new HC5500 High Definition 1080p LCD projector is the company's
latest entry level design that takes some of the best attributes of the
HC4900, HC5000 and HC6000 projectors and targets
those looking to get native 1080p (Full HD) resolution at an affordable
price. The HC5500 uses
a trio of the latest generation of inorganic LCD panels that are rated
to last approximately 10 times longer than conventional organic film panels.
The result is a high definition picture that will be stables for years.
The HC5500 also features the impressive Reon-VX video processor
for an outstanding picture in your home theater system. The 14-bit gamma
correction has 16 times the gradation levels of the earlier 10-bit designs
resulting in improved picture quality, especially in the dark areas of
the image. Light output on the HC5500 is an impressive 1200 ANSI lumens
with a full ON/OFF contrast ratio of 14,000:1 according to the manufacturer.
is designed with a newly structured cooling duct to improve liquid
crystal panel cooling efficiency. Fan noise is virtually non-existent
in the Low Power mode and barely audible in the Normal mode
thanks to a low-noise fan (large-size Sirocco fan) mobilizing a downsized
motor that secures an ample air inlet for improved air intake efficiency,
all while slashing the overall noise level to only 19dBA in the Low
Lamp mode. This low power mode also has the advantage of extending
the lamp life from 2000 hours to an whopping 5000 hours. At a replacement
cost of $459 for the lamp, many users will find this option useful.
HC5500 offers a fast auto-iris control algorithm that is often
found in more expensive models. The design automatically controls the
light intensity on the screen with high precision and speed, resulting
in deeper blacks and brighter whites. A 160W UHP lamp supplies the light
source and can last up to 5000 hours in the Low Power mode. Video
from Blu-ray players that are 1080p/24 will get displayed at twice the
rate instead of applying a 2-3 pulldown that often adds judder to
motion. The HC5500 comes with Mitsubishi's 2-year warranty with
a one year or 500 hour 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). The best part is that this projector has an MSRP of $2495.
This projector design can be used with an anamorphic
lens something not commonly found in this pricing category. The
flexible internal scaling allows the anamorphic lens to be permanently
installed regardless of the source material. This greatly simplifies the
screen and eliminates the need for sophisticated and costly screen options
when viewing 2.35:1 or smaller aspect ratios.
The HC5500 has a motorized optic assembly that is one of the best
features of this projector. Zoom, focus and vertical 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.
projector design from Mitsubishi features a faster auto-iris that can
respond to dynamic changes in the picture resulting in a higher contrast
than earlier models. 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. This worked well and greatly
improved the black levels.
The top of the HC5500 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.
The HC5500 remote is a great design that not only has a nice layout,
but it is also easy to read in the dark. Buttons are fully backlit, allowing
it to work well in poorly lit media rooms. When any of the buttons are
pressed, the backlight illuminates all the keys. The remote operates on
a pair of "AA" batteries and the original ones that came with
the remote are still working even after 3 months of frequent use. 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 optimize
the picture position when using the PC input. Six dedicated input buttons
select from HDMI1, HDMI2, 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 TEMP, GAMMA, SHARPNESS,
and COLOR SAT (saturation) are also present. The HC5500 has the
ability to shift the projected image vertically using the remote control.
This offers good flexibility when setting up the image onto the screen.
It is not uncommon to have the projector mounted slightly off from an
ideal position and the vertical lens shift allows for moderate levels of correction
without introducing geometric distortions. Focus control on the HC5500 is also fully motorized
and controlled using the remote, making it a snap to dial in a crisp picture.
The is one of the better remotes we have seen over the years.
The rear panel of the HC5500 accommodates all standard video
interfaces including composite, s-video, component video, 15-pin RGB/component,
and two HDMI v1.3 inputs. The HDMI digital interfaces support 10-bit and
12-bit video in addition to the current 8-bit color, resulting is less
color banding and false contouring often found in earlier projectors.
Video formats supported are 1080p/60/30/24. 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p,
and 480i. Computer resolutions as high as 1600x1200 are supported as well.
two digital video interfaces on the unit made it easier to connect equipment.
. 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).
A 12-volt trigger output that can be used with motorized screens and provide up
to 200mA of current is also provided.
The HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) processor from Silicon Optics
has been well received by consumers and has become the image processor
of choice. The display technology alone does not make for a good projector,
but requires that all source material gets properly converted to the native
resolution and frame rate for the best performance. The HC5500
includes the Reon-VX HQV processor, which is designed to handle a mix
of video and film sources with 10-bit I/P conversion. The processor also
up-converts standard definition to full 1920x1080 high definition. The
HQV processor compensates chroma up-sampling errors that often degrade
the picture. This results in a better reproduction of high-definition
images without the common color blur or loss. In addition, the HQV
noise reduction processing works on a per pixel basis to maximize picture quality. The HC5500 performed well with a wide variety of source material including everything from 480p to 1080i.
