Product Review (August 2007) - Mitsubishi
HC5000 HD 1080p High Definition LCD Projector

By Kevin Nakano


Mitsubishi's new HC5000 High Definition LCD projector is their latest entry that offers native 1080p (Full HD) resolution. The HC5000 includes the latest generation of liquid crystal panels (C2) with inorganic orientation film and features the impressive Reon HQV processor for an outstanding picture in your home theater system. The LCD optical engine is enclosed to prevent dust from entering into the assembly. According to Mitsubishi, special algorithms have been incorporated to control the dynamic iris and is said to achieve an impressive 10000:1 contrast ratio. Both HDMI and DVI connectors are provided for the ultimate in digital connectivity. The ultra-quiet cooling assembly produces a small 19dBA noise level in the low power output mode and results in an impressive 5000 hour lamp life. Normal power mode has about 2000 hours of lamp life. The unit comes in two colors, white (HC5000) and black (HC5000-BL). We reviewed the white version and found that it blended nicely into the room decor without looking obtrusive. The HC5000 comes with Mitsubishi's 2-year warranty with a standard 90-day warranty on the bulb. The HC5000 is a light-weight projector weighing only 12.3 pounds and measuring 13.1" x 4.9" x 13.8" (WxHxD).

Motorized Lens
The motorized optic assembly is one of the best features of this projector. Zoom, focus and two-dimensional lens shifting is completely adjustable through the remote or top control panel. A convenient test pattern can be generated with a push of a button, making setup a simple and accurate process. Once the settings are in place, the user can lock them from being changed accidentally. The light source comes from a 160-watt high pressure lamp. The HC5000 is built with a lens system comprised of 17 elements in 14 groups, including three extra-low dispersion glass lenses, which results in higher performance than conventional lenses. According to the manufacturer, this lens system dramatically improves chromatic aberration and peripheral focus. As with most projectors, placing the unit as far back as possible results in the best performance with uniform brightness across the screen.

To help deepen the black level capability of the HC5000 LCD projector, Mitsubishi has implemented an auto-iris that is said to achieve an amazingly high contrast of 10,000:1. The auto-iris feature will automatically control the level of light projected from the lens by constantly adjusting the mechanism based on the incoming video content. Unfortunately, we found this implementation to be a distraction while watching movies. When the video encountered dark scenes, the image would suddenly get darker shortly afterwards. This helped bring the black levels down considerably and improved the image. However, we wish there was a better way to do this without it being so noticeable. In many cases we preferred using the open mode for the iris along with a calibrated picture to avoid any distractions.

Top Controls
The top of the HC5000 has nine buttons that allow control of the unit without the use of the remote. Some of the buttons have dual functions when the menu is active or when setup adjustments are being made. This is most useful when using the projector in a tabletop configuration. We had little use for these controls since our projector was mounted inverted on the ceiling. The Status and Power indicators provide information about the projector state and lamp condition. In Standby, the Power light is red. When the projector is powered on, both the Status and Power lights turn green. If at any time the Power indicator turns red, an abnormal condition has occurred within the projector and service is needed. This can be as simple as the lamp needing replacement.

Remote
The HC5000 remote has a nice layout and is easy to operate. Buttons are backlit, making it fairly easy to use in poorly lit media rooms. Separate power On and Off buttons make it difficult to accidentally shut the unit off. Turning the projector off requires two successive presses of the Off button. The Auto Position button is used to optimizes the picture position when using the PC input. Six dedicated input buttons select from HDMI, DVI, PC, Component, S-video and Composite inputs. A set of three A/V memory buttons are included for custom configurations. The navigation buttons (left, right, up and down) work in conjunction with the Menu button. The Iris button controls the setting of the automatic dynamic iris. Picture controls for contrast, brightness, color temperature, color saturation, sharpness, and gamma are also present. One great feature found on the HC5000 is the ability to shift the projected image both horizontally as well as vertically using the remote control. This offers the most flexibility when setting up the image onto the screen. Typically, installers will find that the projector is slightly off axis and the lens shift allows for moderate levels of correction without introducing geometric distortions. It is best to place the projector as far back away from the screen as possible for the best picture. Focus is also fully controlled through the remote making it a snap to dial in a crisp picture. The backlighting on the remote make it easy to see in a dark environment. When any of the buttons are pressed, the backlight illuminates all of the keys.

