Most companies tend to either provide a remote with too little button functions to save on size, or with everything under the sun available, making it a monster of an accessory. Vivitek has managed to blend the two together to create a nice harmony between the size and the amount of on-remote button functionality. It may be one of the better projector remotes I have reviewed Save for the zoom and focus (which are manual on the projector chassis), I was able to do everything I needed with the remote, and all of the buttons worked both logically and as expected.
For the first time, I actually had some trouble setting up a projector to review. The issue I ran across was that the Vivitek 1080FD seemed to be geared primarily toward a ceiling mount (which is upside down) out of the box (even though it also states that it will do table top.) I tend to believe that most folks want their projectors ready to hit the screen right out of the box before they mount it, so it was a bit confusing that it was geared for a ceiling mount with a pretty steep pitch. After fooling with it for about 10 minutes, I finally decided to bookshelf mount it in the test lab, so it actually was at a height of about six feet and 12 feet from the screen. Much like the last projector I reviewed, the Vivitek 1080FD only weighed a little more than seven pounds, so it was easy to maneuver to get into the proper spot and easily could be portable.
Connecting the 1080FD was very easy, as it sports two HDMI connections and a single component connection. So I was able to hook up both my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 simultaneously for the first time in a while. Considering the 1080FD is under $1000, it is great to have that flexibility. Instead of using the component to hook up my DirecTV receiver, I just swapped out one of the game consoles HDMI hookup to preserve the best possible picture.
For video testing, I utilized both the Blu-Ray player in my PlayStation 3 and a DirecTV HD feed. The movie I chose to use was Sherlock Holmes on Blu-Ray, as it has a nice combination of lights and darks, with plenty of CGI and intricate details. One of the scenes that really stood out was in the boat yard where Sherlock is getting chased down by one very angry and large dude. The details of the ship (which were CGI) and the entire dry dock were spectacular and I was able to see in the details of the ship’s hull even in the darker portions of the scene. A few scenes later was when the wharf was blown all to heck, and again the 1080FD provided a great looking picture and easily transitioned from dark to bright (when the explosions came) without issue.
With the DirecTV feed, I mostly watched some NFL Network and NFL preseason games. The image was crisp, clean and the colors were quite vibrant, everything I want in my football display. Considering my primary TV is a 56” rear-projection DLP, I was pretty happy with the 92” of image the 1080FD provided, and I can say it many cases it looked better than my main TV does. About the only issue I noticed during video playback (and to a degree while gaming) was the traditional DLP issue with fast panning of the screen, where the image tends to blur up momentarily. This was most noticeable during NFL games when the camera was following a hard throw that was many yards downfield. The image would blur for a second on the quick camera pan, but collect itself and be razor sharp again when the camera arrived at its destination. I know that this is not a Vivitek 1080FD specific issue, but if you are buying a DLP, be aware that this may happen in some instances.
One other thing I wanted to touch on with the video was the issue with the “rainbow effect” caused by a DLP color wheel. For the most part, I have been immune to this phenomena and I only noticed it a few times with the 1080FD (mainly on solid white lines running across the screen, such as yard markers.) It didn’t really impact the image for me on consistent bases, but I know they are there and it will stand out for some more than others (like a smell.)
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