Mitsubishi HC7000 - Competitors
How does the Mitsubishi HC7000 compare to other 1080p home theater projectors on the market?
Now it's time to consider how the Mitsubishi HC7000 home theater projector stacks up against much of the competition. You will find our impressions of the Mitsubishi projector as it compares to a mix of projectors that are now being phased out, as well as conjecture on how it will perform compared to some brand new ones that we have not yet received for review. It's that time of the year (Sep. - Dec.) when most new home theater projectors hit the market. I'm not going to cover all the competition as many will be replaced, but you should find enough information to help you make choices.
HC7000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB
I have to start here, because this Epson was our Best in Class winner in the heart of the 1080p projector price range. It's replacements are due out next month (December), but until then, the 1080 UB remains a good "standard" to compare against.
The Epson is the brighter of the two (roughly 21%) in best mode, and significantly brighter in its brightest mode (slightly over twice as bright) giving it an advantage for those wanting larger screens. The Epson was the lower cost king of black level performance, and the two are pretty much equal in black level performance.
The HC7000 (link to specs) has the advantage in terms of "film-like" imagery when watching movies. The Epson image seems just a bit "hard" looking by comparision.
In terms of sharpness, while the Epson is fine, the HC7000 is definitely the sharper of the two, and you can best appreciate that on all digital source material, rather than film.
When it comes to placement, the Epson has the advantage with it's 2.1:1 zoom compared to the HC7000's 1.6:1, although this difference will not affect, probably 80-90% of buyers, who will find either works fine for them. A few folks with long rooms, who want to shelf mount the HC7000 and use a smaller screen, may find that the HC7000 won't place far enough back to work on that back of the room shelf.
The HC7000 supports an anamorphic lens, and can work with one, without a motorized sled. The Epson does not support an anamorphic lens. Zoom, focus, and lens shift are motorized on the HC7000 and are manual on the Epson. The more expensive (similarly priced to the HC7000 - or a bit less) Epson Pro version does support an anamorphic lens, but would need an expensive motorized sled for the anamorphic lens that the HC7000 doesn't require.
Lastly, the Mitsubishi HC7000 has 24/48fps frame interpolation which reduces motion blur. The Epson sticks with 24fps. This is a very slight advantage for the HC7000.
With the current closeout prices on the Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, it is still a bargain. The HC7000 is almost twice as expensive, but has a number of advantages, while it only really comes up noticeably short, in brightest mode lumen output.
Mitsubishi HC7000 vs. Mitsubishi HC6500
This comparison is easy. Figure roughly a $1500 price differential (at least right now at launch time). The projectors are pretty much identical, except for advantages all favoring the HC7000. With the HC7000, you get the 24/48 frame interpolation, and black levels that are a very significant step up in performance. It's simple, if you are considering an HC6500, just ask yourself if you want to spend the bucks to get a projector (the HC7000) that really is quite visibly better in black level performance.
Mitsubishi HC7000 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z3000
Guessing game time. I haven't received my PLV-Z3000 review projector yet. I'm now told right around end of November. The Sanyo PLV-Z3000, will be a lot less expensive, as it will be available online. Based on the Sanyo's contrast claims, it should be right up there in black level performance with the HC7000, but failing that, it will likely be as good as the Panasonic PT-AE3000, which means still extremely good.
Sanyo, like Mitsubishi, doesn't turn out bright projectors. I've got no idea which will prove to be brighter. They will probably be very close in lumen output in best mode, but I can't begin to guess how they stack up in brightest mode. It would be hard to imagine the PLV-Z3000, though, to be significantly dimmer than the Mitsubishi. You will get an extra year of warranty with the Sanyo. The Sanyo will be sold primarily through online resellers, as well as local dealers, whereas the HC7000 is strictly through the local dealer channel.
Mitsubishi HC7000 vs. Panasonic PT-AE3000
If the pricing on these two projectors was close enough that, say the HC7000 was only $500 more, then I'd expect most shoppers to be really pulling their hair out, trying to decide which to buy. As it is, though, those on a budget can enjoy the slightly brighter, and more "neat feature" laden Panasonic, for significantly less.
Still, those who are purists - hard core enthusiasts, may well want to spring for the HC7000. Consider. For movie watching, I'd rather watch the Mitsubishi - it's sharper, has slightly better black levels, etc. So far, it is now my favorite 3 LCD home theater projector, in terms of picture.
Mitsubishi HC7000 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB and Pro Cinema 7500 UB
More guessing time. These soon to be released Epson projectors build on the Home/Pro Cinema 1080 UB, and based on specs, should have even better black levels than the older model. If Epson delivers on the black levels, those two Epsons likey will have a small advantage over the HC7000.
The Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB and Pro Cinema 7500 UB have the creative frame interpolation for 96/120fps support (like the Panasonic), compared to the 24/48fps support on the HC7000 (and no creative frame interpolation). The Epson Home Cinema 6500 UB does not support an anamorphic lens, as it saves that feature for its more expensive, but almost identical Pro Cinema 7500 UB sibling. The Epson has the warranty advantage with a 2 year overnight replacement program warranty on the Home model a 3 years with 3 years of overnight replacement on the 7500 UB, instead of just a regular 2 year warranty like the Mitsubishi's.
The Mitsubishi has two additional advantages. It is super quiet, and the Epsons (at least based on the older 1080 UB's performance), are likely to hold their title of noisiest of the 3LCD projectors. One caveat, Epson will have the new models in an all new casing, so, perhaps they will be quieter than the 1080 UB. Even if there is substantial improvement in this regard, the Mitsubishi will still be quieter. Just to clarify, while the Epson is noisy for a 3LCD projector, it is still a touch quieter than the typical DLP based home theater projector. The other noteworthy advantage of the Mitsubishi HC7000 is sharpness. The older Epson is just average. Epson says the new designs will be a little sharper, but, my best guess says the improvement will be slight, and the HC7000 will still be the clear winner. Of course, I've been wrong before.
I'm can't wait to shooting out these projectors. The HC7000 is likely to be price comparable to the Pro Cinema 7500 UB (or the Epson will be a little less), while the Home Cinema 6500 UB, will be significantly less (probably about $1000). For those who could care less about anamorphic lenses (at least 95% of us), the Epson Home version will likely look extremely attractive.
HC7000 vs. InFocus IN83 and IN82
The InFocus IN82 is an older projector, and a classic DLP projector. It's sharp, has limited placement flexibility (no lens shift, 1.2:1 zoom), is larger, but more importantly is that it is a giant step up in brightness. Its black levels though, are no match for the HC7000, and it lacks the frame interpolation and 96/120fps frame rate, as well as the anamorphic features.
Of greater interest is the IN83, which is close in price to the HC7000, but a step up from the IN82. The InFocus has a superb image, with the best skin tones around, but its black levels are not in the same league. The IN83's black levels are typical of good projectors, but not great projectors, a year or more ago. Strictly average today. If you are into picture performance first, the IN83 looks even more natural than the HC7000, but it can't begin to match the HC7000 on those really dark scenes.
Brightness is a whole different matter. The IN83 is almost three times as bright as the HC7000, whether comparing best, or brightest modes. Too much brightness perhaps? No, you can always use the IN83's manual iris to bring the brightness way down, and make a minor improvement in black levels at the same time.
The Mitsubishi and these InFocus models are all sharp, not enough difference to quibble over. Warranty: Both offer a standard 2 years parts and labor warranty.
HC7000 vs. JVC DLA-RS1x, DLA-RS2 DLA-RS10 and DLA-RS20
Interesting, very interesting! All the JVC models should have anywhere from a small (RS1x and RS10), to significant advantage in black levels, compared to the Mitsubishi HC7000 projector. Of the four JVC's, only the RS1x lacks anamorphic lens support, but, when the RS10 and RS20 first ship (December and January, respectively), they may not have a viable anamorphic lens solution immediately available. The lens/sled combination that works with the RS2, won't work with the newer models because the lens is set further back into the projector. This is solvable, but if you are in a hurry, a new solution may not be immediately ready, if you want to go with a 2.35:1 Cinemascope ratio screen.
The Mitsubishi wins in terms of sharpness. All the JVCs will be brighter in best mode, and all but the RS2 will likely be much brighter (up to twice as bright). In brightest mode, things will be closer, with the RS2 being about equal to the HC7000. The RS20 will be slightly brighter, but the RS1x and RS10 should be about 20% brighter.
In other words, the JVC's can handle slightly larger screens, and much larger screens (depending on which JVC) if all you care about are movies, or you are willing to watch your HDTV and sports in a dark environment.
I did run the HC7000 side by side with the JVC RS1 rather briefly. It was hard to get a good feel as there was no way, in best mode, to get the two projectors even remotely close in brightness. In brightest mode, the RS1 has better color accuracy than the HC7000. The JVC's with their LCoS panels seem to be a little slower, with a touch more motion blur.
The JVC projectors have more fan noise, and price wise, the RS1x and RS10 should straddle the HC7000. The RS20 and RS2, however, are a definite step up in price, with the RS20 likely to cost you an extra $3000!
In many ways, the HC7000 does remind me of my RS1, thanks to great black levels, however, because of the lumens, for those not buying a smaller screen, one of the JVC's is likely to be a slightly better choice.