Updated: December 14, 2012
2010 Mitsubishi DLP TV Sets
A detailed rear projection TV review
...3D, solid picture performance, and more screen estate
for significantly less!
Many think RPTVs are a dying breed but... we do not think so, neither Mitsubishi. True that Mitsubishi is the only remaining RPTV maker but studies show that RPTVs still amount to 3% of all big screen TV sales in the US - a lot considering we are dealing with only big screen TVs.
For 2010, Mitsubishi is offering a full line of advanced rear projection DLP HDTVs, including a new LaserVue HDTV. Mitsubishi DLP TV sizes start at 60-inch though more popular are the larger 65-inch and 73-inch sets. And if you have the necessary space, 82-inch RPTVs are also readily available.
Mitsubishi WD-73642 3D DLP TV
This is the most affordable 3D 73-inch HDTV presently available on the market. It is true that this Mitsubishi DLP TV comes with a reduced feature set, but you get a massive 73-inch 3D TV for the price of a 50-inch LED TV.
More on 2012 Mitsubishi DLP HDTVs can be found in our rear projection TV review page here
It is at these bigger screen sizes that RPTVs real deliver. Rather, at these screen sizes rear projection is the only display technology that delivers an out-of-the-box TV solution for the home market. And this for less!
Just take an entry-level 1080p plasma TV from Samsung or Panasonic; these sell at around $2,000 to $2,400, almost twice as much as the 65-inch WD-65638 ($1,300) entry-level Mitsubishi DLP TVs.
And at this relatively inexpensive price, these entry-level big screen Mitsubishi DLP TV sets come as 3D-ready HDTVs. You have to jump onto the Mitsubishi LaserVue for things to start get expensive.
Editor's Note May 2012:
For the latest Mitsubishi DLP TVs, please refer to our RPTV reviews update for 2012.
It is also worth noting that 73" and 82" sets from the 2010 Mitsubishi DLP TV lineup referred to in this review are still available at significantly reduced prices. These represent valid big screen options even in the face of the latest DLP TVs. The new 2011 and 2012 Mitsubishi DLP HDTVs does not add much to 2010 sets; rather, they come with practically the same features, with only a few minor refinements over 2010 Mitsubishi DLP TVs.
Introducing the Mitsubishi DLP TV lineup for 2010
2010 Mitsubishi DLP TVs cover fourteen sets spread over 5 series, C10, 638, 738, 838, and the LaserVue A91. All except the A91 are 'traditional' lamp-based DLP HDTVs, while the LaserVue uses a three-colored laser light engine for superior picture performance. Screen sizes range from 60-inch to 82-inch HDTVs.
Despite their massive size, these Mitsubishi DLP TVs come much cheaper than you expect. You also get a solid 3D performance, with a 3D picture that is much better than that of the more expensive 3D LED TVs. It is truly a case that these Mitsubishi DLP TV sets deliver more for less; they are not as slim as plasma or LED TVs, but they are relatively compact for their screen size, not much deeper than the depth required by a 60-inch flat-panel TV mounted on its table-top stand.
In this Mitsubishi DLP TV review article, we look at each of these series to see what is exactly on offer from this major TV maker.
Mitsubishi Entry-level Series: C10 and the 638 Series
Mitsubishi C10 and WD-638 series RPTVs represent the latest entry-level rear projection HDTVs for 2010.
Both series cover three screen sizes, the 60-inch, 65-inch, and 73-inch. These are among the most affordable HDTVs, with the 73-inch WD-73638 selling on amazon at under $1,260.
It is no clear what is the difference between these two series; both share the same features and same specifications; even going through the respective manuals do not reveal any difference in the supported functionality!
As with other Mitsubishi DLP TVs, these HDTVs are characterized by a glossy black finish with a platinum black metallic accent, an ultra slim bezel, and a relatively slim cabinet. The only exception to this design characteristic is the 838 premium Mitsubishi DLP TV series which comes with a pleasing blue light accent, but that can be set to off in the setup menu.
