Mitsubishi has every right to crow: the 52-inch WD- 52627 and its larger siblings are the first DLP (Digital Light Processing) RPTVs with 1920x1080 resolution to hit the market. DLP trails LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) in this regard, with several 1080p LCoS sets already available. But DLP is coming on strong, with Toshiba and Samsung close on Mitsubishi’s heels (see the reviews on pages 62 and 82 respectively).
In addition to displaying the highest HDTV resolution available, the WD- 52627 provides the widest range of features I have reviewed in any HDTV to date. These include CableCARD, NetCommand (Mitsubishi’s equipment-integration system), and TV Guide On Screen (TVGOS), a free electronic program guide.
Scrolling through the guide is very slow, taking about a second for every channel. This is no fault of Mitsubishi; it’s part of the TVGOS design. Interestingly, it was much slower (several seconds per channel) in the initial factory-default setting, which provides a PIP window that displays every channel. TVGOS also permits direct access to specific channels.
This Mitsubishi also takes the honors as connection king. The set provides three sets of component inputs that can handle 480i/p, 720p, and 1080i, as well as three composite/S-video, two DTV Link (bidirectional FireWire) ports, and two HDMI digital inputs. Mitsubishi thoughtfully included corresponding audio inputs for the HDMI inputs, in case you’re connecting a DVI source via conversion cable. (DVI only carries video signals; HDMI handles both audio and video). As an additional bonus, the WD-52627 sports a 4-slot memory-card reader that accommodates most popular digital flash-memory cards.
Fully integrated with TVGOS is the ability to record programs in the list to an external device in a manner similar to TiVo. I used the RCA DVR2160 hard-disk recorder, and it worked beautifully, providing me with the first episode of Saturday Night Live in HD. The cable signal was sent via FireWire (DTV Link) from the Mitsubishi to the RCA and back again for playback. With all these features, the complete setup for this set is quite time consuming, a fact reflected in its 116-page owner’s manual. There is also a separate 27-page manual just for the TVGOS setup. I needed to read both thoroughly—and I’m no novice at TV setup; I highly recommend that purchasers to do the same.
The Proof Is in the Performance
The WD-52627 offers two basic viewing modes: Bright and Natural. I found the Bright mode to be blinding, measuring 152.6 foot-lamberts. While this is potentially good under showroom lighting conditions, it is not suitable for normal viewing environments. At 17,000K, the color temperature appeared bluish and the image had too much contrast for realistic reproduction.
On the other hand, the Natural setting created a satisfying maximum of 73.5fL and a color temperature near 6500K. This resulted in neutral grays and blacks with no blue, red, magenta, or green tinge. In short, in Natural mode, the color on this set is great right out of the box, with no need for an ISF calibration.
I did make some adjustments to the user-accessible picture controls, however. Thanks to the welldesigned remote, I needed to push only one button to call up the Contrast control (the remote brings up the last menu adjustment you’ve made—a nice feature). With these few user settings completed, I began my observations—all based on what I consider to be the ideal seating distance for 1080p, which is 3.2 times the screen height, or in this case, about 7 feet from the screen.
I was first struck by the WD-52627’s deep level of black and freedom from noise. The blacks weren’t dead black, but they were dark enough to allow maximum flexibility in room lighting. I was equally impressed with the set’s ability to exhibit low-level detail— which I confirmed with test patterns— and with its image detail in light areas, showing no white crush. Transitions from light to dark appeared natural.
With standard-definition content, images looked good in general. Faces and skin tones were devoid of any waxyness or false contours, but they did appear a little soft and exhibited occasional motion artifacts. I used the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark test disc to confirm my findings, and I found that the set’s video processor didn’t fare too well. For example, it failed to lock into the proper 3:2 filmsource cadence, and it created obvi-ous jaggies on diagonal lines. Upconverting 480i content to the set’s native 1080p resolution is no easy task—an area Mitsubishi needs to work at improving.
To compare a 480i component connection to an upconverted 1080i DVI link, I connected both types of outputs from an upconverting DVD player to the WD-52627. The DVI connection made a slight but noticeable improvement with movies as well as test material.