The first thing to hit you when opening up the packaging is that the HC6000, in terms of body design, looks identical to last years model, with the same white top and right hand lens position. The unit measures 334mm x 352mm x 125mm (W x D x H) and weighs in at 5.6kg with an accessory box containing a power lead, remote control and batteries, a lens cap, 232C cable and an air intake filter. Lens shift, zoom and focus are all motorised and can be controlled easily with the remote control to set the projector up in less than 10 minutes.
Most of the new generation of LCD projectors use 3LCD technology which is supposed to produce improved black level performance, contrast ratios, and especially ansi contrast performance. Mitsubishi have published their figures as 13,000:1 on/off with around 1000 lumens brightness. With most of the published figures from manufacturers looking rather optimistic (such as Epson claiming 50,000:1 for their latest product - due for review soon), you will be happy to note that during this review, we will be able to give you the real world figures when used in an optimised Home Cinema environment with full light control.
The LCD panels used in the HC6000 are of the inorganic transmissive liquid crystal variety and utilise a stripe pattern array and 3 primary colour drive shutter system. They measure 0.74” in a 3LCD configuration and are classed as D6 generation panels. Many of the new LCD projectors hitting the market in the next month or so will be the D7 variety so it will be interesting to see if this makes any real world difference to the HC6000s performance. Resolution is as expected, full high definition 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The projector utilises a 160w UHP lamp with the projection optics receiving a new 14-group/17 lens system. This is made up from an extra-low dispersion glass lens which is quoted to eliminate chromatic aberration and produce a resolution improvement across the entire image. The lens also incorporates a fixed aperture within to further improve the black level performance as well as the new auto-iris system. The iris includes a new control algorithm which Mitsubishi claim works as quickly as 1/60th of a second and is so fast as to not be seen, even with difficult material where deep black and solid whites are mixed within scenes. I have never been a fan of auto iris systems as they can be slow and cumbersome, washing out difficult mixed scenes, but it will be interesting to see this new system in action and witness if it really is invisible to the eye.
The HC6000 also boasts state of the art video processing according to Mitsubishi, provided by the HQV (Hollywood quality video) Reon-VX processor from Silicon Optix. With 10 bit processing of interlaced and progressive signals the projector is said to provide accurate and artefact free 3-2 and 2-2 pulldown performance with SD material for TV and DVD sources as well as handling 24fps high definition material. The projector handles the 24fps signal by quadrupling the refresh rate to 96hz this should provide judder free, smooth film playback. Also included in the projectors array of processing tricks is a 14-bit gamma correction system which should improve gradation effect and express shadow detail in dark scenes. Also inside the projector is a new cooling system which drops the noise level of the projector even when running in high lamp brightness modes, and Mitsubishi claims this is as low as 19db.
Finally we take a look at the rear of the projector which now boasts 2 HDMI ports, 1 component, 1 S-video & composite (RCA) plus VGA and a serial port. Also included here is a 12v trigger for use with electric screens when the projector is switched on or off, raising or lowering the screen automatically. Connectivity looks very generous and there should be enough here to connect up even the most demanding of Home Cinemas.
So with the overview complete how does the HC6000 actually perform in the real world? Read on…. (click the drop down to select the next page or use the direction arrows).
|Main Picture Menu||Grayscale Menu|
|Information Menu||Gamma Curve Menu|
Out of the box performance
|High temperature CIE||Warm temperature CIE|
|Cool Temperature CIE||Medium Temperature|
Out of the box the Gamma, RGB tracking and Luminance are not too far away from the standards. This certainly means that end users can get a fairly accurate picture using the 'Medium' setting and getting the contrast and brightness correct for their environment. As you can see (below) we were able to get the greyscale to track accurately from 20ire straight through to 100ire with no major deviations after calibration.
|Colour temperature before||Colour temperature after|
|RGB levels before||RGB levels after|
|Gamma curve before||Gamma curve after|
So we then move on to the calibrated results and as you can see our end results above are quite good. Again uniformity is solid across the screen but the contrast levels drop once set to D65, the on/off now at 414:1 and the ansi contrast now being 74:1. Again this is the optimum real world figures produced in a light controlled review environment. The colour gamut is also confirmed in our tests with the slightly strong red and green results, but the colour decoding looks reasonable and the grey tracking is solid.