We said all Mitsubishi DLP TVs come with a relatively slim cabinet. The 60-inch set is 15-inch deep while the 65-inch come at 16-inch in depth. Not exactly slim in terms of the latest flat panel HDTVs but far from the bulky BIG TV boxes of a few years ago. Even at 73-inch, Mitsubishi DLP TVs are just 18-inches in depth. It is only at the 82-inch screen size that these get close to 23-inches in depth; but then here we are dealing literally with a massive wall display.
All Mitsubishi entry-level DLP HDTVs use a 156W HID lamp irrespective of screen size. This seems to suggest that the larger models in these series many not be as bright as the smaller sets.
Feature-wise, these Mitsubishi DLP TV series come with a rather reduced feature set. But they are 3D-ready 1080p HDTVs. As stated in our introduction, this means that you need the optional 3DA-1 Mitsubishi converter or the 3D Mitsubishi starter pack to convert the many different 3D formats into the one supported by DLP 3D TVs; the latter includes two pairs of 3D glasses plus some demo material apart from the 3D converter unit.
Additional features include:
Plush 1080p: This is Mitsubishi's way of upscaling lower-resolution signals to 1080p for a better image.
6-Color Video Processing, whereby apart from the red, green, and blue, the video processing extracts the three secondary colors (cyan, yellow, magenta) to individually process each color; coupled with Mitsubishi six-segment color wheel, the result is greater color accuracy, whiter whites and a wider range of color.
Comprehensive connectivity with 3 HDMI with Deep Color technology and including support for PC connectivity via HDMI, PC/DVI audio input, 2 component video inputs whose Y input serves as a shared composite video input, digital and analog stereo output, and a 3D glasses emitter port. What is missing is a USB port; the one provided is only used for servicing.
Deep Color technology aimed at maximizing high definition color performance by creating smoother transitions between different shades,
120Hz Sub-frame-rate: This is often being confused by many with what Mitsubishi refers to as Smooth 120. 120Hz sub-frame refers to the 120z sub-frame wobulation process necessary to generate the full 1920x1080-pixel 1080p 60Hz image from the 960x1080-pixel DLP imager chip used on these Mitsubishi DLP TVs. In other words, these are not 120Hz HDTVs in a similar manner to LCDs as some may interpret this rather 'gray' spec.
Energy Star 4.0 compliant: All sets except the 60-inch models are Energy Star 4.0 compliant. These are still among the most energy efficient HDTVs when considering the screen sizes involved. In fact, all entry-level Mitsubishi DLP TVs use of the same 156 watts lamp and are rated at 212 Watts, which is practically the same power consumption of a properly calibrated 2010 2D 50-inch plasma TV; a 3D 50-inch plasma equivalent would use significantly more.
Frame-Freeze Function: Accessible direct from the TV remote, this feature is similar to the frame freeze function found on LG HDTVs. It lets you freeze the current TV frame say during a commercial to take note of a telephone number, etc.
User Settings: These Mitsubishi DLP TVs come with four picture modes but otherwise, you get is a reduced set of user picture controls. However, all A/V adjustments have independent memory per input. In addition, all important picture adjustments are there, including brightness, contrast, color saturation, tint (to adjust the ratio of green to red), sharpness, noise reduction, and a basic high-low temperature setting. There is also a film mode for 24p content with 480i and 1080i signals, a screen saver, and eight aspect ratio settings.
Audio comes in the form of 10W per channel stereo; sound quality is much better than what you find on flat-panel HDTVs; however, a separate sound system is generally required for best results in which case you have the option to switch off the TV sound to use the external speakers.
Mitsubishi Step-up WD-738 Series HDTVs
Next in line is the Mitsubishi 738 step-up series. This is where things start to get exciting with features like Internet TV and advanced video calibration. It is also the Mitsubishi DLP TV series that covers the widest range of models - four in total, the 60-inch, 65-inch, the popular 73-inch WD-73738, and the first of two massive 82-inch rear projection HDTVs for 2010, the WD82738.
Design is basically the same as entry-level series, another black clone among Mitsubishi DLP range; but feature wise, there are quite a few enhancements.
