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Mitsubishi HC6000 3LCD Video Projector Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 July 2008
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Mitsubishi HC6000 3LCD Video Projector
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There is no doubt that Mitsubishi has made some significant improvements in performance with the HC6000 when compared to last year’s HC5000 model. For my money, the biggest area of improvement is in the black-level performance, which of course increases the contrast ratio significantly. Since contrast ratio is one of the most important aspects of picture quality, it is no wonder that the 6000 is impressive compared to last year’s 5000, which had really poor black-level performance. While blacks are much better than last year’s model, the best one-chip 1080p-resolution DLP projectors produce superior blacks. The JVC RS-2, an LCoS-based front projector, is also slightly better than the Mitsubishi HC6000 in this all-important performance parameter, although the JVC is nearly twice the price.

Accurate color decoding, relatively good gamma and excellent grayscale tracking are all positive performance traits of the HC6000. However, the excellent color decoding and grayscale tracking capability are somewhat diminished by the inaccurate primary and secondary colors on the HC6000. This impacts what I refer to as overall color accuracy. In fairness to Mitsubishi, this is the norm in consumer HDTVs, rather than the exception. It is a shame, though, that manufacturers continue to sacrifice color fidelity in primary and secondary colors to achieve more light output, as most of these projectors have ample light output and accurate color would be easily achieved simultaneously with adequate light output.

The HC6000, even in the low lamp mode, produced over 15 footlamberts of light output on my Stewart Filmscreen Grayhawk Reference screen, which is 92 inches diagonal or 80 inches wide by 45 inches high. I imagine that, in high lamp mode, the HC6000 could drive a 100- to 105-inch screen, or even a low-gain screen like the Grayhawk RS with sufficient light output.

Video processing is provided by Silicon Optix, with the company’s Reon-VX HQV processing technology. De-interlacing was very good and, as evidenced by the Silicon Optix HQV test disc in Blu-ray format, the HC6000 does a fine job with both video-based HD material and film-based HD material. I did compare the picture quality with standard-definition cable and my Blu-ray DVDs run through my DVDO VP50Pro outboard video processor. The DVDO did outperform the internal HQV processing, but I would expect that from a $3,500 standalone video processor. I must say, the Mitsubishi on its own is impressive in this regard.

For a look at black-level performance with real program material, I chose to watch the recent release on Blu-ray of Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Warner Home Video), which is an extremely dark movie throughout. The opening sequence is particularly good for examining blacks, with the aerial view of a futuristic Los Angeles at night. The otherworldly-looking buildings against the night background were reasonably well-rendered, although the blacks were a little muddy and had some visible noise in them. 

The opening scene that takes place in the diner and the chop shop in The Departed on Blu-ray (Warner Home Video) is also somewhat dark. This is because director Martin Scorsese is trying to keep you from seeing Jack Nicholson, who is not supposed to be as old as he is in the beginning of the movie, as the film is about to jump 20 or more years into the future, taking Matt Damon from a young kid to a 20-something about to graduate from the police academy. That particular scene looked good, with plenty of shadow detail. It is also a good scene for motion to test 24fps, with the sharp left to right pan in the diner when the young girl comes down to serve Nicholson’s character. Unfortunately, the HC6000 doesn’t have a 120Hz motion feature, which is a multiple of 24fps, and would potentially smooth the pan out on Blu-ray if the player is set to output 24fps, so there is some judder retained in this scene. Overall, this sequence looked pretty good, with razor-sharp clarity. Given its price, the HC6000 has a reasonably good lens. There are only a few chromatic aberrations, which show up as blue and red fringing around white lines not unlike a mis-converged CRT projector, so images are rendered with very good clarity if the source is good.


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