With so many medium and high-end projectors offering sometimes amazing picture quality but at considerable prices, I can tell you that Mitsubishi has raised my expectations for what is possible, given a fixed, economically viable price point. Given its full 1080P HD resolution coming from a new 3- chip LCD composed of an inorganic variety of vertically aligned crystals, this projector can stand up there with the best of them. Although there is no horizontal lens shift, owing to Mitsubishi's desire to remain affordable (and the lens of any projector is a critical and expensive component), the HC5500 is simple to set up on a tabletop, bookshelf, or ceiling mounted using a bracket. It's 1,200 ASNI Lumen bulb can effectively light up a large screen (100 inches diagonal using a Stewart StudioTek 130, for example) to levels approaching those seen in the best cinemas, about 16.5 foot-Lamberts.
But the fact that the bulb can last up to 5,000 hours (in economy mode), which is twice what any other bulb is likely to do, and is very, very easy to replace even when the projector is ceiling mounted makes this one of the best value projectors on the market. Add to this the thoughtful inclusion of the Reon-VX video-processing chip, which improves interlaced sources to a level previously only possible with a $5,000 outboard video scaler from Faroujda, and you have a terrifically detailed image for not even half the price of that particular scaler. Given the two-year warrantee, and ultra-quiet exhaust, it is difficult to criticize a device that so accurately fits the market requirements for an entry-level product.Read about the high points and the low points of the HC5500 on Page 2.
As a professional cinema designer and calibrator, I'm always looking for the best performance that money can buy. So it becomes easy to see (literally) why the Mitsubishi can be such a compelling purchase. It's small and portable; capable of generating an image that will compete with most any multiplex these days (given an HD source), but on a somewhat smaller sized screen. For home theater use, projectors costing two to five times as much are the only one's that can exceed the HC5500's combination of price and performance. And it does a great job equally well with video games (like Playstation 3 and XBOX 360, surfing the Internet, or watching your own home videos and still photos. The whole family will just love it.
• The Full 1920 x 1080P HD three-chip C2 Fine LCD light engine utilizes new inorganic, vertically aligned crystals for improved signal track-ability.
• A Really and truly quiet fan is thanks to a new cooling duct design, producing only 19 db SPL - a new record.
• Respectable black level with minimum contrast pumping distortion is due to a new dynamic auto iris function, which responds at 1/60 of a second (field rate).
• An on board HQV Reon-VX video processing chip dramatically improves interlaced sources like DVD and 1080i cable and satellite feeds.
• Long life, user-replaceable bulbs (up to 5,000 hours in economy mode) create one of the most economically projected images of any class of projectors currently available.
• A two-year warrantee comes as standard, which is very rare in these days of disposable products.
• The minimal lens offset makes it necessary for the projector to be perpendicular to the screen to preserve accurate geometry.
• Economy mode cuts light output in half to 600 ANSI Lumens, slightly on the dark side for a large screen.
• The inputs are all located very close together, which can make for a tight fit, once everything is connected.
• Colors are not as vivid or smack on as with projectors utilizing XYZ (xvYCC) color space.
• The minimal user calibration controls do not allow for very much adjustment, should you wish to calibrate this projector for maximum accuracy.
If you're just stepping up to buy a new front projector, you owe it to yourself to see what the entry-level Full HD 1080P Mitsubishi HC5500 has to offer. Its small size and weight make it quite easy to locate in a home theater, but equally portable in the event you want to travel with high quality images in tow. Given it's HQV Reon VX video scaler, you can be certain to see clean and clear images on screens 50 inches and up. When it comes to bulb life, this projector is king (one of the very best), and being able to change the bulb in three minutes without having to move the projector really makes this a gem. How Mitsubishi managed to keep the pricing at $2,495 and also offer a two year warrantee is almost beyond comprehension, but very much appreciated, nonetheless. While this projector is not the last word on 1080P picture fidelity, it is the first, and deservedly so. This is a very good projector to begin the quest for a full HD picture, yet at an SD price.