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Mitsubishi HC7800D 3D DLP 1080p Home Theater Projector

Review Contents
Best Home Theater Projector
Ease of Use
Intended Use:
Home Theater
Mitsubishi HC7800D Projector Mitsubishi HC7800D
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Street Price: n/a
3D: Full HD 3D
Weight: 12.3 lbs
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Color Wheel:4x speed
Color Wheel:6 segments
Lens:1.5x manual
Lens Shift:H + V
Lamp Life:3,000 Hrs
5,000 (eco)
Lamp Cost:$349.00
Warranty:2 year
Connectors:  Component, VGA In, HDMI 1.4 (x2), Network, RS232, 12-Volt Trigger
Video Formats:  480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, 1080p/24, 1080p/50, 576i, 576p

The long-awaited Mitsubishi HC7800D is finally here. This 1080p DLP projector caught our attention back in August, when we were able to get a sneak peek of an early sample. Since then, a lot has happened. We've seen most of the projectors introduced at CEDIA 2011, and the projector market has gotten very competitive right around the $3000 mark.

If you're just going by the spec sheet, the HC7800D doesn't look like much. Its 1500 lumens and 100,000:1 contrast are not as impressive when competitors are boasting 2400 lumens or 300,000:1 contrast -- on paper, those differences look big. Its 1.5:1 zoom and small vertical lens shift range aren't as extensive as the flexibility of the latest LCD projectors. It has comparatively few bells and whistles. The HC7800D loses the numbers game handily, and that's all the proof anyone should need that it's time to throw away the spec sheets.

The competition this year is extremely close, but the HC7800D is definitely among this year's top performers in its price bracket. It produces a detailed, natural image that edges its competition in contrast and clarity. For those videophiles out there who want a great picture first and foremost and are willing to sacrifice some conveniences to get it, the HC7800D is the projector to buy. It is not a perfect projector, though. Black level does not match the competition, and some aspects of its interface and design can be frustrating at times. But when it comes down to doing what a home theater projector is supposed to do -- putting a great, natural image on the screen -- the HC7800D excels.

The Viewing Experience

To get the most out of the HC7800D, you'll need a dark room. While the projector's 1,500 lumen maximum output is certainly bright enough for a space with some ambient light, most of the projector's image modes fall under 800 lumens. We did most of our viewing using a setting based off of the projector's Cinema preset, and our test unit produced about 600 lumens using those settings. This is the perfect brightness for a 120" diagonal image, provided you don't have ambient light to contend with. On a 1.3-gain screen, you'll net 18 foot-Lamberts, while our 1.0-gain screen measured 13.9 fL. Depending on your tastes, this is just about ideal.

You will need to plan your installation of the HC7800D carefully. The projector has good placement flexibility for a DLP projector, with a 1.5:1 zoom lens and a small 35% vertical lens shift, but the lens shift does not allow for the dead-center placement required for a rear shelf mount. In other words, you can't just place the HC7800D on a rear shelf and figure out the details as you go. A ceiling mount is ideal, but a coffee table or other low placement in front of the audience is also easy to set up. The projector is whisper-quiet, so you don't need to worry about where to place the projector in relation to your audience. They won't be able to hear it.

Firing up the projector for the first time, we were most impressed with the sheer amount of detail that we could see, as well as the smooth, film-like character of the image. It is a clean, refined image that will certainly appeal to videophiles. After spending some more time with the projector and making some small adjustments, this impression has only been strengthened.

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Key Features
Review Contents: The Viewing Experience Key Features Performance Limitations
  Shootout Conclusion
Comments (27) Post a Comment
Romel Posted Dec 17, 2011 2:14 PM PST
Bill, what happened to the Mitsubishi's 2D to 3D converstion from Projector Central's first look impressions until this review?

Initially, you guys stated that the Mitsubishi's 2D to 3D conversion was the best you've seen and the only one really worth using. Now, in this review, the Mitsubishi's 2D to 3D conversion system is rated lower than the Panny's. Did the Mits system get worse? Or did Pannasonic improve their system with a firmware update?
Romel Posted Dec 17, 2011 3:20 PM PST

In your review of the Epson 5010, you said that the Pannasonic and Epson was basically tied when it came to black level performance when there was low levels of light in a scene (i.e. night scene with stars in the sky).

