Budget rear-projection TV

Budget rear-projection TV *Est. $1,600 Compare Prices
The 73-inch Mitsubishi WD-73640 offers excellent picture quality, though it is outdone in that regard by the best flat-screen plasma or LCD TVs. However, huge flat-screen TVs cost more -- and usually much more. With this Mitsubishi TV, 3D is available as an option, though you'll need to buy glasses and an emitter (*Est. $100) separately for that. Internet streaming, however, isn't an option, so you won't be able to stream Netflix or Internet video. Because the WD-73640 uses DLP technology, those who are sensitive to the so-called rainbow effect (the appearance of multicolored shadows) could be bothered by it, but the majority of viewers don't appear to notice it. This is the only screen size in Mitsubishi's least expensive line of rear projection TVs.
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Biggest HDTV available

Biggest HDTV available *Est. $5,500 Compare Prices
For those who want the biggest TV they can get but don't want the bother of a front projector (which requires mounting, wiring and speakers), the 92-inch Mitsubishi WD92840 is worth considering. No consumer flat-panel TV is larger -- in fact, none comes close. 3D is on board, but you'll need to spring for glasses to take advantage of that (*Est. $70 each). Internet streaming is available, but most people will likely be disappointed by the limited selection of content providers. Unlike most TVs, audio performance is a major plus, and this massive set includes a 32 watt audio amplifier and a 16-speaker integrated sound bar that can double as the TV's center channel speaker when hooked up to an external surround-sound home theater system. There's even Bluetooth audio streaming for pairing with a mobile device, such as the iPhone, and an app that lets you use your iPhone or iPad Touch as a remote control. If your room is just a touch too small for a 92-inch set, the series is also available in 82-inch and 73-inch screen sizes.
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Rear projection compared to LCD and plasma

The popularity of flat-panel plasma and LCD TVs has essentially relegated large-screen rear-projection TVs (RPTVs) to an afterthought, In fact, only one manufacturer -- Mitsubishi --  makes RPTVs. But if you want a really big television, you can get a gargantuan 92-inch Mitsubishi projection TV for less than $6,000. LCD and plasma TVs aren't available in a size that big, for the consumer market. For those with smaller spaces, you can get a 73-inch Mitsubishi RPTV for about $1,600 -- less than flat-panel TVs in similar or smaller screen sizes. On the downside, you can't hang an RPTV on the wall, and there are a couple of other drawbacks, including the so-called rainbow effect and the need to change the lamp every couple of years (with most models).

Mitsubishi rear-projection TVs use a technology called DLP; DLP projection TVs shoot light through a spinning color wheel onto nearly a million tiny mirrors, which in turn flash the color on the screen to produce an image. One significant drawback to this technique is called the rainbow effect, which appears as a multicolored shadow around an object. The seriousness of this problem is subject to some debate. Only a small percentage of the population can see rainbows in the first place, and advances in technology have minimized it. Some of those who can see it say it's not a big deal, but others say it ruins the TV watching experience and, in severe cases, gives rise to eyestrain, headaches and the like. In any event, if you're not sure whether you can see DLP rainbows, auditioning a set in a showroom might be a good idea.

What To Look For
  • The biggest HDTVs are rear-projection models.
  • Watch out for the rainbow effect.
  • You'll need to replace the lamp about every two years.
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Mitsubishi has been on board with 3D longer than most TV makers, and all of its current projection TV offerings include 3D capabilities. However, you'll need to spring for 3D glasses separately (*Est. $70 each) to take advantage of that. In the case of Mitsubishi's least-expensive offerings, such as the WD-640 series, you also need to buy a starter kit that includes one pair of glasses and a 3D adapter (*Est. $100).

Mitsubishi RPTVs also have access to what the company is calling Stream TV, its version of Internet connectivity. However, the content lineup is limited compared to what's available via most Internet capable LCD and plasma TVs. Stream TV is powered by Vudu, which offers a rich library of pay-per-view movies and a wide assortment of content from other providers via its apps platform. However, there are also some major omissions, including no Netflix support.

Expert & User Review Sources

Professional coverage of 2012 Mitsubishi's rear-projection TVs is yet to appear. However, there is a some user feedback on several of these sets, including user-written reviews at Amazon.com, TigerDirect.com, Walmart.com and QVC.com. However, the best guidance comes from several discussion threads at AVSForum.com. You'll find a host of questions, answers and opinions from novice and experienced owners who have spent a little time with these TVs.

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