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I purchased my Mitsubishi LVP-HC5000 including a 120" powered Elite screen for $1853 in July 2008. It was a Japanese version that someone had purchased and then been dissuaded from keeping due to...
Picture quality and brightness, low noise, lamp life.
Reliability, remote functions poorly.
I purchased my Mitsubishi LVP-HC5000 including a 120" powered Elite screen for $1853 in July 2008. It was a Japanese version that someone had purchased and then been dissuaded from keeping due to the "For use in Japan only" notice on the box. Japanese voltages and US voltages are close enough that I wasn't concerned about the projector power supply. I installed it using a ceiling mount approximately 13 feet from the screen. After some initial difficulty due to the onscreen menu default language being in Japanese, I was able to set up the projector to properly fill the screen.
I was immediately very happy with picture quality and brightness. I run it in low lamp mode in a mostly darkened room although I still have not gotten around to painting my white walls and ceiling a more suitable color for home theatre. Black levels are excellent. Although the iris reduction feature has a lag that is occasionally noticeable particularly at the black screen that occurs at the beginning and immediately preceding the closing titles of most movies, I don't find this to be an issue. Movies look great. The projector handles special effects for action and scifi movies well. Regular HDTV looks good too. HD broadcasts of sports is also excellent. Very easy to see the spin every pitch. Of course, non-HD shows on a large screen certainly expose the imperfections of the source material. The projector is essentially silent. You can't hear it unless you stand on a chair with your head right next to it. When hosting groups watching sports, even with some lighting on in the room the picture is sufficiently bright that I have not had the need to switch from low lamp mode. No issues with blobs although I did take the precaution of adding a 3M Filtrete sheet inside the projectors air intake port.
For the first three and a half years I had no complaints other than difficulties with the remote and with turning the projector on and off. The IR receptor on the projector does not have a very wide field and using the remote in a ceiling mount configuration can be frustrating. In addition, it increasingly required multiple pushes on the remote or even the power on and off buttons on the projector itself in order to turn the projector on or off.
Now the bad news. In December 2011, I could not turn the projector on. Assuming a lamp failure, I put in my spare lamp. The projector would still not turn on. I examined both lamps and it appeared they were both OK. So, I turned to the internet and learned about the motherboard problem which prevents the projector from being able to be turned on. There was no way to know for sure if this was the problem. Fortunately, I've repaired my share of electronic and computer equipment. I disassembled the projector to see how hard a job it would be to replace the motherboard. It was not the easiest job I've experienced. I was amazed, and a little skeptical, to find a new motherboard for sale on eBay for just over $250. But, I decided to take a chance and ordered it. When it arrived, I replaced the motherboard and reassembled the projector and was thrilled to have a functioning projector again! The new motherboard is the US version as it came with English as the default language. I'm experiencing no issues with turning the projector on or off using the buttons on the unit. However, the remote works no better than before. I have gotten in the habit of just turning off the rest of my components and letting the projector turn itself off in a few minutes when it senses that there is no signal.
As of May 2013, I'm still up and running on my original lamp. I'm still very happy with the picture quality and brightness. I prefer LCD over DLP. For a total cost of under $3000 including screen, ceiling mount and the spare lamp that I still have in reserve, I'm very happy with the value I've received.
If you are looking to purchase a used HC5000, however, I would be wary. Although the original motherboard in my projector was the Japanese version, the first run of motherboards for this projector clearly had a defect. Units produced later in the model's run may be OK.