Mitsubishi HC6500 Home Theater Projector Review: General Performance
There's lots of information about the HC6500 (link to specs) to cover in this section. These links will allow you to quickly get to any topics of interest to you.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Menus
Mitsubishi HC6500 User Memory Settings
HC6500 Remote Control
HC6500 Lens Throw and Lens Shift, Pixel Structure...
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector Brightness
Mitsubishi HC6500 Light Leakage
Mitsubishi HC6500 Audible Noise Levels
HC6500 Projector Screen Recommendations
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Menus
Temporarily, until I finish this section, I'm pointing you to the HC4900 projector's menu section (first item down on that page). As I said, there are very few differences.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: User Memory Settings
Mitsubishi's HC6500 home theater projector controls allow you to set User areas for both Color Temp, and Gamma. User Color Temp settings, as noted, can be based on the existing different color temp areas (Warm, Medium, Cool), but not High Brightness. Make all your settings changes to all areas (including, also, brightness, contrast, iris on/off, etc.), and you can save them in the AV Memory Save area. You have three User Memory Save areas to use. A couple of more user memory areas would be better, but three is a very common number. One advantage of having a few more, for example is for TV viewing. You might want to have one setup for your normal TV viewing with overscan off, but if you get a channel that has some artifacts along the edges, you'll want overscan to be engaged to hide that. On my Epson projector (part of the Ensemble HD 1080 setup), I have 6 user modes programmed. Still 3 will get you by nicely.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Remote Control
The HC6500 uses the same remote control as the HC5500, and the older HC6000. As a result, this section is identical to the remote control description in the HC5500 review.
The HC6500 remote has discreet buttons for On and Off, as well as an Auto Position button on the top row. Then come two rows allowing direct access of the different sources (DVI, HDMI, Computer, etc.)
The fourth row features three buttons, one for each User savable memory positions. This is very user friendly, and I have been using these buttons in conjunction with our calibrated settings for "best" and "brightest" modes.
The four arrow keys and center Enter button for navigating the menus.
Moving to the next row: Left side is the Menu button. Then, there is a button to select different Iris options and finally, Aspect ratio change. Next come two more rows, including Contrast Brightness, Color Temp, Gamma, Sharpness and Color (saturation). Basically most features on the Image menu, can be directly accessed without going through the Main and Image menus.
The bottom row on the HC6500 remote control has one button that toggles between controlling the lens' Zoom and Focus (arrow keys handle the actual adjustment), another for controlling the Lens shift, and finally a Noise Reduction button.
I was able to access most of the controls - including the Menu and arrow keys without having to shift my hand on the remote - something all remotes should strive for. Hitting any button engages the backlight - moderately bright, but could be brighter - no real problem there.
I also found that there was sufficient spacing in the remote that I could easily find the Menu button as well as the arrow keys/Enter buttons without having to look at the remote.
The range of the HC6500 remote control is average. With the projector about 17 feet from the screen and my seating positon 11 feet from the screen (28 feet total), I had only occasional success bouncing the remote's signal off of my screen and wall, to the projector. As a result, I got used to pointing it over my shoulder, at the projector. Of course I'm talking a 28 foot trip for the signal, when I try to bounce off the screen. Also, it seems to me, that high contrast gray screens, like my Firehawk G3, aren't really good surfaces for a good bounce. At slightly shorter total distances, the remote became more reliable. I conclude that if you are using a 100" or 110" screen you should have better luck (mine is 128")!
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Lens Throw and Lens Shift
For a 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the Mitsubishi HC6500 may be placed as close as 10 feet, 2 inches and as far back as 16 feet five inches, measured from screen, to front of the lens, for a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen. If you plan on a different sized screen, you can use these numbers to figure out the appropriate distances. A 90" screen would have distances 90% of those of a 100" screen, and so on.
This is a bit less range than many 3LCD projectors, and far more, than any of the DLP competition. Still it should work fine in most rooms, including allowing for rear shelf mounting, in most cases, although if you have a long room, and a smaller screen, you might not be able to get the projector far enough back to shelf mount, without projecting an image that overshoots the screen.
