Lastly, I closed the shades on the doors all the way. They still leak lots of light, as you can see, and the room lighting is still far, far, from dark. I could easily sit in my chair and read a book or newspaper. Below is the head on shot with this lighting. Also, you can see the shuttered window on the staircase. It was open and pouring plenty of light into the room, for all these images. The game (Superbowl 2007 on DVR), looks great with this room lighting, and as you can see, I'm filling just about all of my screen's 128" diagonal!
y now you should appreciate that the HC1500 is impressive when it comes to image quality! Fleshtones and colors in general are fairly accurate even right out of the box, without any tweaking of the settings. While black levels are very acceptable, they cannot match the best of class, which are more expensive DLP projectors, without the clear filter on the color wheel, and those that may also have a dynamic iris. the Mitsubishi HC3000 comes immediately to mind, being very similar, except that it does have an iris, and only a six segment wheel. the HC3000's black levels are easily a step up, if you have the properly darkened room to fully appreciate the difference.
the HC1500 is almost twice as bright! Other projectors with significantly better black levels include the far more expensive Optoma HD7300, with its Darkchip3 DLP chip, or for that matter the Sharp XV-Z3000. Of course the Optoma and Sharp are at least twice the price. Sony's HS-51A, an LCD projector, also will have a significant advantage, but it too costs significantly more. By comparison, the Panasonic PT-AX100u, the new Sony AW15, and other lower cost LCD projectors, have an advantage on really dark scenes, thanks to their dynamic irises and other tricks, but really don't do any better, and often worse, on mixed scenes with very dark and very bright areas.
I am pleased for all you out there in the market, that, for less than a thousand dollars, there is now a projector, that overall, performs this well. Overall, the HC1500 is much brighter, and is at least comparable to older home theater projectors like my old BenQ 8700+ which was almost $5000, just 3 years ago.
Time to consider other aspects beside image quality. We'll next look at measured brightness, pixel visibility, remote control, menus, inputs, screen recommendations and more (not necessarily in that order) in the General Performance section.