Mitsubishi HC5000 1080P 3LCD Projector
Projector Central Highly Recommended Award

Highly Recommended Award

Our Highly Recommended designation is earned by products offering extraordinary value or performance in their price class.

  • Performance
  • 5
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Value
Price
$4,995 MSRP Discontinued

Mitsubishi is flexing some real muscle in the world of home theater projectors these days. Their recently released HD1000, a 720p projector retailing at $1,495 is an outstanding value for the money. And coming on the heels of that release is the flagship HC5000, which brings full 1080p resolution performance to market at a price tag of just $4,495. Being the lowest priced 1080p projector on the market, we expected Mitsubishi to cut a few corners to hit the aggressive price target. They did not. The HC5000 is a fully-loaded, high performance 1080p projector that clearly sets a new price/performance benchmark in the industry.

Specifications

ANSI lumens: 1000

Contrast (full on/off): 10,000:1

Light Engine: 1920x1080, native 16:9, 0.74" three-panel inorganic LCD, Micro Lens, with 160W UHP lamp.

Video Compatibility: 1080p/60/50/24, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i. NTSC/PAL/SECAM.

Data Compatibility: Computer resolutions up to SXGA 1280x1024

Connection Panel: One HDMI, one DVI-D, one 15-pin VGA, one 3-RCA component input, one s-video, one composite, one 12V trigger, one 9-pin DSub serial port.

Lens and Throw Distance: 1.60:1 power zoom/focus lens with vertical and horizontal powered lens shift. Throws a 100" diagonal 16:9 image from 10.1' to 16.5'

Lamp Life: 2,000 hours, 5,000 hours in eco-mode

Warranty: Two years.

 

Product Overview

The HC5000 as sold in the United States comes in a sleek black case, and is officially designated the HC5000BL. The standard European version comes in white. However, if you want to ceiling mount your projector, quite often the preferred color is white so that it blends in with a white ceiling. You can get it in white upon request, even if you live in an area where the black case is the standard.

At the heart of the projector is a light engine that consists of three 1920x1080 resolution inorganic LCD panels and a 160-watt high pressure lamp that can last up to 5000 hours in the projector's low lamp operating mode. What is an "inorganic" LCD you wonder? To date most LCD panels have been made with organic compounds that can, with enough usage, begin to degrade over time. This degradation most typically occurs in the blue channel, and it can cause color shifts and reduced contrast. When this happens the LCD panel needs to be replaced. To eliminate this as a potential problem for users, the next generation LCD projectors will feature LCD panels made with inorganic compounds that are not susceptible to degradation over time. The HC5000 is one of the first LCD projectors to come to market with these newly designed LCD panels.

The HC5000 features a powered 1.6x zoom lens, power focus, and powered horizontal and vertical lens shift. With a 1.6x zoom lens the throw distance is quite flexible. For example, if you want to fill a 120" diagonal 16:9 screen the projector can be placed anywhere from 12 to almost 20 feet from the screen. However, there are some trade-offs to be aware of with longer range zoom lenses. First, lumen output will be affected in part by the zoom lens setting. The HC5000 is able to deliver more light to the screen when the zoom is in its widest angle setting (that is, the shortest throw distance for a given image size). How big of a deal is this? The maximum light output we measured on our test unit with the lens at the wide angle setting was 918 lumens. Simply changing the lens setting to its maximum telephoto position reduced lumen output to 694, or about a 24% reduction.

This phenomenon is an optical property of all zoom lenses, so it is not anything unique to the HC5000. Basically, when you shift a zoom lens from wide angle to telephoto, you extend the distance between the optical elements in the lens. This restricts the amount of light that can get through it. So a zoom lens' lumen output differential between its max wide angle and max telephoto settings is determined in part by the length of the zoom range. A 1.3x zoom lens will have a more modest lumen output variation between its most extreme wide angle and telephoto settings, and a 2.0x zoom lens will have more--sometimes up to 40%.

 

That means you should always use the wide angle end of a zoom lens, right? Wrong. At its longest telephoto throw setting, though lumen output is reduced, the screen is more evenly illuminated. The reason is that the cone of projected light is narrower, and the light strikes the screen from edge to edge in closer to a perpendicular orientation. That enables the light to reflect back from the screen more evenly. Therefore, unless the extra lumen output is really needed (and assuming the room space allows it) we normally suggest setting the projector back as far as you can and using the longer throw portion of the lens.

