Mitsubishi HC-3000 Projector Review - Overview
7/09/2006 -Art Feierman
My preference is to review projectors right about the time they hit the market in the US. In the case of Mitsubishi's HC3000, though, the product has been around for more than half a year. With some manufacturers I get new products quickly, with others, I'm still building relationships and it can take what seems like forever.
Well, I have been hearing, and reading, over many months, plenty of good things about the HC3000(link to specs). Upon first powering it up, and popping in the first DVD, I was as impressed as I expected to be. The Mitsubishi HC-3000 definitely rates our Hot Product Award, primarily for producing about the best overall image I have seen yet, from a DLP home theater projector using the Darkchip2 DLP processor.
You'll learn more as you read, but let me provide a little perspective. Of the DLP projectors, I have found the Optoma HD72 to provide the best overall value in the under $2000 selling price range. Here comes the HC-3000, very similar to the HD72 in many regards, including using the same 1280x768 Darkchip2 processor. Both feature TI's Brilliant Color circuitry, and have rich dynamic colors. The Mitsubishi HC3000 costs several hundred dollars more, but it has one notable advantage, in image quality, over the Optoma. That advantage is it's black levels. While the Optoma does a very good black, the HC-3000 definitely produces darker blacks, as you will see in a number of images in the image quality section.
So, having spoiled some of the surprise, it's time to get down to the heart of the review.
The Mitsubishi HC-3000 Basic Specifications
Technology: Darkchip2 DLP front projector
Native Resolution: WXGA 1280x768
Brightness: 1000 lumens
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 2000 hours
Weight: 6.4 lbs.
Warranty: 2 years
Facing the projector, the recessed lens is located dead center, from left to right, which is convenient for ceiling mounting as you don't have to calculate for a lens that is mounted off center, and place the mount appropriately to compensate. the zoom lens as a 1.2:1 zoom ratio. 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 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. Further back is the control panel.
The control panel itself is pretty basic. In addition to a large power button, there are only six additional buttons but 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, the right one, video).
The input panel is located on the back of the projector. The selection is pretty basic: 1 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 is 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 HC3000 also has a serial port and USB for "command and control". Lastly, the HC3000 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 HC3000 vents hot air out the front, making it viable for shelf mounting in the rear of your room, if that should work for your situation.
The case is mostly silver 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.