant color make it an affordable choice for the high-resolution display of photographs. 1080p projectors offer some of the highest resolution available - a 4:3 image displayed on a 1080p projector is higher in resolution than an SXGA+ projector. The H1080FD offers you access to this ideal photography display format at an affordable price.

Quiet operation. The H1080FD is quieter than many other small DLP projectors. While it weighs less than six pounds and produces more than 1500 lumens, it only uses a 230-watt lamp and is it is very quiet during operation. This helps if you want to use your projector on a coffee table, since less fan noise equates to less distraction and less heat exhaust getting blown around near your audience.

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Reader Comments(15 comments)

Posted Oct 27, 2009 5:59 AM PST

By Jimbo

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Would love to see these compared with the Benq W1000 and the Mitsubishi HC3800.

Posted Nov 20, 2009 8:52 PM PST

By Eric

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I just purchased this projector based on this review. What are your preferred settings?

Posted Nov 28, 2009 12:46 PM PST

By Keith Davies

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I have just received a Vivitec H1085 rated at 2000 lumens and 5000-1 contrast. I note that the menu position is movable and reasy to use. I do not yet have a screen and projected onto an off white wall {buttercup white}. Even with all the lights on the 120inch image was very watchable and when the lights were turned down the picture was extremely good. I did notice some colour flashes or"rainbows" while watchingthe DVD "Tristan and Isolde" but I was watching intently for "rainbows" and would honestly say that I saw very few and was not troubled by them.This may not be the same for everyone. My previous experience of projectors has been LCD projectors at work and this is my first home cinema projector. Please can anyone give me advice regarding a screen as my viewing room has a white ceiling and light coloured walls and a maple floor with light coloured furnishings. WHITE or HIGH CONTRAST GREY?

Posted Dec 15, 2009 1:44 PM PST

By Diddiz

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I have never viewed a DLP projector until now. The rainbow effect has fully engaged me and i cannot use this projector. Especially for video games. First person shooters with white crosshairs became a blur of rainbows for me and left me with a sense of vertigo. Maybe Im just overly sensitive to the rainbow effect but my girlfriend also noticed it when reading words off the screen. Also, there was a pulsing effect coming from the screen when viewing at 24fps that was annoying. Not to mention the reddish hugh all along the upper righ half of the screen and the light leakege out of the front of the projector is visible on your ceiling and sidewalls.

This was going to replace my Sanyo Z60 and it did look much better and impressive when i originally set them up side by side, especially in brightness. However with all the set backs on this thing I would not give it a very good rating. I wish i would have went with the Optoma HD20 for the same money since it has the 4x color wheel which lessens the rainbow effect, the biggest set back i feel from the vivitek.

Posted Jun 9, 2010 6:44 AM PST

By ketan

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if i were to compare vivitk 1080 to panasonic ae4000 which would be better for home theatre.

Posted Jun 12, 2010 10:18 PM PST

By LAM cti19124

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Can you tell me which model is the best would like to buy one of those? thanks

Posted Aug 1, 2010 1:49 PM PST

By Sam Jos

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after reviewing somanypro & users reviews online, I choose to buy Vivitek 1080FD, & was impressed with its performance, but to my great dismise,bulb just blown within 15-20 hours usage, eventhough using with surge protector. I had read premature bulb blown out with Epson 6100, but I experienced it within 1 month. Amazon asked me to contact Vivitek people without any further help, let me see if vivitek people agree with 90 days bulb warranty & supply me with free replacement bulb..... So NEW POTENTIAL BUYERS of vivitek 1080FD - please BEWARE of this possible havok!!!!!

Posted Dec 4, 2010 5:48 AM PST

By sudhakar rao

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vivtek lamp is not sold by retailers. it is difficult to obtain it on line. when you call vivitek, there is a recording. difficult to get service. I spoke to a woman.I want a lamp for my projector. she said" is that all you want from us?"then she hung up.

