Mitsubishi HD1000U Projector Review - General Performance
There's a great deal to cover here.
Overall, the HD1000U (link to specs) is a typical under $2000 DLP projector - small, light, and limited in placement flexibility compared to LCD competitors. Separating it from the pack however is its impressive brightness, which will be covered below. Only Panasonic's LCD PT-AX100U is noticeably brighter in brightest mode, but in best modes, for movie watching, they are comparable.
User Memory Settings
Lens Throw and Lens Shift and Sharpness
SDE and Rainbow Effect
Audible Noise Levels
Projector Screen Recommendations
Overall, the menu system is easy to use. Pressing menu brings up a horizontal strip of four menu items. Arrow keys allow you to choose one, and the enter key takes you to the first menu item. The strength of the menu system is that you don't have lots of menu levels to navigate. Almost all controls are on those four menus. Items that have multiple choices allow you to scroll through them with left and right arrow keys.
I personally would favor highlighting and getting a pull down menu, so that you can see all the options, but this is a perfectly acceptable, and fast menu system. The main menu shown above does not go away over time, just stays on the screen. I'd be happier if the projector had the option for the menu to go away after a short while without using it.
Shown are the main menu, and images of the image menu and two of its sub-menus, Gamma and Color Temp, and lastly, the installation menu.
Interestingly, there are a few changes from the similar HC3000 menu. The Color Temperature Menu now has Warm, Medium, and Cool (plus user modes), whereas the HC3000 listed specific temperatures, like 6500K. Since the measurements we found on the HC3000 came up with different temperatures than the settings, Mitsubishi is safer with the Warm.....
User Memory Settings
The HD1000U offers three saveable settings. Each can be accessed from either the menu system, or directly off of the remote control. You must select one of them to get into the advanced menu controls to separately control RGB brightness and contrast.
HD1000U Remote Control
The Mitsubishi HD1000U's remote control is a small black affair, with backlit buttons
There is no separate backlight button, but all buttons are backlit, and hitting any of them will light up the remote.
Unfortunately the backlighting is dim. I find it difficult to read the buttons in a dark room. It's not the size of the text on the buttons, but the dimness that bothers me.
The range on the remote appears to be acceptable. I had no problem standing behind the projector, while filling a 106" diagonal screen, and intentionally bouncing the infra-red signal off of the screen to the projector's front IR receiver.
As to the layout, it's pretty easy to navigate, with Power buttons on the top, followed by the source buttons.
Next comes the four arrow keys for navigation, with the Enter button in the middle, and directly below, on the left is the Menu button itself, and across from it, the Aspect ratio button, to toggle between 4:3, 16:9, etc.
Directly below that are your 3 user memory recall buttons.
Next comes direct access buttons for Contrast, Brightness, Color Temperature, Gamma, Sharpness and the Iris control.
On the last row is the auto position button, for correct lock on to analog signals, a Blank (the screen button) and the dreaded Keystone correction button (you should definitely try to avoid using keystone adjustment, as it slightly degrades the image).
HD1000U Lens Throw, Lens Shift, and Sharpness
The Mitsubishi HD1000U home theater projector shares the same placement measurements as the HC3000. To fill a 100" diagonal, the HD1000U can be as close as 11 feet 11 inches, or as far back as 14 feet 6 inches. This will allow some to mount on the shelf in the back of their rooms. Remember you are measuring to the front of the lens. So, with a shelf that is 24 inches deep, you are looking at a 100" screen working in a room 16.5 feet deep, and, considering the HD1000U has plenty of power, the popular 110" diagonal screen size will work shelf mounting in an 18 foot deep room. I wouldn't be afraid to match this Mitsubishi projector with even a slightly larger screen, if that works in your room.
The HD1000U does not have adjustable lens shift, and like its big brother, the HC3000 or, for that matter, Optoma's HD72, it has a lot of lens shift built in. This places the projector below the screen surface - or above. For a 100" screen, it works out to placing the lens about 16.9 inches below (or if the projector is inverted) above, the respective bottom or top of the screen surface. If you choose to shelf mount, you'll probably want it up high so people aren't walking through the image. You could mount it to the bottom of a high shelf, or use a shelf and build a simple cradle for it - to hold it upside down. If you try that, you'll want to make sure you don't do anything to limit ventilation.
As to sharpness, the Mitsubishi is pretty good, I would give it a very slight edge over the average DLP projector, and even a tiny bit more, compared to the Panasonic, but all would be very close, until you get into the few projectors (rarely in this price range) that have superior optics and sharpness. The Sanyo Z4 LCD home theater projector was especially sharp, and the BenQ PE7700 close to it. I would expect the new Sanyo PLV-Z5, scheduled to ship in November, to likely be sharper, but overall, the HD1000U does a good job.
SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility
As a typical DLP projector, screen door effect is not an issue unless you sit extremely close. Comfortable seating where pixels are only barely detectable in bright areas like credits at the end of movies, or perhaps stationary whiteish areas like clouds, would be less than 10 feet back with a 100" diagonal screen. I'm currently watching it filling my full 128" diagonal screen, with my eyeballs less than 12 feet back, and I have to really look to even detect pixels.
This one shows the full screen. Click on it for a larger image of at a very small portion of the lower center of the guide.
For comparison purposes, you will find a similar enlargement in the Panasonic PT-AX100U review.
Mitsubishi HD1000U Projector Brightness
Wow time. Mitsubishi claims 1500 lumens with the HD1000U, significantly brighter than the 1000 lumens of their HC3000. Much of the extra claimed brightness would be due to the new seven segment color wheel. When it came to measuring the brightness of the HD1000U projector, there were some real surprises.
