In a world gone mad for flat panels, I've gone on record for preserving the rear-projection television. Done right, the best DLP and LCoS RPTVs we've tested deliver huge, bright pictures with stunning image quality, at ridiculously low prices compared with like-size LCD or plasma sets. Yeah, I know - you can't hang one on a wall (excepting a few "slim" RPTVs now appearing), and you won't be quite the coolest cat on the block when your friends walk into your living room on Super Bowl Sunday. But if you don't mind a set with a few extra inches of depth, and can wait till the picture comes up to collect your oohs and aahs, an RPTV is a great choice.
That said, Mitsubishi remains among the most respected names in this field, a name built on many years of delivering premium-quality bigscreen TVs. The TV in my own den is a 42-inch Mits CRT rear-projector, a now-ancient model (by HDTV standards) whose image quality remains so good on HD material that I still can't see any reason to upgrade. So I was anxious to take a look at the Mitsubishi WD-57831 57-inch DLP HDTV, a 1080p model from the company's top-of-the-line Diamond Series. Of particular interest was this set's six-primary color system, the result of a newly designed color wheel and other refinements that add cyan, yellow, and magenta sub-primaries to the red, green, and blue primaries normally used to generate all colors.
FEATURES The 57831 has a sleek design, with a tiny, tapered base and a thin bezel around the screen intended to mimic the flat-panel look, which I'd say succeeds in looking swell while minimizing its impact in the room. As befits a high-end model, it's loaded with nice user features, including a premium jack pack with a pair of 1080p-capable HDMI inputs and a DVI input for PCs, a CableCARD slot (with built-in TV Guide On Screen program guide), a pair of FireWire (a.k.a. IEEE-1394 or i.Link) connectors, two antenna inputs (with a built-in digital TV tuner), and the usual load of component-, composite, and S-video inputs. Hidden behind a cover under the screen is a convenience station that includes another FireWire input (presumably for a digital camcorder) along with S- and composite-video jacks, control buttons, and a multi-slot card reader for loading photos from the most popular types of memory cards.
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