Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector - Physical Tour
7/21/2011 - Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC9000D Projector - Appearance
The Mitsubishi HC9000D is one impressive, and reasonably large home theater projector, from the moment you see its shiny black piano finish, and large centered zoom lens. The lines are sculpted, and over all I'd say, this is one good looking projector, for those also concerned about physical appearance.
In addition to the lens (with silver trim ring), you'll also find the front infra-red sensor for the remote control, to the left of the lens (when facing the projector). There is a filter drawer that easily slides out, at the front bottom left. Intake vents also adorn the lower front.
The control panel, is located on the top, near the back center of the HC9000D projector.
All the inputs and other connectors are located on the right side (again, if looking facing the front).
Most of the heat exits out the left side exhaust vents.
Four screw thread adjustable feet adorn the bottom of the Mitsubishi projector.
Finally, the lamp door to change out lamps, is located in the rear of the HC9000D projector.
Mitsubishi HC9000D Control Panel
The HC9000 control panel has all the basics. There are two indicator lamps. The four arrow keys are in a round configuration with the center area carved into two semi-circular buttons. One is the Menu button, and the other; Enter. The left arrow key lets you toggle through the HDMI and computer sources, while the right arrow key lets you choose from your various video sources.
Simple, effective, and I like the split buttons in the center, so I'll add elegant to the description of the control panel.
The HC9000D is pretty typical in terms of inputs and other connectors. One thing you won't find on a lot of projectors, is a DIN connector for a 3D sync emitter, which does come with the HC9000D.
There are the usual two HDMI inputs, an analog computer input, (that can alternately do component video instead). Then there's three color coded RCA jacks for a component video input, and of coursethe usual S-video, and composite video. Rounding things out are two 12 volt triggers, RS232 (for command and control), the previously mentioned 3D Sync connector, and the power receptacle.
It's very nice to see the optional screw receptacle for the HDMI connectors. This allow you to use cables that will also screw in, releaving a lot of the strain on the cable's connector. This should be a pretty standard feature for projectors, but isn't.
Mitsubishi HC9000D Menus
Well, well, all new menus for Mitsubishi. They've pretty much been using the same look and feel for years. I was never a huge fan of the way they laid it out before, but definitely like this new setup better!
I like that Mitsubishi doesn't use menus that you have to scroll to see all the items. Instead, they solve the problem by having two Picture modes - 1 and 2, that handles most. They use sub-menus for multiple choice items in most cases. If I have a complaint, the menus are partially translucent, and I didn't see a way to make them less so. I picked a very bright, busy image to put the menu in front of, so figure it won't be any harder to read than what you see here.
Below are all the major menus (except the 4 item Info menu), and a few of the key sub-menus:
The first Picture menu (above) has most off the most commonly used controls, from Brightness to Color Temp.
Above Color Mangement Off, Three custom ones.
Above, along with Keystone correction, there's even a control for barrel distortion due to lens and mounting setup. It works, but it is digital compensation, and therefore, like keystone correction, it will degrade the imae slightly as you give up 1 to 1 pixel mapping.
This menu has all the 3D settings. The pull-down sub-menu provides choices between Auto, Frame Packing (Blu-ray 3D), Side by Side, Top and Bottom, and of course, 2D. There doesn't seem to be support at this time for the 720p format ESPN 3D is currently using. (A problem shared by most other 1080p projectors!)
Immediately above, the Iris sub-menu. You can choose from one of three preset fixed iris settings, custom, or "variable" - the dynamic iris.
Mitsubishi HC9000D Remote Control
This remote for the HC9000D isn't my favorite by any means. This remote control looks like a variation on business remotes Mitsubishi's been using for probably almost a decade. Not elegant, but fairly functional. I found the amber backlighting to be too dim, by far my biggest complaint Range is good not great. I have been bouncing the IR off my screen and back to the projector behind me. It's a bit tricky with a total distance of almost 25 feet.
My favorite thing about this remote control, is that it will probably make you want to go out and get a nice universal remote to control everything. If it accomplishes that, it's served you well.
From the top. On and Standby (off), and to the right of those two, the 2D / 3D toggle switch. Nice to have it someplace nice and easy to access on the remote.
Next comes your six discreet input buttons.
The fourth row has two buttons to toggle between the Preset modes on one side, and the User modes on the other side. In between, is a button for turning on and selecting the frame interpolation mode.
In the middle of the remote is a standard navigation setup with the four arrow keys in a round formation with center Enter button. Menu is below to the left.
Also below is the Iris button which lets you select between variable and the fixed and custom modes. Aspect ratio (with anamorphic lens support) rounds out that row.
Two rows are dedicated to image controls, including Brightness, Conrast, Color Temp, Gamma, Sharpness, and Color (saturation). That covers the most common ones. Finally, the bottom row has lens controls with Zoom/Focus one one button, Lens Shift on the middle one, and access to the Color Management System is the bottom right.
Mitsubishi, a fine projector like the HC9000D deserves a better remote. A bit more range and more brightness on the backlight are the only real issues, but they are inconvenient shortcomings. In fairness, as a reviewer, I spend a lot more time with a remote in my hand than a happy, settled owner.
Mitsubishi HC9000D Lens Throw
The motorized 1.8:1 zoom lens offers excellent placement range. For the classic 100 inch diagonal 16:9 screen, the HC9000D can sit with the front of its lens as close as 11.2 feet from the screen, to as far back as 20.7 feet.
That range will allow most people the option to rear shelf mount the projector as an alternative to ceiling or table top. That it vents out the side, not the rear, also supports shelf mounting, but of course, don't crowd it, like all projectors - it needs to breathe.
HC9000 Lens Shift
Both horizontal and vertical lens shift are motorized and controllable from the Lens Shift button on the HC9000 remote control.
The amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift is almost as good as it gets for a home theater projector
Consider, the maximum shift is 1 screen height in each direction.
Translated, for that 100" screen - which has a 50" height, you can mount the projector as high as 25" above the top of the screen to 25" below the bottom. That means you have a total range in where you place the projector of 100 inches vertically. Up to 50 inches above and below the screen's vertical center!
There are a few others with lens shift in this range, but most have less. It'a always nice to have available.
That takes care of vertical. for horizontal lens shift, you can place the projector almost as far to each side as the edge of the screen.
Remember though, using horizontal lens shift reduces the amount of vertical shift available, and vice versa.
HC9000D Anamorphic Lens
The HC9000D, as expected, support using an external anamorphic lens. For those without the budget, a 2.35:1 screen is still doable. The zoom lens has more than enough range that you can do what I've been doing with the HC9000, and that is using the zoom to fill the full width of my 124" diagonal 2.35:1 screen, for Cinemascope movie viewing, or zoom out, to allow 16:9 and 4:3 content to fill the vertical height with letterboxing on left and right. This solution eliminates the above/below letterbox found when viewing Cinemascope movies on your standard 16:9 shaped projector screen.
Essentially, you would be doing manually, what Panasonic calls Lens Memory on their PT-AE4000 projector. Not elegant, but it sure works (I've also been doing the same with all the projectors with at least 1.5:1 zooms that have been coming though here). Of course it's a lot easier with a fully motorized system like the HC9000D, than, doing it manually with an Epson 8700UB. Also, if your projector doesn't offer motorized zoom, focus and lens shift (wheras the HC9000 has all of those), such manual projectors are likely to be impractical for this, if ceiling mounted.