For the full 'before' and 'after' calibration reports and tests run on the HC6000, we will make available 'soon' the PDF forms which give a very detailed run down on the projector's performance and scoring.
Video Processing Tests
|Tests||Possible Score||Test Score|
|HD Noise Reduction|
Noise is problem that continues to affect high-definition video sources. While analogue noise is typically introduced during the duplication and editing process, noise in HD sources represents film grain and CCD noise introduced at the time of recording (particularly in the darker areas of a scene), noise introduced during the compositing and post-processing stage due to color and exposure correction, as well as during the compression process itself. Noise affects all HD sources.
The challenge is removing the spurious noise while preserving the detail in the scene.
25 - Noise reduced without loss of detail.
15 - Noise reduced somewhat and detail is preserved.
7 - Level of noise reduced but detail is lost.
0 - There is no apparent reduction in noise and/or image detail is significantly reduced or artifacts are introduced.
|25 - Noise reduced without loss of detail.|
|HD Video Resolution Loss|
The odd and even fields of interlaced video are recorded a fraction of a second apart (1/60s or 1/50s). This presents several problems to the video processor. When the video contains non-moving objects, it is possible to recover the full resolution of the original scene. On the other hand, if the video contains moving objects, resolution is necessarily lost; it was lost at the time of the recording.
A good video processor needs to distinguish between objects in motion or objects that are not in motion. Doing so ensures that all of the resolution is preserved. If a video processor assumes that a non-moving object is, in fact, moving, as much as half of the useful resolution is being discarded. Likewise, if a video processor assumes that a moving object is, in fact, not moving, then 'feathering artifacts' can be seen.
20 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.
0 - The boxes in the corners strobe - half resolution processing
|20 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.|
|Video Reconstruction test|
In these tests, we will evaluate the quality of the video reconstruction. Recall that with interlaced video, resolution in moving areas has been lost at the time of the recording. In order to replace the missing data, most video processors compute the average of the pixel above and below the area of interest. This loss of resolution causes jagged edges to form, most prominent on diagonal lines. High-quality video processors can reduce the appearance of these 'jaggies' by implementing more advanced reconstruction methods such as a diagonal interpolation (also called diagonal filtering).
The only method for dealing with motion is to throw away some of the pixels that would cause feathering. So, the difference between a good and bad video processor is how selective it is at throwing away data. If you only throw away the pixels that would cause feathering, you maximize as much detail as possible.
When you throw away data, you must replace it by averaging pixels above and below the area. The loss of resolution causes jagged edges to form, most prominently on diagonal lines. High-quality de-interlacers can reduce the appearance of these 'jaggies' through intelligent reconstruction methods. The reconstruction process get increasingly difficult as the angle becomes more oblique.
20 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.
10 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.
5 - Only the top bar has smooth edges.
0 - None of the bars have smooth edges.
|20 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.|
|Film Resolution Loss test|
1080p content exists today. In fact, the majority of today's HD content on CBS and NBC is 1080p. Virtually all major Hollywood films and the majority of 'scripted' television shows broadcast over 1080i60 are originally recorded as 1080p24 (1080p resolution, 24 frames per second).
Content that has been recorded at 1080p24 is converted into 1080i60 for broadcast purposes via a telecine process. A good video processor should be able to decode the original 1080p data by recognizing the '3:2 cadence' of the repeated fields generated in this process. This process is known as 'inverse telecine.' With support for this feature, 100 percent of the pixels from the original 1080p source can be seen. Without proper inverse telecine, the video processor discards half of the resolution.
