Friday, April 23, 2010

A great and cheap 3-D Ready High Definition TV

Mitsubishi WD-65c9 65" 1080p High Definition TV
Not many people are fans of DLP technology anymore.  With flat panel TVs all the rage, who wants a TV that is a bit more bulky?

Well I do because you get a large TV with great picture quality for about half the price!

I used to have a high definition TV that was only 720p and since I wanted to upgrade to bluray I started looking for a good deal on a 1080p TV.

At 65", nobody that comes over to see my setup complains that the TV is too small or that the picture quality is anything less than great.

This set is easy to setup and has 3 HDMI inputs for all of your devices.  However, since I built my own Media PC I actually only use one of them.  There are component and composite inputs for your game systems (our Wii looks great).

The TV even supports 3-D with LCD shutter glasses.  It is hard to say which 3-D technology will take off, but it doesn't hurt to have one of them built into the TV.

Update: see this post on using a Media PC to display 3-D.

There are also 60" and 73" models that are functionally the same (just different sized screens).  I think 65" is the "sweet spot" in terms of price/performance, but you can't beat an awesome 73" screen if you have the room.  I can't imaging paying for a screen that size in a plasma or LCD!

Mitsubishi WD-60C9 60-Inch 1080p Flat panel DLP Home Theater
Mitsubishi WD-73C9 73-Inch 1080p Flat panel DLP Home Theater

Update:  The 2010 model equivalent of this set is called the 638.  As far as I can tell they didn't add any major features (other than fix the DLP link problem).  However, the more expensive models (738 and 838) will support an additional 3-D format (Side-by-Side).  See this thread on AVSforum.

Here are some tips to get great picture quality with this set
  1. As with many TVs (not monitors), the full 1920x1080 resolution isn't available.  This monitor has an approximately 5% overscan.  With both Nvidia and ATI graphics cards, you can configure custom resolutions so that you see 100% of your desktop.  This works out to be 1820 x 1024 (plenty of pixels for a fantastic picture).
  2. DLP sets use projection technology therefore use some correction factors to make sure that the picture displayed is precisely rectangular.  I recommend downloading the service manual (available here) and following the procedure to reset these parameters.  It is a little time consuming, but doesn't require any tools other than your patience.  When done, you should have a desktop image from your computer that takes up 100% of the TVs picture.
  3. Finally, many TV shows / videos are made assuming that your TV has overscan and therefore displays garbage on the top and bottom of your picture.  So, when configuring Windows Media Center, select the full native resolution of your TV (1920x1080 or 1080p).  Windows Media Center will automatically adjust it's menus so that they don't display in the overscan (5% invisible area) of your TV.  The result is that when you want videos they are shown as they were meant to be seen.
For the really advanced users, you can try to do color calibration.  Many videophiles swear by this adjustment, but I found that the colors of this set were great right out of the box.  The only adjustment I did was to set the color temperature to "normal".  For some reason, most TV manufacturers set color temperatures way too high so that they look "brilliant" in showrooms.  Most people find that the colors then look garish when they get home.   Once you do this, you will be more than impressed with how pictures look on this set.

The only negative thing I can say about this set is that remote is terrible. There really is no other way to say it. I have no idea what Mitsubishi was thinking when they designed the arrow pad. You need tiny fingers (or use your fingernails) to navigate. However, since I control the TV with my Media PC's remote, this is a non-issue for me.

Update:  See this thread on AVSforum for information on this family of TVs.

Highly recommended and a fantastic buy!

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