Product Review (May 2003) - Mitsubishi
XD300U ColorView DLP™ Home Theater Projector

Today's home theater projectors are smaller and more powerful than ever. The new DLP designs have added to the mix of already popular LCD projectors for general purpose presentation use. As performance of these new projectors improves, many of them are finding their way into home theater applications. The new Mitsubishi XD300U is one such product that incorporates some attractive features including the highly regarded Faroudja Directional Correlational Deinterlacing (DCDi™) video processing circuitry for removing interlacing artifacts and jagged edges from NTSC sources. While viewgraph engineers could care less about the inclusion of such processing, home theater enthusiasts will demand it. Since so much legacy video is often derived from analog sources that are interlaced, this processing greatly improves the picture quality by removing artifacts associated with the de-interlacing process. All incoming video, including the deinterlaced video, must be scaled to the native resolution of the display.

The XD300U is based on the double data rate (DDR) 0.7" single DLP (4:3 aspect ratio) chip with a native resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. The 2x speed, four-segment (RGBW) color wheel time-slices the images into primary colors creating useable video from a single DLP chip. The result is a projector claimed to produce 2100 ANSI lumens with a 2000:1 contrast ratio, all in a package that weighs only 6.6 pounds. In addition, the XD300U includes a user-replaceable 200 watt long-life lamp (up to 4000 hours), which has twice the life of most other models. All these features allow this projector to be used for both home theater and professional presentation purposes.

Construction
The XD300U is a fairly compact design with the menu and navigation buttons easily accessible on the top of the unit. A power and lamp temperature indicator shows the status of the unit. Cool air is drawn from the front of the unit and exits the rear. The fan is audible, but relatively quiet and claimed to be a surprisingly low 30dBA. While watching movies, we could hear the faint sound of the projector overhead, but it was quieter than many we have heard. The lens assembly is somewhat hidden within the body of the projector which helps reduce the risk of accidentally bumping and damaging the assembly. There is no handle built into the chassis, but it does come with a nice carrying case and strap for portability.

The XD300U offers several different types of inputs. The multiple video inputs offered on the XD300U made video switching simple without the need for an extra switcher. The two composite and two s-video inputs are fully compatible with NTSC, NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, PAL-60 and SECAM. These interlaced inputs benefit from the Faroudja DCDi processing. Dual VGA inputs are also provided, one of which can be used with component video signals. A VGA output is also provided for loop-thru capability. There is no DVI interface on this projector which we consider to be somewhat of a limitation in today's market. Audio input/output jacks are also available making it convenient for presentations connected to a desktop or laptop computer. A built-in speaker with a 2 watt amplifier works seamlessly with any laptop audio connection. An RS232C port allows for full remote control of the unit. VESA video scan rates up to UXGA (1600x1200) are also supported. Of course, the best video quality is the native rate of 1024x768 for presentations. This eliminates the common aliasing that can occur during the scaling process. The PS/2-style computer interface allows the unit to be mapped to a unique IP address for control over a network.

Setup
The projector is very easy to set up. We mounted the unit from the ceiling which requires it to be upside-down. The angle of projection is quite steep on this unit and required a height of about 15" above the top of our 100" Stewart FireHawk Filmscreen. The manual 1.15x Zoom and Focus lens is similar to other projectors we've seen and set us back about 15 feet from the screen.

While the horizontal and vertical digital keystone adjustments worked surprisingly well, we recommend not using them whenever possible. The reason is the image resolution is compromised to some degree depending on the amount of keystone adjustment needed. We preferred positioning the projector for the best image geometry.

Performance
We fed a variety of different source material to the XD300U including 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i. This projector deinterlaces (when necessary) and scales the different formats to the native resolution of 1024x768 with excellent quality. Interlaced video benefited from Faroudja's high performance DCDi processing, which worked extremely well in this unit and got rid of the interlacing artifacts we so often see. Jagged edges were removed with the motion-adaptive algorithms and per pixel processing Faroudja is renowned for. We were also very pleased with the performance of the 1080i material scaled to the projector's native resolution. We viewed the D-Theater release of Kiss of the Dragon using our JVC D-VHS unit as well as DirecTV's HDNet and HBO's high definition channels from our RCA DTC100. Both sources sent 1080i video to the XD300U with excellent results. There were no objectionable artifacts from down-scaling the 1080i that we could see. In fact, the resolution was amazingly good, especially for a projector that falls a little short of true high definition. We would recommend taking a good look at this projector for many home theater enthusiasts who want a high resolution display, but don't want to pay the $10K+ price for the current high performance HD DLP displays. The image quality produced by the XD300U far exceeds the resolution of DVD. High definition material gets scaled down, but still looks excellent at the appropriate seating distance. Video fed into the s-video inputs also performed very well.