Main step-up features over the entry-level 638 series include:
3D TV - implying you do not need the optional Mitsubishi adaptor; instead, you can connect a relatively affordable compatible 3D glasses straight to the 3D glasses emitter port on the rear connectivity panel of these Mitsubishi DLP TVs once the promised firmware upgrade is available.
StreamTV Internet Media provides Internet access to an extensive library of high-quality entertainment and social media content, including services by VUDU™ Apps to access popular on-line applications, including free content, as well as access the VUDU’s movie service to buy or rent movies direct from your TV. VUDU Movies features the world's largest catalog of HD movies with more than 3,000 movies, and its HDX video format is the only streaming 1080p HD video with high resolution 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround sound available directly on Internet-connected televisions. Other services include Pandora, Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, Twitter, Associated Press, The New York Times and more.
Wireless Internet-ready: All you need to access your broadband Internet connectivity is either to wire your HDTV to your home network, or simply insert the optional AW-NU231 wireless adapter into the set USB port.
Plush 1080p 5G 12-bit Video Processor: The 738 step-up series as well as the WD-838 and Mitsubishi LaserVue HDTVs use a more powerful video processor for the upscaling of lower-resolution signals to 1080p for improved image quality.
Smooth 120: This works in conjunction with the film mode to reduce motion blur in action scenes even though DLPs are much less susceptible to motion blur than LCDs. Mitsubishi does not give much details except for the picture explanation shown below. BUT there again, these Mitsubishi DLP TVs are not 120Hz full 1080p HDTVs in a similar manner to 120Hz LCD TVs for the reasons explained above. In other words, DLP HDTVs cannot do 5:5 pulldown de-juddering on native 1080p24 film-based content. You can still watch 1080p24 using the traditional 2:3 pulldown technique, but this leads to judder, a jerky movement which is most noticeable in scenes that incorporate slow camera pans or in scenes shot with a handheld camera. In fact, Mitsubishi mentions only motion blur and does not refers to judder reduction, a totally different beast to motion blur. More information on the issue of motion blur and judder can be found in our article on LCD TV Response Time.
The Mitsubishi Smooth120Hz™ feature enables the display of more fluid and smoother fast moving images, free from motion blur.
Other features include:
DeepField imager constantly adjusts panel brightness and contrast on-the-fly to optimize the picture.
EdgeEnhance technology enhances horizontal and vertical edges for a more precise picture with minimum distortion.
An additional picture mode apart from the standard Brilliant, Bright, Natural, and Game modes, termed Advanced Video Calibration for professional calibration of main picture parameters.
A universal TV remote control which can be used to control other devices such as VCR, DVD, or a satellite or cable set-top box.
Easy Connect function automatically recognizes when you plug in a device and prompts you to assign a name to it. The TV ignores any unused inputs so the result is a clean menu where you can easily find and select connected devices by name.
HDMI comes with 36-bit Deep Color for an increased color depth, and x.v.Color (xvYCC) for an expanded color gamut that is 1.8 times that supported by the Rec. 709 HDTV standard (sRGB color space) used in the HDTV industry.
A Test Picture to help in the HDTV picture calibration.
A two-mode lamp energy setting - Standard (156W) and Bright setting (180W); the latter is most useful in the home when the lamp gets dimmer as it approaches its end of life; setting the lamp to bright will give you that extra light level while giving you time to get a new replacement. However, prolonged use of the Bright mode setting will eventually shorten the lamp life while generating more fan noise.
Note: The 'Bright' lamp setting may also prove useful with the larger 82-inch sets. In fact, all Mitsubishi DLP TVs in the series use the same lamp power; this means the larger sets cannot deliver the same level of picture brightness as the smaller sets. In other words, if you are after an 82-inch set, check the level of light in the room you want to put the set in during daytime; you may need to dim the viewing environment with these massive big screen HDTVs for the best results.
