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Mitsubishi HC-5000BL Projector Review - General Performance-4

Posted on October 25, 2006 by Art Feierman

HC5000BL Lamp Life and Replacement

Mitsubishi rates the HC5000BL at 2000 hours in full power, and an impressive 5000 hours in low power. That is an unusually large percentage difference. For that reason, I was expecting that the HC5000BL's low power mode would be more like 30-35% less than Standard (full) power. Thus, I was very surprised to see a less than 25% drop. I suspect therefore, they are really working the lamp hard, in full power mode.

As mentioned in our Physical Tour, the Mitsubishi lamp door for replacement is on the side, so, no need to unmount the projector to change out the lamp. A real plus for those ceiling mounting!

Projector Screen Recommendations

Not overly large, for sure! I was never happy in Cinema (best) mode, watching movies with the projector set to fill my entire 128" diagonal, light gray high contrast surface Firehawk screen. By reducing the image size to 110" diagonal, though I found watching movies to work out just fine.

Dynamic Iris and AI, notwithstanding, the HC5000BL does a very good job in terms of black levels. As a result, for those wanting as large a screen as possible, I would recommend a screen with positive gain, like my other screen, the Carada Brilliant white - with it's 1.4 gain. My own Carada is 106" diagonal, and I found the image to be more than bright enough!

Please note, if your walls are pretty dark, you can get away with a bigger screen than with off white walls.

For those, most critical, and really wanting to knock the black levels down as far as possible, a light gray surface, with or without high contrast should do the trick. But for a typical user, after the high resolution and more of a mixed media type (sports, HDTV, gaming, as well as movies), I think most will appreciate the extra brightness of a positive gain, white surface. Please note, screens like the Carada Brilliant White, and the StudioTek 130 (1.3 gain), are by no means the brightest screens out there. Note, though, the more gain, the narrower the viable viewing angle (the more you lose sitting off to the side). Still, someone seeking max brightness, and whose critical seats are near the middle might even opt for a screen with a 1.8 or 2.0 gain. If the room has some light coming in from the sides near the screen, the extra gain also translates into rejecting more of the side ambient light.

All that said, at the 100" diagonal size, I think the Firehawk is a killer solution, and although it is a more expensive and (by most accounts) a "better" screen, less expensive products like Da-lite's Cinema Vision (with or without High Contrast) surface or Elite's light gray surface (purportedly high contrast, but only barely), should make good alternatives for those on a budget. Of course, when you are looking at a $4000+ projector, spending an extra $500 or so on a fixed wall screen to get the best, makes sense to me. But if you are going motorized, etc., the differences in price can go well beyond $1000!

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