Projector Reviews

Mitsubishi HC1600 Home Theater Projector Review: General Performance-2

HC1600 Menus

No surprises here. The Mitsubishi HC1600 menus are virtually identical to the older HC1500. Hitting the Menu button brings up a row of small graphic icons for the main menus. Highlighting one tells you what it is. Arrow keys let you select the one you want, then, to enter that main menu, just hit Enter, or the down arrow. To leave a main menu, you can scroll back up to the icon at the top, and then scroll left or right to a different main menu.

The Menus can be positioned in several different locations on the screen. They stay on until you turn them off.

HC1600 User Memory Settings

Overall, the Mitsubishi HC1600 has three user savable memory areas (they refer to them as AV Memory). In addition, there are separate user savable areas for gamma, and color temperature. All considered, that should handle the needs of most – rather easily.

HC1600 Projector: Remote Control

Mitsubishi has made some changes to the remote. It is similar in size to the older HC1500’s remote control, and nicer in some ways, and not so nice in one other way.

The good news is that Mitsubishi moved the navigation buttons down a bit, breaking up the number of small buttons, so that some are above, some below. The point is, it’s no longer four rows of three buttons at the bottom. This makes it easier to remember what buttons are where, and to access them without having to look.

That’s a very good thing, since this newer remote lacks the backlight of the older projector’s remote, (which, of course, is not a good thing)!


The HC1600’s remote has separate On, and Off buttons at the top (Off is labeled standby). Below those, are five buttons for source selection. Then comes a nice space, with two buttons; one for Keystone, one for Auto Position (which is used to lock in a computer signal, in case the projector “missed” the first time around). Three more buttons below those, for calling up the three User definable Memory settings. Then comes the arrow keys, with centered Enter button. And slightly below that, my next complaint: On the left, is the Menu button, and it is an incredibly small round button. There’s a matching sized button on the right, for toggling between aspect ratios. Finally, five larger buttons below those, which allow you to access settings for Contrast, Brightness, Color Temperature, Gamma, and Sharpness. I’m thinking that Mitsubishi would have done better to skip one of those – probably Sharpness, and replaced it with access to the Brilliant Color menu, since people rarely fiddle with a sharpness control.

HC1600 Lens Throw and Lens Shift

A classic DLP home theater projector! I say that in regards to lens attributes. Like most DLP home theater projectors, the Mitsubishi HC1600 has only a 1.2:1 zoom lens. That means that to fill a 100″ digaonal, 16:9 screen, the projector (measured from the front of the lens, to the screen surface), can be placed as close as 11.9 feet, or as far back as 14.5 feet.

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The HC1600 home theater projector has no vertical, or horizontal lens shift. The fixed lens shift is pretty signficant, requiring the projector (measured from the center of the lens), to be 16.5 inches above the top of the screen surface, for a 100″ diagonal screen. That’s great for those with 9 and 10 foot ceilings, as the projector won’t have to hang down as far as some others, but, typically makes the projector impractical in low ceiling rooms, typically basements, where, you may only have a seven foot ceiling, Even with the closest to the ceiling mounting (about 7 or 8 inches), the bottom of your screen (for 100″ diagonal), is going to be only about one foot off the floor. An eight foot ceiling works just fine. I should note, however, that this will be a problem for those with standard eight foot ceilings, who want a larger than 100″ screen.

HC1600 SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility

As a 720p resolution projector, the Mitsubishi HC1600 has larger pixels than 1080p projectors. Fortunately, the HC1600 is a DLP projector, which means a less visible pixel structure than found with 3LCD projectors.

To keep pixel visibility (and screen door effect) to a minimum, we recommend that one sit at least 12 feet back from a 100″ diagonal screen. You will still see some pixel structure on things like credits at the end of a movie, or in the overlayed graphics for scores and information, that typically appear on sporting events. Overall, though, it’s every bit as good, in this regard as any other 720p projector, with the exception of the Panasonic PT-AX200U, a 3LCD projector that uses Panasonic’s SmoothScreen technology, to make pixel structure invisible at any normal seating distance, but pays a price, in the form of a slightly soft image.

The really big issue here, is with Rainbow Effect – caused by the spinning color wheel. This only affects a small percentage of the population, but, all considered, the slow 2x wheel, makes the rainbow effect more noticeable to those who barely notice it, and likely means that folks that don’t see it on other DLP projectors, may, on this one. Most projectors these days, have at least 3x, or 4x even on entry level home theater DLP projectors, and 5x wheels are pretty standard on 1080p projectors.

Bottom line, regarding the Rainbow Effect: The different color wheel (compared to the HC1500), provides more lumens of brightness, but may cost Mitsubishi some sales from buyers who might not have an issue with the older projector, or competing models with faster color wheels. Keep this in mind: Even if you don’t see the rainbow effect, one or two of your friends might. Don’t sweat it too much, though – I’m sensitive to rainbows, and see them occasionally, as do others, when bright white objects move quickly against a dark background. I’ve owned a number of DLP projectors with 4x and 5x wheels, and enjoyed them thoroughly despite the occasional flash of rainbow.

HC1600 Projector Brightness

Like the older HC1500, the HC1600 is defintely a player, when it comes to brightness. True, that with Brilliant Color turned off, the brightness is slightly above average – when the lamp is at full power, and set for Cinema, the HC1600 produces just over 500 lumens. Setting Brilliant Color to 5, increases that to 838 lumens. Five is about as high as one can set Brilliant Color, without some noticeably detrimental effect.

Here are the different lumen outputs for different color modes (Brilliant Color at 0):


Different Color Modes
Medium 514 lumens @ 6182K
High Brightness 835 lumens @ 8287K
Cool 493 lumens @ 8668K
Warm 499 lumens @ 5723K

If you switch the lamp into eco-mode (low power), brightness drops from 514 to 389 lumens in Medium. Expect the same, roughly 25% drop in lumens, when using eco-mode, for any of the various settings.

When you need lots of lumens, you can crank up Brilliant Color all the way. Brilliant Color affects many aspects of the image, and a setting of 10 is “over the top”. When you need those lumens, for some lights on, or a window without shades in the daytime, though, you’ll appreciate the lumens, and since the ambient lighting is already not great for viewing, you won’t notice the issues. Doing so, however makes the projector extremely bright, and fairly competitive with The Panasonic PT-AX200U and Epson Home Cinema 720, as well as the Optoma HD71. It gives the HC1600 the brightness advantage over the directly competing HD65, though not by much.

The maximum measured brightness was 2094 lumens (Brilliant Color on 10, mode on High Brightness, Gamma on Sports). That’s a lot of lumens for a home theater projector.

Generally, going from a 0 setting for Brilliant Color, to one of 10, results in roughly a 2x – 2.5 increase in brightness. It also causes a color temperature shift, with the result being a higher color temp (less reds, more blues).

Personally, if you need some extra brightness for movie watching, I would recommend keeping Brilliant Color under 5, preferably 2 or 3. For most other viewing 5 is probably very acceptable to most folks.

Bottom line: Lots of variation in brightness, depending on the modes and Brilliant Color settings you choose. Most importantly, though, even with Brilliant Color off, (the best color performance), this projector still cranks out a healthy 500 lumens in “best mode” – which is a little better than most.