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Customer Review

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice, but missing some aspect features., September 20, 2007
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This review is from: Mitsubishi HC1500 720p DLP Home Theater Projector (Electronics)
The HC1500 is a very nice projector, especially for the price. I upgraded from an InFocus Screenplay DLP Front Projector - SP4805. By comparison, the HC1500 is much brighter, quieter, and more crisp. It also fit my existing ceiling mount, which was very convenient.

The only problem I've not found a fix for is the aspect ratio selection. The SP4805 was native 16:9, but also had a mode for 4:3, and another which cropped a 4:3 picture to 16:9 and enlarged it to fill the whole screen. This mode was really nice for TV broadcasts and old DVDs filmed in 16:9 but broadcast in 4:3 with black bars. Without that zoomed/cropped mode, you have to watch it in 4:3 mode, so you see the black bars both on the sides of the screen and then again on the top and bottom. This means you're basically looking at an image 2/3 the size of your screen.

As far as I can tell, the HC1500 does not have an aspect mode that works well with this problem. It is also native 16:9, and has the following aspect modes; auto (which as far as I can tell is identical to 16:9 regardless of input signal), 4:3, 4:3 stretched to 16:9 (with serious distortion on the left and right sides), and two zooms. The user's guide says the two zooms are optimized for cinemascope and vista images with subtitles, but they don't expand the projected area out to take advantage of the better screen/picture aspect ratio match. Instead it simply crops the image within the 4:3 display boundary and leaves the black bars on the sides. This is very annoying when watching 16:9 TV show (broadcast non-HD) because your picture is miniaturized and surrounded by unused black bar screen area. The show is being broadcast specifically to fill your whole screen, but the projector leaves bars on all 4 sides of the image.

I don't understand why Mitsubishi omitted that feature, it seems requisite these days. The fine print in the user's guide does mention that zoom modes will make the image of a 480i signal smaller. Again, it looks fine when you have 480p input, which I only get from my DVD player, or a native 4:3 TV 480i input (normal TV). And the picture is fantastic with both.

Overall I'm happy with this machine, especially for the price and bright HD picture. But if anyone has a work around for the aspect issue, I'd love to hear it.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 26, 2007 12:02:18 PM PDT
Thank you a lot for the aspect ratio issue coverage. I think I'll keep my InFocus IN72 until the IN76 (or a successor) becomes affordable.

Posted on Aug 11, 2008 8:14:31 AM PDT
The work-around for the aspect issue would be an external scaler. Most projectors don't include high-class scalers internally, so you can buy an external one, and just let the projector do what it does best: project the image. An external scaler could be a home-theater PC (computer), or it could be a dedicated scaler, like a Farjouda. For endless discussions on scalers, go to avsforum.com
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