Mitsubishi Diamond WD-838 Premium DLP Series
The WD-838 series is Mitsubishi premium lamp-based DLP rear projection HDTVs. The premium series covers three screen sizes, the 65-inch, the 73-inch WD73838 ($1,400), and the second 82-inch HDTV for 2010, the WD-82838 Mitsubishi DLP TV ($2,100), relatively inexpensive compared to 65-inch plasma and LED 3D TVs.
Design is similar to the rest of the Mitsubishi DLP TV line except that the premium series gets the Blue Light glow accent as indicated earlier on in this discussion. The blue glow can be pleasing but we find that in most viewing situations - like when watching a movie, it can turn out to be a bit distracting. Luckily, this can be turned off in the setup menu.
Main enhancements over the 738 step-up series include:
PerfectColor and PerfectTint functionality to get the best picture by providing more control over the picture settings. These features provide the user with sliders to adjust the saturation (intensity) and hues of the six basic colors on the color wheel (the three primary and the three secondary) separate and independent of each other, and separate for each input.
ISFccc advanced video adjustments for professional calibration of brightness, contrast, tint, sharpness, color levels and more to get the best picture subject to your local lighting conditions for both day and nighttime viewing; the respective settings will then be saved as ISF Day and ISF Night.
Virtual Sound Technology for an immersive surround sound experience through the TV built-in speakers. The latter consists of a 'soundbar' type setup made up of 16 speakers producing 32 watts of total power. The whole process makes use of advanced digital signal processing to simulate a 5.1 surround sound field. More information on virtual surround technology can be found in our guide here.
Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: These Mitsubishi DLP TVs come with variable subwoofer output and left/right rear surround pre-amplifier outs while the TV built-in speakers handle the front left/center/right sound channels. In addition, should you decide to connect the TV sound to your AV receiver, the TV speakers may serve as the center speaker in a 5.1 speaker setup; for the purpose, a center-channel input is available on the TV main connection panel when the TV sound is set to Center Channel Mode.
ISP Calibration Microphone supporting automatic audio setup for the correct balance of sound levels between the different audio channels.
HDMI Control (CEC): HDMI inputs come with Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) capabilities to enable you to operate and control compatible devices connected via HDMI with the TV remote.
Enhanced Connectivity complemented by an extra HDMI port for a total of four (one extra on the side), 2 USB ports with file support for both photos and music, wired networking via the Ethernet port, an extra shared component/composite video input on the side for a total of three, and wired support for wired IR TV remote.
Bluetooth audio streaming to wirelessly stream audio from any Bluetooth A2DP device (such as an iTouch/iPhone or Blackberry) to your Mitsubishi DLP TV.
NetCommand® with IR Learning: This is an onscreen home theater control system with a simple icon-based control interface. It enables the TV to control other AV devices via either a two-unit IR emitter that you connect to the wired RC input on the main panel of these Mitsubishi DLP TVs, or via the HDMI link using the CEC channel on the HDMI interface.
The system incorporates a library of codes to control other devices. It can also learn IR codes from any IR-based analog component. This ‘learning feature’ allows the TV system to learn the IR codes of other remotes through a rather straightforward process. Thus, it is possible to control say a Satellite STB and an AV receiver in a seamless manner via the TV remote and the Mitsubishi DLP TV onscreen interface.
Be prepared to experience a slight but noticeable delay between each button-press on the TV remote, and the response of the additional gear you are controlling. This is typical with systems using this type of set-up to replicate IR messages via a blaster to control additional gear. This delay can be annoying especially when shifting between TV channels on a TV set-top-box. Yet this gives you the possibility to hide your gear out of sight while still being able to control it.
Energy Star 4.0: As with the other Mitsubishi DLP series, all WD-838 series Mitsubishi DLP TVs qualify for the latest Energy Star 4.0.
Mitsubishi LaserVue Rear Projection HDTV
The 75-inch Mitsubishi LaserVue L75A91 is the 2010 follow-up to the original 65-inch LaserVue L65A90 RPTV released in October 2008; this time it is bigger and even more energy efficient.
The LaserVue represents Mitsubishi flagship. It uses three separate lasers as its primary light source - in a similar arrangement to Samsung LED-based rear projection HDTVs, thus also doing away with the color wheel.