The IR remote included with the XD300U is well designed with good sized buttons, spaced far enough apart to avoid problems. Mitsubishi has a comprehensive set of user menus for adjusting the image. Standard image controls of contrast, brightness, color, tint, and sharpness are available including an sRGB option and extensive color calibration controls. Three preprogrammed gamma settings are available (dynamic, standard, and theater). The color temperature can also be adjusted with contrast and brightness controls on red and blue. User programmable memory with independent controls of red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta, saturation, and RGB-tint are possible with sRGB turned off. A built-in laser pointer is part of the remote control and is bound to be handy during presentations. Also included is a nice carrying case along with a shoulder strap.

In the lab
We calibrated the projector using a Sencore VP300 Video Generator along with a Sencore CP5000 Color Analyzer. This projector offers a wide range of adjustments for tweaking the picture quality. We set the Gamma setting to Standard, Color Temp setting to Low, and Color Matrix setting to Video. As you can see the color temperature tracking was pretty good right out of the box just dropping about 500 degrees below the optimal 6500 °K at the high IRE levels. Once we adjusted the settings, the unit tracked color very well and produced an excellent image. Image contrast was impressive as was the high light output, creating a rich looking picture.

The light output on this projector is higher than most projectors in this class coming in around 2000 ANSI lumens. This appeared to affect the black level to some degree and while not perfectly black, we were quite happy with the black level when using the Stewart FireHawk filmscreen. Today's DLPs are high performance in many respects, but often lack the ability to produce deep blacks. Stewart's FireHawk screens compliment current DLP technology with the ability to improve overall picture quality on any of these projectors and in my opinion is well worth the investment.

The XD300U has an MSRP of $6995 and includes an impressive three-year warranty on parts and labor along with a 90-day warranty on the lamp. The ERA (Express Replacement Assistance) program keeps you up and running in the event the projector fails during the 3 year warranty period. They ensure a replacement unit will be shipped to you within a 24 hour period for overnight delivery during business days. The advantages of these new DLP projectors are making them more popular than ever. The ability to project a large image onto a screen without the high maintenance associated with CRT-based projectors makes them particularly attractive to today's home theater enthusiasts. The Mitsubishi XD300U has both the price and performance any serious home theater designer should consider.
- Kevin Nakano


Review System

Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" diagonol FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Scaler: Focus Enhancements CenterStage CS-2 Scaler
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 #1: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
Set-top Box #2: RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR<
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
Power Conditioning: Panamax MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 ISF Certified All-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer with ColorFacts Software


Review at a glance
Mitsubishi - XD300U DLP™ Home Theater Projector

Features

  • Exclusive, award-winning ColorView Natural Color Matrix for rich, vivid colors
  • sRGB color profile technology ensures standard, uniform color reproduction
  • Picture-in-Picture with split screen from two sources
  • XGA 1024 x 768, 500 video lines
  • Super long lamp life - up to 4000 hours
  • Horizontal and vertical keystone adjustment
  • 2000:1 Contrast ratio - colors are rich, whites are brilliant, and blacks are dark
  • Compatible with ProjectorView™ Networking System
  • Faroudja DCDi technology for smooth and natural-looking images
  • Three-year parts and labor warranty, 90-day warranty on the lamp
  • Three-year Express Replacement Assistance (ERA) program

    Specifications

  • Native resolution of 1024x768 (786,432 pixels)
  • Scaling Resolutions: 640x480 (Expand), 1024x768 (Real), 1600x1200 (Compress)
  • Composite Video Inputs (2)
  • S-Video Inputs (2)
  • RGB/HV Video via VGA Input 1 or 2 connector
  • Component Video via VGA Input 2 connector
  • Built-in Audio with 2 watt mono amplifier
  • 9.5 foot power cord
  • Size: 11.8" x 3.8" x 9.6" (300mm x 96mm x 245mm) (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds (3.0kg)
  • Warranty: 3 year parts and labor, 90 days on lamp

    Company Information
    Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc.
    Presentation Products Division
    9351 Jeronimo Road
    Irvine, CA 92618
    Phone: 888-307-0349
    Source: Manufacture loan
    Serial Number: 0001040

    MSRP: $6995

    Replacement Lamp: 499B031-10 (VLT-XD300LP)

    URL: www.mitsubishi-presentations.com

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