This test is relevant for testing Blu-ray and HD DVD players for any content that is 1080i and was sourced from a 1080p master that underwent a telecine process. This includes some concert footage, documentaries, films, and many television shows. For example Discovery's China Revealed available on Blu-ray is a combination of 1080i video and 1080i 3:2 content.
25 -You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.
0 - The boxes in the corners strobe, or the edges of the boxes have vertical bands - half resolution processing.
|25 - You can see fine horizontal black and white lines in the corner boxes.|
|Film Resolution Loss Test (Stadium)|
This test is a follow up test to the film resolution loss test. If you failed the previous test, you will fail this test. Pay attention to the stands. Any moiré or flickering in the upper stands indicates half resolution processing. This test provides you with a real world video that can show you how improper video processing can affect an active image.
The stands in this stadium are very high in detail and a good processor, player or display should be able to reconstruct the intended 1080p image with all of its intended resolution properly.
10 - No moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.
0 - Moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.
|10 - No moiré pattern or flickering in the upper stands.|
Pal DVD Video Processing Tests
|Tests||Possible Score||Test Score|
|Colour Bar / Vertical Detail|
|This test verifies how good the processor is at identifying motion||
10 - Image detail Is seen at marker '1', no flicker Is observed. 5 - Minor flickering is seen at marker '1'
0 - No Image detail Is seen at marker '1'
|10 - Image detail Is seen at marker '1', no flicker Is observed.|
|Jaggies Pattern 1|
|This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion||
5 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the green area; Logo is free of Jaggies
3 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the yellow area; Logo is free of Jaggies
0 - No Image detail Is seen at marker '1'
|5 - Jaggies are not seen until the bar enters the green area; Logo is free of Jaggies.|
|Jaggies Pattern 2|
|This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion||
5 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.
3 - The top two bars have smooth edges, but the bottom bar does not.
1 - Only the top bar has smooth edges.
0 - none of the bars have smooth edges
|5 - All three bars have smooth edges at all times.|
|This test helps to verify how good the processor is at handling motion||
10 - Jagged edges are not seen In the red and white bars, and the flag exhibits fine detail.
5 - Some Jagged edges are seen, and/or the background appears soft.
0 - Jagged edges are quite apparent along edges of the bars
|10 - Jagged edges are not seen In the red and white bars, and the flag exhibits fine detail.|
|A high-quality detail enhancement algorithm is a mathematical restoration of data that is lost during the recording and mastering process.||
10 - The bricks on the white building exhibit fine detail and sharp outlines, resulting In a crisp, realistic Image.
5 - There Is moderate Image detail within the bricks on the white building and the bricks' outline appears slightly blurred.
0 - The bricks on the white building appear to be flat and the bricks' outline Is blurred
|5 - There Is moderate Image detail within the bricks on the white building and the bricks' outline appears slightly blurred.|
|Noise, or film grain, is inadvertently added to a program through capture, duplication and editing and compression process.||
10 -level of noise Is noticeably reduced without loss of Image detail.
5 - Level of noise Is reduced somewhat when noise reduction Is turned on, or Image detail Is reduced.
0 - No apparent reduction In noise and/or Image detail Is significantly reduced, or the TV or monitor has no noise reduction feature
|10 - Level of noise Is noticeably reduced without loss of Image detail.|
|Motion Adaptive Noise Reduction|
|In this test, noise has been added to a video of a roller coaster. A temporal filter that is does not distinguish the movement of the roller coaster from random noise will produce an echo or ghost-image of the moving roller coaster.||
10 - The sky exhibits little or no noise, Image detail Is sharp and crisp, and no motion trails or smearing artefacts are observed.
5 - Some noise Is evident In the sky and/or the Image appears soft; the roller coaster appears to be slightly blurred.
