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While I had no intention of providing reports on manufacturers, the direction Mitsubishi has taken with rear projection and some design changes ended up a highlight for me.

They had their laser-driven rear projection DLP, marketed as LaserVue, at the show providing the only 3D demo of the active LCD shutter system for Mitsubishi (there were three demos from others at the convention). Oddly enough there was not any promotion of this new laser light driven technology which left me wondering why they were going through the trouble. I did press a representative over what Mitsubishi hopes to accomplish with this technology and while I can’t share the answer I can tell you that whatever it is, you will be waiting many years before it even comes to market, if it ever does!

Their LCD line was shown to the fullest extent promoting their sound bar models for vastly improved flat panel sound, marketed as Unisen TV, and the VUDU HD streaming service integrated into their top of the line models. All of the LCD panels were showing the new face lift, just like everybody else at the show, exchanging the anti-glare screens of yesteryear for shiny glass optically coated surfaces just like plasma.

In case you haven’t heard, Mitsubishi is now the sole manufacturer still making rear projection displays using MicroDisplay (MD) technology in the form of DLP. All models of DLP rear projection were on display with the highlight being their new 83” top of the line model. Mitsubishi is counting on the fact that there will be enough demand for these products based on the much lower price per square inch of screen. Mitsubishi is also now the only manufacturer selling a mass market and production-ready 3D ready display for the LCD active shutter system and that technology remains reserved for their upper tier DLP rear projection line only, lamp or laser. This also leaves Mitsubishi as the sole manufacturer with a display line using an anti-glare screen. I can’t help but wonder how that look and the silk screen artifact it creates with images will impact sales.

Back in the day when HDTV was the new kid on the block, Mitsubishi earned rave reviews for their CRT rear projection HDTVs, specifically the V15 and V16 chassis. ISF calibrators loved them due to all the alignments that could be accessed to wring out a proper response. Unfortunately do-it-yourselfers became involved and many trashed their TV by playing around with those alignments. Mitsubishi ended up shutting out 75% of those alignments with the V17. Within about a year some crafty folks figured out a way to get into the alignments via a programming terminal used at the factory. The V17 went from a casual HDTV to high class performer overnight. The V18 chassis that followed along with our backdoor access put Mitsubishi at the top! After two more shaky years of some performance loss, Mitsubishi made design changes and they fell off the high performance radar after that. With their DLP line in 2004 we lost all access and were left with a minimal set of alignments. By 2006 alignments were so limited that many ISF calibrators declined calibrating them. My review of the LT46148 LCD display last year is a great example.

Regardless of display type, Mitsubishi has made a game changing decision to provide ISF CCC (3C) Day and Night settings on their top of the line models and include the same level of adjustment for all models without the Day and Night feature. I can’t tell you how this change affects final performance without a review but it is one huge step in the right direction for videophiles seeking Mitsubishi product and calibrators trying to deliver the imaging science goods!

Mitsubishi was showing their front projection line in very small light-controlled booths. Mitsubishi has marketed itself as The DLP Company via their rear projection line for years and that has left me scratching my head over why their front projection line is using only LCD MD technology? Surprise! Earlier this year Mitsubishi introduced the HC3800 1080p DLP front projector. Oddly though, the marketing department has targeted this product as a starter projector for the DIY or first time buyer on a budget with an expected MSRP of $1495. Naturally, Mitsubishi marketing tells me that I should expect a high performance image nonetheless. It gets more ironic considering it supports an anamorphic lens including a built in feature to change the aspect ratio electronically making your anamorphic lens permanent; it no longer moves out of the way. Say wha…? This same feature is included in what they consider to be their top of the line performers, the HC6800 and HC7000 LCD front projectors. Say wha…? Mitsubishi doesn’t want to make DLP the highlight of their line and decided to provide a stationary anamorphic lens feature crippling the native 16:9 aspect ratio. Ok, appears I will continue scratching my head and others may start scratching theirs.

Posted by Richard Fisher, December 3, 2009 9:31 AM

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About Richard Fisher

Richard Fisher is the President of Mastertech Repair Corporation, serving north east Atlanta, Georgia, and has been servicing, calibrating and reviewing audio video products since 1981. Tech Services USA, a division of Mastertech, creates sites, communities and libraries for consumers and professionals to share their technology knowledge and learn from each other. These include The ISF Forum and HD Library. HDTV Magazine exclusively publishes HD Library and Forum for Tech Services USA.

Richard is ISF and HAA certified providing calibration and A/V reproduction engineering services. Richard is a technical consultant and also provides performance ISF and HAA home theater systems and calibration via Custom HT. Mastertech Repair Corporation is a factory authorized service center for Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Toshiba and a member of the National Electronics Servicing Dealers Association, NESDA, and the Georgia Electronics Servicing Dealers Association, GESDA.