Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector Review
Long awaited, we get a long, close look at the Mitsubishi HC9000D - their first 1080p 3D capable home theater projector. That said, Mitsubishi sees the HC9000D as a 2D projector, first and foremost. I'll start by saying it's sure far brighter than the old HC7000, a really nice ultra high contrast projector, that we've liked.
July 2011 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector Overview
Mitsubishi's HC9000D, is an LCoS based 1080p projector. Note that they refer to their LCoS panels as SXRD. That tells you they are using Sony panels as that's Sony's trademarked name. That's all well and good, but the only things that really matter is the HC9000's actual performance, and value proposition. Before we get into all that, though, there are a number of features and items of interest to share with you in this overview section of the HC9000D projector review.
The HC9000D is a larger projector, black shiny finish and sculpted lines. Only a few home theater projectors we've reviewed are this large. The new JVC's come to mind, and also the Sony VPL-VW90ES. This HC9000D is large even by the standards of typical "larger" home projectors like last year's JVCs and most others. Of course almost everyone buying an HC9000, will either ceiling mount it, or rear shelf mount it, so size isn't that critical.
The HC9000D is well loaded with features. All lens functions are motorized, there's support for an anamorphic lens. There's a full CMS (color management system) for calibrating the projector, and of course, support for 3D.
Speaking of 3D, I have yet to see/review any 1080p home theater projector that really has enough brightness to not be somewhat dim with 3D content, on a typical 100" diagonal 16:9 screen. We were unhappy with the JVC RS60, and also the brighter Sony VPL-VW90ES (about 30% brighter in 3D than the JVC). That's despite the Sony having over 200 hours on the lamp when we measured, which could mean an extra 10% more brightness with a new lamp. We still found the Sony could use a good deal more. Personally, I found that I could consistently watch content at the Sony's levels, but truly yearned for more brightness.
This Mitsubishi HC9000D projector is brighter than the Sony, but not dramatically so. After factoring in the extra couple hundred hours on the Sony's lamp, when measured, the HC9000D likely still has a 10-20% brightness advantage compared to the Sony. The HC9000D, so far, is the brightest, serious, 3D capable 1080p projector that I've seen.
Mitsubishi has setup a network of CEDIA - local installing dealers to sell the HD9000D, so don't expect it to be found online (at least not from authorized dealers). While Mitshibishi set a very high MSRP - $9995, the MAP - the minimum advertised price allowed - is $5995, which tends to approximate "street" price. Assuming MAP as the typical price, that places the Mitsubishi HC9000D in the middle of the pack, pricewise among competing 3D projectors, with one of the 3 JVCs, plus the just announced lower cost Sony, both priced lower, and the other two JVC's and the VW90ES being priced well higher!
But, of course, price isn't everything. The devil is in the details and the details include overall image quality, black levels, 3D, skin tone handling, and brightness, plus an extra feature or two. Let's start exploring further!
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector Highlights
- 1000 lumens claimed (and measured!)
- Motorized wide range zoom lens
- Vertical and horizontal lens shift (motorized)
- 3D capable, including Blu-ray 3D
- Ultra high contrast for superior black levels
- Sold by authorized local dealers
- Full color management system
- Sylish, but large, piano finish
- HDMI 1.4a compatibility
- Creative Frame Interpolation - smooth motion
Specs for Mitsubishi HC9000D
MSRP: $9995, MAP $5995
Technology: LCoS (SXRD) 3 panels
Native Resolution: 1920x1200, 1080p actually 16:10 aspect ratio
Brightness: 1000 lumens claimed, 1005 lumens highest we measured (at full wide angle), 865 at our normal mid-point on the zoom lens range)
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.8:1
Lens shift: Vertical and horizontal, motorized
Lamp life: 2000 hours at full power
Weight: 33.1 lbs. (14.8 Kg)
Warranty: 2 Years Parts and Labor
View full specifications: Mitsubishi HC9000D and data sheet
Mitsubishi HC9000D Special Features
HC9000D 3D Abilities
The HC9000D, like its competitors, relies on active shutter glasses. Mitsubishi figures they are selling a first class 2D projector and 3D's not for everyone, so they skipped throwing in the usual 2 pair of active shutter glasses that some other manufacturers have included. (On the other hand, they did include an external wireless IR emitter, with the projector?) That at least gives you some choice from several different manufacturers of glasses that you should be able to use, when you decide you can no longer live without 3D.
The HC9000D handled 3D as well as any of the others to pass through here. Crosstalk seems to be minimal. I'm still playing with the different settings that seem to trade off crosstalk for brightness, in a lot of subtle steps. The default setting of 4.5 definitely works well. You can go to a lower number, likely reduce crosstalk or some other type of noise, but give up precious brightness.
Once again, we have a 1080p projector that can't play ESPN 3D content. Like all of these projectors so far except the Sharp projector, they don't support this one type of 720p 3D. That's a nuisance.
I logged at least a dozen hours viewing 3D content. It's the best I've seen so far, and that, in part, because it's the brightest 1080p 3D capable projector to come through here yet, except for the well endowed LG CF3D. That beast though, isn't for home.
CFI - Smooth Motion
This feature is now in most higher end models of home theater projectors. It's certainly nice to have, especially for sports. Mitsubsishi's implementation of of creative frame interpolation, takes 24 fps movies to 96fps, by interpolating 3, each different, new frames for each existing one. They call that True Film
For normal 60fps content, the frame rate is doubled to 120fps, with one new frame interpolated between every two frames. The setup can also reverse 2:3 pull-down and then implement CFI as it would if the movies were in their original 24fps. This one they call True Video.
I am truly impressed with the HC9000's CFI. When you set it to True Film, it does its job as subtly as I've seen any projector do. I've watched three different types of movies with it on, and I like it. It's probably the least intrusive CFI I've experienced on 24fps movies. I'm sure I'll find that I don't want it on for all movies. But for the moment, I am enjoying a movie without judder, and one that doesn't look have the soap opera look that plagues most CFI solutions to some degree or another.
Image below - Leeloo, from The Fifth Element