Following a tip from a Mitsubishi representative, I started my onscreen setup by selecting Option 5 - a general NetCommand configuration suitable for most systems - and "deleting" any components I didn't have hooked up, like a cable box and an analog VCR. The IR-controlled components in the system were configured via a series of screens that let me enter the make and model, the desired audio and video inputs on the TV, and the desired audio input on the A/V receiver. Configuring FireWire-equipped components - like Mitsubishi's digital VCR - is much simpler. After I connected it to one of the set's FireWire ports, the VCR announced itself via a pop-up display screen and was automatically added to the setup.
Setup went smoothly for the most part, but I did encounter a problem with the NetCommand profile for the Denon receiver. Since it was based on a similar Denon model with fewer inputs, I had to switch around the source-component connections I'd been using on the receiver to match the more limited options listed in the NetCommand setup screen. This was a minor hassle, however, and easy enough to work around. Once I was finished with the setup, I made a final check on the system's Review screen to make sure all my connections were correctly mapped out.
Then I lowered the lights and grabbed the TV's remote. After selecting the digital VCR from the onscreen device menu, I pressed the remote's record button and launched a screen that let me program the VCR to tape the evening's high-def highlight: CBS's JAG. I was thrilled to see that a MiniDV camcorder I'd connected to a second FireWire port also registered in the NetCommand menu. This allowed me to use the system to control the camcorder's playback functions through the TV, though to view my footage I had to connect the cam to one of the TV's A/V inputs (the set's HDTV tuner isn't capable of decoding DV-format digital video).
Having the ability both to control my camcorder and to effortlessly program the VCR through the TV's menu system was cool, but what really blew me away about NetCommand was how seamlessly it integrated the non-FireWire components in my system. When I selected DVD from the onscreen menu, both the TV and the A/V receiver switched to the correct input, and I could use the TV's remote control to operate the DVD player. Ditto for the satellite receiver: I could view the program guide, scan its listings, or directly enter channels using the number keys on the TV remote's keypad.
With respect to the TV's video performance, I was startled by how good the picture was straight out of the box. With the exception of some minor fuzziness in the upper righthand corner of the screen, focus and convergence of the set's three CRTs was as good as I've seen on any freshly unboxed rear-projection TV. I quickly eliminated any color fringing with the 64-point convergence adjustment and was soon looking at a crisp, solid picture.
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