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Mitsubishi HC4900 DLP Home Theater Projector Review - General Performance-3

Posted on August 19, 2007 by Art Feierman

Mitsubishi HC4900 SDE and Rainbow Effect, Pixel Visibility

Of course, being an LCD projector, there is no spinning color filter wheel, and therefore, no rainbow effect.

When it comes to pixel visibility and the Screen Door Effect, the HC5000BL performs extremely well, by virtue of being a 1080p projector. While sitting my usual 11 feet from my 128" diagonal Stewart Firehawk, pixels (barely visible on occasion on my 720p resolution DLP), were essentially gone! Only on credits could I really spot them when looking, and couldn't pick them out during normal movie or sports content. As a result, let's say this projector can comfortably be watched at close as a little less than 1 times screen width. That should make everyone (like me) who like to sit close in order to have a huge image, and better immerse themselves in the image, to be extremely pleased! After all, that's what front projectors are all about. (Who wants to watch on one of those tiny 60" plasma displays - they just don't give you that theater effect!) The only LCD projector I have seen with less visible pixels is the new Panasonic PT-AX100U (720p) using their smooth screen technology, and the Mitsubishi overall, is much sharper. When I get my hands on the new Panasonic 1080p - the PT-AE1000U, which also has Smooth Screen, I suspect pixels will be less visible on it, but the question is, will the Panasonic appear as sharp.

Mitsubishi HC4900 Projector Brightness

The HC4900 performed about as expected, in terms of brightness. Rated 1000 lumens, the HC4900 projector measured 962 lumens in its brightness mode (Dynamic), with lamp at full power.

For all measurements, the zoom lens was slightly to the wide angle side of center. (A projector with a zoom lens of 1.6:1 like this projector is significantly dimmer in full telephoto, than full wide angle. The difference should be at least 35%.

In Cinema mode, the HC4900 produced a very impressive 688 lumens, which is significantly more than the original HC5000 measured (480 lumens), despite being rated the same 1000 lumens. The difference could be do to one of several things. First of all, when we reviewed the HC5000, it was one of the very first units out the door. I checked my notes, and sure enough, the original HC5000 was a pre-production unit. Pre-production models often aren't as bright as the finished product. Also there is a tradeoff between brightness and contrast, and the HC4900 has a lower contrast ratio - 7500:1 compared to the HC5000's 10,000:1. I should note, though, that the lower contrast ratio can be due to other things such as the auto iris, so, attributing the difference in brightness to the contrast difference, is iffy at best.

So, let's just be impressed with the brighter performance of the HC4900. For example, is is far brighter in "best mode" than the Panasonic direct competition, the PT-AE1000U.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that the HC4900 home theater projector has plenty of brightness in Cinema mode. While not as bright as my own JVC RS1, in its best mode, the HC4900 has to be considered to be a moderately bright projector, that can handle larger screens in Cinema mode.

Switching the HC4900 into standard mode output 602 lumens, also not bad at all.

The measured difference between lamp on full power and eco-mode, is a little less than with most. Low power dropped the total lumens in Dynamic mode, by 17% in our measurements, and that should be fairly consistant, regardless of mode.

Compared to the competition, the HC4900 is brighter in best modes than the Panasonic PT-AE1000U (by a great deal) and is a bit brighter than the Epson Home Cinema 1080. It is also much brighter than the Panasonic in brightest mode, but the Epson cranks out almost 1700 lumens in its brightest mode, a dramatic jump over the Mitsubishi. Translated, for movie watching, the Mitsubishi is the brightest of the group, but if you need to crank up the lumens for sports and/or significant ambient light, the Epson is king. Optoma's HD81 has almost identical brightness, when compared to the HC4900, but the Optoma, while still no match for the Epson in brightest mode, is slightly brighter than the HC4900.

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