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Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projector
Performance
4.5
Features
Ease of Use
Value
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Mitsubishi HC6500U Projector Mitsubishi HC6500U
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15000:1 Contrast Ratio
1200 Lumens
Street Price: n/a

Mitsubishi HC6500U
Home Theater
Projector Review

Bill Livolsi, October 27, 2008

Shootout:
Mitsubishi HC6500 versus Panasonic PT-AE3000

Panasonic's AE3000, reviewed earlier this month, is the newest of their 1080p projectors. While the two projectors are both 1080p LCD models and sell in the same general price bracket, they are very different animals.

Lumen output. Panasonic's AE3000 has operating modes that are brighter than the HC6500. Our AE3000 test unit measured 1273 ANSI lumens maximum, while our HC6500 measured 752 lumens. The AE3000 also has "normal" mode, which has better color balance than its brightest mode but measured 792 lumens, putting it slightly above the HC6500's maximum output. If you plan to use your projector primarily in a room with some ambient light, the AE3000's higher lumen output might make it a more attractive option. However, the HC6500 puts out 518 lumens in video optimized mode, which is on par with the AE3000 in its Cinema modes.

Contrast. Panasonic's AE3000 had deeper black levels than the HC6500 in every scene we watched. This was expected, since the AE3000 is rated at 60,000:1 compared to 15,000:1 on the HC6500. ANSI contrast was visibly higher as well - the AE3000 measured 446:1 while the HC6500 measured 304:1. While this is not poor performance from the HC6500, it is on a level with last year's AE2000 rather than this year's model.

Sharpness. The HC6500 has an edge over the AE3000 in image sharpness and clarity of detail. Skin texture and fabric details are slightly better defined on the HC6500. This is not to say that the AE3000 is soft--it is sharp enough and equal in sharpness to other new 1080p models such as the Sony VPL-HW10. However, the HC6500 and the HC7000 stand out above the crowd as being particularly razor sharp.

Placement Flexibility. The HC6500 has a 1.6:1 zoom lens, and all functions are powered. The AE3000 has a 2.0:1 zoom lens, and only lens shift is not powered. However, the AE3000's lens shift has a vertical range of three picture heights to the HC6500's two and a half, and it has a horizontal range of 50% in either direction rather than 5% on the HC6500.

Cost. The AE3000 sells for $2,499 from various internet resellers, while the HC6500 sells for $3,495 from selected authorized dealers and retailers. This is kind of an apples-to-oranges comparison, as each distribution channel has its perks and downsides.

Conclusion

When all is said and done, Mitsubishi's HC6500 turns in a solid performance. Sharpness and detail are crystal clear, and high definition content looks stellar. The projector has the lumen power to light up a very large screen in a light-controlled room, or a smaller screen with some ambient light. The projector is stone quiet, has a long life lamp, and has a powered lens to make it easier to use. If you can live with not having leading edge contrast performance, or just want to buy a great projector from your local big box retailer, the HC6500 is a solid bet.

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Comments (10) Post a Comment
kevinp Posted Oct 30, 2008 11:57 AM PST
compared to the panasonic this seems to be overpriced by about $1,500.

Is there anyone who would prefer this to the panasonic ?
Scott Fink Posted Oct 31, 2008 1:09 PM PST
I just purchased the Mitsubishi HC6500U for $2499.00. I will update on the performance after i get this installed.
raggarichie Posted Nov 7, 2008 2:52 AM PST
I paid a little over 2000 for mine. I've not received it yet though. The bulb life is the main reason I'm buying this Mitsubishi. I think the total cost of ownership, if the bulb last 5000 hours is well worth it.
Dr. Robert, PHd EE Posted Nov 30, 2008 5:17 PM PST
Very nice Bill! I enjoyed the comparison. I am still using the ancient Toshiba MT-2 which cost me 10,999 back in the day when there was no HD Content. Do you believe that it does a fair job at rendering 720P ? I am about ready to upbrade as soon as the porjector manufacturers get the cobwebs off of the Lazer projetor prototypes. Would you believe a projector bulb that lasts one million hours? I have seen them.
Nossy Posted Jan 12, 2009 1:23 PM PST
There's no doubt that the Panasonic AE3000 offers alot more bang for the buck with it's features and performance and lower price. There's also no question that the HC6500 is a solid performer that will satisfy most mainstream folks. I'd recommend the AE3000, but if you can find a HC6500 for cheaper (I found mine at Best Buy as a close-out model for $2199) then go for it. I did originally had my heart set on the AE3000, but the price for the HC6500 was hard to resist - including a 3-year no interest they had going. In a nutshell, no regrets as I am really satisified with the performance and it is one of the quietest and lighter projector. However, I wouldn't pay $3,000 or more for this projector as there are better projectors at that price range.

Currently I am projecting a 120" screen at about 14 feet and it is a joy to watch. I am not missing the 120Hz features that are the new trend in LCD and projectors since I use this projector mainly for movie watching. If you watch alot of sporting events it's great, but for movies, it's a no-no.
Jim Posted Feb 7, 2009 5:52 PM PST
I own the older Mits HC5000 for over 2 years and I have loved it. The HC6500 should be an improvement over my older HC500. The picture is razor sharp and it has a beautiful picture. I'm projecting it onto a Da-lite 106" screen. The picture looked great right out of the box and it is ultra quiet. My collection of 350+ Blu-ray & HD-DVD's look wondeful as do my 1500 standard DVD's.
Alex Posted Feb 19, 2009 8:24 AM PST
I own a Mitsubishi HC-5000 I got the day ti was reviewed here at ProjectorCentral.com. (paid euro 2900)

After aroud 3500 hours the lamp started to have difficult startup, but at the same time i got the flashing message stating "soon to replace the lamp". I am now at 4220 hours, picture still perfect, i have bought the new lamp(euro 260), but it is still boxed.

The picture of this projector is still making everyone say "wow" and if the HC-6500U is an improvement, it will be overwelming!
beastmode Posted Feb 23, 2009 10:10 AM PST
$1925 is what I paid FEB09. I've never owed a projector until now and I can say even without a screen and blue ray or HD it's amazing. I plan to paint my room dark gray and buy a Studiotek fixed screen soon along with a Playstation 3 for blu ray. Speakers have come down as well. From what I've read you don't need to spend a lot to get good sound. Can anyone recommend a good ceiling mount for this projector?
John in SA Posted Aug 1, 2009 2:52 PM PST
Just bought the HC6500 at Best Buy. They're discontinuing this model and there is plenty of room to deal. List price in our area is $2499, but they brought it down to $1900. They also knocked $500 of a 92" Screen Innovations Reference Series, so I bought it at $950.

Reading the foregoing reviews has me quite excited to see how this performs when it is installed in a couple of days.
Garyc Posted May 30, 2012 6:28 PM PST
I've had the mitsu 6500 for about 2 years - performs flawlessly. I was able to adjust everything myself. Many projectors have very limited adjustments to where they mey not work in your room which is why I chose the mitsu 6500. Even DVD images are crystal clear. It has been maintenace free. Mitsubishi knows what they are doing.

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