Setting the projector to its brightest mode - Sports, and High Brightness, the HD1000 came up short of claim - significantly. That said, it still pumped out a very impressive 1115 lumens. Strangely the color temperature was very low (warm - towards red), 6820K whereas most projectors to get out maximum brightness tend to set color temp around 8000K, closer to the natural color temperature of the lamp. Note, ideal color temp for movies, is 6500K. By fiddling around with color temp, brightness, Brilliant Color processing (from Texas Instruments - maker of the DLP chips), I was able to push out slightly over 1300 lumens, and I believe you can get pretty good color and a very watchable image around 1200 lumens. Remember, we're talking brightest mode here, the "darker" or "best" modes like Cinema and Video will have more natural color balance, etc., but, hey, if you need the lumens to cut through ambient light, you make that sacrifice.
So we have a very bright projector here, when you need it. Only the Panasonic of anything we have tested under $10,000 has had more.
That brings me to the strangest part of my testing: Unlike most projectors where best modes are often 40 - 60% (or even more) dimmer than brightest, the Mitsubishi HD1000U home theater projector, is almost as bright in its best modes. For measurements, we left Brilliant Color set to its default 3, contrast and brightness both at 0. The exception is when we calibrated the projector using Cinema mode with User settings.
Cinema mode, Color Temp set to Warm (movie): 768 lumens!
Wow! The Optoma HD72, our previous DLP lumen champ, only clocked in at 518 lumens!
After a basic calibration, (with lamp still running at full power - the HD1000U also has a low power mode), I came up with a slightly higher measurement, (still in Cinema mode) of 829 lumens!
Then I switched to Video mode, which I would recommend as your normal mode for viewing non-movies - TV/HDTV, etc. Much to my surprise, and despite a much more pleasing overall picture quality (color balance, gamma, contrast, etc.) than Sports/High Brightness, the HD1000U was almost as bright as brightest, with a dazzling 1033 lumens!
As noted, there is also a lamp life extending low power mode for the lamp. This reduced brightness by about 22%, yielding 647 lumens in the HD1000U's best image mode!
All this boils down to the fact that you can tackle a really large screen (like my 128") with no problem, or use a smaller screen and deal with more than a little ambient light. Hey, if you go with a smaller screen, such as 100", and you should find the projector to be too bright in a darkened room, just cut the lamp power! It is nice, though, to have all those lumens working for you.
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Busted! The HD1000U projector leaks light out the front, through the lens. The amount is extremely small, and I do not consider it to be anything you would notice while watching, except if you have light colored walls and the screen image is completely black. In that case, you might be able to see some light on the wall, mostly toward the right side if you are looking for it to be there. Realize that the image below is dramatically overexposed. The bright gray on the screen is supposed to be black. The areas in the upper (small) and lower right corners are white text and graphics (the lower is the DVD logo, so badly overexposed that it's completely blown out).
You can see the light leakage in a oval shape, over, and more noticable to the right. Then there's an extra light aberation in the far upper right.
You'll note that there seems to be a mask around the DLP in the light path, because there is a black area all around the projected image. (Yep, that's not a screen frame!)
I never noticed it once, while watching hours of movies, but it is there!
Audible Noise Levels
Tthis is one of those aspects where the HD1000U could be slightly better. In low power mode, it is certainly quiet enough, even those who are the most noise intolerant should not have an issue. Run the HD1000U, though, at full power and it's not going to please those same people. The noise level, claimed to be 31db at full power, is not by any means excessive. Most people will never notice it while watching a movie, unless they are listening for it. The sound is low pitched, and even as you notice it (listening for it), as you settle into your movie, you may notice it in quiet scenes but it shouldn't be intrusive. So, concern is only for those who really hate hearing any fan noise at all, ever!
I would say that it is just slightly quieter than the HD72. On the other hand, The Panasonic PT-AX100U is definitely quieter in both full and low power modes.
Projector Screen Recommendations
If you are looking for the best screen to maximize movie watching, I would automatically recommend high contrast gray surfaces. They will darken the blacks, and help reject a little side ambient light. Since the projector has brightness to spare on all but the largest screens, this is probably the best way for most to go. You could use either a dark gray surface, (like the Stewart Grayhawk, or a lighter gray like their Firehawk, which I use). Virtually all screen manufacturers make such gray surfaces. I think the lighter grays are probably more desireable than the darker ones, unless you have a small screen - less than 100" diagonal.
If movies are only one segment of what's important, and you favor an emphasis on brightness as people watching sports and Discovery HD, you could consider a white surface, with or without gain. Just remember that your black levels will not visibly brighter.
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I should note that the grayscale color temperature in every setting was extremely consistant, from dark grays to almost white. Like most projectors, pure white tends to shift the color temperature a bit, usually cooler (more bluish).
For example, in our initial measurements, of Cinema/Warm, we measured:
100 IRE 6612
80 IRE 6237
50 IRE 6072
30 IRE 6169
After calibrating (Cinema/User)
100 IRE 6805
80 IRE 6746
50 IRE 6597
30 IRE 6432
The settings we plugged in to get those numbers are:
Contrast - R=2, G=4, B=7
Brightness - R=8, G=-2, B=0
Nothing to write home about. Image noise was minor and typical for DLP projectors, walk up closer to the screen and it's easily visible, but at normal seating distances, it should rarely be of notice, even on large stationary and color consistant areas (like a blue sky around dusk).