Mitsubishi WD-52628 DLP HDTV
By Ron Goldberg
With selling prices on big-screen TVs firmly in free fall, established manufacturers are scrambling to differentiate their products in order to restore profitability to the dealer and offer a tangible value proposition to the consumer. Mitsubishi's new line of 1080p rear-screen projectors emphasize engineering and performance as their trump cards.
The 52-inch WD-52628, the smallest of Mitsubishi's new line of DLPs, features the company's Plush1080p video processor, which upconverts all incoming signals to the display's native 1920x1080 resolution. The set's generous connectivity options include two HDMI ports, three component video connections, an IEEE 1394 port, a CableCARD slot and a multiformat card reading system that displays JPEG pictures and plays MP3 and WMA audio. The included coaxial digital output jack allows you to connect to an A/V receiver or pre-pro so your customer can listen to his or her ripped music files over the home A/V system with no additional hardware or cables.
The WD-52628's integrated subscription-free eight-day program guide works with cable and broadcast TV as well as CableCARD sources. The guide can categorize programming by analog, DTV or HDTV format, a neat trick that makes it easy to sort and choose programming. Mitsubishi's well-established NetCommand system, for control of external A/V devices, is also included.
Cosmetically, the WD-52628 is sleek, elegant and unassuming. Instead of the gaudy, high-reflectivity silver cosmetics so popular with other manufacturers these days—and that unfortunately serve as a genuine distraction in a darkened movie setting—Mitsubishi opts for black, low-profile, thin-bezel visuals that direct the viewer's attention to what's on the screen, rather than around it. This TV won't grab immediate attention on the showroom floor like other over-designed sets on the market—that is, until you turn the power on.
I've always applauded Texas Instruments' pivotal role in bringing quality digital TV to the masses through its DLP technology. However, I must admit that single-chip DLP sets have never particularly excited me; they never seem to deliver "the goosebump factor." Even among (especially among) the leading DLP brands, I've always been a bit disappointed in what I see as a translucency in overall picture presentation and a lack of the kind of color and contrast density that makes pictures look truly film-like. The rainbow effect sometimes seen on cheap DLPs doesn't help either. With competition from LCD RPTVs and plasma in the big-screen arena, I've never really met a DLP set that merited "first recommendation" status—until now.