In addition to the HC5000's zoom range flexibility, it also offers powered vertical and horizontal lens shift. The vertical shift lets you move the projected image up and down a full 2.5 picture heights from top to bottom. At its neutral position, the centerline of the lens intersects the center of the projected image. Practically speaking, this means the projector can be either ceiling mounted or placed on a rear shelf, whichever is more convenient for the user. Ceiling mounting may require you to use the extreme end of the vertical lens shift range, particularly if the projector is mounted flush with the ceiling. At the extreme ends of the shift range the lumen output is reduced by about 10% but there is no perceptible compromise in image quality or brightness uniformity.

Though vertical shift range is extensive, horizontal shift is quite modest in range. From the neutral position the image can be shifted left or right not more than 5% of the picture width. This enables you to easily make small adjustments to fill a fixed screen, but the projector must be placed on a perpendicular line that is close to the horizontal center of the screen.

Many users will prefer to place the HC5000 on a relatively high rear shelf that allows for plenty of room to overshoot the audience. This will allow you to leave the lens close to its optically neutral position with just a mild downward projection angle. There are numerous advantages to this type of installation. Rear shelf placement makes the projector less obvious in the room, saves the cost of the ceiling mount and drywall work, and reduces the length (and cost) of the video cables. Rear shelf placement also gives you easier access to the unit for cleaning or changing the air filter, which should be done every month or two depending on the amount of dust in the environment. If the HC5000 is ceiling mounted, you don't need to dismount it to change the filter, but you do need to climb a ladder. The rear shelf placement can save you that trouble. For many people it is simply the easier way to install and maintain a home theater projector.

One of the features many folks are looking for in a 1080p projector is its ability to recognize a 1080p signal being delivered at 24 frames per second, rather than the more conventional 1080p/60. The reason is that the new high definition DVD formats, Blu-ray and HD-DVD, encode film transfers in 1080p/24. The Blu-ray and HD-DVD groups will both be delivering players that can output 1080p/24 (several of the Blu-ray players coming out this holiday season already have this feature). The advantage is that if the projector can recognize a 1080p/24 signal and display it without converting it to 1080p/60, then certain motion artifacts associated with that conversion will be eliminated.

The owner's manual and Mitsubishi's website both report that the HC5000 will recognize 1080p/50 and 1080p/60 signals but not 1080p/24. However, according to Mitsubishi product management, this feature was added after the specs were published and the HC5000 will indeed accept 1080p/24. We were hoping that our new Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player would have arrived by now so we could test the HC5000 with 1080p/24 Blu-ray media. Unfortunately, the Pioneer isn't arriving until next week, and our HC5000 test unit must go on to other reviewers for the time being. We plan to follow up and perform this particular test when we can get the HC5000 and the Pioneer Blu-ray player together under one roof.

The HC5000 has a standard lamp mode and low power mode. In standard mode the lamp life is rated at 2000 hours, and in low power it is 5000 hours. Everyone likes the concept of a 5000 hour lamp, but the trade-off is that you cut lumen output by 23%. For users of this projector that may or may not be a good deal. If you intend to use a smaller screen such as 100" diagonal or smaller, the low lamp mode will have plenty of lumen output to light up the screen. However, the HC5000's 1080p resolution, excellent contrast, and a video-optimized lumen output in a typical range of 450 to 500 lumens makes this projector a good candidate for larger than normal screen sizes. And with a larger screen size, you'll want the extra lumen power.

There are two reasons people tend to opt for low lamp mode on digital projectors. One is to reduce fan noise and the other is to increase lamp life and save the expense of the replacement lamp. On the HC5000 fan noise is a non-issue even in high lamp mode. This is one of the quietest projectors on the market. Low lamp mode makes it virtually silent, but even with the lamp in standard mode, the audible noise is extremely low. So users won't be opting for low lamp mode just to reduce fan noise.

Furthermore, the replacement lamp for this model retails at $459, or about 10% of the cost of the projector. That is not a big budget item for buyers who are spending over $4,000 for the projector to begin with. Our guess is that many users will be opting to run the HC5000 in standard power mode since it will give the screen image a bit more sparkle, and they can run in that mode without worrying about the noise.

Performance

It is difficult to restrain our enthusiasm for the HC5000 for the simple reason that it excels in several key ways. Yes, it is 1080p resolution and it costs only $4,495. But beyond that, it is bright for a home theater projector, it has superb color accuracy, it has the most precise deinterlacing and scaling we've ever seen on a projector under $10,000, and it can be set up in a variety of ways to meet the needs of different types of users.

