Turning to the 1080i tests, 3:2 pulldown never seemed to get picked up. The Standard aspect ratio appeared to map 1920x1080 signals in a 1:1 correspondence to the pixels of the display, though the optics expanded the picture to crop more than 30 pixels on each side. Also, the pixel-phase test pattern, which reveals the presence of a 1:1 correspondence, seemed to flicker with any eye movement, which could be a result of the single-chip DLP design. The horizontal and vertical black-and-white resolution looked good, with only a slight rolloff at the highest frequency. However, the highest-frequency color vertical burst was totally rolled off, and it flickered even without eye movement. The 2-on/2-off burst also flickered slightly.
Turning to DVDs, the colors in Topsy-Turvy were strong and bold—so much so that I had to turn down the Color control quite a bit from the technically correct setting, which rendered colors much more pleasing to my eye. Granted, this is a strongly colored movie, but the adjustment proved to be beneficial to all the clips I watched. Detail was excellent in the stage sets and costumes, and shadow detail in the carriage interior near the beginning was very good. Black level was also good, allowing the letterbox bars to disappear from consciousness. This was confirmed with The Fifth Element— the black of space was deep and rich.
HD DVDs looked even better. On U-571, detail was exquisite (beads of sweat, control labels in the submarine), and color was divine (green of sea water, flesh tones). As before, I turned down the color saturation to make the color more natural-looking. Shadow detail during the rainy-night raid and in the dark interior scenes was very good. During this movie, I did see one serious problem: obvious false contouring in the underwater shots, where there should have been subtle gradations in the color of the water. I didn’t see this artifact in one scene with the sun near the horizon, nor was it obvious in the blue backlight that opens The Mask of Zorro DVD. But it was plainly visible in the underwater scenes of U-571, far worse than any other display I’ve seen lately.
The Mitsubishi WD-57831 produces a very powerful picture with superb detail, color, and shadow detail. The color saturation should be reduced below the technically correct value to render colors naturally, but once that’s done, the picture looks fantastic, thanks in no small part to the six-color filter wheel. It has a depth and clarity that’s a pleasure to watch. The only problem I saw was the obvious false contouring in the underwater scenes of U-571, which was quite distracting. Otherwise, this is a fine RPTV and a tribute to Mitsubishi’s design and manufacturing acumen.