Mitsubishi Projection TVs

Big screens at (mostly) bargain prices

Mitsubishi's LaserVue television sets are the company's flagship offering. These use DLP technology, but with a twist -- a series of colored lasers in place of the light source and spinning disk. The advantages, reports say, are tremendous color capability, long lamp life (the lamps in other rear-projection HDTVs need to be replaced every two years or so) and elimination of rainbows.

Mitsubishi's sole LaserVue offering for this year is the 75-inch Mitsubishi LaserVue L75-A94 (*Est. $5,000). Feedback for it, however, is practically nonexistent. The best source is user forums, such as AVSForum.com, where a brief thread recounts the impression of a handful of satisfied owners.

As impressive as the L75-A94 might be, most people will probably be more interested in Mitsubishi's standard TVs. These televisions use a standard DLP light engine, including a bright lamp that needs occasional replacement, and a rapidly spinning color wheel. All use the same core DLP engine, but as you move up in the series, you pick up additional features of varying value.

Mitsubishi's lowest priced series is its WD-640 series, which comes in only one size, the 73-inch WD-73640 (*Est. $1,600). Like most rear-projection TVs, it doesn't get a ton of feedback, but it gets more than other RPTV models. Most users seem quite pleased. Picture quality is widely praised, and a stuttering issue that some reported with 3D content has been addressed in a firmware update.

In terms of features, the TVs are 3D capable, but you will need to spring for a kit with a 3D emitter and a pair of 3D glasses (*Est. $100), plus as many additional pairs of glasses you need (*Est. $70). Because of a change in technology, 3D glasses used by previous model Mitsubishi TVs are not compatible. Internet streaming is not on board. The company also markets what appears to be an identical RPTV, the WD-73C11 (*Est. $1,500), through some retailers, though it is relatively hard to find.

The higher-end WD-740 series adds a few features enhancements and is the lowest priced line that offers the option of an 82-inch screen, the Mitsubishi WD-82740 (*Est. $3,000). It's also available in a 73-inch screen size as the WD-73740 (*Est. $2,000). Extras include Internet streaming, though how big a plus that offers is open to debate. Certainly the lineup of content providers is unimpressive -- only Vudu and its Vudu Apps platform. The former is notable for its high video quality, and the latter for offering content from a variety of other providers, such as Pandora, Facebook and more. Many providers available with Internet-capable TVs from other makers -- notably Netflix and Hulu Plus -- are nowhere to be found. The remote is also upgraded to include specific controls for Internet content. However, if you want to connect via Wi-Fi, you will need to by a separate Wi-Fi radio.

Other upgrades are modest. The emitter for 3D is built in, but you'll still need to spring for the glasses. The set can also be controlled by an iPhone/iPod Touch app. Feedback, however, has been limited.

Mitsubishi's top-of-the line series of standard DLP rear projection TVs up the ante. Audio becomes a focus with a 16-speaker built-in sound system that cranks out 32 watts of total power -- impressive by TV standards, though short of what you'll get with a full-fledged home theater system. For those who do want to add an external sound system, the TV has a mode where its built in speakers can stand in for the center channel speaker, cutting down on clutter. You can also stream audio to the TV from other devices via Bluetooth. On the picture front, a few additional automatic picture enhancement settings are provided, as is the proprietary Clear Contrast Screen treatment to deliver deeper blacks and brighter whites in a well-lit room, though reports add that it is also more susceptible to reflections. You'll also find a special menu to make calibration by a professional or savvy user easier. Three screen sizes are available: the 73-inch Mitsubishi WD-73840 (*Est. $2,600) and 82-inch Mitsubishi WD-82840 (*Est. $2,900) and a 92-inch Mitsubishi WD-92840 (*Est. $5,500), which is the largest consumer TV set available.

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