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Since it pulled out of the UK TV market nearly a decade ago, Mitsubishi has gradually faded from public consciousness as an AV brand. But oddly, as regular readers will know, Mitsubishi is actually still a force in what's one of the toughest AV markets to make money in: the home cinema projector market.
We've checked out its entry-level HC5500 and mid-range HC6500 models previously, and generally liked what we've seen. So we're intrigued to say the least to have our hands on Mitsubishi's current UK flagship home cinema projector, the HC7000.
Our questions for the HC7000 will essentially centre around two key points. First, will it deliver a significant step-up from the HC6500? After all, the HC6500 didn't deliver much of a boost over the cheaper HC5500. Second, will it be able to compete with the other similarly-priced projector stars out there now from the likes of Optoma, Panasonic and InFocus?
The HC7000 certainly gets off to a good start if you're the sort of person who likes to get a solid chunk of kit for their £2,559. For it's a large machine, in terms of width, depth and height. It's not an especially attractive thing, though, despite employing plenty of curves in its lines and gloss in its black finish. It doesn't help that the exterior feels a bit more plasticky than I'd ideally like.
Connectivity is pretty much as we'd expect for the HC7000's price level. Which is to say you get a pair of HDMIs, component video inputs, a PC port, and an RS 232 to help you integrate the projector into a wider AV system.
I was a little nonplussed to find one of the HDMIs on my test sample not synching properly with my source gear for the first few hours I spent with the projector, but the problem oddly cleared up of its own accord - and in any case Mitsubishi gives you a 2-year manufacturer's warranty, so obviously they're not expecting many serious problems to arise.
Predictably, for an LCD costing more than £2,000, the HC7000 enjoys a Full HD resolution. Rather less predictable, though, is the projector's claimed contrast ratio of 72,000:1. This is a really prodigious figure by any standards, but especially when considered against the mere 15,000:1 quoted by the HC6500 model. Presumably - hopefully! - this points towards the HC7000 joining a recent flurry of LCD projectors that have started to shatter the old idea that LCD technology just can't do a believable black level.
Also playing a part in explaining the HC7000's flagship status in Mitsubishi's range is its video processing, which is based on the widely acclaimed Silicon Optics Reon VX video processing engine - a fact which should see scaling noise kept to an absolute minimum. The processing is notable, too, for converting 24fps inputs to 48fps, to reduce judder when watching Blu-rays.