Mitsubishi HC1500 DLP Home Theater Projector Review: Overview
8-4-2007 Art Feierman
This is easy. First of all, the new Mitsubishi HC1500 home theater projector from Mitsubishi, is essentially a reworked HD1000U. There are almost no differences in performance, although the HC1500 (link to specs) is slightly brighter. Mostly the HC1500 is simply redesigned to be less expensive to build in volume, and that's good for consumers.
Of course it's been quite a while since I reviewed the HD1000U, when new (10/06), but the competition the HD1000U faced back then is essentially the same as the HC1500 faces today. First of all, there are very few under $1000, 720p resolution projectors. Of those, the Optoma HD70 (the first) is still out there, as is an Hitachi projector (we haven't reviewed yet). BenQ has just launched their W500. For more money, biggest names - Panasonic's PT-AX100U, and Sanyo PLV-Z5, also were shipping when we reviewed the HD1000U.
As a result, this review will canibalize some paragraphs from the older review, but focus on how the HC1500 fits into the current "world order". If you've previously read that HC1000 review, the biggest change is probably the perspective, as the HD1000U when reviewed, was $1495 (with free spare lamp), vs. $995, so its position in the market has changed since the review, and there is some fresh competition.
Like its predecessor (at the end of its life), the Mitsubishi HC1500 home theater projector is priced right - under $1000, and provides excellent value.
So far, of all the under $1000 720p resolution home theater projectors we've reviewed, the HC1500 currently provides the best value - price/performance - in terms of picture quality!
The HC1500 earns our Hot Product Award.
Mitsubishi HC1500 Projector: Basic Specs
Technology: Darkchip2 DLP front projector
Native Resolution: WXGA 1280x720
Brightness: 1600 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 2000 hours full power, 3000 lumens eco-mode
Weight: 6.5 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year Parts and Labor
Mitsubishi HC1500 Home Theater Projector: Physical Tour
From the front, the HC1500 is a compact projector, with its 1.2:1 ratio zoom lens center mounted. Thanks to the lens being centered, you don't have to calculate for a lens mounted off-center, and, if ceiling mounting, won't have to compensate for where the ceiling mount (or shelf) needs to be placed.
For a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen, the projector can be placed as close as 11.9 feet and as far back as 14.5 feet.
Just to the right of the lens is the front Infra-red sensor for the remote control. Below the lens, and slightly off-center, is the HC1500's single front foot. It is screw thread adjustable for height. I should note that there are also 2 rear feet (at the far back on each side). These are also screw adjustable, but these two each have a drop release button as well. With all feet unextended, the projector projects the image upward slightly, relative to the projector placement.
Moving to the top, directly behind the lens are the manual adjustment rings for zoom and focus. Also on the top of the HC1500, is the control panel.
The control panel itself is basic. In addition to a large power button, there are only six additional buttons, although several have two functions. Looking from the rear, the lower left button brings up the menu. Navigation is then handled by the four arrow keys, and in the center of those, the Enter button. When not using the menu, the up arrow doubles to handle auto setup, the left and right arrows do source selection (the left one computer and the right one, video).
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The inputs are located on the back of the HC1500. The selection is pretty standard: A single HDMI input for a digital source, one HD15 computer input for a typical analog computer source, or it can be used for a component video signal. Then, there are the usual 3 RCA jacks for Component video, allowing a total of 2 component video sources, if you aren't hooking up a computer. In addition there are the usual S-video and composite video inputs. The Mitsubishi HC1500 also has a serial port and USB for "command and control". Lastly, there's one "luxury" item, the HC1500 also sports a 12volt Trigger jack for controlling a compatible motorized screen (most motorized screens have 12 volt control as an option, some versions standard). Lastly, there is a second IR (infra-red) sensor for the remote, and the power receptical.
The HC1500 vents hot air out the front, away from the lens (to the right if you are looking from the back of the projector). This makes the HC1500 home theater projector viable for shelf mounting in the rear of your room, if that should work for your situation. (It would need to be mounted below the screen bottom.)
The projector's case, as noted, is dark gray, with the lens and some front trim (actually behind the grill) in black. As you can see from the image, the overall look is slightly sculpted with the top of the projector slightly higher in the center and lowering towards the left and right sides.
Jay Leno above, with low lighting levels in the room (HD1000U)
Overall, the Mitsubishi isn't particularly physically attractive, but at least, it's not a plain box. Most important is how the image looks on the screen. And that means it's time to explore the Mitsubishi HC1500 projector's image quality.