Product Spotlight: Mitsubishi X400
Conventional wisdom is a dangerous thing in the projector industry because the truth changes so rapidly. For example, everyone knows that LCD technology can't produce deep enough blacks and good enough shadow detail to deliver top quality video performance, right? That's partly why the higher contrast DLP technology became so popular with home theater enthusiasts. But with the release of the Mitsubishi X400, the engineers at Mitsubishi have made a bold and definitive statement: it's time for a conventional wisdom update-LCD is not what it used to be.
The X400 is Mitsubishi's new top-of-the-line 3000 ANSI lumen XGA projector. It is targeted primarily for the conference room market. But at just 14 lbs it is plenty portable for road travel when high lumen output is needed. And as startling as it may sound to some, the surprising contrast and rich color palette on this unit are good enough to place it among the elite of home theater performers as well. You might assume that a 3000 lumen rating is too bright for home theater. If you do, you may be overlooking the X400 to your detriment.
The X400 is Mitsubishi's current flagship product. At the heart of its light engine are three 1.3" native XGA (1,024 x 768) polysilicon LCD panels and a 250W NSH lamp with a 1500-hour half life. The X400 will accept VGA up to an SXGA (1,280 x 1,024) data signal, and just about every video signal you can think of including HDTV 1080i, 720p, 525p, progressive and interlaced component video, DVI (digital visual interface), S-video, and composite video.
The connector panel offers a convenient variety of input options for a projector of its weight and size. Included are two 15-pin D-SUBs for analog computer input as well as progressive and interlaced component video input. There is also a DVI-D24P terminal for DVI (digital video) input, and an input switch to select either analog or digital sources. Two S-video and two composite jacks are onboard, along with audio inputs for all sources, an RS-232C, a USB port, a wired remote jack, and a 15-pin D-SUB and associated audio jack for computer output.
The X400 has power zoom and focus, with the zoom lens having a 1.26:1 range. The lens is fixed with a maximum throw distance of 39 feet. Digital keystone correction allows adjustment up to (+/-) 15 degrees in 3 degree increments. Picture-in-picture enables the display of two sources at once. A digital zoom feature, which Mitsubishi calls the "Expand" mode, offers several display options including a full frame zoom, and the use of the PinP window to display the zoomed section while the normal image remains in the full frame. (The Expand function does not work with a video source.)
There are three factory pre-calibrated color temperature settings, High, Standard, and Low. In addition, the user can set a desired temperature as well. The user can adjust red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta, as well as color saturation. The user is also given brightness and contrast adjustments for the red and blue channels. These controls enable the user to calibrate the projector to whatever temperature is desired. Serious home theater enthusiasts will want to calibrate the color temperature themselves as none of the factory presets are ideal for video. However, hand calibration enables you to dial in the 6500 degrees that is desired for NTSC video. This setting can and should be adjusted periodically as color temperature may shift during the course of the lamp's life.
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