Mitsubishi HC7900DW Projector - Physical Tour
As is usual, we will start in the front of the Mitsubishi HC7900DW. This Mitsubishi is one of the smaller home theater projectors out there. It's finished in a shiny black finish all the way around. It's got some sculpted lines.
11-22-2012 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC7900DW Projector - Appearance
I think the HC7900DW might be cute, but it's not a work of art. Still, cute may very well help out with the "partner" factor" (formerly the "wife factor" but that phrase is now apparently politically incorrect). There is no question that a projector's physical appearance, at least outside of a dedicated home theater, is a topic that can cause angst.
The most obvious feature in the front is the recessed 1.5 to 1 zoom lens which has a lot of placement flexibility compared to many other DLP projectors. Overall 1.5 to 1 zoom is about average for home theater projectors although many of the LCD and LCoS models stretch out to 2 to 1. All considered, 1.5 to 1 zoom is pretty good, however the big news is that the H7900DW also has vertical lens shift.
Combining the zoom's range and lens shift, makes for really good placement flexibility. You'll also find an IR sensor for the remote control on the front, and down below - two adjustable front feet.
HC7900DW Control Panel
Moving to the top - towards the back, you'll find the control panel. It's in a round configuration. There's a power switch and indicator lights nearby. The four navigation arrows are in a round configuration. In the middle, are the menu and enter buttons. As I said a moment ago, there's also a vertical lens shift feature on the Mitsubishi HC7900DW, and you will find that in a little hidden door on the top, right behind the lens.
HC7900DW Projector - Input/Output
Move to the rear of the Mitsubishi HC7900DW, and you will find all of the inputs and connectors. The back panel itself is pretty standard with just a couple of surprises. As you would expect, there are two HDMI inputs (both 1.4a, to support Blu-ray 3D), and also your standard red, green and blue RCA jacks for a component video input.
Also present, is a standard HD15 connector best known as the computer monitor connector, that will allow you to hook up your PC to this Mitsubishi home theater projector. What is interesting about the HD15 is that it serves multiple purposes. It can be used as an analog computer input as intended, or as a second component video input, and finally it can also be used for composite video, which is normally found on most projectors as a separate RCA jack color coded yellow. In this case, all three capabilities are rolled up into one jack but it also means you can only choose one of those three input types. The HC7900DW also has a serial port for command and control and next to it, a networking port which could be used for firmware changes and other purposes.
Finally on the far right is the 12-volt trigger. As many of you know, that can be used to cause a motorized screen that is properly equipped to rise and come down as the projector is powered off and powered back on. It can also be used for other purposes, howeve,r that is the most common one.
That covers it for the back and all the connectors, with the exception of course of the power receptacle and there's also a Kensington life lock for security. All considered, the HC7900 is typically equipped. They've saved a few jacks here or there, but they have plenty of inputs you are very unlikely to find yourself coming up short. Also worthy of note, is the venting, none of which is in the back, which means that the HC7900 conceivably can be placed on a rear shelf. That works out great for a lot of folks. I myself have spent many years with projectors on rear shelves, including the last few years. With only a 1.5 to1 zoom ratio, however many people will not be able to place the projector far enough back to find a rear shelf unless they have a particularly large screen. Since this projector isn't really built for huge screens, that means the HC7900 in a rear shelf environment, is probably going to be working something between an 80 and 100-inch screen in a room that is not especially deep. Consider shelf mounting - if it makes sense in your room.
Mitsubishi HC7900DW uses the same menu structure Mitsubishi has been using for many, many years. It gets the job done, however it is laid out a bit differently than most of us are used to. In fact, if anything, it resembles a couple of the higher end European projector menu layouts, but I'm still not saying that's a great thing. Unlike most menu systems of home-theater projectors, the Mitsubishi doesn't really give you a completely integrated set of presets such as cinema, video, sports.
It really isn't my favorite menu layout, but that may be primarily because it is laid out differently than most. I spend a lot of time going through menus as a reviewer, so I tend to be both critical, and picky.
As mentioned elsewhere, you cannot change the basic settings of modes like Cinema, so you go to one of the three AV Memories, and create the settings you want. If what you want is an adjusted "Cinema mode", no problem, just specify that you are starting your AV memory using the Cinema preset as a starting point.
