Mitsubishi HC8000D Home Theater Projector Review

Mitsubishi HC8000D Projector - The Bottom Line

Alas, only a Special Interest award for the HC8000D. Oh, a Hot Product award was considered, after all, the HC8000D puts up a very impressive image with excellent skin tones, and respectable black levels.

But, there are a number of projectors that can do that in the $2500 – $4000 price range, including a couple of Epson’s, the Sony HW50ES, likely the JVC DLA-X35 (review coming soon), and the Panasonic.

All of those other projectors also offer 3D, as does this Mitsubishi HC8000D.  But, of them all, the Mitsubishi is the least bright.  And that folks, means it’s going to be suitable for less folks, especially those into 3D.

This is a smaller screen projector, in most typical cases best around 92″ to 100″ diagonal screens. Well, probably half of the projector setups out there have larger than 100″ screens (no, I don’t have good numbers to quote, but I’m thinking back to my previous company where we sold 500+ home theater projectors a month, and plenty of screens).

The strengths of the Mitsubishi HC8000D projector are the general 2D picture quality, black levels and overall image sharpness (without fancy dynamic features attempting to “add” sharpness or “detail”).

Consider the HC8000D to be an excellent 2D projector, definitely a home theater projector, not one for the family room.  That’s due to the only about 450 calibrated lumens, and less than 800 lumens after our “quick-cal” (adjustment) of the brightest usable mode.  True, there’s just over 1000 lumens maximum available, it’s just that the HC8000 requires its High Brightness color temp setting to get there, and we find using that to be mostly unwatchable, and unfixable.  By comparison, our AV Memory 2 “quick-cal” looks very good but the brightness of this “brightest” usable mode, are in the mid 700 lumen range.  That’s about what a number of competitors offer when calibrated.

3D is even tougher.  I can watch at 100″ diagonal, but I know I’ve got friends who would not care to watch this on a screen that large (average), due to lack of horsepower in 3D. And that’s with the brighter “proprietary” 3D glasses.

Like the HC7900, we could call the HC8000 a “condo-focused” projector.  (Or spare bedroom conversion to theater).  Some day Mitsubishi will truly impress me.  They will decide to build a projector with this one’s overall quality but give us more like 1500-2000 usable lumens to help out with 3D. Next year perhaps.

Seriously, it is simply having less lumens, that cost the HC8000D its shot at our Hot Product Award, so if your room and viewing habits don’t need more lumens, understand that this is a fine projector, and one that if significantly brighter, almost certainly would have received the higher award.

Choosing between the HC8000 and HC7900 is mostly a no brainer.  You do get more bang for your buck with the lower cost HC7900.  And while you will get slightly better blacks with the HC8000, the improvement is not greatly significant.  That is, having the extra roughly 50% more calibrated lumens with the HC7900 should have more appeal than the HC8000′s slight black level and contrast advantage.

Can you use an HC8000D in a family room type of world with some ambient light, and not dark room surfaces?  Sure, but should you? I don’t think so.  Certainly the HC7900 would be more suitable there, as would most brighter projectors in the HC8000′s price range, which is to say, all the other projectors in its price range.

Screens Clarification:  When I am talking about “smaller screens”, let me clarify for those of you never previously having owned a projector.  I’m thinking between about 82 inches diagonal to 110 inches diagonal as “smaller to medium.”  (Large starts over 110″.)

Your 65″ LCDTV by projector standards is downright “tiny”.  I was in a Best Buy over the shopping weekend, and saw 70″ LCDTV’s on display, and wow, they really looked “humongous” compared to the 50″ inchers near by.  Well, next time you’re in Best Buy, take a look. When you see a 50 and a 70 near each other, realize that the increase from 70 to 100″ is a slightly greater increase than going from 50 to 70.  Further a 110″ screen makes a 70″ seem downright small or “cute”.

More importantly, when you get to projector sized images, you enter a world where the screen is large enough to get immersed in the picture.  If that wasn’t the case, no one would go to the movie theaters, we’d all be happy watching James Bond, or Transformers, or Hurt Locker on our 40″ LCDTVs.  OK, enough.

Standard recommendation:  If you really are into movies, and want best color, we recommend having the HC8000D calibrated. If that’s not going to happen, definitely try our settings. They should do visibly better than the defaults, and it shouldn’t take but a few minutes to input them into your Mitsubishi projector.  (No technical skills needed, just the ability to scroll through menus, and change a few numbers).

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