Mitsubishi HC3 - Performance
Let's start with the remote control. I'm not impressed with this projector's remote. It does provide separate buttons for different inputs, and about half the buttons are backlit, but many buttons including the power button are in strange places. As a remote just for the projector, in a home theater environment it doesn't get used much. If you have an A/V receiver, it will probably handle your source switching, so mostly you'll use it for intial setup, but possibly to change the color/image settings for different types of use (when you have ambient light vs, dark room, preferences for movies, vs those for normal TV, or sports, and for gaming.
This remote is a learning remote, so you can program it to control 2 other devices, however, if you do want a single remote to control your whole system, I would recommend one of the third party top quality remotes from companies like Harmony or Universal.
Again, remember that the HC3 projector started shipping at the end of 2003. Newer designed projectors mostly seem to have better laid out remotes. Still, this is hardly a deal breaker.
Projector Noise Levels
This Mitsubishi projector is noisy relative to the competition. Mitsubishi does not provide a spec, but in full power mode, I would estimate around 34-36 db. Most of the competition now is 33 db. or less and the quietest - are virtually silent - with decibles down in the mid to upper 20's.
If you are ceiling mounting, the HC3 projector should be quiet enough for movies, and only be slightly noticeable on very quiet scenes. If, on the other hand, you plan to set it on a table next to where you sit, it is going to be noticeable on quiet scenes. Is it a big problem? Probably not, in fact the HC3 is probably no noiser, than most $6000+ HT projectors built just 3 years ago (such as the Sanyo PLV60 at 37db).
This again comes back to the fact that this LCD projector is better for TV/sports/gaming than movies. Believe me, on an average sporting event, or sitcom, you'll never notice the noise.
As unimpressed with the remote as I am, I found the menu system of the HC-3 to be one of the best looking and easiest to navigate. Everything is where it should be, there is lots of user control of the image, and everything is well laid out, easy to understand and
use. I have includes some shots, starting with the basic Main Menu, with its four choices. From there you can select the Image menu, by pressing the enter pad on the remote. In the shot of the Image Menu, I have the Color Matrix option highlighted. Pressing Enter takes you to the individual color controls, (very important if you are using a calibration disk).The Feature menu gives you access to menu positioning, setting screen aspect ratio, cinema settings, and more. The other menus are similarly laid out. And logical. If I had one recommendation for improvement in the layout, it would be to move the Cinema settings to the Image Menu, but that's about my only criticism. Well done!
This is a problem for some projectors, light escaping from the cooling vents. In the worse case scenario there is even some light leak through the lens or a front vent, which might hit the screen. The Mitsubishi HC-3 leaks a little light out of a side vent, but it is very diffuse, and should not be a problem at all.
2000 to 3000 hours depending on the various modes.