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Video Review: Mitsubishi FL7000U

Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jeff Sauer

A projector that balances high brightness with 1080p video quality.


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When we think of 1080p, we generally think about it as the native resolution for home-theater video — whether it's on a quality home-theater projector, on a current-generation plasma, or on an LCD. Yet ambient-light-controlled home theaters aren't the only screens that show high-quality video. Corporate auditoria, houses of worship, and educational campuses also often present motion-video content, and increasingly, that means using today's high-definition sources — whether that's a live HD camera, a Blu-ray player, or HDTV programming.

Of course, business projectors that are bright enough to fill larger spaces are typically designed with data source material in mind, and motion-video quality is usually secondary; home-theater projectors just aren't bright enough to fill a large space, particularly against the ambient light of business hours. Mitsubishi bridges that gap with a native 1080p projector that delivers as much as 5000 lumens of brightness, which is enough to fill potentially sunlit spaces.

Priced at less than $15,000, the FL7000U finds a smart middle ground between typical color- and quality-lacking portable business projectors and high-performance large-venue and stage-and-rental models. Its 22lb. chassis means it's portable enough to move (it does have a solid handle beside the lens on the front face), but it was designed as a fixed-installation projector to serve business, educational, and worship spaces where quality video is a major requirement.

Mitsubishi has put all of the connection ports on the side as well as cooling vents on the side and front so it can fit into tighter quarters if necessary. Connection options include two BNC sets for two SD/HD component video inputs, one of which is a 5-BNC set that can accept an RGBHV data source. There is also a DVI-D, as well as a 15-pin RGB with loop-through and S-Video and composite ports. There are audio inputs for video (stereo RCA) and data (stereo mini) as well as 10W audio output to connect to an external audio system. For control, there are RS-232 and RJ-45 Ethernet that, when used with Mitsubishi's Projector View software, can access all of the projector's administrative functions — including input selection, image adjustment, and power control from a control-room computer.

Projector View can also control the FL7000U's vertical and horizontal lens shift, powered focus and zoom, and offset to facilitate easy installation and fine-tuning should the projector be mounted out of easy reach. A wired or wireless handheld remote can access the same features.

For security, Mitsubishi has included the built-in motion alarm that the company first introduced a couple of years ago. It's a password-enabled feature that, when activated, uses a built-in motion sensor to sound an alarm if the projector is physically lifted or moved from its fixed location. There is no Kensington lock system, but the handle is big enough for a bicycle lock cable.

BALANCING BRIGHTNESS AND COLOR

The FL7000U uses Mitsubishi's typical onscreen menus. On the surface, it offers the standard fare of brightness, contrast, and other image-control options and mode presets. A knowledgeable installer can go deeper into the advanced imaging modes and color-temperature controls — including individual brightness, contrast, color, and tint controls of each red, green, and blue. More interestingly, you'll find Gamma mode control with three Gamma mode presets that regulate the brightness ramp from dark to bright white. Dynamic, natural, and detail, respectively, move from pushing bright colors brighter and dark colors darker toward more detail in the shadows and, ultimately, better grayscale range with less overall brightness. The installation choice of Gamma mode will, of course, depend on the room, ambient light, and to some extent, preference; the Gamma mode presets offer flexibility to go back and forth quickly.



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