Mitsubishi HC6500 1080p 3LCD Home Theater Projector Review: Overview

HC6500 vs. InFocus IN83, IN82, X10

The HC6500 is typically less expensive than the IN82, and far, far less than the IN83. What these three all have in common is excellent color handling, in terms of skin tones, and film-like appearance and color accuracy in general. The IN83 has a significant, but not overwhelming advantage in black levels, the IN82 (a long time ago) is probably comparable in that regard. The Mitsubishi has, of course a huge placement flexibility advantage over these DLP projectors. The X10 is available online, and is a nice projector, but I favor the Mitsubishi. The really big advantage of the InFocus projectors is in terms of brightness. Even in best mode, the IN82 and IN83 are brighter, and they are dramatically so, in brightest mode, where the IN83, for example is almost twice as bright – a huge difference.

Mitsubishi HC6500 vs. HC5500

The HC5500 is the economy version, available online. Overall, the major differences relate to physical placement, with the HC5500 having a limited 1.2:1 zoom, and more limited lens shift. The HC5500 also uses older LCD panels, which may explain why there is a significant improvement in black levels with the HC6500. The HC5500 is just dandy as a low cost, entry level projector, but those paying more attention to pure performance will find that the black level difference is enough to make the HC6500 worth a chunk more money.

Mitsubishi HC6500 vs. Panasonic PT-AE2000U

The PT-AE2000U is going away now, with the replacement PT-AE3000U starting to ship next week, so no point in spending much time on it. The HC6500 should at least equal the black level performance of the AE2000U, and it will be a step up in brightness in best mode, though a little less bright when comparing their brightest modes. The Mitsubishi is quieter, has a slightly more natural looking image, and definitely produces a sharper looking image.

The Panasonic has a one year shorter warranty, but has a bit more range in terms of placement, although the differences in this area probably won’t have any impact on 90% of potential buyers

Mitsubishi HC6500 vs. BenQ W5000

3LCD vs. DLP. The Mitsubishi has a placement advantage, with more zoom range, and more lens shift range, although the BenQ W5000 is one of the few DLP’s to offer lens shift. Both are very sharp. The BenQ definitely is louder, being on the quiet end of the DLP projector range, but still far more than the Mitsubishi which is simply the quietest projector on the market.

Both have very good color handling after calibration, but the HC6500 has one advantage, in that the BenQ which calibrates excellently throughout most of its range, always remains a little cool (bluish white), on full white (100 IRE). The BenQ also has a little more image noise, but not enough to be an issue.

Both are very bright in best mode, but the BenQ has a couple hundred lumens advantage in brightest mode. Black levels are roughly comparable, with perhaps the BenQ having a slight advantage. These two are both very good in terms of viewing enjoyment with minor trade-offs.

Mitsubishi HC6500 vs. Epson Home Cinema 1080 UB, Home Cinema 1080

The Epson is in “close-out” mode now, on both the standard 1080, and the UB. Prices are exceptional while they last. No question the Epson UB has a significant advantage in black levels, and is about 75% brighter in brightest mode, but is only about 75% of the brightness in “best mode”. That translates into large screens being a challenge for the Epson’s in best mode, and a challenge for the HC6500 when comparing brightest modes, with more than a little ambient light. The Mitsubishi wins the sharpness battle, and is much quieter – the Epson’s being a couple of the noisiest 3LCD projectors, and comparable to most DLP projectors. The Mitsubishi is also power everything, while the Epson is manual. The Epsons have more lens shift, and zoom range – about as good as either get. The Epsons do not support an anamorphic lens.

Mitsubishi HC6500 vs. Epson Home Cinema 6100 and 6500 UB

This is conjecture, as these models won’t be out until December. The new Epsons have the same placement advantages, and still don’t support an anamorphic lens (which, few buy, since a lens and sled is typically more than the cost of these projectors). The Home Cinema 6100 should be close, or slightly better in terms of black levels, and the 6500 UB, will blow away the HC6500, since its definitely better than the older 1080 UB in this regard, and even the old one is better.

Both Epson projectors will be available from online dealers, with the 6100 being far less expensive at $1999. The pricing isn’t set on the 6500 UB, but probably around $3000 or a little less. The 6500 UB is exactly what I was talking about at the top of this page, in that, it is technically the step up product, but may well be very price competitvely with the Mitsubishi, because of the Mitsubishi’s local dealer type pricing.

The Mitsubishi has all the “power” features, while the Epson’s will have that slight zoom lens range advantage. The Epson’s do not support anamorphic lenses, but for those who crave one of those lenses, Epson has the almost identical Pro Cinema 7500 UB. That one, though, is likely to be sellling for $4K or more, when it ships, making it the direct competition for Mitsubishi’s top of the line HC7000, which we will be reviewing in a couple of weeks.

HC6500 vs. Sanyo PLV-Z2000, PLV-Z3000, PLV-Z700

The Z2000 is almost gone, the Z3000 shipments are iminent. The older Sanyo is dimmer – significantly so, in best mode, but also in brightest mode. The Z3000 when it ships should be competing more directly with the HC7000, as it has those ultra high contrast numbers that should promise really excellent black levels instead of just good ones. All are very sharp, all are very quiet. The Sanyo Z700 is far less money (already well under $2000), but it is more directly competition for the less expensive HC5500. The HC6500 easily does better back levels than the Z700, and slightly better than the Z2000.

Mitsubishi HC6500 Home Theater Projector: Summary

The HC6500 is a mid-grade 1080p projector. It is easily better than the lowest cost current “entry-level” 1080p projectors like their own HC5500 and the Sanyo PLV-Z700.

Those interested only in movies will love the brightness in best mode. It’s just over 1000 lumens can fight some ambient light for sports and TV viewing, but not as well as a number of competitors, many of which, though aren’t as bright in “best” mode.

You’ll need to consider your room, screen size, and expected viewing mix, into your priorities to figure out how good a match the HC6500 is.

Ultimately the HC6500 is the quintessential 1080p projector: Well featured, mid-priced, and producing a better, more natural looking image than most of the competition.

Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Bottom Line

If you plan to buy your projector through your local dealer, and the HC6500 is in your budget, it certainly should be one to consider. While it won’t measure up to Mitsubishi’s new HC7000 (a safe bet), or some of the new models yet to be released (the Epson UB models), the Panasonic and the Sanyo Z3000 in black levels, this is one of those projectors that, if you own it, you should thoroughly enjoy it. Since my biggest reservation seems to be good black level performance, let me remind you that the HC6500 is good enough in this area, with black levels that are still impressive, and not a weakness to enjoyable viewing.

It is the combination of great overall image quality, features, sharpness and quiet that make the Mitsubishi HC6500 an excellent choice, and impressive enough to earn our Hot Product Award.

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