Mitsubishi HC8000D Projector Overview
The Mitsubishi HC8000D is intended for the proverbial cave, or dedicated home theater. It comes finished in a black shiny case, which blends in nicely with the dark surfaces usually found in a home theater. For those more interested in putting this projector in a family room, living room, etc., the HC8000D has the $500 less expensive, similar HC7900DW. That projector is finished in white (as is appropriate for those types of rooms). Contrast for the HC8000D is upped to 330,000, that's more than double the HC7900DW's 150,000:1 and in its own right, an extremely impressive number for on/off contrast. From a performance standpoint, the emphasis of the HC8000D projector is in delivering that higher contrast, "blacker blacks" - better black levels. The trade-off, is that this HC8000D projector is almost a third less bright than the family room projector, in terms of both calibrated lumens and maximum usable lumens. Of course being in a really dark room compared to a "family room environment", should balance things out a good deal. We'll discuss how that plays out in terms of black level performance, as usual, on the Image Quality page of this review. In the Mitsubishi projector line-up,consider these two projectors to otherwise be identical. Mitsubishi is still offering the more expensive HC9000D, an LCoS projector (using Sony panels), that is a couple of thousand dollars more. The HC9000 launched just about a year and a half before this review, but is approaching end of life. That will soon make the HC8000D the flagship of Mitsubishi home theater projectors. I have no indication that Mitsubishi will bring out a new projector above the HC8000D. The 1.5:1 manual zoom lens, has a better than typical zoom range for a home DLP projector. That provides about as much placement flexibility as almost any other DLP projectors for the home. It allows the HC8000D projector to compete with most LCD and LCoS projectors in terms of placement flexibility. Of course that statement is only true because it has vertical lens shift, as do all the competing 3LCD projectors anywhere near its price, including the Epson Home Cinema 5020 ($2599) and the Panasonic PT-AE8000 ($2799), which are likely the two best selling over $2500 home theater projectors. This is a fairly well equipped projector. The Mitsubishi HC8000 has creative frame interpolation for smooth motion. It also offers a full CMS (color management system) for calibrating the projector. The HC8000D comes with a remote control, which I think is rather dated, but it will be discussed in the Remote section of the Tour page (the next page). When it comes to audible noise, DLPs tend to be a bit noisy. The HC8000D, like the 7900, is not a real exception to that tendency, but it is a bit quieter than most of the DLPs, especially compared to the less expensive ones. The HC8000D does get fairly quiet in its low power setting. I find it to be slightly quieter (more of a different pitch and a db or two, nothing dramatic) when compered to the Epson HC5020. I'm talking with both running at full power, which I confirmed when doing some side by side photos. Considering the big lamp life difference between full and eco-mode, if the bucks are tight, you'll want to run in eco-mode, assuming you still have enough brightness. When it comes to the HC8000D projector, image quality is the key. Of course, we will discuss that a great deal, in the following pages.