The HC5000 is rated at 1000 ANSI lumens of brightness. In its brightest operating mode we measured our test unit at 918 lumens with lens at wide angle setting, and 694 lumens at maximum telephoto. This is much closer to full spec than we find on most projectors. At this level of lumen output, color is not optimized and it is too bright for most dark theater use. However, you can certainly view sporting events and other video material in ambient light if you are not too picky about color precision.

Once color balance is optimized, lumen output is reduced. In standard lamp mode we measured 532 lumens with the lens at wide angle, and low lamp mode dropped the lumen readings to 410. These readings should each be reduced another 24% if you shift the zoom to maximum telephoto. But given the unit's ample black level and contrast, this is enough light to fill a 120" screen. You can go larger if you want, but apparent contrast and color saturation are always compromised as you push a projector to ever increasing image sizes. So to obtain the best possible results, we would keep it to 120" diagonal if setting it up for our own home theater.

One of the most remarkable attributes of the HC5000 is its color accuracy. After switching to calibration settings for optimum color accuracy, we were able to get close to 6500K readings at every IRE level except 90 and 100 IRE, where it shifted a bit toward a warmer 6000K. These settings produced an impressively natural color palette, about as close to ideal as one can get on a digital projector with this type of high pressure lamp.

The HC5000 has Silicon Optix HQV ("Hollywood Quality Video") processing onboard. The deinterlacing and scaling is virtually flawless, and as noted above, it is the best we've ever seen on a projector under $10,000. We have a battery of deinterlacing test clips that have always been particularly difficult for any projector to render cleanly, but with these clips the HC5000 performed with an almost jaw-dropping precision. It is difficult to imagine how it can get any better.

Our test unit came with the Sharpness control set to 2, which is about the middle of the adjustment scale that runs from -10 to +10. For our taste, 2 is way too high. We preferred the -10 setting as it enabled the projector to deliver the most natural, life-like images. Many users assume that taking sharpness to its lowest setting will produce an excessively soft image. On many projectors it does, but not this one. On the HC5000 the minimum sharpness setting simply eliminates artificial edge enhancement and makes the picture more natural and life-like.

A life-like picture is really what the HC5000 is all about. The 1080p LCD panels with Micro-Lens technology make pixelation a non-issue, the color accuracy is virtually as good as it gets, contrast and color saturation is definitely leading edge for LCD technology, and the deinterlacing and scaling is perfectly natural. As long as sharpness is not overdriven, all of these factors act together to render a remarkably realistic image, even as compared to some of the other 1080p products on the market at this time.

If there is any flaw to mention at all, it would be in the area of digital noise. The level of noise in the HC5000's picture is typical of most good home theater projectors. It is not excessive by any means, nor is it distracting. Most people accept it and ignore it as a natural by-product of digital video technology. But lower levels of noise have been achieved in a few of the very latest products released this fall, so this would be one area in which Mitsubishi could take one further step closer toward the elusive goal of the perfect projector.

Conclusion

The HC5000 is the third projector this fall to receive a solid 5-star rating, and there have only been four models so rated since we introduced the 5-star system. This is not because we have relaxed our rating standards of late. What we are seeing is significant leaps forward in picture quality for the money-true advances in the state of the art that warrant high acclaim.

With the HC5000, Mitsubishi has done a great deal more than just hit a leading edge, low price point with 1080p. The projector is remarkable for its beautifully natural picture quality, as well as a host of features that makes it about as user friendly and easy to install as any projector out there. We are very pleased to give the HC5000 our strongest possible recommendation, and we offer our warmest congratulations to the product managers and engineers at Mitsubishi for a job exceedingly well done.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Mitsubishi HC5000BL projector page.

Comments (17) Post a Comment
mcresearch Posted Oct 29, 2006 7:55 PM PST
I'm confused; the article states that the projector is bright enough for a 120" screen yet the projection calculator says it's not. I would be upgrading from an NEC LT240z which on paper is a lot brighter but in practice, not that bright - and I only have a 100" screen at present.
ATXIT Posted Nov 5, 2006 7:20 PM PST
I was wondering what the latency on this particular projector was. I want to run this projector for pc gaming purposes mostly. I've emailed and called Mitsu, but no one really knows. If anyone can help me out, thanks ahead of time.
ashaw4811 Posted Nov 13, 2006 8:40 PM PST
Any suggestions as what type of screen would be best for HC5000BL?
Brabus Posted Nov 17, 2006 5:53 PM PST
What means "Computer resolutions up to SXGA 1280x1024" ??

I can't work (and play) with PC at the native resolution of panel?

If this absurdity is true, the HC5000 is very useless for gamers and for everybody interested to use this Projector on a PC!

