Mitsubishi HC1500 DLP Home Theater Projector Review

Less than a year after the launch of the HD1000U, Mitsubishi has rolled out this slighly improved HC1500. For the most part, the HC1500 (link to specs) isn’t about overall improved performance, although the significant jump in measured brightness compared to our review of the HD1000U, is signicant. Primarily, from speaking with Mitsubishi, the HC1500 was redesigned internally, to be less expensive to build, and in turn remain price competitive. Consider that the HD1000U was 50% more expensive when launched 9 months ago, than the HC1500 is now, and that’s a very good thing!

Competitively, the HC1500 stacks up like this, against the other top sellers:

Priced to compete with the Optoma HD70, it has the advantage in brightness, a touch better in sharpness, similar placement flexibility, but a one year shorter warranty. Overall, we prefer the HC1500.

The Epson Home Cinema 400 is another bright projector, and LCD based. The HC1500 will have the advantage in “film-like” image quality, as the Epson, appears a little “hard”. The Epson is technically about $1500 but has a large rebate that brings it down near $1000, so the Home Cinema 400 is still definitely more expensive. The Epson, though, offers a much better warranty, and the great placement flexibility that LCD projectors are known for.

The Panasonic PT-AX100U is definitely a significant increase in cost (say 50% after all rebates), but is also extremely bright. It offers up a totally invisible pixel structure thanks to their “Smooth Screen” technology, however, that results in a bit of softness, making the HC1500 the sharper of the two. You can sit closer to the Panasonic than the Mitsubishi, which is a plus for some who are extremely critical of seeing pixel structure in things like scrolling movie credits and some on-screen signage. The Panasonic is, however, also very film-like, and can produce better black levels on dark scenes. Still, the huge price difference and overall impressive performance of the HC1500, is more than enough to allow a great many to “pocket the difference” or use the significant savings for things like a better screen, better audio, or whatever else is needed, for the best home theater experience that a somewhat limited budget can provide.

Time to summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the HC1500.

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