Mitsubishi HC7800D Home Theater Projector Review

The HC7800 measured 668 lumens calibrated. That’s pretty good. It’s almost 50% more than the Panasonic, and 5% brighter than the Epson competition. On the other hand, most of the other DLP projectors in the price range, as well as some of the LCoS projectors (Sony, Mitsubishi’s own HC9000D and JVC). While the competitively priced JVC RS45 / X30, is about 30% brighter, the Sony HW30ES, and the Optoma HD8300 and a couple of others are between 10 and 25% brighter. Only the early production JVC RS60 from last year’s review that we never got to finish, measures appreciably lower (other than the Panasonic).

That 668 lumens is in full power mode (a little noisy, but not exceptionally so), but with Brilliant Color Off. The HC7800D is definitely better with BC turned off if you are looking for the best possible picture. But if you turn it on, the HC7800 still looks really good, but has an additional 150 lumens.

That’s basically what we use for brightest mode – turn on Brilliant Color – say for sports viewing, or maybe general HDTV with some lights on.

The brightest alternative is to change the color temp of the Mitsubishi to High Brightness – but, to me, that’s basically unwatchable, the green is so dominant, and you can’t adjust that setting. Too bad, really. If they provided enough control, maybe the ugly 1300 measured lumens, might have yielded a watchable 1100 or 1150 lumens, more than we can find in other modes.

Now if you are just a movies only type person, and have a good room, those same 668 lumens will really allow you to go up to a nice 120″ diagonal screen, but you won’t have the lumens to spare, if you want any lights on, as you might when watching TV and sports with friends and family. Add 3D to your viewing mix, and definitely you’ll want a smaller projector screen than that.

HC7800 Projector - 3D Brightness:

Just barely enough for a typical 100″ screen. Actually, with my 1.3 gain screen, there’s still lots of content I’m not feeling bright enough for at 100″ diagonal. High contrast 3D content, though, like most animation, or Tron, is acceptable to me at 100 inches.

Nonetheless, this Mitsubishi has to be included in with just about all the LCoS and most DLP projectors to date, in that a lot more lumens are really needed to enjoy a fairly bright 3D image. Consider that projectors like the Epsons, and the Panasonic (the LCD projectors) have the brightest 3D modes, right now along with the BenQ W7000 (DLP), are about the only ones that you can watch at 100″ and feel like the image is actually fairly bright, rather than “err, ok, I can live with that, but more would be better.” Remember too, I do like bright, but I’m also reviewing projectors with virtually brand new lamps. Before you haven’t even used 1/2 of your lamp life, you probably will have also lost 30% of the starting brightness…

With a basic white screen with typical modest gain: 1.3 to 1.4, I think the HC7800D is best doing 3D on screens 92″ diagonal or less. The call, though is yours. As I said, I tend to demand a bit more brightness than a decent number of my readers.

The Very Bottom Line on the HC7800D projector:

Love the color! Love the sharpness. I really did enjoy watching the HC7800D as long as I didn’t go too large an image.

Only black level performance really bothered me, and really it wasn’t that bad. It’s just that I’m one of those black level fanatics (and think we all should be – to some degree). In the general price range, though, most of the competition is at least as good at blacks and several are far better. On the other hand, not one of those capable of blacker blacks can match the HC7800′s image sharpness and clarity, and it’s also great on dark shadow detail.

The overall brightess we’ve discussed isn’t a problem, it simply sets limits on what type of room setup the HC7800D should go in, and the number of folks who will find it a really good match for their viewing preferences and environment.

I expect to hear some complaining from some HC7800D owners, who will feel I should have given it more respect (Hot Product Award), but, the bottom line is, especially with 3D capabilities, the overall brightness does eliminate a lot of folks who otherwise might love this little Mitsubishi projector to death. Lastly, don’t forget, the HC7800D comes with a 3 year parts and labor warranty. In the grand scheme of things, that’s one of the longer and better warranties out there. Nothing like a little piece of mind!

Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector: Pros and Cons

Click to enlarge. SO close

Click Image to Enlarge

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