After calibration, the grayscale was quite linear and very close to the broadcast standard of 6500 kelvins. The accuracy of the color decoding, primary colors, gamma, and grayscale produced colors and skin tones that looked quite natural, especially for an entry-level DLP projector.
Watching a variety of scenes from the overused but undeniably referencequality transfer of The Fifth Element DVD revealed excellent color saturation, and very natural-looking skin tones. The Training Day DVD, a less rich and saturated-looking movie, reinforced the accuracy of the color on the HC3000 when compared to my reference Runco DTV-991 CRT projector. Of course, it won’t deliver the saturation of a good CRT projector or a good 3-chip DLP projector, but for a single-chipper, it is impressive. As I noted earlier, the DarkChip2 enhancements deliver reasonably good black level, but not quite as good as DarkChip3. Even so, the blacks on the HC3000 were quite a bit deeper and richer than on most transmissive LCD projectors. Blacks are also quite clean and smooth with no false contouring or solarization artifacts in dark scenes. I watched Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back to evaluate the projector’s performance on dark scenes. Star fields in movies like this are excellent tests of a projector’s ability to render black. On the HC3000, these scenes looked a tad milky, lacking that inky depth you get with some DLP projectors with DarkChip3, but those projectors are generally more expensive. The Mitsubishi was not at all bad in that context.
Watching DVDs from my Panasonic DVD-RP91 DVD player’s 480i interlaced component output, I noted that video processing was good on the HC3000. This includes the all-important 3:2 pulldown to reduce motion artifacts from film-based material. Even with progressive-scan and upscaling DVD players, 3:2 pulldown in the display remains important for watching primetime TV as most of it is still shot on film.
I was happy to find that the HC3000 delivered all the resolution from a 720p test pattern at both the component and HDMI inputs. Many DLP and LCD projectors with 1280x720 or higher resolutions clip some of the horizontal resolution; I find this to be especially prevalent with the component- video inputs. On the Mitsubishi, however, HD looked crisp and clean. Dark concert footage on HDNet looked convincing, with good shadow detail in the background of the crowd. I was a bit disappointed but not overly surprised to find only one HDMI digital input on the projector. This can be an issue when it comes to optimizing the picture quality for more than one digital-video source. For example, if one HDMI source is an upconverting DVD player set to 720p, and the second HDMI source is real HD, the correct setting of the brightness (black level) control can often be very different for these two sources. So what can you do with only one input at the projector? One workaround is to use the DVD player’s BRIGHTNESS control to make up for any discrepancy after adjusting the projector for the HD signal. The lack of vertical lens shift is a disappointment. The 15:9 aspect ratio, which provides a little electronic vertical shift, doesn’t give you enough range to be truly useful.
The HC3000 is a very good performer when compared to other similarly priced LCD and DLP projectors. It is particularly impressive as far as color accuracy is concerned. A direct comparison to the Sharp XV-Z2000U makes sense as they are exactly the same price. Another good comparison is the InFocus 7205. The Mitsubishi is superior in overall color accuracy to both of these projectors. The HC3000 handily outperforms any similarly priced transmissive LCD projector if it is properly calibrated. If you are looking to put together a truly bigscreen cinematic experience, and budget is a consideration, the HC3000 may be just the ticket.