Now, in the Mitsubishi's review (in the shootout), you said the Epson has the BEST black level in scenes of low illumination, such as nighttime shots and the AE7000 has the best black level in scenes of average illumination. Can we get some consistency in these reviews? Is the Panasonic and Epson tied when it comes to black level performance in scenes of average illumination or does the Epson have better blacks in scenes of low illumination?
Romel Posted Dec 17, 2011 3:33 PM PST

I need clarification concerning digital noise with the EPSON. In the shootout review with the Epson and the Pannasonic, under the section Sharpness and clarity, you said "There is also a touch less digital noise on the 5010, especially in mid-tones." but in the 3-way shootout with the Mitsubish, Pannasonic and Epson, under the standard definition section, you stated "The 5010 had a touch more digital noise than the others in standard definition." So, are you saying the Epson has less digital noise when displaying HD content, but more digital noise than the other two projectors when showing standard definition? Thank you.
dupin67 Posted Dec 18, 2011 8:20 AM PST

Would like to know whether there is difference between the 4x color wheel between HD33 and HC7800D. In HD33 review, the 4x color wheel is actually a 6x wheel, if we count in the 120Hz refresh rate. If HC7800D is still using 120Hz refresh rate (I think it is, because it's also a 3D DLP), then maybe we should highlight this again.
Irfan Posted Dec 18, 2011 4:35 PM PST
FOr the folks who like the film like picture quality of DLP, a really good shoot would be the Mitsubishi HC7800D vs BenQ7000. So far HC7800D looks pretty good in reviews and if BenQ produces a brighter picture with vibrant colors that could be a winner. I would also like to know if the DLP link is better than the IR
Stephen Posted Dec 19, 2011 12:03 AM PST
Overtime, I am seeing a lot of inconsistencies in PC reviews of 3D PJ's.
DavidK442 Posted Dec 19, 2011 9:35 AM PST
If I only watched sports and prime time tv then I could accept a definition of "great, natural image" that allowed for washed out blacks.
Bill Livolsi Posted Dec 19, 2011 11:06 AM PST

After exercising the 2D to 3D conversion some more, and spending a *lot* of time in comparative testing, we like the AE7000's 2D to 3D conversion the best. the HC7800D's system is not far behind, and I'd happily use either, but there's a difference. Our preview article was based on a stand-alone showing of the HC7800D, and we did not have a chance to do a comparative test of the 2D to 3D conversion at that time. That's the reason for the change.

Re: black level, this is why we keep adding disclaimers about keeping everything in perspective. Judging black level on these projectors is tricky, since each projector has an iris and they all respond differently. Here's how it goes (the definitive version, if you will):

On a pure black screen, the AE7000 closes down to a blacker black than the 5010. In nighttime shots and other low-key scenes, the 5010 has the slightest of advantages -- so slight that we were hesitant to mention it at all, because (as I'm seeing again) people tend to make a big deal out of anything that we write up. If we mention it, it must be worth mentioning, etc. I am currently regretting my decision to include it at all. The black level difference between the Epson 5010 and the Panasonic AE7000 in low-light scenes is so slight that it should not influence anyone's purchasing decisions, which is why we called them "functionally tied." The difference between those two and the Mitsubishi HC7800D is much, much clearer.

Your statement about digital noise is correct. We saw less noise in HD, more noise in SD.

I hope this clears things up for you.

dupin67 - As we don't have the HD33 in front of us, I'm unwilling to make a statement about how they appear comparatively. If I get a chance to see the HD33 again, I will set them up and have a look.

Irfan - As soon as we get the BenQ W7000, we intend to do just such a shootout.