0 - Noise Is clearly present In the sky and/or motion trails are visible behind the roller coaster as It moves through the scene.
|10 - The sky exhibits little or no noise, Image detail Is sharp and crisp, and no motion trails or smearing artefacts are observed.|
|Telecine A&B Detection|
|Hollywood motion pictures are shot, edited and screened with a picture refresh rate of 24 frames per second (fps), progressive scan (24p). To convert these films for DVD or 1080i HDTV, a conversion process is used to find a common mathematical relationship between the original program (24fps) and the broadcast format (25fps or 50 fields). One common technique to deal with this issue is Telecine A. With Telecine A the film is digitized at 24 fps (i.e. 2:2 film) and then played back 4.166% faster (25/24 = 1.04166). A less common technique is Telecine B where you take 24fps material and add a field at the 12th and 24th film frame.||
20 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A & B.
15 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A.
0 - Flickering and Jaggies apparent with telecine A & B.
|20 - No flickering, Jaggies, or loss of resolution with telecine A & B.|
So as you can see from the test results, and indeed our own veiwing experiences, the HC6000 offers exceptional video processing and is certainly this model's strongest selling point. We have yet to see any other projector score as highly on these tests.
High Definition Viewing
The first thing to note about the HC6000's image quality is the sharpness. Everything is clear and well defined, and because of its outstanding video processing, there are no signs of artefacts to be seen. The black level is also very impressive from this D6 3LCD projector. Whilst not quite competing against the likes of the JVC HD1 in this regard, it doesn’t crush blacks like the JVC. Instead there is plenty of fine shadow detail on show and even during difficult mixed contrast scenes it doesn’t always end in a sea of gray.
Colours are also very well produced with the reds just slightly over saturated and 'in your face' at times. Items like the traffic lights outside the Woolworth building just look too red and cartoon like for those viewers who are serious about accuracy. However where I thought the HC6000 would suffer with oversaturation of greens and reds, it is actually quite well behaved and doesn’t really overstep the mark in terms of ruining the experience. Obviously where things do get ugly is when you put through very saturated reds, such as lipstick or the set of Moulin Rouge with its strong palette of colour. Then it can just tip things in the wrong direction, I’m afraid.
Moving onto our calibrated settings and things just look more natural and well-behaved in terms of colours and detail. Blacks look a little stronger than before and certainly shadow detail and depth come to the fore. Kong's ice 'sliding' is a truly majestic experience on the HC6000, with the background rope lights, and greens of the trees looking natural. The whites of the snow glisten without stealing detail, and Kong’s fur, whilst set in a dark environment, is still completely visibly and realistic. You don’t get the solid black areas that were found with the JVC HD1; instead whilst the black level is not as inky, there is more detail and depth on show. I have heard it said on many occasions that LCD suffers from looking two-dimensional and flat when compared to other technologies, but I would be hard pressed to even consider agreeing with that kind of remark. The HC6000 offers a sharp, detailed and three dimensional performance with HD material and produces one of the better images I have seen of late from any projector in its price range. Plus there are no issues with video artefacts thanks to its excellent processing. I have to say that this Mitsubishi punches well above it weight in picture quality terms, with only the slight over saturation of primaries taking anything away from it.
The obvious major talking point with any projector is it’s black performance and the Mitsubishi certainly doesn’t disappoint in this area. Whilst you will not get solid inky blacks like those seen on our reference JVC HD1, the HC6000 is certainly not light years away, indeed it could be argued that it may not even be £1000 less in picture terms to the award winner from JVC. Once the greyscale was dialled in, it became even less of an issue and at times the HC6000 actually provides excellent shadow detail in the image, adding even more depth to proceedings. The dynamic iris is also a very good performer offering changes quick enough that you will not instantly see what it is doing within the image. Of course with some mixed material it becomes a little distracting to a trained eye, but visitors to the review room during viewing tests of the projector didn’t notice the iris at all. I have to say personally that I could only really watch tricky material with the highest setting available for the iris which only affects a very small amount of change in brightness, however my favourite setting was ‘Off’ as I just felt the image gained more balance to my eyes and certainly a degree of added depth without the iris in use.