Posted Aug 17, 2011 3:09 PM PST

By Nathan

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I have owned this projector for 13 months. After 11 months the projector began flickering. I contacted Vivitek and received a repair order number. I was told I would have to pay to ship the projector across the country to be repaired. Before I boxed the projector up I decided to watch several movies on it to make sure it was still flickering so that I would not waste my money shipping it only to have it returned not diagnosed. The flickering did not occur then so I did not send the projector to be repaired. One month later the flickering returned HORRIBLY!!! I contacted the company and they said I was now out of warranty! They had the problem documented prior to the lapse of the one year warranty period but did not want to accept repair of the unit because it was now barely out of warranty.

Posted Oct 17, 2011 1:15 PM PST

By RyanR

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The projector was great for the first 250 hours then the bulb began flickering. (FYI I am at 5500ft and I am using the obnoxiously loud High Altitude mode. Vivitek support states that you will void your warranty and can except extremely short bulb life if you live above 5000ft and do not use this mode. It is unfortunate because it is whisper quiet on normal mode and sounds like a vacuum hanging from my ceiling in high altitude mode.)

I switched the bulb to High mode and this eliminated the flickering so I continued using the projector. Now at about 520 hours the flickering is back in High mode and if I switch to Low mode its like a strobe light.

I will be contacting their support again tonight but it seems like flickering/bulb issues may be a problem with this device.

Posted Oct 30, 2011 4:37 AM PST

By jpn

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Flickering intermettent issues since i have this pj... Now at 800h hours of usage, hdmi port #1 is not working anymore (pink colour all over) under ports are still ok. Will begin rma process monday morning, its suppose to be covered until march 2012... Based on the reviews i hope its not going to be a nightmare to get it replace...

Posted Dec 20, 2011 1:50 PM PST

By Anthony

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Have owned this projector since August of 2010 and the flickering problem started within 45 days of purchase and installation...sent the projector back (shipping prepaid from my own pocket) to Vivitek and they kept it for approximately a month and "could not duplicate the problem". So, it was returned to me and the problem they could not see on their end was still there. This is a well known problem with this model now and Vivitek refuses to acknowledge or repair. They did however offer to send me a refurbished model at no charge...let's see... you buy a new product 45 days earlier, have problems, send it in for repair, they cannot see the problem, and still yet offer you a refurbished unit? Sounds like they know something but won't admit to it. I paid for a "NEW" unit and expected a "NEW" replacement. My last VIVITEK purchase for sure...$1000 is not a cheap projector and it most certainly should have come with a satisfation guarantee but DID NOT...STAY AWAY FROM THIS MODEL or STAY AWAY FROM VIVITEK...VERY POOR COMPANY AND SERVICE AND PRODUCT!

Posted Apr 10, 2014 12:59 PM PST

By Rodrick

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If anyone is still dealing with this flickering problem, READ THIS. I dealt with this for about 6 months and tried everything. I finally fixed the issue by removing the black circular panel around the lens, so that more air could flow through the projector. I also took the whole thing apart and blew it out with a leaf blower to get all the dust out. After doing that it works like a charm, even in regular mode. Previously I could only get it to stay on for about 5-10 minutes even in high-altitude mode.

Posted Mar 7, 2015 2:13 PM PST

By Brandon

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Rodrick,

How did you remove that black piece? Does it just pop off are there screws etc? I have the flickering and its really bothering me.

Posted Sep 1, 2015 8:24 AM PST

By Bill

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I own two Vivitec 1080FD projectors, one used at our company, and one used at home. I have never experience 'any' flicker whatsoever. I live basically at sea level though so perhaps this is a high altitude problem. These projectors have been in regular use for multiple years, the home projector in daily use for 8 hours a day for over three months and no issues.

I just want to provide some perspective here, I'm sure the other posts are genuine, just not necessarily the complete picture of ownership. I love the quietness and performance and price point. If you look now on projector central for 1080 and low sound you will pay $1000 more for the cheapest option.

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