Why an unforgivable and serious defect like this has not been reported on the review?
TheLastKnight Posted Dec 27, 2006 4:44 PM PST
I have been in the market to purchase a HD projector for 8 months. I waited for Projector Central to release their full reviews and ended up purchasing the HC5000BL. I also purchased a ceiling mount, 8M HDMI, HDMI switcher, and Draper Cineperm Screen from The Projector Place.com.

I am using a 119" screen with the projector mounted 13ft back. All I have to say is its amazing. I havent tried using my laptop just yet to see if I have PC issues but I have been watching HD 1080i content. I will purchase a HD DVD or Blu Ray player after i get a better idea whats coming out of the format war. For now its Direct TV and local HD in 1080i. I have read many reviews and all my viewer who come over my house think its amazing. I would have liked to had a few screens to switch out and play with because I wonder what a gray screen would look like. My theater room is completely a dark room 21' by 13 ft wide. The image is plenty bright although I wouldnt really want it darker, its just bright enough to make me feel very happy. I think projector central did a fine job in the review and have thanked them for it. I would like them to rate screens for the FullHD projectors as they do change. The CinePerm screen has a viynl 2 in boarder where I would have prefered a nicer boarder but then I would have paid more and when watching movies I would have not noticed at all.

The only thing I didnt know was I needed to mount the projector level then use the lens shift to correct the keystone effect since I mounted it on the ceiling. Not even mentioned in the manual so I found out on a forum right after the install. You can trust this review and very happy that I purchased it.
AV_Integrated Posted Feb 26, 2007 8:42 PM PST
It is typical of projectors to only accept computer resolutions up to a certain level. The solution is to get a computer with a DVI or HDMI output on the video card and then set the output resolution of the computer to the maximum that the display can handle.

In this case, 1920x1080 @ 60hz should be an accepted resolution without any issue at all.

But, if you are feeding the projector via a VGA connection then SXGA is likely the highest resolution that will be accepted.
dale6 Posted Apr 19, 2007 10:36 AM PST
"What means "Computer resolutions up to SXGA 1280x1024" ??

I can't work (and play) with PC at the native resolution of panel?

If this absurdity is true, the HC5000 is very useless for gamers and for everybody interested to use this Projector on a PC!

Why an unforgivable and serious defect like this has not been reported on the review?"

According to the manual, the native resolution can be used via DVI input. Over analog input, only SXGA is available.
dakota Posted Dec 12, 2008 3:47 PM PST
What is a good ceiling mount for the hc5000???
jsjacks Posted Nov 18, 2011 8:09 PM PST
I bought this projector along with a 92" screen in July of 2007 and have never regretted the decision. Everything in the technical review is true low noise (except when my 7.2 surround system engages)and gives me excellent picture detail. I paid $3000.00 and frankly it is much cheaper than any television set of comparable size and quality. Now 3 years later the debate is whether to move up to 3D with Mitsubishi or Panasonic and herein lies a question. Will the 92" screen size be limiting these projectors?
Michael Paquette Posted Sep 30, 2013 4:00 PM PST
I have the HC5000. It's been great but now I have blue patches on the screen that will not go away. Doesn't matter what mode it's in. Can you tell me what that is?
Jim Johnson Posted Oct 7, 2013 1:32 PM PST
Blue patches on the screen is probably due to dust in the projector. Get an air spray, open up the projector and use the air spray to clean it out.
Karin Charles Posted Jun 13, 2015 6:42 AM PST
I am looking for a fan filter replacment, have not been able to find one. I would appreciate any advice on where I can purchase one.
Finn Posted Mar 22, 2016 7:59 AM PST
Anyone can help or know if this projector is a HDMI 1.4 unit or what version is it at? Cheers
Dee Posted May 22, 2016 8:51 PM PST
Does anyone else have issues with dark scenes its very hard to make out the picture on mine and I don't know how to correct it if it can be
Frank Ricketts Posted Nov 23, 2018 8:11 AM PST
My system is stuck in Chinese and cannot read the menu and don't have an instruction booklet. How can I get the instruction book?
Rob Sabin, Editor Posted Nov 26, 2018 12:58 PM PST
The main page of our database entry for this and most projectors features a link to an uploaded PDF of the manual. You can navigate there by typing the brand and model of the projector into our search field. For the HC5000, you can find the manual here:

https://www.projectorcentral.com/pdf/projector_spec_3433.pdf
Austin H Posted Mar 24, 2019 1:08 PM PST
I found this projector for 32 dollars at a thrift store and it's amazing. I'm just missing a cover for the lens.

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