So with High definition material looking as good as ever on the Mitsubishi, how would standard DVD material fair?
Standard Definition Viewing
With so many quick cuts between fast moving objects it becomes very easy to identify video artefacts and picture break up on less well featured displays, however the HC6000 just ate up this material without a hesitation. The video processing was again adding to the excellent images on show. At times you could have been fooled into believing you were watching HD material. Such was the crisp and detailed nature of the performance. Again there was an excellent degree of depth to the image and colours looking solid and natural.
Only with the bright red headdress of the roman chariot riders did the over saturated nature of the projector primaries become noticeable. So overall the HC6000 proved itself to be a master of difficult source material, giving excellent performance with standard definition fare.
- Great value for money
- Excellent image detail and Good black level with solid screen uniformity in both out of the box and calibrated use
- Excellent Video Processing
- Easy to use menu system and good build quality
- Lack of Colour Management system
- Primaries slightly oversaturated on Red and Greens which can occasionally distract
- No direct anamorphic controls for 2.35:1
Mitsubishi HC6000 Full HD 1080 LCD Projector Review
In rounding up my thoughts on the HC6000 I can only really complain about its slightly over saturated primaries and a lack of a colour correction facility onboard. Other than that, I have been extremely impressed with the performance and features on offer with the Mitsubishi. The video processing is certainly the strong point of the unit with almost full marks in all the tests thrown at it. The in-depth testing which you can read in the attached PDFs on page 2 of the review, show the real world performance levels and contrast figures you can expect in a similar environment with good light control and dark coloured walls. I would perhaps be a little more concerned using the HC6000 in a magnolia living room, but then again I would strongly advise against such a setting with almost any projector.
If it's 2.35:1 constant height that drives you then the Mitsubishi will do it, although it will require quite a bit of effort as you will have to manually select the over scan settings and then the correct picture mode, so it’s not a simple one button affair. One of the interesting aspects of this is, in fact, a menu selection called '2.35:1'. This blanks the top and bottom of the 16:9 panel and displays scope material as normal. However if you play back 1.85:1 content, it keeps the blanking on the bottom and then adds the desired black bars at the sides. What this allows the user to do when a scope screen is being used, is the ability to zoom the image to fill that screen. At the same time this takes away the black bars so that the entire 2.35:1 image can be viewed as it should. Obviously this has plus points as you do not have to buy an expensive anamorphic lens, but at the same time you will also no longer be using the full panel of the projector and therefore losing resolution and contrast performance. Plus you will not gain the extra percentage of screen resolution you would with a proper lens. Interesting, but I’m not sure it is completely required. It would have been better if they just had a simple stretch mode for use with a lens.
Normal 2.35:1 on a 16:9 projection screen. When the 2.35:1 option is selected on the HC6000 it keeps this ratio with black bars top and bottom.
So when you then watch a 1.85:1 film it adds in the correct blanking bars at the side, but also the bars top and bottom. This then allows you to change the 16:9 projection screen you are using to one which is 2.35:1 scope. Then you zoom the image in this setting until the black bars top and bottom disappear under and above the screen.
The 1.85:1 picture then has the required blanking in the shape of black bars at the side. Obviously for this to work you have to have dark walls or black material above and below the 2.35:1 screen where you have zoomed the black bars away. Also note that by using this method you are losing the full resolution of the projectors panel by at least 33% and then more for 1.85:1.
Of course projecting a 2.35:1 image onto a 2.35:1 screen means no black bars at all.
So after spending an unusually long period of time with the HC6000 I have nothing but praise for the projector. It offers stunningly good video processing, sharp and detailed images which offer extremely good black levels and shadow detail as well as an accurate greyscale and very reasonable colours. At its price point the HC6000 offers real value for money projection that would have cost you twice the amount only 12 months ago. It has finally put to bed the accusation of LCD looking flat and grey with stunningly good HD and SD performance. It comes highly recommended.
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