Plasma and LCD TVs are wonderful and all that, but home theatre is, in our view, primarily about re-creating the theatre in your home. That means big sound and big picture and, now, three dimensions. So allow us to present the Mitsubishi HC9000 3D home theatre projector.
As with most 3D TVs, this projector uses the shutter system for creating 3D. The picture flashes rapidly between the left and right eye views. You wear Liquid Crystal shutter glasses which flash the left and right lens ‘open’ and ‘closed’ rapidly in time with the flashing picture on the screen. Each eye thus sees only what it is supposed to.
Mitsubishi is pretty committed to 3D because with the projector, and included in its sub-$10,000 price, is an infrared transmitter to emit the synchronisation signal, and four sets of shutter glasses. These are powered by button cells, which are good for about 75 hours.
The projector uses three ‘SXRD’ panels in its light engine, which is a form of Liquid Crystal on Silicon, in which light is controlled by selectively reflecting it from the surface of liquid crystals.
The projector body is large and quite heavy at close to 15 kilograms. It is quite easy to install, with a lens shift feature to move the picture up and down and left to right without distortion, and a wide zoom ratio of 1.8:1. These are motorised and controlled by the remote.
The 3D transmitter can be attached to the projector, bouncing its signal from the projection screen back to the eyewear. There is also a 15 metre extension cable so that you can install it at the front of the room for greater reliability.
The picture was beautiful with normal Blu-ray. The SXRD technology incorporated in this projector provides an excellent ‘native’ contrast ratio. Mitsubishi has not included a ‘dynamic’ iris to extend this during dark scenes. You can set a manual iris yourself, if you like, to a balance between brightness and deep blacks that suits your environment. I left the lamp on its default ‘low’ output (this extends the lamp’s life to 4000 hours) and the iris opened most of the way up, and black levels were still very deep. That in turn allowed beautiful rich colours.
The projector uses HQV video processing, so the scaling of DVD and SDTV content to the projector’s resolution, and the progressive scan conversion, were performed very well.
But we’re here to watch 3D! The projector delivered 3D the way the filmmakers intend. When creating a movie they plan on it being seen in the cinema, so they set all the angles of view on the basis of a very large picture. That’s what you get from this projector.
Looking at such animated titles as Despicable Me and Monster House the 3D effect isn’t quite a splashy as it is on a smaller direct view TV.
But it feels more real, with a sense of the various objects (and people) seeming more three dimensional against the background, rather than looking like cardboard cut-outs.
With the limited range of ‘live’ 3D material available, the projector particularly … shone. Resident Evil: Afterlife came across very impressively, especially in view of the fast movement and the confined ‘stage’ upon which much of the action took place. The 3D Blu-ray version of the drawn AFL Grand Final from last year looked brilliant. This uses the side-by-side format commonly associated with broadcast TV. The projector decoded this properly to 3D. Even the fast moving ball remained solidly visible throughout.
There was on some animation just a little ‘crosstalk’. That is, where the vision intended for each eye leaks into the other, allowing subtle ghosts to be seen around some objects. This was only apparent on high-contrast animated content, and really was subtle, but still visible if you looked for it.
Mitsubishi’s first foray into 3D projection has yielded fine results. With excellent performance and a family-worth of 3D eyewear included, this is a great projector. Especially since it is also the best that Mitsubishi has yet produced for 2D as well.