Mitsubishi HC5000

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Mitsubishi HC5000
  • Mitsubishi HC5000
  • Mitsubishi HC5000
  • Mitsubishi HC5000

Pros

  • Native 1080p, Exceptional performance in high definition and standard definition, good range of ports.

Cons

  • Moderate heat levels

Bottom Line

The Mitsubishi Electric HC5000 is an exceptional home theatre projector. It has the power and versatility to deliver the latest high definition content while also being able to play regular DVDs at high quality.

Would you buy this?

When it comes to 1080p projectors there are two main models that AV enthusiasts are currently excited about. We recently reviewed the Panasonic PT-AE1000 and awarded it an exceptionally high score. Therefore, it stood to reason that we were eager to get our hands its biggest competitor, the Mitsubishi Electric HC5000. With incredible picture quality and a wide range of connectivity options, this projector is on-par with the Panasonic in every significant area. The only thing that lets it down is its heat dissipation and a handful of minor points.

Full high definition (1080p)

To test the projector's 1080p capabilities, we ran both gaming and Blu-ray tests. To test gaming, we connected an Xbox 360 to the unit using Component cables and set the console to output a 1080p signal. In Tony Hawk's Project 8 and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, we were mightily impressed by the image quality. There was no image noise, excellent colour, brightness, contrast and minimal image blur. The black levels were good and the level of detail was on par with the PT-AE1000.

Meanwhile we also viewed a selection of scenes from the film Casino Royale on Blu-ray disc using the Samsung BD-P1000. Once again, we were floored by the image quality and found no problems whatsoever in these tests. If you are in the market for a projector to view HD movies, we have no problem at all recommending this unit.

High definition (720p and 1080i)

The 720p and 1080i modes were tested in a similar manner. Once again, the Xbox 360 was used for gaming albeit at 720p and for HD-DVD playback at 1080i.

Using the same games as the 1080p tests, we repeated the tests using the same levels. Here there was a very slight level of pixilation on diagonal lines but it was not noticeable from a comfortable viewing distance. The colours, black levels and contrast we all excellent and there was no noise in the image. We also performed motion tests and were pleased with the lack of blurring and ghosting.

During the Empire State Building finale of King Kong on HD-DVD we could not find fault with the image. There was no noise, no contrast stepping and no discolourations. The level of detail was exceptional, especially in the finer elements like hair and skin tones. The colours were rendered well and there was no pixilation to speak of.

Despite being designed for 1080p projection, the scaling to 720p and 1080i was handled without any noticeable flaws, further adding to this model's appeal.

Standard definition (576i/p)

To test standard definition performance, we ran a series of tests using the Digital Video Essentials DVD and by viewing the lobby scene from The Matrix. Since most 1080p devices have serious difficulty in scaling 576 line standard definition content, we expected the image quality to be nothing short of horrendous. Thankfully, the scaling was handled brilliantly and we had no real problems at all with watching a DVD on the HC5000. Naturally, the image quality wasn't perfect but considering the resolution of the content we were surprised to discover much lower levels of interpolation artefacts than we regularly encounter. This is a testament to the quality of the projector and something that those with large DVD collections will surely appreciate.

The Digital Video Essentials tests were delivered without any errors. The grayscale tests showed no sign of noise, stepping or discolouration and colour was reproduced faithfully.

Heat and noise

Unlike the Panasonic PT-AE1000, the level of heat coming from the projector was as we expected a unit of this size and brightness to expel. While the operation was whisper quiet, the level of heat was enough to make a smaller lounge room become uncomfortable after a few hours of viewing. If the space you intend to use this projector in is smaller, you may want to mount it on the ceiling.

Throw distance

In any projection environment, a factor that needs to be considered is the amount of room a projector needs to produce an image of a desired size. The HC5000 has a throw ratio of 1.41 - 2.26, which is able to produce an image size of 1.2m - 7.62m (50" - 300"). Assuming the user is looking for a large screen size, this makes it suitable for a medium-to-large area, but may preclude it from being used in a small living room.

Design and extra features

The HC5000 is a large projector but not as large as the PT-AE1000. The design is more organic with a mother of pearl finish and rounded edges and curves. The lens is positioned to the right and there are minimal buttons on the top. Among those that are present are the zoom, focus and lens shift options, all of which are electronically controlled. An excellent feature of this unit is the intelligent way that its focus and lens shift is accomplished. Instead of focusing the image, the projector automatically produces a green and white grid which you then use to perfect the focus or perfectly position the image. This is far more accurate than the guesswork associated with most projectors.

The connectivity options are extensive. It has one HDMI, one Component, one Composite, one S-video and DVI-D and D-Sub ports for connection to a PC. This is more than enough to connect most AV devices on the market.

The Mitsubishi Electric HC5000 is an exceptional home theatre projector. It has the power and versatility to deliver the latest high definition content while also being able to play regular DVDs at high quality. As far as image quality is concerned, it is on-par with the Panasonic PT-AE1000 but the heat it produces and a handful of minor issues leave it trailing in a very close second place.

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