With both 2D and 3D available, though, having more than just 3 User memories would be better.
Above, the main Image menu. Below, that Image menu's Advanced menu:
Below: The Installation menu, including lamp brightness, projector positioning (front rear, ceiling, table), standby, and other features.
The feature menu, is mostly items relating to displaying menus, setting the IR receiver, and menu language, but it also offers control of aspect ratio, and there's a Password feature for you if you want to lock those kids out of adjusting things!
The Signal menu, deals first with horizontal and vertical positioning of the image, electronically. That, sync and tracking controls are primarily for working with analog computer signals. Also present is an overscan control, if your source material results in some noise around the edge of the image. Again, personally I favor edge masking to using overscan. Edge masking lets you choose a slightly smaller image by simply not projecting the noisy outer edge of the image. Overscan magnifies everything, so when projected, that outer edge is "off the screen", and you are seeing data that should have been several pixels inside the outer edge, before overscan.
The thing is, edge masking maintains 1:1 pixel mapping for best precision and sharpness. But the image is a touch undersized. Overscan is softer, but continues to fill your screen. That's a bit of an oversimplification, but should help!
The Mitsubishi HC7900 can interface with a network. Controls are pretty standard (for networking savvy folks).
Finally, there's an information menu. Nothing you can adjust here, but it lets you know some of what's going on.:
Mitsubishi HC7900DW Remote Control
Mitsubishi HC7900 remote control is the same as last year's, and it remains one of my least favorite. Range is okay, however this is a really old design type of remote, in fact I have been complaining about it for years on a number of previous Mitsubishi projectors.
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing really terribly wrong with this remote. To me, though, it looks and feels dated, and the backlight is dim enough to be of little use. Also, I don't particularly like the feel of the buttons (picky, picky). I find the buttons to be a little soft. Nonetheless, this remote will get the job done. Range seems about average. I've been able to use the projector with bouncing the signal off of my screen from a distance of up to about 25 feet if I'm pointing pretty precisely. This should not be a problem for most of us. If it is a problem for you, you now have a great excuse for going out and buying a first class universal remote to control all your gear.
Mitsubishi HC7900DW Lens Throw
The HC7900DW offers a 1.5:1 zoom ratio.
To fill the usual 100" 16:9 diagonal screen, the front of the projector can be as close as 10.17 feet from the screen, or as far back as 15.1 feet. That's pretty typical.
Mitsubishi HC7900 Lens Shift
The Mitsubishi HC7900 just like last year's HC7800, as noted, has vertical lens shift and lacks the less critical horizontal lens shift. Most folks are primarily concerned with vertical. And the Mitsubishi has that covered nicely. With the adjustments, you've got reasonable top-to-bottom placement range, as opposed to many of the DLP competition which lack lens shift, having fixed lens offset. You are at the mercy of that offset when you are determining if the projector will work in your room. Now, this won't be an issue for you, if you choose the HC7900, but this is so you have an understanding of why you want lens shift. Our example: Many of the DLP competitors that lack lens shift, need to be mounted so their lens is about 15-20 inches above the top of your screen surface, if you want a 110-inch screen. If your room has 8-foot ceilings, guess what? Mounting close as possible to the ceiling a projector lens is still likely to be almost 10 inches down. For a 110" screen, that's 10 inches down to the center of the lens, and another 20 more inches to the top of the screen. Your ceiling is 96 inches high, so the top of screen is going to be at about 66 inches off the floor.
Since a 110 inch diagonal screen is 55 inches tall, the bottom of the screen is going to be just about a foot off the floor. Now it's going to be really tough for your second row of viewers to see the lower half of the screen. That's why lens shift is great, you get some flexibility instead. Well, this Mitsubishi HC7900DW has lens shift. Life is good, or at least better.
With lens shift, no problem, you could, if desired have the screen top flush with the ceiling if you chose.
Anamorphic Lens - Wide Screen
Yes, the Mitsubishi HC7900DW supports an anamorphic lens. Not only does it support using one in 2D, but Mitsubishi also claims to support the use of an anamorphic lens with 3D. That's not something most manufacturers mention, and at least a couple of projectors cannot do (3D with an anamorphic lens).