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Mitsubishi HC 1500
The Mitsubishi HC 1500 is an HD ready, DLP projector, available since April 2008 and currently selling for around 800 GBP.
- Excellent color reproduction.
- Powerful light output.
- Accepts Scart-RGB signals.
- Average contrast.
- Irritating noise from the color wheel at 60 hertz.
- Juddering 24p playback.
The Mitsubishi HC 1500 cannot, admittedly, do everything. But it does provide more-than-acceptable HDMI performance for the price. Decent colors and bright pictures mean this versatile projector appeals to a wide audience, but discerning home-theater fans will probably prefer the HC 4900.
Mitsubishi introduced the HC 1500 DLP-projector to coincide with the soccer-mania surrounding the 2008 European Championship. Around the time of the tournament, the projector came with a whistle as a marketing gimmick. In comparison to its direct DLP-predecessor (the HC 1100), the HC 1500 emphasizes brightness over contrast. The projector remains available at the time of writing — but now minus the whistle.
Installing the device is made easier by the accurate zoom and focus settings and the adjustable pedestal (supplied).
Zoom and Blanking Function:
With its 1.2x zoom, the projector is capable of projecting large images onto a screen standing a short distance away. It offers accurate settings for zoom and focus, a lattice test-pattern generator, and an adjustable pedestal, all of which help take the hassle out of setting the device up.
Instead of an optical lens-shift, the HC 1500 offers a vertical picture offset for 2.35:1-format movies. A blanking function allows you to mask the sides of the picture, and you can also fine-tune the degree of edge-cropping (overscan). The VGA input also accepts Scart-RGB signals.
The HC 1500 has all the important connections. It also accepts Scart-RGB signals via the VGA input, but you’ll need to buy an adapter separately.
Movie Mode Presets:
In movie mode, the projector has excellent presets. For the HC 1500, Mitsubishi has opted for a 7-segment color wheel, which includes the additional secondary colors cyan, magenta, and yellow (C, M, and Y) as well as a separate white segment in order to increase the overall brightness.
"Brilliant Color" Technology:
The projector concentrates the light from its lamp, with the help of the user-adjustable “Brilliant Color” technology, in order to display both secondary and primary colors more intensely. For further fine-adjustment, it also has adjustable gamma correction curves and separate brightness and contrast controls for each of the primary colors (red, green, and blue).
These controls allow you to correct the slight pink and magenta deviations in color-temperature that we found in the darker grayscales. Light grayscales, on the other hand, require no adjustment — in the factory preset “Warm”, these register the ideal color-temperature value, 6,500 Kelvin.
The backlit remote control allows easy operation in a dark home-theater.
TV and DVD:
The HC 1500’s de-interlacer only processes analog pictures. Therefore, the projector does not recognize digital HDMI video in 576i format, and the HDTV format 1080i will show slight line-flicker if not de-interlaced before reaching the projector. If, on the other hand, you feed in the progressive formats 720p and 1080p, the Mitsubishi displays crisp, flicker-free details.
The projector provides very bright, uniform pictures, and the picture’s saturated red colors give a warm, cinematic feel. In “Gladiator”, for example, the fighters look vivid and natural. Dark and bright scenes display without irritating variations in color temperature, and the bright text of the end credits appears in a neutral white.
On the down side, black backgrounds look too bright even at low lamp-power, and the maximum picture contrast (1,000:1) fails to make the most of the Dark Chip 2’s capabilities. The problem here is that some scattered light is able to escape through the lens. On the plus side, full lamp output provides almost 600 lumens of brightness, giving very bright images. You’ll therefore only need to darken the room slightly in order to enjoy big-screen pictures throughout the day.
Despite the slight pink/magenta tint to dark grayscales, the HC 1500 displays natural-looking colors. The white triangle shows the device’s color gamut, the black triangle the ideal values.
For HDTV input signals, we highly recommend the “Low” lamp-mode, which gives superior depiction of dark picture contents. Unfortunately, the projector inflicts a constant judder on 60 hertz playback of 24p-format Blu-ray movies. The color wheel also occasionally emits a strange whistling sound at 60 hertz, which occurs only very rarely with 50 hertz PAL pictures. We measured the fan noise at 33 decibels (dB), which significantly exceeds the manufacturer’s quoted value of 25 dB.
Despite all of this, we were still impressed with the picture quality, not least because of the ANSI contrast. The HC 1500 produces better colors than, for example, the Optoma HD 70, another 720p model. Pictures look radiant and natural, especially in bright scenes with colorful backgrounds, such as the stunning, Italian-lake scenes in the Bond movie “Casino Royale”. Unlike many 720p LCD projectors, the 1500’s DLP chip means there’s no rough pixel-raster to disturb the movie-look. Still, without Full HD resolution, the projector cannot produce a fully convincing HD picture.
The HC 1500 also scores highly with the wildlife documentary “Antarctica Dreaming”, which was produced in 1080i at 60 frames per second. The picture shows wild snow flurries and fast camera pans across snow-crusted deserts with only minimal rainbow effects and excellent motion clarity.
Ideal SettingsGamma Mode: Cinema
Color Temperature: Warm
Lamp Mode: Low
* These settings apply to realistic playback from HDTV/Blu-ray material through the HDMI interface in a darkened environment. Manufacturing and HDMI playback device deviations may necessitate slight adjustment.