Stephen - like what? If you're referring to my ongoing conversation with Romel, please see the above.
Hayati Akbas Posted Dec 20, 2011 12:03 AM PST
Bill and Evan, I have been reading your reviews for years. I am very appreciative of how you guys shaped my purchasing decisions. I want to reiterate that part again (SHAPED) but in the end I am the one deciding based on your and other reviews of projectors. so I don't understand when readers becomes proofreader as if that is their careers. if someone is in the market to buy a projector your reviews gives just that. Gives us the scoop. but there are some people who wants to dig deeper and nitpick every damn word in the reviews because They failed The Chief Inspector Clouseau exams and they want to make it up here! People whom are obsessively detailed oriented clinical cases, Read the reviews, make your minds up if you wanna really buy a projector as this is the reason this and other sites exist, read the fine print when reviewers say the difference between two projectors are so little that is not even worth mentioning! but when they do mention it you make them regret for mentioning it because of the hell you give to them! which in return we will have less detailed reviews in the future, because of some of you idiots. you know who I am talking I about. you who don't even watch enough movies because you can't take time away from nitpicking and proofreading reviews for days and making a case like you are a forensics expert! Hayati
Steve Atkinson Posted Dec 20, 2011 10:22 AM PST
Thank you for the insightful review Bill.
Steve Atkinson Posted Dec 20, 2011 1:18 PM PST
Bill... sorry, but now that I have a bit more time I wonder if I could pester you a bit more.

As you have had the opportunity to have all 3 projectors together perhaps you could give me your opinion on my personal situation. I have only owned (4) DLP projectors in the past, so those seem "normal" to me, but I am not necessarily averse to other technologies.

I have been using an InFocus 7210 since they came out projecting onto an Elite 135" (1.78) screen using the PowerGain (1.8) material in my (completely light controlled) main theater. I am also using a Mits HD1000U in the family room of my Vegas town-house (pretty good light control unless wife is in kitchen) projecting onto a 120" Elite with PowerGain material.

As the years have gone by I continue to look for a replacements, however I wanted to wait until the 3D world matured a bit before I jumped onto the band-wagon.

I had given some thought to the constant height operation, but as the benefits are mostly psychological (giving movies a larger appearance than TV) that is not a prime concern.

Also I was planning on moving the 135" screen to Vegas and replacing it with a 150" (also 1.8 gain material) in the Theater... I mention this as it would have an obvious effect if I wanted to use the 3D capabilities.

I probably watch TV 65%, play games 20%, and watch movies about 15% of the time.

With the above locations, which (if any) of the 3D projectors in your shootout would you prefer?
Romel Posted Dec 20, 2011 4:44 PM PST

Thanks for the clarification. I understand completely how that first look at a product is not always the best look.

As far as Black level performance. It would appear that the Pannasonic is the winner, considering it's functionally tied with the Epson in scenes of low illumination and beats the Epson when the scenes has average light levels. Since the Pannasonic has a contrast ratio of 300,000 to 1 to the Epson's 200,000 to 1 that sounds about right. Although you believe we should through the spec sheets out the window.

Thanks again.
John Mastroleo Posted Dec 21, 2011 8:30 AM PST
I would be more concerned as to which product has the most consistent sample to sample quality control. I have found that projectors in general have the least consistent performance of consumer products. It’s hard not to be picky when you blow a picture up to 135"or better. I have also found that DLP projectors are the most consistent in gray scale and white field uniformity. If you watch a lot of old black and white classic movies be warned that low priced projectors will not give you this without a lot of returns until you get an acceptable one that you can live with. At the $6000 and up range the 3 chip projectors are more consistent which they should be.
John Posted Dec 21, 2011 5:06 PM PST
Hi Bill, Thank you for your informative and technically objective reviews. I note the Mitsubishi DLP projectors performance impressed you to the point of you saying it had the most impressive picture of the three projectors compared (my words but I hope you get what I mean). You also indicated that the contrast ratio of the Mitsubishi was not as good as the others and that the lesser black level was easily observable. Can you explain why the lower spec projector seems to shine above the higher spec ones... irrespective of the paper (and measured) spec? Is it something that DLP adds that LCD does not ... I would love to know as I am usually a spec driven buyer. Many thanks
Romel Posted Dec 22, 2011 4:55 PM PST
My advice for people who are undecided on which projector to buy is to locate a store that sells the projectors you are interested in. This may require visiting several shops and traveling some miles, but in the end you'll probably feel better about your purchase.

