Mitsubishi HC5000 Three-chip LCD projector Measurements
The HC5000 displays above white and below black in component video, but only above white using HDMI or DVI. The contrast must be dropped just a few clicks from its 0 default to clearly see above white.
Putting up a 1080i white crosshatch on a black background via HDMI from my Accupel signal generator showed excellent geometry and linearity, and very sharp and uniform focus of the pixels on the hatch all over the screen. The only color fringing there was mostly confined to the sides of the image, scarcely as much as a pixel in width, and confined to a single color at a time. Excellent, in a word and perhaps a clue as to why this projector looks subjectively sharper than Sony's Pearl overall even though bandwidth measurements, which are given below, wouldn't necessarily indicate a noticeable visible difference.
As one might expect from the presence of Silicon Optix video processing, the deinterlacing and scaling performance with 480i component was to die for. It sailed through most, but not quite all of the tests from Silicon Optix' own HQV Benchmark test disc. While the HC5000 aced the jaggies tests, it showed some moiré on the Film Detail Test's bleachers and showed some hiccups on some of the cadence tests, even taking a moment to lock onto a 2-2 cadence at 30fps. But overall, the deinterlacing and scaling were excellent.
With the Over Scan function defeated (for each and every resolution for the component, HDMI, and DVI source inputs) there was virtually no overscan on any side of the image at any resolution.
As mentioned in the review, engaging the HC5000's Over Scan function seriously affects resolution. Looking at 1080i and 720p luma and chroma bursts from component and HDMI, setting the Over Scan to any setting below 100% rolled off the response at 18.5Mhz and 37.1MHz, adding banding and moiré and generally making the response look ugly. And chroma was even worse.
However, turn Over Scan off and you've got a new projector! The 37.1MHz burst at 1080i is the highest resolution signal my Accupel can generate, and with the Over Scan at 100%, in HDMI, the single-pixel width lines of the 37.1MHz area in the luma burst are crisply defined, sharp, and essentially near perfect. Only Pioneer's PRO-FHD1 and Marantz's VP-11S1 are in this league. The chroma response also becomes near perfect, with just a little fading and less color distinction in highest frequency areas of the 1080i burst.
HDMI at 720p was perfect at 18.5MHz and 37.1Mhz with luma and chroma bursts, performance that was matched perfectly over the HC5000's DVI input.
Also, while some ringing could be seen with the Sharpness at its default of 6, this could be completely removed at all resolutions over HDMI and component video. Unlike many displays I've seen, the HC5000 looks sharp and crisp, but very natural with the Sharpness down far enough to kill the ringing.
Component at 1080i yielded the same outstanding performance. If 1080i component comes in, all that juicy resolution gets onto the screen. However, at 720p the single pixel lines in the 37.1MHz area of the luma burst were noticeably faded, although the line structure was faintly visible. This suggests that if you're using component and you have an upconverting DVD player, the 1080i output might yield a slightly sharper picture than 720p. The same goes for a set-top box, even if the HD signal is native 720p.
But while the performance of the Silicon Optix processing, as discussed above, suggests that 480i is the hot ticket for standard definition sources, and indeed deinterlacing artifacts will be a thing of the past at that resolution on this projector, the HC5000 has soft luma and chroma response at the top frequencies with 480i. Chroma in particular loses its distinction between the colored lines at the top frequency of the burst. 480p had perfect luma response, but the chroma was still not as perfect as the 720p and 1080i response would suggest. In addition, HDMI at 480i wouldn't size properly or align properly on-screen. So you might prefer to take the deinterlacing artifacts of your player at 480p or above in exchange for the crispness of the image, regrettably bypassing some or all of Silicon Optix' stellar processing.
The Color Temp setting that comes nearest to the 6500K target is Medium, but it isn't really all that close, hovering right around 6000K throughout most of the range. An ISF calibration is strongly recommended here.
The HC5000's grayscale tracking is respectable, but far from today's state-of-the-art in digital front projection. First, the bottom of the HC5000's grayscale (20IRE) exhibited a noticeable blue color tint that could not be removed without trashing the mid levels of the grayscale. The blue tint, which is certainly preferable to green, was dramatic enough to be noticeable during program material, especially black and white. The User gamma settings allow adjustment of red, green and blue in the image at low, mid and high levels. I dropped blue at low levels, which brought 20IRE into range, but that only made the range above 20IRE minus blue in a big way.
Also, the very top (100IRE) was off, distractingly toward green, unless the contrast control was dropped below its default setting of zero. Setting the contrast to –10 made for excellent grayscale tracking between 30IRE and 100IRE at the sacrifice of a small but noticeable amount of "pop" in the image. In other words, do you want a broken arm or a broken leg? Being overly fair, these are results that would have wowed us in the CRT days, but are less impressive in this digital age.
Calibrating the HC5000's grayscale with predictable results required the use of full field patterns with the dynamic iris engaged, which is how the projector looks its best with the best blacks and contrast. I found I could not use window patterns and get within a country mile of good grayscale tracking. We're talking thousands of degrees of shift. While much program material won't be affected, this clearly suggests that scenes with lots of dark area on screen and patches of lighter areas could exhibit massive color tint with the dynamic iris engaged. As noted in the review, the only alternative to using the dynamic iris is to live with higher black levels, which I found less desirable.