When it comes to lens shift, the Mitsubishi HC6500 home theater projector has both vertical, and horizontal lens shift, and the feature is motorized, and controllable from the remote.
The amount of lens shift is very good, about as good as it gets, and provides plenty of placement flexibility. For that same old 100" screen, the HC6500 can be mounted as high as approximately 12.3 inches above the top of the screen surface, all the way down to 12.3 inches below the bottom, or anywhere in between. Although some projectors, on the same sized screen, may be able to go as much as 25" above or below, the HC6500's range is just fine for most. The only time where another foot or so of lens shift would be nice, is if you are ceiling mounting, and have a fairly high ceiling - say over 10 feet, and you don't want the projector to hang down too far from the ceiling. Some others would let you get the projector one foot closer to that higher ceiling.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
The HC6500 projector has no rainbow effect, being a 3LCD projector, which means no high speed, spinning color wheel.
The Mitsubishi projector's pixels are small enough and fine enough to not be an issue when viewing the projector filling my full 128" screen from about 11.5 feet back. You can make out the pixel structure at that distance, when viewing things like movie credits or graphic overlays (typical of sporting events), but it should not be an issue watching normal movie content!
Bottom line: not an issue. For the very few who might not be happy, there's always DLP or LCoS technology, as the DLP's pixel structure is finer, and with LCoS, much finer than with 3LCD.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Brightness
Out of the box, the best mode was a bit brighter than most, cranking out 679 lumens with the Color Temp set to Warm, zoom lens in the middle of its range, and gamma set to Auto. Drop the lamp into low power, and you still get 521 lumens, a drop of about 24% (which should hold true, regardless of what modes are selected).
After calibration, the HC6500 remained almost unchanged in brightness, at 663 lumens. That makes it at least a little brighter than most 3LCD based projectors, and for that matter, roughly the equal to some of the brighter DLPs (but not as bright as the brightest), such as the InFocus IN83, or Optoma HD81-LV.
If the Mitsubishi falls short, it is in terms of brightness in its brightest mode, which uses the High Brightness mode. Individual RGB controls will not work in that mode, so we could not calibrate and get a different brightness. The maximum we measured was 1030 lumens in High Brightness mode. More on this in the calibration section below.
All measurements, pre-calibration (with Gamma on Auto), Color Temp:
Cool: 577 lumens
Medium: 700 lumens
Warm: 679 lumens
High Brightness: 1030 lumens
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Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Light Leakage
Nothing to concern yourself with here. There is a small amount of light leakage through the lens (no doubt varying depending on how much lens shift you use), and iris settings, as well. Even with white walls, you are unlikely to spot the leakage unless the screen image is essentially black, and probably wouldn't notice it anyway, unless looking for it.
The uniformity of the background was very good for a 3LCD projector. We sometimes find problems with early units (mostly pre-production, which this one wasn't). Here is a very long time exposure of the Mitsubishi on a black "scene". Stare hard, and you can see some slight color shifting, but not an issue at all during normal viewing:
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Audible Noise Levels
The HC6500 joins their other 1080p projectors in claiming to be the quietest projectors on the market. I have to agree. Mitsubishi claims a record setting 17db in low power mode. Figure 3-6 more db at full power, and you still have a projector, at full power, that is quieter than half the projectors out their in low power.
In low power, the Mitsubishi is about as close to dead silent as exists today. Certainly their 17db claim is the lowest I have seen yet.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Screen Recommendations
Since the HC6500 projector has respectable black level performance, a high contrast gray surface is not needed. Still, having one of those screens will lower the overall black levels and provide blacker blacks than a white surface.
I've watched the HC6500 on both my Carada Brilliant White surface, and my Firehawk G3 (high contrast gray). I prefer the Firehawk, as I like darker blacks, but the Carada - filling all 106" diagonal, did fine overall.
