Posted on October 6, 2006 Art Feierman
When I finished posting the previous review, an especially impressive $2000 home theater projector, the LCD based Panasonic PT-AX100U, I was concerned that the Panasonic might establish itself as the runaway leader among under $2000 projectors. Thus, with some concern, I started watching the new Mitsubishi DLP home theater projector, the HD1000U (link to specs),later on the same evening that I finished posted the Panasonic. Turns out, I need not have feared.
I’ll deal with how Mitsubishi’s HD1000U stacks up against the competition, in the Summary section, but let’s say, like with the Panasonic, I was definitely impressed.
What Mitsubishi has done here, is come out with an “entry level” 720p home theater projector, at a price point well below their award winning HC3000, specifically, (updated 11/20/06) the HD1000U is now $995 list price, making it one of the two under $1000 720p home theater projectors now shipping. In fact, the two projectors are extremely similar, including coming in the same case (except that the HD1000U’s is dark gray, whereas the HC3000 is off white). The HC3000 is a very competitive DLP home theater projector, and is generally regarded as rather exceptional in terms of producing “the blackest blacks” and excellent shadow detail. This is where the two projectors differ. The HD1000U lacks the dynamic iris of the HC3000, limiting to a degree, black levels and shadow detail, yet it still does an impressive job, comparable to other DLP and LCD home theater projectors that couldn’t match the HC3000’s performance in these areas.
In addition, without the dynamic iris, the HD1000U provides an overall brighter image than the HC3000 in its best mode. The HD1000U, in fact is especially bright in cinema mode. In brightest mode (Sports), it is still very bright, but a couple of other projectors can out lumen it. In best mode, though, not even the exceptionally bright Panasonic PT-AX100U can beat it. This combination of very good but not exceptional blacks, and lots of “horsepower” make the HD1000U especially excellent for those who love to watch movies, but can’t fully darken their rooms. With even a little ambient light in your viewing room, you give up those “blackest blacks” and some shadow detail. The end result, therefore, with low ambient lighting, is that you basically would never know that that the HD1000U home theater projector wasn’t quite as good (shadow detail and black levels) as some others in that regard.
The image above was photographed off of an HDTV cable feed, with low levels of ambient light in the room. (more on the room lighting conditions in the image quality section).
Considering the Mitsubishi’s low price for a 720p home theater projector (not the lowest, but close), and that it does have some more advanced processing than the only other 720p projector that is shipping and selling for less, it’s an excellent match for people who will watch movies in less than a pitch black room. This projector is going to have a large following of people for whom it matches up very well. And that right there, is why the HD1000U home theater projector picks up our Hot Product Award.
OK, I should have your attention now, so here are the basic specs, and then we’ll start with a tour of the HD1000U projector.
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