Virtually all DLP-based rear-projection TVs are single-chip designs, using a color-filter wheel with red, green, and blue segments to sequentially separate the white light from the lamp. Mitsubishi has modified that paradigm in many of its latest DLP RPTVs, which use color wheels with six different color filters—the three primaries (red, green, blue) and the three secondaries (yellow, cyan, magenta). This is said to improve color reproduction by generating real secondaries rather than synthesizing them by combining the three primaries. Among the RPTVs with the new color wheel is the 57-inch, 1920x1080 WD-57831, part of Mitsubishi’s top-of-the-line Diamond series.
The input complement is generous, with two HDMI, one DVI, three IEEE1394 (with a decoder for DV camcorders), three component, two S-video, two composite, and two RF for the built-in ATSC and QAM tuners. Also included is a CableCARD slot and the free TV Guide On Screen electronic program guide to substitute for the cable provider’s EPG, which is incompatible with CableCARD.
Along with the 6-Color Light Engine, Mitsubishi offers two sets of color controls. PerfectColor lets you adjust the level of each of the six colors independently for each input, while PerfecTint offers control over the tint of each color. This is a tricky business without the proper skill and measurement equipment, so I don’t recommend that unqualified users fool around with it. The video processing includes what Mitsubishi calls Plush1080p, which scales and/or deinterlaces 480i/p, 720p, and 1080i signals. Another processing component is called Tru1080p, which, according to the company’s Web site, “main-tains 1080p high definition signals as 1080p from beginning to end.” The set can accept 1080p at 60, 30, and 24Hz, displaying everything at 60Hz. Other processing “enhancements” include DeepField Imager (dynamic contrast) and SharpEdge (edge enhancement). As usual, I left these features off, preferring to view an image with fixed black and white levels and without edge enhancement.
The Diamond series TVs come with two remotes: comprehensive and simple. The comprehensive remote is long and slender with fully illuminated buttons. The buttons are well-organized and fairly large, making them easy to manipulate. Like most TVs these days, this one’s primary remote is universal, capable of controlling up to four other devices. It does not provide direct input-selection buttons; instead, you must select the input from a list. The smaller simple remote includes the most-used buttons (except for the number buttons to select channels) and provides full access to the menu system. Although it is not illuminated, I used this remote during most of the review period because it is, in fact, easier to use than the comprehensive remote.
The menu system is graphically appealing but very cumbersome in operation. The first level is only a list of seven main menus, and the audio and video parameters are combined into only one of them. Upon entering this menu, the default control resets the audio and video controls to their factory settings, making this far too easy to do by mistake; in fact, I did it once by accidentally pressing the Enter button instead of an arrow button to select another menu item.
To adjust the picture controls, you select the Video onscreen button, which causes the main menu to disappear and displays the picture controls near the bottom of the screen one at a time. This is fine for actually adjusting the controls, but I also want to see a list of the settings, which is unavailable here. Not only that, the appearance of these controls times out very quickly (within five seconds of no activity). The comprehensive remote avoids the main menu by offering direct access to the picture controls with the Video button, which calls up the last control selected, color temperature of about 11,500K. The “enhancement” controls were all enabled, leading to obvious ringing at edges and dynamic contrast based on average picture levels. Things got a lot better after TPV video specialist David Abrams turned all that stuff off.
Amazingly, the set can output over 110 foot-lamberts of peak white without clipping; combined with an optimized black level of 0.040fL, this leads to an impressive peak contrast ratio of more than 2800:1. The ANSI contrast was a disappointing 186:1, which Dave thought might be due to the high-gain screen.
Looking at the HQV Benchmark DVD, detail was good, though the finest color lines appeared somewhat rolled off. Low-angle diagonals looked pretty good, with only slight jaggies at the lowest angles. The waving flag had moderate jaggies. The Video Noise control was very effective at reducing noise without softening the picture, which is good news, since the noise was blatantly obvious when it was turned off. I left it on the HIGH setting. The processor picked up 3:2 pulldown in about one second, which is fairly slow.