Interfaces
The rear panel of the HC5000 accommodates all of the standard video interfaces including composite, s-video, 3-RCA component video, 15-pin RGB/component, DVI, and HDMI. We really liked having two digital video interfaces on the unit. There is also an RS232 port that can be used to command the projector from an outboard controller. An IEC power receptacle is located here and accommodates a wide range of power source options (100V-240V, 50/60Hz). The trigger output can be used with motorized screens and provides up to 200mA of current.

Video Processing
While the core display technology (ie DLP, LCD SXRD, LCOS) in a projector is closely scrutinized by the consumer, the video processing can be equally important in the final display quality especially when dealing with various source material. It is not uncommon to find displays that look great with ideal source material, but fail to perform well when fed non-ideal sources. Mitsubishi's decision to use the Silicon Optix Reon VX HQV™ (Hollywood Quality Video) Video Processor is a good one and makes this great projector even better. All sources benefit from 10-bit image processing resulting in accurate I/P (interlace/progressive) conversion. Whether the source is video or film, 60 or 24 frames per second, the picture exhibits excellent video quality with virtually no objectionable artifacts. The h
igh-performance video scaler can upconvert DVD's 720 X 480 resolution to match the display's 1920 X 1080 native resolution. The Reon-VX chip reduces chroma up-sampling errors and properly compensates for color data compressed at the production level of most DVD titles. This results in a better reproduction of high-definition images without the common color blur or loss. The full 10-bit 4:4:4 signal processing found in the Reon VX HQV™ produces more realistic gradations and colors than standard 8-bit processing. In addition, the HQV™ noise reduction processing works on a per pixel basis for the best picture possible.

Installation
The HC5000 is a snap to install with the motorized optic assembly. Our 100" Stewart FireHawk is located approximately 13 feet from the projector lens and aligned right at the top of the screen. The built-in pattern generator along with the two-axis lens shift controls allowed us to dial in a near perfect rectangle to fill the 16:9 screen. This is essential since there are no keystone correction feature in this unit as they tend to cause picture artifacts. The motorized focus also help optimize the picture since we could look at the image up close while using the remote.

We have a variety of projectors that get reviewed and it is always somewhat challenging to find a one-fits-all projector mount. Luckily, Peerless Industries has an excellent mount that allows us to quickly install and remove any projector with ease. Their latest PRG Precision Gear Projector Mount helps us align the image and get the review done with little pain. Even with the projector mounted directly over our heads, the fan noise produced by the HC5000 is extremely quiet in the low output mode. The standard power mode increases fan noise slightly, but is still quiet compared to most projectors we have reviewed.

We connected three main cables to the HC5000; two digital and one analog. The 20-meter VizionWare Hi-Wirez HDMI cable was connected from our Sony PlayStation3 directly to the projector HDMI input. We ran multiple video sources (analog and digital) to our DVDO iScan HD+ scaler and then sent the video through a 20-meter AudioQuest DV-1 cable to the DVI input on the HC5000. Finally, our setup made use of the RGB inputs where we connected our HTPC (Home Theater PC). By setting the PC to a native resolution of 1920x1080, we matched the output with the resolution of the display. This gave us a huge 100-inch monitor with excellent resolution to play games or surf the net.

Display Primaries
Color accuracy is an important attribute and the primary and secondary colors define the palette. The primary colors produced by the HC5000 were measured from our 100" Stewart FireHawk filmscreen using the GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer along with the Milori ColorFacts PRO 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. This has been somewhat common in many of the projectors we have reviewed. Both red and blue were right on target and the secondary colors were quite accurate as well. The color accuracy measured here had much to do with the excellent color performance we saw on the screen. Flesh tones took on a very natural look and color saturation was excellent. In summary, this projector has excellent color accuracy.

Color Tracking
We calibrated the RGB input of the HC5000 since our VP300 only supports analog outputs. The calibration works the same for each of the inputs on the HC5000 with memory setting for each. We set the Sencore VP300 HDTV video generator to 1080p/60fps. We set the black level using the PLUGE pattern and checked that the stair step levels did not crush the blacks or whites. The Gamma was set to Cinema and the Color Temperature was set to Medium when initial reading were taken. According to the manual, this setting gets us close to 6500°K. We then set the Color Temperature to User and adjusted the grayscale tracking using the RGB contrast and brightness controls. This let us dial in the best setting for both low and high IRE levels. We took all of our measurements using DataColor's ColorFacts PRO connected to a GretagMacbeth Eye-One Beamer. The pre-calibrated grayscale was a little on the high side, but not bad out of the box. Once calibrated the HC5000 tracked 6500°K very well across all measured IRE levels. The final color temperature measurements only deviated about 200°K from the ideal 6500°K target across all of the IRE levels.