Your decisons will be in part determined by your screen size, and any ambient light issues you have in your room. Also factoring in, is the Mitsubishi's brightness. Since the HC6500 is not remarkably brighter in brightest mode, than best mode, those who will be doing a lot of mixed viewing - movies, general TV/HDTV, and sports, and especially those craving sports viewing, may want to stick with white surfaces, unless there's side ambient light, in which case the high contrast gray may provide a more watchable, less washed out image, despite being less bright.
If you really are going to be watching a lot of content, when you don't want the room really dark, you may want to consider a high gain screen, say 1.8 gain or a bit higher, although they provide a narrower viewing cone, and if sitting off to the side, even slightly, you are likely to see a modest brightness difference between the left and right side of the screen. While the HC6500 on my Firehawk, in best mode, darkest room, had no problem filling my screen with lumens, for my sports viewing, I reduced the size of the projected image from 128" diagonal to roughly 110" diagonal to satisfy my need for brightness and pop, while watching sports.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Measurements and Calibration
First, let's start with out of the box color temperature measurements for each Temp setting. Ideal is 6500K, although a little cooler (stronger blue than red), tends to be easier to watch when theres ambient light. Personally, I like around 7000K to 7500K for sports viewing when I've got my usual ambient light for daytime viewing:
Cool: 10490K (try to find red, good luck)
High Brightness 8984K
When switching to Low Lamp mode, color temp for Medium (the only one we checked in low lamp mode as well as full power) dropped by about 160K, not much, but worthy of note.
For calibration purposes, adjusting gamma should be done first, as different settings affects the color temperature (why?)
Here are our general settings that Mike came up with:
Contrast= -2 (0)
Brightness= 3 (0)
Color Temp= Medium
Lamp Mode= Standard (unless noted otherwise)
Zoom at mid-range, All other settings at default, numbers in () are default settings
The gamma controls don't have much range, and gamma always measured a bit on the low side (1.9 to 2.1, where ideal is 2.2). The differnence between 2.1 and 2.2 is pretty negligable.
Since the Warm color temp is closest to ideal for movie viewing (without calibration) we measured these temperatures across the grayscale range:
White (100 IRE): 6292K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6294K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6254K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6194K
That's about as tight as it gets. Too bad they weren't all 250K cooler and it would be almost perfect.
Mike found that it was easier to get excellent grayscale balance starting with the Medium Color Temp than the Warm setting. Note, if you choose High Brightness color temp, you do not have access to those RGB settings to adjust the grayscale balance, thus, you can't really calibrate the High Brightness mode.
After calibrating the gamma, followed by the RGB settings, and starting on the Medium Color Temp, we came up with these measurements (which we saved in User 1):
White (100 IRE): 6556K
Light gray (80 IRE): 6510K
Medium gray (50 IRE): 6507K
Low gray (30 IRE): 6645K
Note, the minor spike at 30 IRE (and that is minor) goes away by 20 IRE. We normally don't report on 20 IRE or below, as our numbers aren't that accurate down there, but with some projectors they tend to shift up or down in the lower brightness ranges, such as shifting towards red, in general in very dark areas. With the HC6500, the spike is small and then goes away.
No wonder the HC6500 looks so natural. That's about as good as it gets. I think, probably only the InFocus IN83 in the past year, produced even better numbers, and that one is my favorite in terms of skin tones and overall color performance.
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HC6500 Calibration settings for RGB
These are the adjustments we made (in addition to the Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, etc., above), for "best mode", User 1:
Gamma was manually set to:
(All - as in same for R, G, and B)
Medium = -3
Low = -7
HC6500 Image Noise
Very good image noise performance, no jaggie issues, background image noise was typical 3LCD. 3:2 pull-down was good (most of my movie content is Blu-ray 24fps where it's not needed), but I did watch segments of several standard DVD's including Lord of the Rings, and found performance to be very good, in that regard.
Bottom line: No problem spotted, never needed to play with their Noise Reduction settings.