Mitsubishi HC9000D Home Cinema Projector - Review Summary
The Mitsubishi HC9000D receives our Hot Product award. Below, we'll summarize many things mentioned in the preceding pages. Finally, a list of projector's pros and cons and general capabilities. The short version: The Mitsubishi HC9000D is a great 2D projector with brighter 3D abilities relative to most of the competition.
7/26/2011 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector - The Bottom Line
Things are heating up in the high quality plus 3D capability projector arena, with the addition of Mitsubishi's HC9000D. And the HC9000 is priced in the low middle range, compared to the field of competition. Which we consider spanning from the JVC DLA-RS40 and Sharp XV-Z17000 (both under $5000), on the lower end, to the Sony VPL-VW90ES and JVC DLA-RS60 at the very top (at $10K, and $12K respectively). We believe that Mitsubishi's use of a $5995 price likely well represents what the HC9000 will sell for.
Before we get through, we'll address the HC9000D for those only interested in 2D, and those wanting both 2D and 3D.
There're are currently up to about a half dozen projectors in our $3500 - $10K ($12K allowing for the JVC) range, that offer 3D as well as 2D, at 1080p, with a very high quality, Ultra High Contrast projector.
This Mitsubishi HC9000D falls somewhere below the middle in terms of price, and of course, being surrounded, is never fun. Nonetheless, the HC9000D seems to be handling the competition fairly competently.
The HC9000D calibrates very nicely, a conclusion drawn from all my hours of viewing it. I also did some side by side viewing two different JVC's and an Epson UB and report color and skin tones at least as good as any of them!
The iris of the HC9000D offers fixed or variable (dynamic) iris operation. The iris in dynamic mode was perhaps the only feature that gives me pause. Its smooth, but apparently very slow, and can be audible when it resets. I think I did hear it once (other than at start up and source changes, etc.) But to double check, I then put on the first 45 minutes of Hunt For Red October, with no sound on, and despite the very dark passages, and bright ones, I never heard a peep out of the iris.
Above: Star Trek's Captain Pike
I do favor faster dynamic iris designs, by the time this iris gets fully adjusted on a drop to a quick dark scene, the scene is probably over. Best I can tell, it never fully adjusted down on that short segment in Casino Royale that I take the night train scene image from.
The good news is that the projector has some very good black level performance, even without running the iris dynamically. (Yes, there are 3 manual settings - non-dynamic, as well as a custom mode for one of 18 steps). It may not match the more expensive JVC's which are still the best at blacks, but the HC9000D pretty good even without dynamic iris, and better, with.
One reason the HC9000D is scoring big points with me, is its brightness. With 700 lumens in its best mode (we consider 500 about average) and 1000 lumens at its brightest (1005 measured), which we consider average, that still gives it a big advantage on most of the competition. Entry level quality projectors, are often brighter.
For 2D plenty of lumens for a large screen, 130" diagonal isn't out of the question, although if you like sports with lights on, you'll want a smaller (or higher gain) screen.
3D is the brightness issue if you are a 3D projector. The HC9000D doesn't have as many lumens for 3D as I would like, but it is the brightest of all of the projectors of this group, so far. We haven't gotten to the JVC RS40, and there will be some new competition soon, but it bests the Sony and the more expensive JVCs, as well as the Sharp, in overall brightness, and for 3D.
The Very Bottom Line on the HC9000D projector:
If the budget fits and you are into 3D, the Mitsubishi HC9000D will make an excellent overall choice. I believe in two to three more years, today's 3D projector owners will be wanting the improvements yet to come and will be ready to upgrade. If that sounds reasonable to you, start looking for an installing dealer.
This one is easy to live with. So, if you aren't an enthusiast, but just want an easy to own, easy to run, great picture, minimum fuss projector, (with some 3D too), this baby's probably right for you.
Above and below: From The Fifth Element
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Image above, from The Fifth Element, Blu-ray disc
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector: Pros
- Excellent color, and overall picture quality, post calibration
- Extremely good black levels, though not the best
- Excellent CFI for smooth motion on movies!
- Above average brightness in "best" movie mode
- Excellent dark shadow detail
- 3D can be played as 2D
- Dynamic iris action is smooth generally invisible- a real plus
- Zoom, Focus, Lens shift, are all motorized
- Wide variety of color presets, gamma and other features
- Very good menu layout
- Reasonably good documentation
- Excellent placement flexibility
- Very good 3D image quality, within the limits of overall brightness
- Reasonably quiet projector
- One of the best value propositions of the 1080p 3D capable projectors so far
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector: Cons
- While Dynamic iris virtually invisible, it's also slow, can take a while to fully adjust down to a very dark scene
- Remote control look and feel, dim backlighting
- Not bright enough in 3D to thrill most viewers on a 100" screen, unless that's a very high gain 100" that probably wouldn't be first choice for 2D viewing
- Although fairly quiet, others are quieter still
- Needs additional savable custom color temp setting (gain and bias). Only one setting possible now (preventing us from doing a more forgiving, brighter, "bright" mode), where we improve on the brightest mode without sacrificing as as much brightness as a best mode ends up with
- Lamp life of 2000 hours at full power while that's the old "typical" many projectors today are providing more hours
- CMS has some issues (not uncommon), making full calibration tougher than it should be
The HC9000D is definitely a top contender if you are looking for a great 2D projector that doubles as first generation, quality 1080p projector with 3D abilities.
While we haven't seen all the contenders in this class of 2D/3D projectors the low-mid priced point for the HC9000D projector, combined with very good color, ultra-high contrast blacks, and an exceptional smooth motion CFI that I believe is the least noticeable I've seen on movies, probably make the HC9000D the best value in the group, that starts with the Sharp ZV-Z17000 selling for under $4000 to the $12,000 JVC DLA-RS60 / X9.
A top performer by almost every measure, this is the best solution we've seen so far for 2D and 3D both, without spending far more for little additional benefit.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING: HC9000D