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CEDIA 2006: Mitsubishi offers up least-expensive 1080p projector

CEDIA 2006: Mitsubishi offers up least-expensive 1080p projector

The CEDIA show in Denver is all about high-end home theater, and nothing says home theater like a front projector. Mitsubishi fulfilled half of the high-end home-theater equation today by introducing a projector, but happily, it's not quite so high-end as most of the products announced at the show.

The Mitsubishi HC5000BL (due in October, $4,499) is currently the least expensive 1080p home-theater projector we know of, beating out Sony's $5,000 VPL-VW50 SXRD model by a relative nose. This Mitsubishi is also the first relatively affordable 1080p projector to use LCD panels. In the past, LCD-based projectors haven't performed quite as well as DLP or SXRD models in our tests, but recently, they've made significant improvements. Mitsubishi touts the unit's HQV video processing, inorganic panels, and 10,000:1 contrast ratio as delivering a smoother picture, more accurate color, and deep blacks, but of course, we won't know for sure how well it performs until we test it. Regardless, the price point alone makes the HC5000 a noteworthy introduction.

Also announced today was the company's new entry-level 1,280x720 (720p) DLP projector, called the Mitsubishi HD1000U (September, $1,499). Its specs are similar to those of the HC3000U, which delivered solid performance and value in our tests, and its price is among the lowest yet for DLP-based 720p projectors.