3D DLP 1080p Home Theater Projector
December 16, 2011
Image quality in 2D. While the HC7800D looks good no matter what type of video it is displaying, two-dimensional HD video is its strongest suit. Bright and high in contrast, the image looks ready to jump off the screen at times. Good color saturation gives the image a vibrant, life-like character. Color temperature at the projector's default Medium is a touch warm, but calibration is simple and straightforward and the results are very close to the 6500K standard. Most impressive though is the projector's ability to display every nuance of fine detail, especially from high-quality Blu-ray transfers. Frame Rate Conversion, Mitsubishi's implementation of frame interpolation, smooths out motion without much in the way of artifacts.
3D. Back in August, we published our sneak preview of the Mitsubishi HC7800D based on an advanced look at an early sample. At the time, we were most impressed by the projector's 3D performance, which was clean and artifact-free. That has not changed in the intervening months. The HC7800D produces a 3D image that has plenty of depth and virtually no artifacts, including crosstalk.
In active-shutter 3D, brightness and crosstalk are linked, and more of one usually indicates more of the other. Thanks to new glasses technology, the HC7800D improves 3D brightness without introducing crosstalk. Mitsubishi's 3D glasses are using LCD panels with a refresh rate that is claimed to be ten times faster than existing technology. This allows the HC7800D to use very short blanking times (the time during which both shutters are closed), thereby letting more light through without introducing crosstalk. Our testing indicates a transmission rate of almost 27%, which is a significant improvement over other current 3D projectors (more on this later). The downside is that the glasses are big and bulky compared to the competition, a side-effect of the new panels' fragility.
Placement flexibility. A 1.5:1 zoom lens and 35% vertical lens shift make the HC7800D more flexible than your run-of-the-mill DLP home theater projector. The vertical shift especially helps when you are ceiling mounting the projector and want to put the image a little higher or lower on the wall. Setting the projector on a table, the lowest lens shift range gave the picture a 12% upward throw offset (meaning the bottom edge of the image is 12% of the picture height above the center of the lens), while the other extreme gave a 47% upward throw offset. Note that you cannot place the image level with or below the lens centerline, which rules out a rear shelf mount unless you tilt the projector and apply keystone correction.
The 1.5:1 lens is remarkable for how little light is lost when using the telephoto end of the range -- a mere 8%. These two features, though they appear slightly lackluster in the face of 2.0:1 zoom lenses and extensive H/V shift, alleviate most of the concerns one would have when mounting the projector.
Frame Rate Conversion. Mitsubishi's version of frame interpolation has two different modes, True Film and True Video. True Film is the less aggressive of the two, smoothing judder without adding any of the dreaded digital video effect. True Video is meant for use with... well, video, including sports, live broadcast television, concerts, and other such material. It is more aggressive than True Film but still does not show much in the way of artifacts. You can adjust the intensity of each mode on a scale from 1-5, with four being the default. Higher numbers indicate more aggressive processing. The True Film setting has a refined, subtle look to it, and we actually preferred to leave it on most of the time. The judder reduction was apparent (and welcome), but the picture never took on that artificial quality associated with over-aggressive frame interpolation.
The HC7800D also applies Frame Rate Conversion when watching 3D, a capability that many 3D projectors don't have. Enabling and disabling 3D FRC is possible, but the option resides in the hidden Demo menu rather than the user menu proper. If you simply can't stand any frame interpolation at all, you'll need to open the menu and go to the Test Pattern option. Hover the selection over Test Pattern, then press Auto Position, Select, and Auto Position in sequence. That should open the Demo menu. From here, you can enable or disable 3D FRC. Be aware that disabling 3D FRC will increase the amount of flicker in the picture, and we prefer to leave it enabled for this reason.