The HC5500 has a zoom range of 1.2x with a vertical lens shift of 2.0 picture heights. Like the HC5000 and HC6000, the HC5500 is a breeze
to install with the motorized optic assembly. We
mounted the HC5500 using a Peerless Industries' PRG Precision
Gear Projector Mount, which helped us quickly align the image and
get the review done with little pain. The short
zoom range will require the projector to be fairly close to the screen. Our 100-inch Stewart FireHawk needed to have the projector placed between
10.5-feet and 12.7 feet. Mitsubishi has completely eliminated the horizontal lens shift on the HC5500. The vertical lens shift helps acheive near perfect geometry when the projector is placed just above the screen. The HC5500 also features up to ±15 degrees
of vertical digital keystone correction. Installers need to do their homework
before mounting the projector to avoid potential setup issues. Even with the projector mounted
directly over our heads, the
fan noise was extremely quiet in the Low output mode. The Standard power mode increased the fan noise slightly,
but was still quiet compared to most projectors we have reviewed. The motorized focus also helped
optimize the picture since we could look at the image up close while dialing
in the perfect picture.
connected only a single HDMI cable to our HC5500 review unit. All
video content was sent over an 25-meter Accell Corporation UltraRun
1.3 (25-meter) HDMI cable from our Denon AVR-5308CI A/V receiver. We didn't
bother testing out the analog interfaces since all of our video sources have HDMI including our HTPC (Home Theater PC).
We were able to set the HTPC to a native resolution of 1920x1080, which match the native resolution of the display. This gave us a huge 100-inch
monitor with excellent resolution to play games or surf the net.
color accuracy of the HC5500 was excellent with the primary and secondary
colors measuring near ideal. Our measurements were read 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
and secondary color measured very closely to the reference standard with
green slightly shifted towards yellow. This is 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. Obviously, the color
accuracy measured here had much to do with the excellent color performance
we experienced with this projector. Flesh tones took on a very natural
look and color saturation was excellent. Greens were lush and blues were
We calibrated the RGB input of the HC5500 since our VP300 only
supports analog outputs. The calibration works the same for each of the
inputs on the HC5500 with indepedent memory settings for each. 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 readings
were taken. According to the manual, the Medium setting gets us close to the ideal 6500°K.
We then set the Color Temperature to User and adjusted the
grayscale tracking using the RGB Contrast and Brightness controls. This
allowed us to dial in the best setting for both low and high IRE levels. We took
most of our measurements using DataColor's ColorFacts PRO software connected to
a GretagMacbeth Eye-One Beamer. The pre-calibrated grayscale was pretty good right out of the box. Once calibrated the HC5500 tracked 6500°K very well across all measured IRE levels.
full 1080/24p video sourced from our Sony PlayStation3 produced
detailed images with smooth panning. The
HC5500 supports both 60Hz and 24Hz frame rates in 1080p modes. The onboard
Silicon Optix Reon VX HQV video processor is among the best currently available for deinterlacing and scaling incoming video to the native
1080p resolution. The new high speed iris on the HC5500 helps produce deeper black than
some of the earlier models.
motorized focus, zoom and vertical lens shift features proved to be beneficial when making small
adjustments 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. The HC5500 projector is amazingly
quiet even mounted directly overhead.
The majority of our testing was performed with our Sony PlayStation 3 running both animation and 24 fps film-based Blu-ray material. Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E and Horton Hears A Who all looked fantastic with this projector. We also watched Jumper and 1408, where dark scenes provided nice shadow detail. Overall resolution was incredible even on our 100-inch Stewart FireHawk Filmscreen and our relatively close (12-feet) seating position. We
attribute much of this to the 10-bit processing used in the Silicon Optix
Reon VX HQV video processor. Brightness uniformity was good with very little banding in the picture. Much of our program material came from our Dish Network ViP-722 DVR. Even the 1080i high definition material looked great with excellent resolution. All our
analog video sources were processed by our Denon AVR-5308CI receiver
which uses a Silicon Optics HQV Realta video processor. We felt that most
users will use either an outboard video processor or a receiver to handle video switching.
The latest HC5500 is a combination of the best Mitsubishi has to
offer consumers at a price that is truly affordable. The company has been
able to take to best attributes of the earlier designs and fold them into
a product that meets both the performance and budget home theater enthusiasts
are looking for. The projector has worked flawlessly during our rather long
review time and the picture has been consistantly good throughout. Colors
are accurate and with a punchy image even with the large 100-inch Stewart
FireHawk screen. The cooling system on the HC5500 is very quiet, which
allows for direct overhead mounting without distracting the viewers. The
on-screen menus were logical and easy to use. We ran all our video
content using a single high quality HDMI cable and the results were very
consistant with no drop outs. Historically the Mitsubishis have been very
good with the signal integrity of the HDMI signals. Some other projectors
we have seen have been more sensitive to the longer cable runs. As always,
we recommend getting a high quality cable especially when the length is
latest HC5500 is a substantial improvement over earlier designs
offering higher contrast, deeper blacks, improved video processing, 1080p/24
compatibility, and an auto iris that works well. Best of all the price
is significantly lower than some of the earlier models with this level
of performance. In addition,
Mitsubishi is now offering the HC5500 with a $300 mail-in rebate along
with a free lamp (worth over $400) for a limited time (until 3/31/2009).
For well under $2500, 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 lens shift capability and you have a high performance projector at a great price.