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Best Home Theater Projector
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Mitsubishi HC5500 Projector Mitsubishi HC5500
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14000:1 Contrast Ratio
1200 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Mitsubishi HC5500

Evan Powell, July 23, 2008


The HC5500 has one noteworthy reduction in functionality as compared to its predecessor: the zoom range on the lens has been reduced from 1.6x to 1.2x, and the vertical lens shift range has been reduced from 2.5 picture heights to 2.0 picture heights. Horizontal lens shift, which had a modest range of 5% of the picture width on the HC4900, has been eliminated on the new model.

The new zoom lens and lens shift ranges introduce some restrictions on how and where you can install the HC5500. As is typical, with the lens in neutral position, the centerline of the lens intersects the center of the projected image. From that point you can use vertical lens shift to raise or lower the picture a maximum of 50% of the picture height. That means you can place the image entirely above or below the centerline of the lens, but without any additional clearance. This is great for mounting the projector on a rear shelf or on a bookcase or stand directly behind the seats. On the other hand, for a ceiling mount you may need to use a drop extension tube to avoid tilting the projector to hit the screen.

The short zoom range means that the projector will almost always be placed immediately behind the seats if it is not ceiling mounted. If, for example, you want to install a 120" 16:9 screen, you will need to place the HC5500 at least 12.5' and no more than about 15.25' from the screen. The HC4900 had the same minimum throw distance of 12.5 feet for this screen size, but it could be set back almost 20 feet if your room dimensions required it.

The HC5500's short zoom range means that the projector will be placed at a distance of between 1.4 and 1.7 times the screen width. Since many people prefer to sit at this viewing range, or perhaps just a bit closer, the projector will most likely end up immediately behind the seats in many installations. Thankfully, the projector is so quiet you'll never know it's there. As always, before you place an order, take care to measure out your room dimensions and screen size to ensure that the projector's geometry will fit your intended installation plan.

Performance Notes

Lumen readings. In its video optimized configuration with lens at its widest angle, gamma mode set to Cinema and color temperature on Warm, we measured our HC5500 test unit at 610 ANSI lumens, compared to 560 on the HC4900. Thus, on our test units we measure an incremental boost in brightness of about 9%.

Low Lamp mode reduces light output in all operating modes by 26%, and improves lamp life from 2000 to 5000 hours. Since the replacement lamp is $459, users who put a lot of hours on their projectors will find the ability to stretch life out to 5000 hours a desirable option.

Since the zoom lens is only 1.2x, the change in lumen output between its wide angle and telephoto setting is inconsequential. Moving from wide angle to telephoto reduces lumen output by about 5%.

ANSI contrast measured 260:1, which is consistent with what we have been measuring for other LCD projectors in the 1080p performance class.

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Review Contents: Overview HC5500 vs HC4900 Performance Notes Conclusion