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Today’s Show:

Acer H6500 DLP Projector Review

When we started the podcast back in 2005, CRT projectors dominated home theater. As great as they looked, they were big, expensive and required routine maintenance to keep them in top form. Today there are a wide variety of digital options that are both inexpensive and very easy to install and maintain. One option for those interested in trying out a 100” or 120” TV in their home theater is the Acer H6500 DLP projector.

About the Projector

The Acer H6500 is a small projector, not nearly the size you expect to see in a built-in home theater projector. The fact that it comes with a carrying case makes you think that it might play in that segment between dedicated home theater and portable projectors. It boasts specs that would fit in a home theater, but lacks a few of the key features that would make it a slam dunk among projectors in its price range.

It is a native 1080p DLP projector with 10,000:1 contrast ratio and a reported 2100 ANSI lumen output. That number can be reduced to 1680 if you run it in Eco mode. It has support for 24 fps movies and plenty of input connections, including 2 HDMI, component, composite and VGA. It can support screen sizes up to 330”. The one biggest feature it lacks is any lens shift capability.  That can make installation a bit tricky, depending on the layout of your room. It sells for around $865.

Performance

First of all, 2100 lumen output is quite bright, and we did find that the picture had ample brightness, not enough to overcome any amount of ambient light, but enough to overcome what we would consider to be normal or moderate ambient light. Acer touts their eColor Boost II+ technology, which is supposed to provide “exceptional color fidelity even in environments with bright ambient light.” The colors were good, very bright and very vivid.

The 10,000:1 contrast ratio is respectable, but not overwhelming. When you look at a $850 projector, you can’t expect it to produce the inky blacks you get from a $2500 or $5000 projector. We didn’t have expectations of that sort, but maybe in the back of our minds we were hoping for a bit more. The H6500 did a solid job with contrast and black levels, probably exactly what you’d expect to see at a projector in its class, but nothing that would put it head and shoulders above the competition.

One feature of the H6500 that we didn’t try out was the wall-color compensation.  According to Acer, this technology allows the H6500 to make “colors pop on any surface, even tinted walls.” We figured that if you’re buying a home theater projector, you’ll get a screen with it, so we stuck to our two Dragonfly screens, a high contrast gray and a bright white. While we didn’t try the wall-color compensation, it did lend credence to the idea that this projector is somewhere between the portable and the built-in classes – better than a portable, but will still look good if you just want to throw an image up on a wall somewhere.

Conclusion

At $865, the Acer H6500 will set you back about the same amount as a 42”-47” HDTV. Add in a screen and wireless HDMI and it’s probably roughly the same as a 55” TV. So for the same investment, you can double your screen size. And the projector is so small, it’s a snap to install and is very low maintenance. Years ago you wouldn’t have been able to consider anything like a 120” home theater projection system for such a small investment. Of course, years ago a 55” TV would have been a lot more expensive as well.

But just like many other areas of home theater, if you’re interested in trying out a front projection system, we recommend you go for it. Ease into it with a small investment like the Acer H6500. You can always upgrade in the future if your needs change or you save up enough to get something better. And if not for a dedicated home theater, you might want to consider the H6500 for portable viewing. Braden is in the market for a somewhat portable projector that is quite bright but still does a good job with video (not just meant for data). The H6500 fits those requirements quite well.

Download Episode #525


Posted by The HT Guys, April 5, 2012 11:24 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.