The use of lasers brought about a number of enhancements over both lamp-based RPTVs; most important are superior color accuracy and much brighter images. Equally important, these are the most eco HDTVs around; in fact, the new 75-inch LaserVue comes with a reduced power consumption of just 128 Watts. The 2008 65-inch LaserVue HDTV has a rated total power of 135W. One may say this is not much but keep in mind that the new size represents 32% increase in screen area over the 65-inch model. Even more important, this also represents just a fraction of the total power used by a smaller 65-inch plasma 3D TV!
One final advantage arising out of use of the laser light engine is that the new laser light source is expected to last for as long as the lifetime of the HDTV - leading to significantly reduced running cost in lamp replacements.
Overall design is basically the same as the rest of the lineup except that like the 838 series, it comes with a blue light accent that can be set to off from the main menu. Feature-wise, the LaserVue comes with an almost identical feature set to the 838 premium DLP HDTV except for a few enhancements, mainly as a result of the laser light engine. These include:
Cinema Color: The use of a laser light engine gives these rear projection HDTVs the ability to deliver improved color gamut, one similar to color seen in digital projector equipped commercial movie theaters.
More Picture Modes: The Cinema color is related to a new picture mode, termed Cinema in the set menu - which produces the best natural looking colors for a properly dim environment. In addition, the laser light engine gives these sets the ability to deliver a new bright picture for use under bright lighting; this new picture mode is termed Super Brilliant.
Mitsubishi DLP TVs: Overall Performance
Lamp-based Mitsubishi DLP TVs
Picture quality: Mitsubishi lamp-based rear projection HDTVs are generally solid performers. Picture is crisp and clear, with deep blacks and relatively accurate colors once calibrated; in particular, the 838 series is the one that delivers the best picture thanks to its extended set of user-adjustable picture settings. However, most consumers find the picture is not as bright as the one they are used to from plasma and in particular LED/LCD TVs. But here we are dealing with a massive screen that is mainly designed for use in the dimmed environment of the home theater.
As with rear projection HDTVs, viewing angle on these Mitsubishi DLP TVs is rather restricted if you want to enjoy the best picture but considering the screen sizes involved, this should not be an issue with most viewing environments. One important picture quality advantage of Mitsubishi DLP TVs resulting from the DLP chip wobulation process is their film-like image, one similar to what you get in the movie theater with no visible pixel structure experienced with plasmas and LCDs.
On entry-level HDTVs, the available set of user-adjustable picture controls is rather limited even though you still have all the necessary controls.
Sound quality is relatively good, much better than that of flat-panel HDTVs. In particular, the sound on the 838 series DLP HDTVs is exceptional clear and detailed but in the absence of a separate sound system, you should at least complement the TV speakers with a powered subwoofer.
Mitsubishi Internet TV platform is basically similar to what you find on other TVs - so nothing new here! The Mitsubishi Internet application takes around a minute to load - not one of the fastest but some other TV brands take just as much.
3D: This is an area in which these Mitsubishi DLP 3D TVs excel. Partly, it is the sheer size of the TV screen which helps produce a more realistic and immersive 3D viewing experience. But DLPs are also much faster display devices than LED LCD TVs; this helps towards achieving a 3D image that is practically free from 3D image crosstalk, one that is much better than that found on 3D LED LCD TVs.
Customer experience: Customers are generally very much satisfied with their purchase. Average customer rating for the latest Mitsubishi HDTVs at Best Buy and Amazon stands at an average of 4.5-stars out of five. This in our opinion represents a very good rating.
Complaints from customers mainly relate to noise from the Mitsubishi DLP TV cooling fan when the lamp is set to Bright mode while sitting at too close a distance to the TV and with the TV sound muted. One should note however that fan noise in the Bright Lamp setting is typical but this is generally audible only from too close a distance and with the TV sound muted. Most customers agree that from a normal viewing distance, noise is hardly a problem even at low sound volume.
