Posted on March 27, 2005 By Art Feierman
Mitsubishi HC-3: This Widescreen, Low-Cost, Exceptionally Bright, LCD projector, is great for sports, TV/HDTV.Mitsubishi HC3 home theater lcd projector – front view I like this projector. One of my complaints about most home theater projectors – at any price, is that they are not designed to handle ambient light. Now the HC-3 isn’t dazzling bright – it can’t handle a room with windows and no shades on a sunny day, but it can do a very respectable job on a 92″ or 100″ screen with a couple of lights on in the room. And that’s more than other competing projectors can do. I make this point because if you have a few people around to watch a football (substitute your favorite sport) game, you probably don’t want to do it in the dark.
Bottom line, most home theater projectors at any price point are focused on watching movies – “home theater”. But not all of us consider movie watching to be our primary reason for buying a projector. Plenty of buyers are big on sports or regular (and HD) TV, some are into gaming (ok, you gamers so far are a small group, when it comes to buying projectors). Perhaps we should call the HC-3 a home entertainment projector rather than home theater, because, it is not the best choice for movies, but does a respectable job, but on sports, etc., this projector shines!This is not a new projector, rather it has been around for a while, but, what makes it extremely interesting to many potential buyers, is the price. Selected dealers are now selling the Mitsubishi HC3 projector for $999 – less than half of its normal selling price when it first started shipping 16 months ago. Ok, with that introduction, here are the basics on the HC-3 projector. It is rated 1300 lumens with a contrast ratio of 500:1. The LCD’s are “1/4″ HDTV” resolution: 960×540. That’s a bit higher than most low cost HT projectors which are mostly WVGA (854×480). Sanyo’s recently discontinued Z1 projector, a very popular machine, relied on the same resolution LCDs. This Mitsubishi projector is particularly small for a home theater projector, and it is a bit noisier than most. Again, these things make the HC-3 a better sports, video game, TV and HDTV projector than a DVD movie projector. This is a video projector for your family room.
First of all, this is a three LCD powered widescreen projector, which tends to explain both the impressive brightness of the image (more later) and the relatively low contrast ratio.
Starting at the front, the HC-3 projector’s lens is recessed (control for zoom and focus are also recessed, on the top). Facing the projector the front IR sensor for the remote is just to the left of the lens. There is venting on the front left, but no light leak. There are adjustable feet at the far left and right, with push release buttons just on the each side, right at the front. You can also manually fine tune the drop of the feet by turning them indivdually.
The top of the Mitsubishi HC-3 projector has the zoom and focus rings (as previously noted). Immediately behind them is the full control panel as shown in the picture below. The button layout is frugal, with most buttons doing dual duty. They are well labeled. The Menu button must be pressed for the arrow keys to perform their functions otherwise, two act as source (computer, video) one for auto position, and the Enter button gets you keystone adjust (again if you are not in the menu system.
The back has only the rear IR sensor, and there is a single fixed foot on the bottom rear of the projector, providing a 3 point stance for the projector if not mounted. That works just fine.
You’ll find all of this Mitsubishi home theater projector’s inputs on the side (right side if facing the front of the projector). Unfortunately the inputs are few. There is a single HD15 computer connector which will allow you either to hook up your computer, or a component video source. Mitsubishi provides an adapter cable (HD15 male to 3 RCA female connectors), so you can use a standard 3RCA to 3RCA component cable. The adapter cable is color coded (Red Green Blue).
This of course means, that without external switching you can’t hook up both a computer and a component source at the same time. And that could be a drag. Of course if you have a AV receiver with good switching that will help, but if you do want computer and Component sources both to be fed in, you will probably need an external switch box, as I haven’t spotted any AV receivers that will also switch computer signals.
You will find one S-Video and one composite video input, and surprise, a pair of audio inputs – this Mitsubishi has one small speaker. (Mitsubishi has pitched the HC-3 projector as dual purpose – business presentations and home theater, and sound is standard on all business projectors). Finishing off the I/O is a serial port (DIN connector) for external command and control.
The power connection is just below the audio inputs.
Side note: this video projector comes with a lens cap that is tethered to the projector so you don’t lose it. Nice if you move your projector around.
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