Product Review (January 2005) - Mitsubishi
HC2000 High Definition HD2+ DLP™ Front Projector

Mitsubishi's new HC2000 Home Cinema Projector is designed to please videophiles looking for the latest HD2+ DLP chip in their home theater room. The design utilizes a two-speed (4x or 5x) selectable, 8-segment color wheel which produces very accurate colors while reducing the rainbow effect seen by some viewers. The 4x speed is said to reduce the color gradations while the 5x speed reduces color breaking noise. Contrast is touted at a whooping 3600:1 with 700 ANSI lumens of light output. The chassis design lacks the sexy curves found on some of the competing models, but looks aside, the HC2000 is a powerful projector capable of producing an excellent picture. The chassis size is larger than many of the portable units we've reviewed and weighs 17.2 pounds. The advantages of this chassis design includes ultra-quiet operation, power focus, power zoom, a lens shift adjustment and solid build quality. In addition, the all-glass lens produces a very sharp image on the screen and the relatively short-throw lens design accommodates a large picture even in our moderately sized room. A wide array of video inputs are supported including DVI with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) for future compatibility with digital content.

The HC2000 is very similar to the Optoma H77, so like many others, we wanted to know what real difference exists between the two. Having just reviewed the H77 we were ready to take a look. The overall chassis design is similar and the video interface panel is basically the same. Mitsubishi informed us that the front-end video processing uses the same Trident chip, but the internal scaler benefits from both a proprietary Mitsubishi design for 1080i material and the PixelWorks 465 chip for other video modes. We were also told that the lamp cradle is a different design that has extra protection from glass shards in the case of a lamp explosion. For custom installations, Mitsubishi seems to have better defined their RS232 interface codes. The HC2000 also has carries the Double Diamond 2-year warranty, which provides an excellent free loan service with free shipping both ways in most cases. Finally, the Mitsubishi projector goes through an extensive QC (Quality Control) process to ensure the product meets their standards before being delivered. We will cover the performance issues below.

Fan noise on the HC2000 is incredibly low especially in the low power mode. The high power mode increases fan noise, but is still relatively quite compared with many of today's front projectors. The design uses baffles strategically located within the cooling tunnel to reduce air speeds and achieve ultra-quiet operation. This is especially important in smaller rooms such as ours where the projector is in close proximity to the viewers.

Setup
We installed the HC2000 using a Peerless PRS Series Projector Ceiling Mount with the Spider® Universal Adapter Plate. This ceiling mount allowed us a lot of flexibility in the installation and made it very easy to install and remove the unit. Mitsubishi also has their own universal mount (see below), but we didn't have one to try out. The HC2000 has four fully adjustable feet that support the unit and allow for optimal positioning when using a shelf or table. We inverted the unit for our review setup and it worked perfectly. Using the vertical lens shift control, we were able to move the image downward without creating any geometric errors. The lens shift can move the image 100% above or below the center of the lens for increased installation flexibility. The image was projected onto our reference 100-inch Stewart FireHawk 16:9 filmscreen from a distance of about 13 feet. Geometry looked great, allowing us to slightly overscan the image onto the black VeLux material on the Stewart Luxus frame.
The HC2000 has both horizontal and vertical keystone adjustments, yet we try to avoid using them as these tend to affect image quality. The power zoom and power focus really make it easy to accurately adjust the picture as the user can stand right next to the screen while using the remote control. Four standard mounting positions (Front/Rear Desktop or Front/Rear Ceiling) are available.

Controlling the picture is relatively simple with the HC2000 by using the dedicated buttons on the remote. We preferred using the Real mode whenever possible so that we could achieve a true 1:1 pixel mapping when feeding the projector a 720p signal. The HC2000 also offers Standard, 16:9 and Zoom modes. We used our outboard iScan HD video processor to convert and scale all our 480i and 480p video sources to 720p to match the projector's native resolution. We also spent a considerable amount of time having a Samsung SIR-T165 set-top box drive the HC2000 through our iScan HD unit. The SIR-T165 has the capability to provide a DVI signal from terrestrial high-definition broadcasts and also from our FireWire™ (iLink™) based D-Theater VCR. Using this setup, we can play our D-VHS tapes and digitally link them to the projector without ever going to the analog domain. Long DVI cables can often be a problem, so we installed a Gefen HDTV Extender to extend our DVI signals to over 50 feet using a pair of CAT-5 cables. We also had good success using an AudioQuest 20m DV-1 DVI cable. The 100-foot analog cable (HQVGA) used with our Home Theater PC (HTPC) came from DirectConnect.