Relying soley on the opinions of others is not a winning proposition. People taste vary when it comes to "best" picture. If I can't find a store that has the projectors setup I am interested in I'll go with the majority rule. In other words, if 75% of the reviewers state the Epson has a better picture than the Panasonic, regardless of price/value, I'll go with the Epson and vice versa. However, the review is my starting point. I need to know which projectors to focus on.

Unlike a poster talking smack on this site, I'm a huge movie lover and have a theater room specifically for watching movies on the big screen...not a living room with a screen on the wall, but a theater room with columns and a stage (only missing the curtains). I take my home theater seriously. When I buy I'm not upgrading for 7-8 years.
Irfan Posted Dec 23, 2011 7:46 PM PST
It is very hard to find the Projector that is on display. I live in a big city but still cant find the projectors that are new like the Mitsubishi HC7800D. Even if you do find a place that can let you see it there will be enormous sales pressure, you cant just walk away easily and then you cannot go back to the same place and asking to demo another unit. If sites like this does not exist then I dont know how will you decide ?? Thanks guys. I am hoping BenQ W7000 will be the answer to the shortcomings of MItsubishi. Why DLP looks better than LCD???
Romel Posted Dec 24, 2011 8:41 AM PST
Bill, Evan,

Can you provide information on the difference in the Mitsubishi's 3D picture in High Brightness mode vs the Epsons 3D Cinema mode.

I'm interested because the Mits has virtually no cross talk, so I would like to know how much crosstalk is present in its high brigthness mode.

The Epson has more visible crosstalk. Increasing the lumens appears to create more crosstalk, so the Epson's 3D picture would probably be best suited in its 3D cinema mode to reduce crosstalk vs having a brighter 3D picture.

Now how does the Mits 3D cinema mode stack up against the Epson's 3D cinema mode.

Romel Posted Dec 24, 2011 8:44 AM PST
Evan, Bill,

I forgot to ask... Are you guys giving out your editors choice award this year?
Cosmic Posted Dec 26, 2011 9:23 AM PST
Gamers take note. A poster at AVS forums found the Epson 5010 to suffer from input lag so this may be a better option as DLP usually lags less.
rod Posted Dec 29, 2011 12:43 PM PST
Can anyone recommend the best projector for a 115 inch screen mainly used for gaming and movies? Currently have a 5yr old Panasonic with 11,000:1 contrast and 1,100 Lumens. Just learning about this lag effect. I have read good things about the new JVC X30, would like to stay around $5,000 range or lower.
gelson Posted Dec 31, 2011 9:55 AM PST
hi, i only want to know where can i buy this projector , mitsubishi hc 7800d,in a physical store in united states? thanks
Irfan Posted Jan 1, 2012 11:42 AM PST
You cant find this projector in a local store, just go to online retailer like, they have a return policy if you do not like after 4 hours of viewing, I purchased and returned a Panasonic AE4000 when it came out, I like DLP I am waiting for the CES if any PJs come out and also review of the BenQ w7000.
Thomas Petrone Posted Jan 1, 2012 5:30 PM PST
I have to admit I also am unaware and have not experienced this "gaming lag" issue through the years of play on my PS3 and Optoma HD20. Is this perhaps an issue solely on LCD-based units? When my friends and I game on the PS3 we notice only lag-free smooth gaming, maybe a hint of judder in the background on certain blu-rays, but nothing on the games. I hope this isn't something in the newer 3D hardware.
Mike Tschirhart Posted Jan 7, 2012 7:32 PM PST
You mentioned the quietness of the Mitsubishi but not the other two. Is there a big difference?
Chuck Posted Jan 10, 2012 4:24 PM PST
almost no regular retailer wants to showcase any projector and embarrass and undercut their high markup flat panels. mail order is still a great option.
Kosta D. Posted Jan 23, 2012 9:12 PM PST
I wish you would write a review on the runco ls5 or ls3 and throw them into the competition. Any chance of that happening?
Cbr Posted Oct 2, 2012 6:44 AM PST
hi guys, I just got mine and there seems to be a huge light leak (see photos if it allows me to post the link), do you think I can fix it myself or need to take it back to the shop (would be a big hassle)? BTW I mount it upside down not sure if that is the cause. Thanks for your advice in advance.

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