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Mitsubishi HC3000 - General Performance 2

Posted on July 9, 2006 by Art Feierman
We've covered most of this before. The projector has fixed lens shift. As designed, to get the correct rectangular shaped image, the bottom of the image will be higher than the center of the lens. I did not measure, but, per Mitsubishi's data sheet, a 100" diagonal 16:9 screen, will have the bottom of the image 16.9 inches above the center of the lens. This will allow the projector to sit on a fairly low table, or, if ceiling mounted, will have it mounted above the top of the screen surface. For those of you with low ceilings (such as basements) this could pose a problem for ceiling mounting. The zoom ratio is 1.2:1, so with the same 100" diagonal screen, you can place the projector as close (measured from the front of the projector), as 11.9 feet, and as far back as 14.5 feet.

Mitsubishi HC3000 Aspect Ratio

(This section is copied (with minor changes) from the Optoma HD72 review, as both use the same 1280x768 aspect ratio chip:

Where to start here. The HC3000 is one of the first of a new breed of DLP projectors that use DLP chips that have 16:10 ratios, not the 16:9 which is the HDTV standard That gives you 1280x768 instead of the usual 1280x720 resolution. This has a number of implications:

It does mean that you can hook up a computer to your projector and output true XGA resolution, without any image degrading compression technology. (WXGA - "wide XGA" most often means1280x720, and therefore really can't do true XGA (1024x768) without compression. There are a small handful of WXGA projectors that use 1366x768 which can do XGA without compression. The later has only been available on LCD powered projectors. Texas Instruments (TI) has apparently decided that a good compromise is to stick to the 1280 width (same as the HDTV format) but add about 6% more height to the projected area giving them the 1280x768 WXGA). Yes that means there are now three different resolutions that are all called WXGA! (So much for standards).

So, do you buy a 16:10 screen (you can get those made custom), or go with the traditional 16:9 screen. I expect the vast majority will go with 16:9. That means that when you set up your projector to fill the 16:9 area, you will have some overshoot above and below the screen. If you have 100" diagonal screen, the usable surface is just shy of 50" tall. The overshoot at the top and bottom works out to a about 1.5 inches at the top and at the bottom. This normally means that the unused area (when watching DVD or movies will throw some dark gray light that will hit the mask around your projection screen. This should be barely detectable assuming your screen has a nice (typical) matte black border around the viewing surface. Note if you are buying a pull down screen (they normally have smaller borders, you might want to make sure it has at least 1.75" of black material at the bottom.

Of course, if you do go this route (a 16:9 screen), and you do project an XGA computer signal, you will have the first 24 pixels hitting the border at the top, and the bottom 24 pixels hitting the bottom border. If your projector is mounted (or placed) where you can access it, you could, of course zoom out just a touch to allow the whole XGA image to fill the screen.

(End of content from the HD72 review.)

SDE and Rainbow Effect

The Mitsubishi HC3000 is typical of DLP projectors with 720p (technically, the HC3000 is 1280x768, but you will only be using 1280x720. As I have expressed in other reviews, different people have different tolerances for seeing pixels. Most, I believe don't mind if pixel structure is slightly visible in things like text credits at the end of movies or in large bright evenly lit areas on the image, as one tends not to notice. Others don't want to be able to see the pixels at all. I fit into the first catagory, and from my perspective the HC3000 works fine if you sit about 1.1 times screen width, which with a 100" diagonal screen is about 9 feet back. Those noticeably more critcal, for the same sized screen might prefer 11-13 feet back.

In some cases, if the pixel structure is slightly visible, when viewing certain source material, such as the grass on a football field, the screen door effect may give you a patterning, or even a fuzzy look. Move back a foot or two, and that will vanish. Again, though, those distortions are not likely to be an issue even at 9 feet back.

s to the rainbow effect caused by the spinning color wheel, this affects a very small percentage of the population. If it was greater, then DLP home theater projectors certainly wouldn't dominate the market. In the case of the HC3000 projector, it uses a 4x color wheel, which is typical for low priced to moderately priced home theater projectors. Note, my own BenQ 8720, which is close to twice the price offers 5x, but, in it's best mode, drops down to 4X, and this is a projector, that, at the beginning of the year, was over $6000 street price.

The bottom line, if you end up being one of the few that can detect the rainbow effect, and it bothers you, you will need to be looking for an LCD projector, or an LCOS projector (the LCOS home theater models are far, far more expensive right now).

Light Leakage

The HC3000 leaks a little light out the right side (if you are viewing the projector from the back). The amount is small, and should not pose a problem.

Audible Noise Levels

Mitsubishi claims 25 db in low power mode, which is extremely quiet, and quieter than most other projectors. My own experience, in my testing room, found it to be very quiet, but not as quiet as I had anticipated based on their published specs. Still, it is one of the quieter projectors. (Of course the noise level will vary, depending on where you are sitting relative to the projector - in front, to the sized, underneath...

Switch to high power mode, and the Mitsubishi projector becomes significantly noisier. Enough to be readily audible in most rooms if you are within 6 feet of it. There are those who demand an extremely quiet projector, and few of them will find any projectors quiet enough to fully satisfy them when the projectors are in full power mode. For most of us, once we get immersed in the movie or other viewing, we simply just won't notice the noise, even on quiet scenes. Overall, the Mitusbishi projector does a good job competitively in terms of audible noise levels.

Projector Brightness

The HC3000 is moderately bright, despite it's rating of only 1000 lumens. Like all home theater projectors (OK, there probably is an exception), the lumen output in this projector's best mode is only a fraction of the rating. Most home theater projectors, in best mode produce anywhere from high 200 lumens to 500 lumens or a little bit more.

Our measurements on the Mitsubishi in it's best mode, which also means low power, and Iris stopped down for best contrast and black levels, measured 465 lumens.

I would suspect the color adjustments I made, to reduce that by around 10%. If one chooses to open the iris (it has only two positions - open and stopped down), contrast and black levels will degrade slightly, but you should see about 25% more lumens, and the HC3000 will still have impressive black levels. Depending on the size of your screen, room, etc., you may decide that you need to open the iris for a slightly brighter picture. Please remember, that a 20% increase in brightness is very subtle. If you closed your eyes for a minute, and someone opened the iris, its most likely you wouldn't notice the difference in brightness, unless you were really trying to see if you could tell.

I should note that I measured brightness before calibrating. Since the HC3000 was "cool" (in the 7000K+ range -favoring blue over red), the measurements should be a bit lower after calibration, with the color temperature close to the desired 6500K range.

Overall, as I have mentioned in the image quality section, Optoma's HD72 is a little bit, but not significantly brighter, and that's the brightest under $3000 projector I have yet measured. So that definitely place the HC-3000 as a "fairly bright" home theater projector, and significantly brighter than the LCD projector competition.

Since I have been comparing the HC3000 to the Optoma HD72, I should point out that the Optoma's best mode, has their AI on (Optoma chose an AI controlled lamp dimming to enhance black levels, while Mitsubishi uses their iris.) One downside to the Optoma HD72, is that with AI on, their fan is louder than the HC3000s. I should note, therefore, that in the comparison images you have seen, the Optoma had AI turned off, so that both projectors were similar in noise levels, and because when I pause my Oppo DVD player, it's bright pause icon on the screen tends to negate the operation of the Optoma's AI.

Enough! Next!

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