Remote
The design and layout of the HC2000 remote is an improvement over the one that comes with the H77. Instead of round glossy buttons that are sometimes difficult to read, Mitsubishi uses flat matte buttons. They have also increased the number of buttons available on the remote and include separate power On and Off controls. The same blue backlight is used on this remote allowing users to see it in a poorly lit room. The projector response to the remote commands seem to be the same as what we experienced with the H77. For some reason, we must get marginal IR strength reflecting off of our FireHawk screen. As a result, it takes a bit experience to get the angle just right.

Dedicated buttons are provided for commonly used controls such as Brightness, Contrast, Hue and Format located on the left side. The Format button selects from Real, Window (4:3), 16:9 or Letterbox. The right side of the remote has Freeze, Re-Sync, Zoom and Menu/Exit buttons. The middle two buttons control the horizontal and vertical keystone corrections. The lower center buttons are used for navigation as well as power zoom and power focus controls. The remaining lower five buttons select video inputs which include Composite, S-Video, BNC, DVI and RCA. The projector automatically searches for a valid format and upon detecting one, will display the input, resolution and frame rate of the incoming signal.

Menus
There are four main menus on the HC2000 (Picture, Pro Picture, Option, and Installation) used to control various aspects of the projector. The Picture menu has controls for Contrast, Brightness, Color, Tint, Sharpness and White Enhance. The Pro Picture menu controls Color Temp (High Brightness/6500/Special/User1/User 2), Gamma (Theater1/Theater2/Standard), Setup (Off/3.75%/7.5%), Black Stretch, and Display Position (Shutter Controls/Vertical Position). The Option menu includes Save Memory (Memory 1/2/3), Transparent Menu (On/Off), Menu Position, Back Color (Blue/Black), Lamp Hour (Hours/Reset), Lamp Mode (Normal/Low), and Reset Setting. The Display menu controls Test Pattern, Signal Setting (Tracking/Fine Sync/H-Position/V-Position), Component (Auto/RGB/PCbCr/YPbPr), Aspect (Standard/16:9/Zoom123/Real), Mirror (Floor-Front/Ceiling-Front/Floor-Rear/Ceiling-Rear), Format (Native / Window / 16:9 / Letterbox), Keystone (H-Keystone / V-Keystone), Language, and Expand.

The HC2000 has a detachable IEC input power socket next to the main power switch on the right side of the unit. Two small LEDs are used for Lamp and Temperature status. These indicators provide status to the user in the event of a lamp failure or over-temperature condition. The momentary power switch on the panel is used to turn on the projector as an alternative to the IR remote. The HC2000 power light illuminates an orange color while in standby mode. Once powered-on, the blue light begins to flash until the unit has warmed up, after which time the blue light stays on constantly. Once the unit is commanded to shut down, this indicator flashes orange until the lamp has cooled down, after which time the indicator goes back to a constant orange. Cool air is drawn from the bottom of the chassis through the user-replaceable air filter and exits the left side of the unit. All video cables are located on the back of the unit. A tethered lens cover connected to the bottom of the chassis is included to keep dust and scratches off the optics when not in use.

Interfaces
The rear panel of the HC2000 supports both analog and digital video interfaces. DVI with HDCP is supported along with 5-BNC connections for RGB or Component video. Three RCA connectors accommodate an additional set of component inputs. Composite and s-video input that are compatible with NTSC, PAL and SECAM standards are also provided. Since our projector was located far from our sources, we primarily used the DVI interface for most of our testing. An RS232 port that is used to update the firmware as well as command the projector remotely is included. The HC2000 can interface with PCs or Macs and is fully compatible with VESA standards as high as UXGA (1,600 x 1,200). We connected the projector to a Sony Vaio HTPC running with a 1280 x 1024 video mode.

Aspect Ratios
The HC2000 has multiple aspect ratio control modes. We preferred using the Real mode because it completely bypasses the internal scaler for true 1:1 pixel mapping. This mode is ideal when an outboard scaler is used and set to output 720p to match the display's native resolution as in our case. However, some content may contain "garbage" in the borders that requires the user to switch to the 16:9 mode. Mitsubishi identified this as a potential problem and included the Shutter capability on this projector.

One of the nice features found in the HC2000 design is the Shutter, which allows the user to control the amount of masking on any of the four sides of the image. This is very useful on certain broadcasts that display garbage on the borders of the image. Rather than scale the image to produce a slight overscan, the HC2000 can use the Native mode for true 1:1 pixel mapping and still get rid of the annoying garbage in the borders with this feature. Having independent border control also ensures that the viewer doesn't lose too much of the picture with a more generic overscan setting.

The 16:9 mode is intended for source material that is "16:9 enhanced" or "enhanced for widescreen TVs" such as most of today's DVDs. The 4:3 mode places the video content in the center of the 16:9 screen leaving black bars on the left and right sides of the image. This will preserve the proper aspect ratio of 4:3 content on this 16:9 native display. Since this is a DLP product there is no need to worry about screen burn. The Letterbox mode is intended for those DVDs that come in a letterbox format. Unfortunately some of the early DVDs assumed users had a 4:3 display and conveniently displayed the image with the proper aspect ratio (top and bottom bars). This creates a problem when the same material is shown on a 16:9 display or projector such as this one. The Letterbox mode expands the image to fill the screen, but the downside to this format is the original source material from the DVD is limited in resolution. This is why all respectable DVDs are now "16:9 enhanced" or "Enhanced for Widescreen TVs", which is the same.

