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So far, everything the H9080FD is claiming is a million miles away from any previous LED projection story. And this trend continues - with knobs on - when it comes to the H9080FD's design. Instead of being some ultra-portable projector, the H9080FD is ruddy huge - possibly the largest projector I've ever had perched on my projector stand, in fact.
Not surprisingly this makes it rather dominant in your room. But Vivitek has at least had a passable go at 'sexing up' its leviathan, thanks to a nice silver section around the lens and down the centre of the projector's top side, which stands in stark contrast to the general matt black of the rest of the chassis. There's a distinctive blaze of red around the lens zoom/focus controls too, if you want a bit of colour in your life.
The H9080FD's already considerable up-front appeal is bolstered still further by its connectivity, as we find excellent highlights of two HDMIs, a BNC-type component video input, an RCA component video input, an RGB PC port, an RS-232 for system integration, an IR input, and not one but two 12V trigger jacks for driving external devices such as a motorised screen.
Setting the H9080FD up is a largely straightforward experience. For starters, the simple zoom/focus ring around the lens is reasonably sensitive and robust, with the level of zoom available being a respectable - though certainly not amazing - 1.3x.
If you're worried about this zoom range potentially limiting the H9080FD's ability to deliver the right sized image for your particular room, though, fear not. For the projector has two lens options available: a 1.56-1.86:1 option, and a 1.85-2.40:1. And optional zoom adaptors extend this range to 1.24-3.0.
The projector also permits 120 per cent vertical and 30 per cent horizontal image shifting - a potentially invaluable aid to getting the image in the right place in your room. Though it's a pity you can only access this via a hidden screw mechanism that can only be turned via a provided wrench.
The onscreen menus, meanwhile, are clean and logical, and sensibly place the really in-depth stuff out of immediate sight in submenus, so that you only need to be faced by the techie bits if you really want to seek them out. You're even provided with a few test patterns to help you calibrate things perfectly.
Among the projector's reasonably impressive suite of adjustments are the facility to: adjust the offset and gain for the RGB colour elements; choose the colour space and refresh rate (or you can let the projector auto select them for you); set Texas Instruments' BrilliantColor system on or off; select the extent to which you want the Dynamic Iris to work; and adjust the image's sharpness in no less than 12 different ways!!
While a touch more colour management sophistication would have really sealed the deal, overall the H9080FD is a tinkerer's dream. Or more pertinently, it's extremely well geared up to the needs of a specialist home cinema installer.
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