We achieved a full contrast ratio of about 2000:1 (11.3fL/0.006fL) after calibration with 500 hours on the bulb. The projector was set to the Standard lamp mode with Iris set to 2. The best black levels were achieved with the Low lamp setting and with the Iris set to 2. We would have liked to see an option for the Iris setting that did not dynamically change with the video content. Currently, this only exists when the Iris is set to Open.

Performance
There was a time that I wouldn't even consider an LCD projector solely based on early experiences with these units. However, after spending a great deal of time with the HC5000 my opinion has forever changed. Being very sensitive to flicker and therefore the rainbow effect (DLP color wheel flicker) associated with my Optoma H77 and all single DLP projectors, my preference goes to LCD given the price and performance.

The motorized focus, zoom and lens shift feature proved to be a benefit when small tweaks need to be made during installation. The dense pixel structure would normally require two people to set the focus, but with the fully motorized controls it is an easy one person task. As mentioned earlier, the HC5000 projector is amazingly quiet even mounted directly overhead. It is significantly less noisy than what we consider to be a quiet Optoma H77. The menus are rather small even on our 100" viewing screen.

For this review we had a large selection of high definition source material that included Blu-ray, HD-DVD and satellite programming from Dish Network. We also had content from standard DVD with both analog and digital interfaces to the HC5000. Blu-ray discs had incredible resolution and with the latest firmware update for our PS3, we had the ability to playback movies in full 1080p at 24 fps (frames per second). Best of all, the HC5000 had no problem accepting 1080p video at 24 fps even though the user's manual does not mention it. The image shows the HC5000 information screen with the resolution and frame rate detected by the projector while using the Sony PS3 as a movie source.

It has been a while since we have used our Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player and we encountered a slight problem with the playback of the new Planet Earth HD-DVDs. However, updating to the latest software on the HD-A1 through the ethernet connection got us back online. The 1080i video from the player was sent to the HC5000 where it was converted to 1080p. The video performance was astonishing. It is easy to spot motion artifacts on our screen, but we didn't see anything objectionable with the HC5000 and it made watching full 1080p one of the best experiences ever. The HC5000 showed little signs of false contouring on difficult scenes. We attribute much of this to the 10-bit processing used in the Silicon Optix Reon VX HQV™ (Hollywood Quality Video) video processor. Many of the HD movies were stored on our Dish Network ViP-622 DVR. These programs were sent to the HC5000 in 1080i with excellent resolution. While few compression artifacts could be seen due to bandwidth limitations in the transmission of the Dish signal, the video looked superb and made movie watching a great experience with this projector.

All our analog video sources were processed with an external DVDO iScan HD+ deinterlacer and scaler and sent to the projector through a DVI connection. However, we did run some tests that showed the HC5000 internal processing was equally as good if not better on analog sources. This is amazing for a projector in this price range. We figured that most users will not bother with analog sources unless legacy equipment is being used especially with DVI/HDMI enabled DVD players dropping in cost.

Conclusion
The HC5000 has forever changed my view of LCD projectors. The picture was rich in color and had high contrast with ample light output on our FireHawk screen. In addition, the 3-panel LCD inherently eliminated the annoyance I have with the color wheel on single chip DLP projectors. The cooling system on this projector is very quiet which allows for overhead mounting without distracting the viewers. The on-screen menus are noticeably small and can be difficult to read for us older folks especially if the screen size is not very large. An option to increase the size would be great. The HC5000 offers both HDMI as well as DVI digital interfaces for maximum flexibility with digital components and we took full advantage of this. For those with multiple HDMI sources, an outboard video switcher may be needed. Multiple HDMI inputs on the projector would be nice, but can quickly run up the setup cost with long HDMI cables. We recommend getting a good quality cable for the long run.

Having owned a DLP projector for the past several years it was refreshing to see the advancements made with today's LCD technology. In fact, my first impression told me that this projector was going to become a part of our reference setup. No longer did I have to put up with the color wheel artifacts (rainbow effects) associated with my single DLP projector. Since me eyes are very sensitive to this issue, the HC5000 with its 3-LCD 1080p design provided an excellent picture without this distraction.

Full bandwidth 1080p video sources coming from our Sony PlayStation3 produces incredible video images on the screen without objectionable artifacts. Both 60Hz and 24Hz frame rates are supported in 1080p modes. The onboard Silicon Optix Reon VX HQV™ video processor is first rate with the ability to properly deinterlace and scale incoming video to the native 1080p resolution. Contrast is somewhat limited with the lack of deep black levels, but still produced a punchy and high resolution picture with excellent color saturation. Best of all, the HC5000 is surprisingly quiet making it an excellent choice for those with seating near the ceiling mounted unit.

