|Mitsubishi HC3000 DLP Video Projector|
|Home Theater Front Projectors DLP Projectors|
|Written by Kevin Miller|
|Saturday, 01 April 2006|
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The HC3000 is a really competent little performer, especially impressive in several regards when you consider its price. It utilizes the Texas Instuments’ Dark Chip 2, which delivers reasonably good black-level performance, but not quite as good as that of the step up-chip Dark Chip 3. Still, the blacks on the 3000 are quite a bit deeper and richer than on any transmissive LCD projector I have ever seen. If you are projecting onto a smaller screen size, say, from about 72 to 80 inches wide, closing the iris will improve blacks slightly and you will still have an amply bright picture.
Blacks are also extremely clean and smooth with no “false contouring” or solarization artifacts in very dark scenes. I watched a variety of DVDs on the 3000, but for black-level torture testing, I used the excellent transfer of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm). The opening scene of this movie with the space shots is particularly telling. Similar space scenes like this in other parts of the film did look just slightly milky, lacking that inky depth you get with CRTs, and some DLP projectors with the Dark Chip 3 chip.
Overall, the color accuracy on the HC3000 is excellent. Color decoding is dead on with no “red push” whatsoever, and it also decodes green well. The colors of red, green and blue are closer to accurate than those of many DLP projectors out there, and the Brilliant Color improved the accuracy of the red by a good bit. The Brilliant Color definitely brightens the picture perceptibly. I found that the actual X and Y coordinates for red were greatly improved after engaging this feature. Red measured x= 648 and y=327 before engaging Brilliant Color, and x=637 and y=332 with it on, with the ATSC reference for red color space being x=640 y=330. This is a nearly perfect red, which is something few if any projectors out there can claim. Pre and post measurements on green and blue showed no change whatsoever. Green measured x=345 and y=601, with the reference being x=300 and y=600, which, even though x is way off, is closer than most projectors out there when you factor in how close y was. Blue was much closer, measuring x=147 and y=065, with the reference being x=150 and y=060.
Two other important components of color fidelity are gamma and grayscale tracking. The HC3000 has a number of selectable gamma and color temperature settings. I settled on User 1 gamma as being the most accurate gamma setting, with the slowest rise out of black. The user color temperature setting is the only one that actually allows you to calibrate the grayscale. As I mentioned earlier, the 6500 setting was way off. I ended up with a very flat and accurate grayscale from top to bottom, measuring 6550 Kelvins at 20 IRE and 6550 at 80 IRE, after calibrating the user color temperature. With the accuracy of the color decoding, primary colors, gamma and grayscale combined, the colors and skin tones looked quite natural for a small entry-level DLP projector.
Chapter 4 of the Hollow Man DVD (Columbia/Tri-Star), when the invisible ape becomes visible again, revealed good color saturation and very natural-looking skin tones. A variety of scenes from “The Fifth Element (Columbia Tri/Star) reinforced this observation. Looking at some scenes in Training Day (Warner Home Video) , which has a more muted look to it, it became evident to me that the HC3000’s color is relatively faithful to the original. It won’t deliver the saturation of a good CRT projector or a good three-chip DLP projector, but you really can’t expect that from a one-chip DLP projector with a color wheel.
Video processing was good on the HC3000, with solid 2:3 pull-down and crisp, clean artifact-free delivery from the 480i interlaced component outputs of my Panasonic DVD-RP91 DVD player. In fact, I watched DVDs exclusively from the interlaced output of the player, because the progressive output of the 91 is not good.
After a separate calibration of the HD input, I spent several days watching HD from my Time Warner digital cable HD feed. The 3000 delivered all of the resolution from a 720p resolution test pattern at both the component and HDMI inputs, which is something that many native 720p projectors can’t claim. Consequently, HD looked crisp and clean on the 3000. Dark concert footage on HDNET looked convincing, with good shadow detail in the background of the crowd.