First and foremost, the Mitsubishi HC6500 (link to specs) is one of those projectors that really produces a highly watchable, enjoyable image. The skin tones, are excellent, as is the overall color balance. Shadow detail is very good, and when you combine that with the good black level performance, what you have is a projector that's a pleasure to watch. This is a projector that, regardless if you can find one that's better for less, when you put it in your home, you will enjoy it! There are many projectors better at black levels, or better at something else, that just don't produce a really well balanced picture, which is what the Mitsubishi does.
Before I go further, a little commentary: Ultimately, the value of every projector out there, is in part determined by its selling price. You can have a projector that is so-so, compared $4000 dollar projectors, so a poor value at that price, but the same projector at $2500 might be a great deal.
As many of you realize, many of the 1080p projectors are not available from online resellers, where the best prices are normally found. Many manufacturers do not sell to online resellers, including virtually all the high end models and brands, from folks like Runco/Vidikron, SIM2, Marantz, and so on. Others, like InFocus, Epson and Mitsubishi often have some projectors available from online dealers, and others that are strictly local dealer sales (generally the CEDIA channel). Some, like Epson produce separate models for both markets with few real differences, but most, who split their line, simply allow sales of their least expensive models, via online, and their higher end projectors through the local channel.
The Mitsubishi HC6500 is one of those projectors that is intended for local dealer sales only, in fact, among other places, I'm told you can buy them at Best Buy.
There are many advantages in dealing with local dealers, offsetting that, however is the usual higher price tag. Local dealers can't do the volume, so need higher margins to survive. In exchange, it's great to have local support.
All that said, I like to keep comparisons relative. Those wanting and paying for local installation, normally won't save much by buying a projector online. The way I figure it, if a local dealer can't make their margin on the projector, they'll find a way to get most of it back in there.
The HC6500 has a MAP (minimum advertised price) of $2495, but without online competition, the dealers - all local, will likely be getting at least $3000 for it, at least initially.
My take is that, compared to other local dealer only projectors, it is a very good value, although, those buying online, will be able to find slightly better projectors for the same price or even as little as $2500.
The Mitsubihsi HC6500 is a step up from Mitsubishi's HC5500, their entry level 1080p projector, and one available online, for close to $2000. The only real major difference is in terms of black levels, where it has just enough improvement to go from OK, to good. For anyone who's at all an enthusiast, that is a significant difference.
Time to consider strengths and weaknesses of the HC6500 projector.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Pros, Cons, and Typical Capabilities
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Pros
- Excellent color and overall image quality, after calibration. Most folks looking primarily for movie watching will find it an excellent fit.
- Brighter than most 1080p projectors when comparing "best" color modes
- Extremely sharp image
- Very good black level performance, better than the HC5500
- Very good shadow detail
- Two HDMI 1.3 inputs, full support for 24 fps, Deep Color, etc.
- Support for an anamorphic lens
- Power everything - zoom, focus, lens shift - it does everything at the touch of a button, but make you a martini
- Excellent gamma controls
- Extremely quiet operation
- Longest life lamp - 5000 hours in eco-mode, for low cost of operation
- Perhaps the best looking (physically) projector under $10,000. Cool!
- Low image noise
- Very good manual, with reasonable explanations for many functions (they can still do better!)
- Comes with a cable cover to hide the connections - a real plus for ceiling mounting
- Very good price performance compared to other local dealer sales only projectors
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Cons
- Somewhat below average brightness in "brightest" mode, may be a limit to those wanting larger screens (larger than 110" diagonal), or those who heavily watch sports with moderate, intentional, ambient light
- Cannot match the black level performance of some new projectors at, or below its selling price
- Could use an extra two or three user memory modes
- General price/performance compared to some excellent projectors available at online pricing, is not very good.
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Typical Capabilities
- Slightly below average brightness in "brightest mode"
- Menus: while they are good, they are nothing exceptional
- Range of the remote control
- Lamp life in full power mode
- Black level performance for "mid-tier" 1080p home theater projectors
- 2 Year warranty is typical, although longer than some competitors, shorter than others
Mitsubishi HC6500 Projector: Competitive Aspects
With a whole host of new 1080p projectors to still review in the next 8 weeks, it's hard to do a lot of competitive information, since I can only deal intelligently, with how it compares to other projectors I've reviewed. For that reason, most of these below, are about to be discontinued. As more reviews roll out these next few weeks, you'll be able to find how the HC6500 compares to them, in their reviews.