Color Tracking
We calibrated the DVI input using our Sencore VP403 HDTV video generator running in the native 720p mode. We set the black level using the PLUGE pattern and checked the stair step levels to ensure we had properly adjusted the display. Using the menu selection, we set the Color Temp to 6500°K and took color temperature readings using our Sencore CP5000 All-Display Color Analyzer. The pre-calibrated color temperature was a bit on the high side averaging between 7000°K and 7500°K. Luckily both gain and bias control are available for all three colors (red, green and blue) making it easy to adjust low and high light level color correction. Once calibrated the HC2000 tracked 6500°K very well across all measured IRE levels. The final color temperature measurements only deviated about 100°K from the ideal 6500°K target.

Display Primaries
While virtually all HD2+ projectors seem to have excellent color performance, they do differ somewhat from each other. Each manufacturer chooses slightly different primaries on their color wheel which accounts for some of the differences seen in the color primaries. The primary colors produced by the HC2000 were measured from our 100" Stewart FireHawk filmscreen using the GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer along with the Milori ColorFacts software. The CIE chart shows where the ideal primaries are located with the smaller three points joined by the darker lines. The measured primary colors are indicated by the red, green and blue markers connected together with the white triangle. Only colors inside the triangle can be produced by the projector. Each primary color was very close to the ideal value with green slightly shifted towards yellow. Red was right on target while blue was not quite a saturated and almost identical to what we measured on the H77. The color accuracy measured had much to do with the excellent color performance we saw on the screen. Skin tones took on a very natural look and color saturation was excellent.

For most of our viewing we preferred running the HC2000 in the Normal (high) mode as this made it easier to achieve the SMPTE recommended 12 foot-Lamberts of light output for digital cinema on our Stewart FireHawk, while still fully tracking close to 6500K at all IRE levels. The calibrated picture on the H77 looked absolutely beautiful on our 100" screen. While some have recommended going to a lower gain screen (1.3x for the FireHawk), we have been quite satisfied with the performance of this material especially when some ambient light enters the room.

Video Processing
The HC2000 uses high bandwidth ADI (Analog Devices Inc.) A/D converters, a high-performance 3D digital comb video decoder and a 3rd generation motion-adaptive 3:2 deinterlacing engine. According to Mitsubishi, 1080i video is processed by their own proprietary chip, while all other video uses the PixelWorks 465 chip to scale video to the native 1280x720 (720p) format. The Native format mode bypasses the internal scaler so the user can map a 720p source 1:1 to the native resolution of the display. For most of our testing, we preferred using an outboard DVDO iScan HD video processor/scaler, which allowed us to connect all of our video sources to the processor and then send a single DVI signal to the HC2000.

Performance
Mitsubishi advertises a 3600:1 contrast ratio, yet it must be understood that this number is an absolute maximum in most cases and does not reflect a properly calibrated display. Once calibrated, the HC2000 produced a full on/off contrast ratio near 3000:1 with a full screen brightness of 12.8 foot-Lamberts in the Normal (high) power mode. The Low power mode produced a full screen brightness of 10.8 foot-Lamberts. We preferred using the Normal (high) power mode for most of our viewing.

We primarily used the DVI input with 1080i material from our D-VHS tape collection. Our HD-Net collection includes recordings of War in Afghanistan, Over Ireland and Bikini Destinations all in 1080i played on our JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS VCR. The picture quality was excellent with accurate skin tones and rich color saturation. D-Theater movies were a real treat to watch as well on the HC2000. We watched Master and Commander and were impressed with the shadow detail we saw with the projector. There was some noise that could be seen in deep blacks with occasional false-contouring under certain conditions, but it was rare and never really distracted us from the overall impressive picture produced by the HC2000.

Composite and s-video inputs were tested using our Sony DVP-NS900V as a source. The introduction scene in Star Trek's Insurrection resulted in some cross-color artifacts with the composite input, so would not recommend using this input unless absolutely necessary. The s-video input showed better performance with increased resolution and no color artifacts. Both of these interfaces exhibited excellent deinterlacing performance even though the resolution was somewhat limited. Interlaced video came from our Sony DVP-NS900V DVD player using the analog component inputs on the projector. Challenging material was handled well by the built-in video processing, but we still preferred using the iScan HD for our deinterlacing. Video performance on the composite, s-video and 480i/480p analog inputs looked virually identical to the H77.

