Mitsubishi HC7000 - Physical Tour
11/19/2008 - Art Feierman
While most folks are far more concerned with the quality of the image, than the styling of the projector, it doesn't hurt to have a physically attractive projector, and the HC7000 certainly is that. It's got nice lines, and is finished in black.
Looking at the HC7000 (link to projector specs) projector facing the front, the zoom lens is mounted off center to the right. There is also an infra-red sensor for the HC7000 remote control on the lower left (hard to spot). Below are two, screw thread style, adjustable front feet.
The lens is a large looking, 1.6:1 affair with power zoom, focus and lens shift.
Moving to the top of the HC7000, there's nothing to look at but the curves of the molded case. From the back, just below the top, you'll see the two indicator lights (Power and Status) on the back center edge. This is due to the control panel being hidden behind a hinged door on the top that lifts from the back. The control panel will be discussed immediately below.
The inputs and outputs are located in the back, but are nicely recessed, and the projector comes with a cable cover, to help hide cabling. More on the inputs and outputs below.
The fan intake and exhaust are on the sides. Also, the left side (looking from the front) has the lamp door, to change out the lamp, and that means you don't have to unmount a ceiling mounted HC7000 to change it. My best guess is that more than half the home theater projectors still have to be unmounted because their lamp doors are on the bottom, where they get hidden by the ceiling mount.
The control panel is the usual affair. The larger power button (once for "on", press twice for "off"), is on the left. There is the typical four navigation arrow keys in a diamond configuration, with the Enter button in the center. In the upper right is the Lens Shift button, and a button that toggles between power zoom and power focus controls is in the lower right. The Menu button is on the bottom left.
Most buttons take on a different function when not in the menu system. The Up arrow button doubles for Auto Position (for computer signals). The left button switches between the HDMI and computer inputs, and the Video button is the right arrow key, it switches between standard video sources. This is a pretty classic control panel with good functionality. Of course, you'll be relying primarily, or completely, on the Mitsubishi's remote control.
The input panel on the back is, as noted, recessed. The HC7000 has two HDMI 1.3 inputs, with Deep Color support, a computer input (standard analog HD15 connector found on monitors and computers), that can alternately used for a component video input, a second component video input (the usual 3 color coded RCA jacks), an S-Video input (standard DIN connector) and a standard composite video input (RCA jack). In addition, there are also an RS-232 for command and control from a room control system or computer, and finally, a 12 volt trigger, for motorized screen control. Of course, there's the power receptacle, and a Kensington Lock slot. A cable cover comes with the projector to hide all the connectors.
The HC7000 remote has separate buttons for On and Off (press Off twice to shut down), as well as an Auto Position button on the top row. The next two rows provide buttons for each input source.(, HDMI, Computer, Component Video, etc.)
The three user savable memories are accessable from the three buttons on the fourth row. . This is very user friendly. I have our calibrated settings saved and use these to switch between saved modes.
Next are 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 HC7000 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. Zoom and focus come up in fast mode. Hitting the Enter button switches to step by step, for fine tuning.
The remote fits well in the hand, and I like that I can reach most of the buttons I would use, without having to shift my hand, or use two. Hitting any button engages the backlight - moderately bright, but could be brighter.
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 HC7000 projector's remote control has averag range. 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")!
The 1.6:1 throw range of the lens allows the projector, (measured from the front of the lens), to be as close as 10 feet, 2 inches to a 100" 16:9 diagonal screen, or as far back as 16 feet, five inches. You can use these numbers to calculate the distances for other sized screens. While a 1.6:1 zoom range is less than many other 3LCD projectors, many of which have 2:1 zooms, the HC7000's range should be enough to work well in the vast majority of people's rooms.
The HC7000 has both vertical and horizontal lens shift. Both functions are motorized and controlled from the remote.
For a 100" screen, the HC7000 can be mounted as high as approximately 12.3 inches above the top of the screen surface. From there, or it can be placed all the way down to 12.3 inches below the bottom, and anywhere in between. Although some projectors, on the same sized screen, may be able to go as much as extra foot above or below, the HC7000'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 happen to have a rather 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.
Very clever, these folks at Mitsubishi. Not only is there support using a 2.35:1 screen with an anamorphic lens, but Mitsubishi can be used without a motorized sled, to watch 4:3 and 16:9 content. They accomplished this feat with a second anamorphic mode specifically for that purpose.
This is a different approach than Panasonic's PT-AE3000, which needs no anamorphic lens at all (less cost). Still, for Cinemascope (2.35:1) movie watching, the Mitsubishi uses all of it's pixels while the Panasonic approach does not, so you have a a smaller pixel structure, and should have a crisper image with the Mitsubishi. That's doubly true, since the Mitsubishi produces a sharper image than the Panasonic to begin with.
Now it's time to consider the picture quality. You won't be dissapointed.