We have also come across a few blown-out bulbs during the warranty, and complaints about what some describe as a slight softness in picture detail when displaying 480i content. The latter is typical of most plasma and LCD HDTVs; so the Mitsubishi performance in this respect is no surprise. As to the lamp issue, unfortunately there is always the probability that the HID lamp in traditional lamp based RPTVs burns out at any time, hence the lamp warranty; however, these should generally last between 4000 to 6000 hours.
Mitsubishi LaserVue DLP HDTVs
We did not encounter any professional review of the new LaserVue but a hands-on review carried by HD expert Gary Merson/HDGuru on the Mitsubishi LaserVue A90, HDGURU stated that the Mitsubishi LaserVue 'rates in the stratosphere of top displays, specifically the Pioneer Kuro Elite plasmas, the Samsung 950 LED LCDs with full local diming and the 65” Panasonic Premiere TH-65VX100'. It is capable of delivering one of brightest images, even brighter than the brightest LCDs, while still achieving a jet black screen during a 0 IRE black screen test. Color reproduction is excellent by any display technology standard, with a color gamut that by far exceeds that of Rec. 709 HDTV standard. Overall picture performance is more in line with top displays from the Pioneer Kuro Elite plasmas - still considered by many pro reviewers even at the time of this update as the reference standard in black levels and overall picture performance, than any other premier rear projection HDTV.
Furthermore, at 128W power requirements for a 75-inch HDTV, these 3D DLP HDTVs are the most eco-friendly around irrespective of display technology, typically consuming one-fifth the power (in terms of unit display area) of a plasma TV when operating in 3D mode. We mention 3D as a 3D plasma HDTV consume more power once calibrated. Just to better understand the extent of the LaserVue Mitsubishi DLP TV power consumption advantage, Cnet measured 275W for the 50-inch TC-P50VT25 Panasonic plasma TV in 3D mode, corresponding to 0.26 Watts per sq. inch. Extrapolate this over the full 75-inch screen of the Mitsubishi, and you get over 600W of total power requirement for the same plasma TV!
But... The one real problem with the Mitsubishi LaserVue is its price tag. The LaserVue 75A91 Mitsubishi DLP TV originally came with a list price of $6000; it is now (2012) selling at amazon for under $3,200; still expensive in terms of today TV prices, but when considering the massive screen size, the superior picture quality and the minimal power consumption, we think it still represents a most viable big screen TV option in comparison to a flat-panel HDTV. At 15-inch deep, it is deeper than a LED TV but if the latter is left on the provided table-top stand, a 60-inch LED TV would soon lose its slim advantage with respect to the 15-inch overall depth of the LaserVue.
One other issue one consumer noted is a somewhat softer image of the LaserVue Mitsubishi DLP TV in comparison to plasma or LED/LCD TVs especially at close viewing distance. As stated earlier on, DLP HDTVs produce a more film-like image without any visible pixel build-up structure as instead is the case with large screen plasma and LCDs. Some seems to interpret this visible pixel structure especially at close viewing distance on 55-inch plus flat-panel TVs as a sharper image. But in reality, image sharpness is something else.
Overall... The Mitsubishi LaserVue is an affordable big screen HDTV that can deliver superior picture performance even with respect to the latest 70-inch LED TVs for 2012.
Conclusion and Discussion
In general, these Mitsubishi DLP TVs provide plenty of screen estate for your money, come with a compact aesthetically pleasing styling, a comprehensive feature set, and sufficient connectivity. And if 3D is for you, you will also get a more immersive and better 3D viewing experience in the home.
Bestselling Mitsubishi DLP TVs within these series include the 73-inch WD73838 and the 82-inch WD82738.
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Buying Options for Mitsubishi DLP Rear Projection HDTVs
Amazon offers a most complete range of RPTVs, often at significantly reduced prices. While at amazon...
Check the customer feedback to see what others had to say following their purchase with respect to quality, functionality, customer support, etc.
References used in this article:
Mitsubishi website for the latest technical specs and product manuals of Mitsubishi DLP TVs.
Customer feedback posted at amazon and Best Buy for the different rear projection DLP HDTVs discussed in this article.
For information on how we compile our product reviews, please click here.