Mitsubishi HC6800 - Review Summary
A summary of the Mitsubishi HC6800 projector's pros and cons and capabilities.
5/30/2010 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector - The Bottom Line
The Mitsubishi HC6800 home theater projector is definitely a refined projector, but not an overly high performance one. To clarify that, let's say that it makes an excellent choice for those looking for a home theater projector with good performance, but also with the right important amenities and abilities.
In other words, the HC6800 is nicely endowed, with power brakes and power steering - oops, I meant power zoom, power focus and power lens shift. it also excells in a couple of areas, notably, having an exceptionally sharp image for a 3LCD projector, and also for being one of the quietest home theater projectors around.
The HC6800 is, basically, really well behaved. And it also puts a fine image on the screen.
Above, from the new Star Trek movie - Blu-ray disc
Where the Mitsubishi HC6800 projector comes up a bit short is in the area of contrast and black level performance. In this regard, it's a good, but not an "ultra-high contrast" projector. It's black level performance can be beat by a number of similarly priced projectors including the Epson 8500UB, BenQ W6000 and even the slightly less expensive Panasonic PT-AE4000 and Sanyo PLV-Z3000 - soon to be replaced by the PLV-Z4000 projector. The black level performance of the HC6800, as I have noted elsewhere in this review, is more in line with the less expensive Epson Home Cinema 8100, Mitsubishi's own low cost DLP, the HC3800, and the price comparable LG CF181D.
Above, from The Dark Knight, Blu-ray. This HC6800 image is a good example of a night time image with enough bright lights that the difference in black levels between the LG, and some projectors with better blacks, isn't going to be very noticeable, if at all.
After reading about the black level disadvantage above, don't despair. The HC6800, in best mode, is brighter than all the "ultra-high contrast" projectors I just mentioned, but for the BenQ W6000. And the only other brighter projector in "best" mode is the LG, which has nothing at all in way of a black level advantage over the Mitsubishi.
In brightest mode, however, the HC6800 is barely average, so while for movie watchin, it can fill a larger screen than most of the others around its price or less, you will need good lighting control for your HDTV and especially sports, since it can't match the brighter "brightest mode" projectors like the BenQ, the Epson and the LG.
Mitsubishi HC6800 Color Performance:
Really nice, my only complaint being what I can only describe as a very slight "grayish" quality to skin tones. Folks, they look fine, I'm just trying to give you a term that might describe the HC6800's skin tones, compared to another projector. We're really quibbling here.
I've been raving about the HC6800's image sharpness. This Mitsubishi just looks a tad sharper than competing projectors like the Epsons (regular and UB projectors), LG's CF181D and Sony's VPL-HW15, and most definitely the Panasonic PT-AE4000. Only the DLP's are as sharp, or sharper.
Black Level Performance and Shadow Detail:
In a nutshell: Very good dark shadow detail, and black level performance that typifies a good, but not "ultra-high contrast" projector when it comes to black levels. If you've got the room, and the inclination for truy great blacks, the HC6800 isn't your projector, though the more expensive, similar, (though less bright) HC7000, might be instead.
The very bottom line:
A great $2500 projector for the masses. Not quite as great a projector for the hard core enthusiasts who demand a step up in black level performance. That said, the projector is more sophisticated, than some directly competing projectors like the Epson 8100 and 9100. The Mitsubishi HC6800 should be an excellent choice for someone wanting a really nice, easy to operate, projector for their theater, or darkenable viewing room. It's a projector for the whole family. Let me put it this way: If I were to replace my old Epson 1080UB (which does have better blacks than the HC6800), with this Mitsubishi, my wife would likely only notice a few things - such as that it isbrighter when she's watching a movie, and maybe she'd notice that it's less bright for watching Glee, or American idol. That the Epson has better blacks or inferior dark shadow detail wouldn't even show up on her radar.
And while my wife may not be an enthusiast, you must consider that she does watch a lot - at least 10 hours a week using the Epson in "theater 2".
Image above is of Gondor, from LOTR, Return of the King, Blu-ray version
If you are a do-it-yourself type, shopping for each component based on price and performance, you aren't too likely to end up with the HC6800. If, however, your plan is to check out some local home theater companies, have them build out the room, and provide the equipment, and if you are not a fanatic for performance, but just would like a projector that the whole family likes and can figure out how to use, then the HC6800 fits the bill. That's particularly true if you are a movie (not home theater equipment) fanatic, who just wants to fire up your gear and enjoy.
Compared to other "local installing dealer" only products, the HC6800 provides very reasonable price performance. I can think of a few other "local dealer only" projectors that cost a good chunk more, but are not better projectors. Remember the HC6800 is very similar to the more expensive HC7000, which physically looks the same, but has much better black level performance, but a lot less brightness, should better blacks be your concern, and a small screen, your choice.
Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector: Pros
- A nicely bright 589 measured lumens in "best" mode, allowing use of a slightly larger screen than other LCD projectors
- One of the quietest home theater projectors around
- Excellent color, post calibration, especially skin tones which really do look a touch better than some other very good projectors
- Reasonably good "enough" black levels, though not great
- Better than average placement flexibility with 1.6:1 zoom and good lens shift
- Dynamic iris, though not producing the blackest blacks, does offer "smoother than most" operation
- Basic frame interpolation - 24 to 48 frames
- Anamorphic lens support - no need for a motorized lens sled (saves money)
- Styling - not bad, nice sculpting, black finish
- Good price/performance when compared to some other projectors, aslo only sold by "local installing dealers"
Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector: Cons
- Black level performance, while respectable, would need to be better still to compete with the ultra-high contrast projectors around its price point even though its as good as many others
- Brightest mode should be brighter - just beating 1000 lumens with the lens in full wide angle, makes this projector a bit below average, and below most of the competition at its price point.
- No creative frame interpolation
- Menus are acceptable, but would like to see more traditional preset modes, especially since this projector will appeal to those more looking for a well balanced, well featured, projector, rather than a pure performance projector
- Remote control - old style, dim backlight - time for an update, range is good, not great
- A third HDMI input would be a plus
Mitsubishi HC6800 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Documentation - overall
- Just slightly better than average lamp life - 2000 hours in High lamp power mode (average), 4000 in low power (slightly better than average)
- Selection of inputs and other connections
- Overall size and weight - a medium sized projector typical in size among LCD home theater projectors
- Shadow detail performance
- Cost of operation
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