Conclusion
The HC2000 is an excellent projector that leverages from all of the positive attributes we saw on the H77. This includes the ability to produce a very satisfying high-definition picture with excellent color saturation, deep blacks and ultra-quiet operation. While most of our testing involved the DVI interface using an outboard scaler, the front end video processor did a good job on a variety of source material. There was some false-contouring that we noticed on rare occasions that seemed to appear on defocused images and certain scenes that panned rapidly. This was more noticeable with 480i/p material and was the same type of artifacts we saw on the H77. This was not as noticeable when using 1080i material possible due to the special video processing Mitsubishi does with 1080i source material. Even with these flaws we found the projector to be satisfying.

The power focus and power zoom features on the HC2000 came in very handy during setup and are an added benefit to this projector design. Mitsubishi has done an outstanding job with the incremental improvements over the H77, many of which we enjoyed during the course of the review. Menu functions with the Shutter Control and a better remote control design are some of the improvements. In addition, the user's manual is much more comprehensive. It's refreshing to see a company take an already good design and make it even better. Even better, Mitsubishi has recently dropped the price of the HC2000 to $8995, making it even more attractive. Do we think the difference is worth it? Absolutely.

- Kevin Nakano


Review System

Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer

D-VHS VCR #1: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
D-VHS VCR #2: Marantz MV8300 D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: Monster Cable M Series M500DVI DVI-D Cable
DVI Extender: Gefen HDTV Extender
HDMI Cables: Accel Corporation HDMI Adapter and Cables
Power Conditioning: Panamax MAX® 5510 ACRegenerator
Video Generator: Sencore VP403 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 ISF Certified All-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: ColorFacts with GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer


Review - At a Glance


Mitsubishi -
HC2000 High Definition HD2+ DLP™ Front Projector

Display

HD2+ 0.79-inch 12-degree DLP from Texas Instruments

Native Resolution

720p native (1,280 x 720)

Maximum Resolution

UXGA (1,600 x 1,200) compression

Brightness (Typical)

700 lumens

Contrast Ratio
(Full On/ Full Off)

3600:1

Weight

17.4 pounds (7.9 kg)

Dimensions (W x H x D)

16.9 x 5.3 x 12.0 inches (430 x 135 x 305 mm)

Operational Noise

23 dB in standard mode

Lamp Life (typical)

3000 hours in low-power mode

Lamp Type

250-watt Philips UHP lamp in standard mode

Aspect Ratio

16:9 widescreen native, 5:4 & 4:3 compatible

Input Connections

One DVI-I (DVI/HDCP, Analog RGB, Component, HDTV)
One BNC RGBHV Input
One YCbCr/YPbPr x 1
One RCA for composite video input
One S-Video input

Output Connections

Two IR receivers (front and rear)
One RS-232 output

Computer Compatibility

IBM PC and compatibles, Macintosh, iMac, VESA standards

Video Compatibility

NTSC: M, 4.43 MHz
PAL: B, D, G, H, I, M, N
SECAM: B, D, G, K, K1, L
EDTV (480p), SDTV (480i), HDTV (720p, 1080i)

Throw Ratio

1.6 – 2.16:1 Distance/Width

Keystone Correction

4-way vertical and horizontal

Lens Shift

Enables image to be displayed 100% above or below the center of the lens

Screen Size (diagonal)

21 to 282 inches (.53 to 7.16 mm)

Projection Distance

3.28 to 32.8 feet (1.0 to 10 meters)

Projection Lens

f = 28.3 – 38.2 mm, F / 2.4, power focus projection, 1.35 x power zoom lens

Horizontal Scan Rate

31.5 to 100 kHz

Vertical Refresh Rate

43 to 85 Hz

Operation Temperature

23 - 95°F (-5 - 35°C), 80% humidity

Power Supply

Universal AC 90 - 264 volts, 50 - 60Hz

Uniformity

95%

Warranty

Two year, parts and labor, 90 day lamp warranty

Standard Accessories

AC power cord
Wireless remote control and batteries
Composite Video Cable
S-Video Cable
RS232 Cable
Lens Cap
Printed manual and CD
User’s guide (multi-language)

Optional Accessories

Universal touch screen remote
RS-232 cable
Ceiling mount kit



Source: Manufacture supplied
Model Number: HC2000
Serial Number: 0001216
MSRP: $8,995
Weight: 17.2 pounds
Dimensions (W x H x D): 16.9 x 12.0 x 5.3 inches (430 x 305 x 135 mm)
Warranty: Two years Limited Parts and Labor; 90 Days on Lamps

Optional Universal Ceiling Projector Mount: PROJ-UCM
HC2000 Replacement Lamp: VLT-D2010LP

Company Information
Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc.
Presentation Products Division
9351 Jeronimo Road
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: 888-307-0349
Source: Manufacture loan

Website: www.mitsubishi-presentations.com

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