Mitsubishi HC3000 Saint John NB
July 1, 2006 By David Birch-Jones
At first glance, one might think that Mitsubishi’s HC3000 projector is a rebadged clone of its business projector sibling, the HD4000. That model touts high brightness for the PowerPoint crowd and has presentation-oriented features, including a five-segment color wheel with additional yellow and white filters to punch up the perceived brightness to the max. While business projectors are fine for spreadsheets and pie charts, they do a lousy job in home theaters, with skewed colorimetry and washed-out blacks and grays. (Click image to enlarge)
The HC3000 is quite a different animal, however. And even though it carries a downright miserly price tag, it shares much in common with more expensive home theater projectors—and its performance is nothing short of amazing. Based on the popular Texas Instruments HD2+ chip, which also carries the DarkMetal moniker, the HC3000 is one of the first to incorporate TI’s own deinterlacer and scaler engine (the DDP3020 chip). Mitsubishi has done a fine job of balancing performance and economy, and has even tossed in some forward compatibility by way of accommodating 1080-line progressive video signals.
The compact cabinet is nicely finished in muted metallic gray, with a center-mounted lens up front and a sufficient array of inputs around back. The all-glass lens optics can be manually adjusted for focus and zoom. The remote, while on the smallish side, features a full slate of discrete command function buttons: separate power on and power off buttons, individual input selection, aspect ratio, picture controls, and a trio of user memories. These make it easy for your installer to program a universal remote or touchscreen to control the HC3000.
Mitsubishi’s remote may be tiny, but it has many of the discrete controls installers love: separate buttons for on and off, for each video input. (Click image to enlarge)
The lamp is rated at a modest 200 watts and features a low-power mode that drops the output by around 20 percent (and reduces the fan noise to an almost imperceptible level). In addition, the HC3000 features a motorized iris, which allows further reductions in light output to improve contrast and reproduction of blacks and dark grays. At the higher lamp setting and with the iris open, we obtain a respectable 37 footlamberts with a neutral-gain 82-inch diagonal screen, suggesting that the projector has sufficient light output for screens in the 10-foot-width range. At the lower lamp setting and with the iris set at minimum, we are able to obtain about a third of that value, giving us a still-sufficient 11 footlamberts with a negative-gain GrayHawk screen. This is the mode we choose for serious viewing.
As is usually the case, the HC3000 is happiest with a 720-line progressive high-definition video signal, as the projector line-doubles 1080-line interlaced signals instead of deinterlacing them as it should. We are pleased, thoug...