So for well under $4500, consumers can now get full 1080p video with some of the best video processing available in any projector. Add in the power focus, zoom, and 2-D lens shift capability and you have a projector worth every bit of the asking price.

- Kevin Nakano






OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




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: Dish Network ViP622 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
Blu-ray DVD Player: Sony PlayStation3 with HDMI 1.3
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player with HDMI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T4 Controller
HDMI Video Switcher: Octava 4 Port HDMI/Toslink Audio Switcher
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
HDMI Cables: VizionWare Hi-Wirez 20-meter, Accell 45-meter UltraRun HDMI Cable
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review - At a Glance


Mitsubishi - HC5000 High Definition Full 1080p LCD Front Projector

Display Technology

0.74" 3-LCD (with Micro Lens), Inorganic C2 Fine™

Native Resolution

1920 x 1080 (Total 2,073,600 pixels)

Brightness

1000 lumens

Contrast Ratio

10,000:1 over with IRIS Operation

Zoom/Focus

Powered Focus & Zoom (Zoom Ratio 1.6:1)

Projection Lens

F=23.5-37.6mm , F1.8-2.3 (3.1-5.0m@100")

Throw Ratio

1.41 – 2.26

Offset Axis

(V) 4 : -1 - -4 : 1 (+/-75%) , (H) Screen Width +/-5% (with Variable H+V Powered Lens Shift)

Picture Size

50-300 inches

Source Lamp

160W (Shut Off Time 2000Hrs) with Low Mode (128W:Shut Off Time 5000Hrs)

PC Compatibility

Resolution ; 640 x 480 (Expand) - 1920 x 1080 (Real) Sync on Green available

Video Compatibility

NTSC / NTSC 4.43 / PAL (including PAL-M, N) / SECAM / PAL-60
Video; 480i/p(525i/p), 576i/p(625i/p), 720p(750p 50/60Hz), 1080i(1125i 50/60Hz),
1080p(1125p 50/60Hz), SCART (RGB + 1V sync)

Input Terminals

PC: Mini D-Sub 15pin x 1, DVI-D(with HDCP) x 1
Video: HDMI™ x 1, RCA x 1, S-VIDEO x 1, RCA (Y,PB,PR) x 1, DVI-D (HDCP) x 1
PC audio input not available. Video audio input not available.

Output Terminals

12V trigger Out (do not plug-in an earphone to this terminal, stereo mini jack 3.5 mm) x1

Communication
Terminals

RS-232C; D-Sub 9pin x 1 (Direct command is available)

Scanning Rate

[H] 15 - 100 kHz, [V] 50 - 120 Hz, [Dot Clock] max 170 MHz

Height Adjuster

Two Push Front leg (-1 to 7 degree variable)

Hand Remote Unit

Projector Fully Control, Back light key, Direct functions with AV memory

Power Consumption

250W / 2.5 A

Dimensions

13.1" x 4.9" x 13.8" inches (W x H x D) (exclude height adjuster)

Weight

12.3 pounds

Power Requirements

AC 100 - 240 V, 50/60Hz

Fan Noise

24dBA (Low Mode 19dBA), sea-level

Supplied Accessories

AC power cord
IR Remote control and batteries
RGB Cable
RS232 Cable
User Manual (with CD)
Safety Manual

Optional Accessories

Replacement Lamp (VLT-HC5000LP), PROJ-UCM, or PROJ-UCM-PRO

Key Features

Silicon Optix Reon VX HQV™ Image Processing
Inorganic C2 Fine™ LCD panels
Side loading lamp design
Auto Iris desig
n
Horizontal and Vertical Lens Shift
3D Color Uniformity correction
3D Y/C digital comb filter and 3D noise reduction
A/V memory function
User adjustable gamma correction
Digital keystone correction (Vertical)
Password Menu Lock

Part Number

HC5000(BL) – for standard, all black cabinet
HC5000U – for special-order white top cover HC5000
(allow 8-10 weeks lead time)



Source: Manufacture supplied
Model Number: HC5000
MSRP: $4,495
Weight: 12.3 pounds
Dimensions (W x H x D): 13.1" x 4.9" x 13.8" inches
Warranty: 2-years Parts and Labor; 90 Days on Lamps

HC5000 Replacement Lamp: VLT-HC5000LP
HC5000 Replacement Lamp Cost: $459 (retail)

HC5000 Product Brochure

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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