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The Mitsubishi HC9000D (RRP $9899nzd)

I was asked to review the recently released Mitsubishi HC9000D 2D/3D home theatre projector where they have adopted
Sony's new SXRD panels into the design, capable of 3D and promising to be very capable projector I of course said yes
please.

First contact:

When the projector arrived my first impression of the box was that it was so big and heavy I thought for a moment an old
CRT TV had arrived. Upon opening it I found one very big black projector staring at me, weighing in at 14.5kg with
dimensions of 482mm (w)*215mm (h)*530mm (d), the HC9000D is up there leading the pack for room presence. This projector
is not for the discreet home theatre setup because it is saying I am here and ready for business.

Connections:

The Input panel is on the side of the projector, the same side as some competition brands. So note the input side for all
the cables and cable routing and be aware that the side flips when you are roof mounting the projector. It has 2 HDMI, 1 PC,
component, composite and S-video for all the video inputs and 2 12vdc triggers for screen and anamorphic setups, plus a
serial service and finally the 3D emitter plug to drive the 3D LED block. Noting the 3D emitter and glasses are an optional
extra.

Setup:

One of the reasons this projector is big and heavy is that it has motorised lens shifting functions. I had a few location
restrictions for this review so I had to locate the projector in line with the bottom left corner of my 106in screen at about
6m throw. The motorised shift worked well and I managed to dial the image in to the screen with the left right and up down
through the remote control. My only negative is there is no central or position reference indicator, not a big problem, just
would be nice to know when you are centralised. The zoom and focus again works as intended and was able to dial in a crisp
focus. There is also a lens locking function to lock down the final result.

An excellent set of keystone adjustments are available that rotate vertically, horizontally, anyplace and pin cushion barrel
adjustments. Although a lot of effort has gone into the keystone adjustment design, I would still advise setups that don't force
the use of it for the fact that use of keystone does lower image quality. Still it is good to have it available for flexibility
especially in the home with compromised setup.

Panel Alignment:

If the panels were out of alignment there is a panel alignment function allowing for a 1 pixel per click shift vertically and
horizontally, which is good if they were out a full pixel. If you were half a pixel out of align you would be stuck.

The alignment of this review unit was aligned well out of the box, although I did see red slightly smudged or defocused to the
left by about half a pixel. Normal to see blue defocused, but not red. You don't see it in an image though as the SXRD projector
displayed a crisp sharp image.

Remote and menus:

The remote has most of the functions available through quick access buttons which illuminate when pushed. Although I
personally found the buttons a little hard to read as I felt the illumination is a little low after viewing the screen image
which can be bright. When using the advanced calibration sections having to scroll through menus to get back to the section
being worked upon was a little tedious although the advanced gamma doesn't time out when being worked on and it would be
nice if greyscale and the CMS also operated in the same way. Unfortunately there is no way to save what you have tweaked so
a manual record of settings is required. For the average user the advanced areas tend to be an infrequent event so for
general use the access to settings is good, like the core setup functions which are easily accessible which is the main
thing for most users.

Performance:

The HC9000D certainly has good 2D performance, especially in contrast levels and great blacks, but it needs it to drive 3D.
Sticking with 2D for the time being, out of the box settings are reasonably good on greyscale and gamma tracking throughout
the defaults. The best out of the box settings for accuracy is the typically named Cinema mode, 6500k and Cinema Gamma.
Unfortunately you cannot see below video black which makes setting the black point or brightness quite difficult. It has
advanced user locations for absolute tuning of gamma and greyscale which works well, although I'd personally like a few
more points in the middle gamma tracking section. However they did gather more points within the critical areas which is
an excellent feature.

Even though we know on paper specs can be for extreme settings, in this case the critical light levels are real and can
deliver higher than recommended SMTPE/ISF/THX off screen light levels for my screen size of 106in. This is very good as a
lot of people purchase projectors then try to fill overly large screens for the performance level of the projector. Actually
the paper lumen spec is one of the most realistic to real world results and nice to see the closer to realistic rating.
This projector is a good choice for the larger home theatre screen or difficult conditions where some ambient light is
present. Although it is always best to eliminate ambient light with home theatre projection as most are designed for
blackout conditions.

