HC7800D Projector – 3D Performance

The Mitsubishi HC7800D is fully 3D capable.  Glasses are optional as is an emitter which plugs into the rear of the projector.  Mitsubishi claims especially efficient glasses and I must say that they help.  The big issue with most 3D capable projectors is not the actual quality of the 3D but the brightness.  True, you can go with really high bright screens or very small screens with most projectors to get good 3D brightness, however, the primary problem is that 3D pretty much gives up about three quarters of your total brightness and that takes what would be a very bright 2D image and reduces it to a wish-it-was-brighter 3D image, with most of todays 3D capable projectors, when tackling medium and larger screens.

Due the variation with 3D glasses and how they work, taking straight measurements of 3D brightness doesn’t give you an accurate picture of how bright the image will be.  The Mitsubishi HC7800D in this case, measured in the high 800-lumen range in 3D mode, and seemed to be pretty bright considering that relatively low number of lumens.

This may be because of the DLP design.  With LCD and LCoS projectors, you can often improve picture quality by reducing cross talk but that sacrifices some brightness.  With this DLP projector, one setting fits all, as is common with DLPs.  Bottom line on 3D brightness: Definitely could be brighter, however, remember that this projector inherently isn’t built to be one of the brighter ones out there. Historically, I have found that Mitsubishi is pretty well known for producing really good projectors, but routinely, ones that are not exceptional bright.

We’ve determined that many Mitsubishi projectors that we’ve reviewed over the years are excellent as long as you stick to smaller screens such as 100 inches diagonal or less. Of course you can slightly larger depending on the screen surface and your room.  The HC7800 projector is no exception! With really high gain screens, of course you can go a lot larger, but the trade-offs can be severe.

Let’s talk about picture quality!  In 3D, the Mitsubishi HC7800D is one of the cleanest projectors we’ve seen.  It’s got the usual image noise that we expect in 2D and 3D off of DLP projectors, which means a touch more visible than most other technologies.  The thing is, in 3D there is essentially no cross talk.  It’s just clean looking. Very impressive watching 3D, however I never took the image size above about 100 inches diagonal when watching, and still wasn’t really happy with the brightness. With other projectors such as the Epson or the Panasonic, both of which are dramatically brighter in 3D, it was not usual for me to fill a 124‑inch 2.35 to 1 cinema scope-shaped screen without as much difficulty.

Bottom line on 3D performance for the Mitsubishi HC7800D is simply this:  You will find the image quality to be rather excellent.  The trade off, of course, is that if you’re trying to fill a larger screen, the HC7800D simply doesn’t have the muscle in 3D.

Mitsubishi HC7800 Projector: 2D to 3D conversion

Click to enlarge. SO close

Like many other 3D capable projectors, this Mitsubishi is capable of taking a 2D signal and converting it to 3D.  In the past, I haven’t been a really big fan of this.  I’ve tried watching a lot of 2D content in 3D and generally am very disappointed.  It’s not that you don’t get some 3D effect, you certainly do. It’s simply just not that flawless, not that impressive, not that much depth.  It’s just not as compelling as a really good native 3D image can be.  On the other hand, coming back from the CES Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, I saw an application for 2D to 3D that impressed me.

I’m talking about taking your own personal videos shot with your camcorder, your iPhone, or other device. Convert to 3D and enjoy your family and friends videos in 3D with the glasses on.  Again, it won’t be flawless 3D.  It can really be cool when you’re watching your friends or kids, or a family event.

Click Image to Enlarge

So try that one out.  On the other hand, converting movies to 3D that are 2D inherently?  You can try it, and if you like it, go for it.  My take is that the quality isn’t good enough to rationalize wearing those glasses and looking at the dimmer image.  I’ll restrict my 3D viewing mostly to good quality 3D content. Mind you, that not all 3D content we’re being fed on Blu‑ray or TV is all that good either, but great 3D content looks really good on the HC7800D.  I happened to break out my old X Games content that I saved off of HDTV and it just looked fabulous.  Go Shaun White.

HC7800D Creative Frame Interpolation - CFI - smooth motion

The HC7800 offers CFI (creative frame interpolation).  This allows the Mitsubishi HC7800 to provide smoother video than you would get otherwise.  Most people really like this for viewing sports and also a lot of digital content.  For movie purposes, however, CFI impacts the feel of a movie, so is oft described as changing the Director’s intent, replacing film-like quality with a soap opera kind of look or “live digital video” effect.  As with most home theater projectors we review, I’m not a big fan of CFI for movies. I wouldn’t recommend the Mitsubishi’s CFI for movies, but then I’ve only indicated that 3 or 4 home theater projectors of the last 50 I’ve reviewed, are natural looking enought to even consider watching movies with CFI on.

That said, be aware that many folks including younger people like my college age daughter, really just don’t pay attention to such details, and will watch content with CFI on or off.  My daughter can tell you if CFI is on or off, in a heartbeat, but she normally doesn’t care if it’s on or off when she’s watching. In other words – you are the most critical viewer in your familiy, so you too, may be less likely to engage CFI on any projector when watching film-based movies.

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