Another example of the ViewSonic Pro9000’s colour performance in action is the scene where Harry, Hermione and Ron change clothes on a moor after jumping off a dragon (as you do). The projector produces a more tonally rich representation of the grassland backdrop than any affordable projector we’ve seen before.
The ViewSonic Pro9000 also impresses with its motion reproduction. Both camera pans and motion within a frame are handled with aplomb, looking free of judder, blur and the sort of fizzing artefacts you commonly get with normal single-chip/colour wheel DLP projectors. Excellent.
Also very good is the ViewSonic Pro9000’s handling of detail. HD pictures look extremely sharp and polished, yet crucially this sharpness doesn’t look forced or over-cooked. Furthermore, as usual with DLP technology there’s no sense of the grid-like structure of pixels that you can sometimes see with rival-tech projectors.
It’s also a great relief to be able to watch a single-chip DLP projection image that, true to ViewSonic’s promise, isn’t troubled at all by the rainbow effect that’s so commonly an irritant with normal UHP lamp/colour wheel models.
In many ways, then, it really isn’t a stretch to describe the ViewSonic Pro9000’s pictures as genuinely filmic, at least at times. However, aside from the aforementioned difficulties in settling on the best colour settings, there are a few other significant flaws to report.
The most disappointing of these concerns the ViewSonic Pro9000’s black level response. Both the films we used predominantly for our tests feature lots of very dark content, and the laser tech struggled to handle this convincingly, despite the 100,000:1 contrast claims and despite the fact that pictures aren’t as bright as we’d hoped they might be from the 1,600 ANSI Lumens brightness claim.
There’s that all-too familiar grey (or bluish or greenish, depending on your gamma choice) wash over parts of the picture that should be black. This leaves dark scenes looking rather flat, low on shadow detail, and just not totally convincing. Especially as the inability to render a true-looking black also damages the projector’s colour capabilities when showing dark shades.
Another problem that’s also at its most noticeable during dark scenes is a sort of greenish speckling noise. This is readily visible over dark and mid tones if you get quite close to your screen, but it’s also visible in a more ‘general’ way as a vague fizzing effect from normal viewing distances.
Our final complaint about the ViewSonic Pro9000 picture quality is that occasionally the very lightest parts of pictures can look ‘flared out’. In other words, a loss of subtle shading in these light areas can leave them looking like empty white holes ripped from the picture.
Given the extreme contrast demands placed on projectors by many of our favourite Blu-rays, the ViewSonic Pro9000’s difficulties handling dark scenes represent a major hurdle to us taking the company's bold new projector technology to our hearts just yet.
That said, the ViewSonic Pro9000 also gets enough things right in both performance and practical terms to convince us that it’s a technology worth pursuing. File under ‘one to watch’, then...