The colour gamut is over driven and saturated out of the box, I suspect due to the highly reflective SXRD panels, but also
they are trying to maximise output for 3D. Even though all primary colours are over saturated it does appear to your eyes
more yellow, yellow green as we are more sensitive to the error in this region of the spectrum.

The out of the box colour is only really an issue from an accuracy point of view, for some this isn't an issue, for others
it is. The 2nd part of the colour issue is that the built in colour management system does not function as it should, many
calibrators have found the same issue and thus the colour output cannot be brought to Rec709 specifications. After many
hours of fiddling with settings I found an acceptable image balance, although this was from an image balance point of
view not absolute accuracy. The CMS may be able to be tweaked with a firmware update, only Mitsubishi can really answer
that, but it is an issue for enthusiasts and calibrators who like to tweak the image to reference standards. For those
not too concerned about absolute accuracy with colour, it can be balanced reasonably well, bearing in mind colour
perception goes hand in hand with good gamma and contrast and here the combined ability delivers a deep vibrant colourful
result.

Overall, imagery is very good where it does a fantastic job on high definition source material, with PAL material it handled
up scaling well, where it was a typically little soft, so you can really tell you were viewing up scaled source. The loaner
Oppo BDP-95 3D player that came with the HC9000D did result in a superior up scaled image of PAL material but this is no
different to the majority of display devices. I compared the differences with a cheaper BD player, the Panasonic BD35, but
found myself comparing differences in players than the HC9000D. The conclusion is the typical result with video where the
weakest link will dominate the ultimate performance. I found the higher quality Oppo player a better match overall to the
HC9000D as the projectors high definition performance excellent and the up scaled performance better handled by the Oppo
BDP-95. Of course the Oppo test player can handle 3D as well which makes it an obvious choice for a source match for the
HC9000D.

The HC9000D running in eco mode and 2D output is very quiet, in 3D output settings and high mode the noise levels from the
fans does jump quite considerably. The vast majority of the time would be spent in 2D mode though with standard settings
where noise is barely noticeable and excellent.

The HC9000D is one of the few 3D capable projectors on the market. One of the hurdles for 3D is light levels to drive 3D
where it isn't the projector so much as the 3D glasses that cut viewable light by a considerable amount.

The LED emitter and 3D glasses are an optional extra as the projector is marketed as a 3D capable projector and focus
is really upon the 2D image capability. The emitter comes with short and long leads where the short one serves when the
emitter is mounted upon the projector where there is a special mounting point under the lens. Because of my not so perfect
test setup I had a little trouble with the glasses cutting out. The LED emitter reflections have some limits in the distance
and direction so considerations for placement of the emitter are critical. Once I found the sweet spot everything worked
quite well, I'd say roof mounting the projector would improve emitter and glasses function, more direct acting and of course
better still is to use the longer lead to mount the emitter to the front of the viewer.

The projector runs at 240 Hz for a better 3D performance and allows for several 3D syncing types. I tested a couple movies
supplied with the projector,' Despicable me' and Cats and Dogs'. I found the 3D quite believable and odd at the same time,
despite 240 Hz I noted a flicker in my peripheral, but then I know I am sensitive to flicker, so I had a few test subjects
try out the 3D. Nearly everyone liked it with the consensus that was better than what they had experienced in the theatres.
However most also noted the flicker that once viewed became annoyingly obvious. If you forced yourself to ignore the flicker
and focus upon the centre of your vision it wasn't too noticeable, but then this is tiring for long term viewing.

