Mitsubishi WS-65909 high-definition RPTV Page 2
The WS-65909 provides five different aspect-ratio controls for stretching, squeezing, or adjusting the picture to suit your wishes, and offers full aspect-ratio control for every source. It also provides several picture-in-picture options. The remote control is small, given the number of devices it's expected to control via NetCommand, but it worked quite well and was nicely organized. Several key buttons are backlit when you press a button on the side of the remote.
The anti-glare screen did just that, though I hadn't noticed screen glare to be a problem. Like most rear projectors, the WS-65909 was best viewed straight on—the images became markedly dimmer with every degree I moved farther off-center. This is a common limitation of rear-projection televisions resulting from their high-gain screens. (High-gain screens do not actually amplify anything, but rather concentrate the available light over a narrower angle.) I also noted another common RPTV problem: internal reflections resulting in a lighter area in the lower center of the picture. This one was faint, visible only when I watched dark test patterns.
I set the Color Temperature to Low, which is supposed to put the set's color temperature at 6500K. After I'd set Black Level and Color Balance using the Video Essentials DVD, I turned the Contrast control down below the halfway point, and dropped the Sharpness control almost to "0." The resulting picture was big, bright, and vivid, but grainy. What's more, the WS-65909's internal scaler—the weakest point of every HDTV I've reviewed—filled the screen with painful artifacts. I had a look at my new favorite test sequence for interlace artifacts, the opening temple scene from the Superbit DVD of The Fifth Element. A young Egyptian boy leaps off his donkey, runs across the sand, and up a ramp into the temple. The sand seemed to be crawling, so rife was it with artifacts. And the ramp, running diagonally across the screen with tread boards every few inches, was chopped up into a jagged mess.
I reviewed the WS-65909 along with Pioneer's new DV-47A universal player, which has progressive-scan output. With that player set for progressive output and the Mitsubishi's internal scaler bypassed, the picture was much improved, though by no means free of artifacts. This is a set with which I heartily recommend using a progressive-scan DVD player.
Before doing much else, I waited for Jamie Wilson of Overture Ultimate Audio/ Video, in Delaware, to carry out a color temperature calibration on the Mitsubishi. The job wasn't easy, and we weren't fully satisfied with the result (see "Calibration" sidebar). But before calibration, Wilson also remarked that the picture looked grainy and gave everything a rough edge. After calibration, flaws and grain, while not eliminated, were barely visible.
The WS-65909's color decoder, like almost every other one I've seen, seriously over-accented red images, causing all red and pink images to bloom. The color control had to be turned down a far distance from ideal to bring the red into line.
When all that was done and a progressive-scan DVD image was put in play, the Mitsubishi WS-65909 Diamond delivered an enjoyable picture. It was no longer light-the-room bright, as some buyers might like, but its detail was clear, its colors vivid and bright, and black areas were super-dark, with most detail easily delineated.
I watched portions of the Superbit DVDs of The Fifth Element and Air Force One, two of the best transfers I've ever seen. Even using the Pioneer's progressive output, some artifacts were occasionally visible, but they seldom intruded on the movies. Overall, the picture was big, pleasing, and involving. I strongly recommend ISF calibration for this TV. But once that's done, it will provide you with many hours of enjoyment. (Picture settings on RPTVs tend to drift; you'll have to touch up the convergence occasionally. But you may have to have ISF calibration redone periodically as well.)
I switched to over-the-air high-definition sources by simply connecting my rooftop antenna to the back of the TV, using Mitsubishi's third-generation digital tuner, which is built into the set. (The WS-65909 also has a QAM cable tuner for watching HD cable programming, in the few places where that's available.) Then I ran the WS-65909's channel-search program, and after a few minutes the set listed every digital channel it had found. This is a dicey function in most DTV tuners—often, using an electric rotor, I have to adjust the antenna to pick one station or another, then run the search again.
Not with the Mitsubishi—the tuner's sensitivity was superb. It found every digital TV station on the air—even one I hadn't known about, a local station using its digital channel to multicast six standard-definition programs in the space one analog channel would occupy. The resolution of these channels was quite low. (Experts generally believe that only four standard-definition channels will fit in a single 6MHz TV channel, if the resolution is to remain at least as high as a standard 480i signal.)
In any case, the WS-65909 picked up all six of these multicast channels, and every other DTV channel on the air that day—including NBC's HD broadcast of the Olympics. The picture was stunning. No, this set's 7-inch CRTs were not capable of showing everything HDTV can offer—in the Mitsubishi line, perhaps only the largest, 73-inch model, with 9-inch CRTs, can do that. But no matter—the WS-65909's HD images were crystal-clear. The color palette was expanded to show shades that aren't even visible on NTSC TV. All in all, watching HDTV on the WS-65909 was thoroughly enjoyable.
The Mitsubishi WS-65909 Diamond is expensive, but it's a big brute, and there's no way of getting a picture this big at this price without buying a rear projector. After calibration, and using a progressive-scan DVD player, it provided a thoroughly enjoyable picture. The NetCommand system and other built-in special features make the WS-65909 Diamond an attractive package. Its positive qualities easily outweighed its flaws—I was sorry to let it go.WS-65909 Diamond