Material also plays a part in 3D, I have to say it is early days for 3D, for the test movies supplied I found 'Despicable Me'
more enjoyable as a 3D experience, but then some scenes were wonderful and then others wrong. However this brings us back to
the projector being marketed as a 3D capable device, it does 3D as well as the theatre, and many respects better, but still it
is a better 2D projector. One could argue light emitting displays do 3D better as they have more light to work with.

Conclusion:

The HC9000D is a solid 2D and 3D capable projector, as a result of the new Sony SXRD panels it throws a crisp vibrant high
contrast image with great blacks which results in the pop factor that many like to see. It has an excellent array of setup
features allowing for flexible installation and is well suited for larger screens. It is a large projector so some consideration
for installation is required, more suited to roof mounting than shelf positioning. The greyscale and gamma tracking is good
out of the box, although it would be nice to have below black viewable for setting video black or the brightness control easier.

The only main weak area is the colour management system which does not function well enough to reign in the over driven and
saturated primary colours. However many are not bothered by oversaturated colour since it can be a question of balance, here
for the enthusiast they can create a fairly balanced image with the semi functioning colour management system, but only just
for those with good understanding of how to do it. For those who want the high power and accuracy I'd recommend a video
scaler such as a Lumagen mini3D which would reside between the BD player and projector to do video correction for ultimate
performance.

SPECIFICATION
Display Technology 0.61" 3-SXRD HFR(High Frame Rate)
Resolution 1920 x 1080 (Total 2,073,600 pixels)
Brightness 1000 lumens
Colour 1,073,000,000 colours
Contrast Ratio 120,000 : 1 (on/off) with IRIS Operation
Zoom/Focus Motorised Powered Focus & Zoom (Zoom Ratio 1.8:1)
Projection Lens f=21.4-38.5mm , F=3.2-4.0 3.4-6.3m @ 100"(Wide)
Off set axis (V) 3 : -1 - -3 : 1 (+/-100%), (H) Screen Width +/-45% (with Variable H+V Powered Lens Shift)
Source Lamp 230W (Shut Off Time 2000Hrs), with Eco Mode (190W:Shut Off Time 4000Hrs)
PC Compatibility Resolution ; VGA(640 x 480) @60Hz - WUXGA(1920 x 1200) @60Hz
Video Compatibility - NTSC / NTSC 4.43 / PAL (including PAL-M, N) / SECAM- Component Video ; 480i/p(525i/p),
576i/p(625i/p), 720p(750p 50/60Hz), 1080i(1125i 50/60Hz), 1080p(1125p 50/60Hz), (1080i(1250i 50Hz)
is not available)
Input Terminals - PC; Mini D-Sub 15pin x 1
PC Audio ; N/A
- Video ; Composite x 1, S-VIDEO (4pin) x 1 , HDMI x 2 [ver1.4a(3D) ], Component (RCA x3) x1 , Video Audio ; N/A
Output Terminal RGB ; N/A , Audio ; N/A
Communication Terminal RS-232C (IN) ; D-Sub 9pin(male) x 1 (Direct command is available.)
USB ; Scaler code download
Scanning Rate [H] 15 - 100 kHz (TBD)
[V] 50 - 95 Hz (TBD)
[Dot clock] max.162 MHz (TBD)
Audio Speaker N/A
Power Consumption Operating 330W / 3.3A
Dimension (W*H*D) 480(W)*197.5(H)*528(D) mm
Power Requirements AC 100 - 240 V, 50 / 60 Hz
Supplied Assessories 1) AC Power Cable: 2.9m ( USA type x1 / EUR continetal type x1)
2) Remote Unit ( incl. Battery ) x1
3) User Manual CD Eng/Fre/Ger/Ita/Spa/Chi/Port/Kor x1
4) Safety Manual : Eng/Fra/Ger/Spa/Ita/Chi/Kor/Por/Rus(incl. explanation for Quick Start) x1
Optional Accessories 1) Spare Lamp bulb (VLT-HC9000LP)
2) 3D glasses and emitter
Above specification is tentative, subject to changes without further notifications.