Mitsubishi WD-60735 Review
60" 1080p Microdisplay HDTV, $1599
The Mitsubishi WD-60735 is a 60" microdisplay HDTV, which employs an internal DLP-based projector system to display an image on its screen.
Once a major player in the HDTV marketplace, microdisplays or RPTVs, over the last few years, have garnered an ever shrinking percentage of sales, losing ground to LCDs and plasmas. Its major advantage in today's cutthroat environment is its price to size proposition.
For example, you will be hard pressed to find a 60" 1080p plasma within $2000 of the $1599 MSRP of this Mitsubishi. As for LCDs, only a few manufacturers make them over 56" and the price for those TVs can be four times as much as the WD-60735.
Of course, when judging an HDTV, screen size should take a back seat to picture quality. And indeed, the WD-60735 is up to the task by delivering a rich, detailed image that holds up well when projected on its five foot (diagonally) screen.
(Editor's Note: If you really lust after a big, big screen, Mitsubishi produces the 73" WD-73735 and the 65" WD-65735. Both have similar specifications to their smaller sibling and this review can be applied to them also. In addition, Mitsubishi makes a 736 and an 835 series of microdisplays, which have more features than the 735s. Therefore, they should be considered separately.)
Our Star Ratings
The video performance of the WD-60735 was usually up to the challenge supplied by a 60" screen. Colors were vibrant and the detail is remarkable. Occasionally, the darker grays were crushed to black. The audio quality is sufficient for football watching. I would substitute a dedicated surround sound system for home theaters.
Mitsubishi provides adequate connections. I like the added USB port for uploading photos, though the interface could be better. If you like to tweak your picture, subtract a half point because the tool set is limited.
Ease of Use: 4.5
If you don't plan on performing an accurate calibration, then this TV is easy to use. Just pick a default Picture Mode and sit back and enjoy the big screen.
I've seen the WD-60735 on sale for very enticing prices. You simply cannot find an LCD or plasma near this size for anywhere near this price. Microdisplays' price to size proposition is compelling.
Star Ratings Description
Ratings are relative to when the review was written. The obvious example is Value, what you could purchase for $2000 two years ago or even two months ago would seem like a bad value for that price now. We have given only a precious few 5 Star ratings, which we reserve for truly outstanding accomplishment.
Out of the Box
The DLP projector inside the WD-60735 needs some breathing space to cast a 60" image. I'm amazed that it can perform its magic in a cabinet that is only 14" deep. But for many design conscious aesthetes, even that's about a foot too much.
As a tradeoff for its rather bulbous behind, the WD-60735 provides a surprising weight advantage over those lean LCDs and plasmas. This 60" Mitsubishi tips the scales at a featherweight 64 pounds, about half of what a comparably sized LCD might weigh. If you are one of the crew lugging this set around, that's a major difference.
The proper placement of a microdisplay is particularly important if you want an optimum viewing experience. That became apparent when I was reviewing the WD-60735 in our testing facility.
Even though a separate base was shipped with it, we decided to set the TV on one of our 30" high tables. When sitting in an office chair, my eye line was below the center of the screen.
The image was fine, but when I raised my head up to the midpoint, the picture was noticeably brighter with better light diffusion across the screen.
My quick solution was to tilt the back of the TV up so that the screen would be perpendicular to my eye line. A more permanent and elegant remedy would be to purchase the base or to adjust your seating height to match the TV.
With an .8" matte black bezel, the front of the WD-60735 is dominated by the screen, which has a faint, dull reflective quality. Centered below the screen, under a flip down door, are the operational buttons (Power, Channel, Volume) and a set of Component Inputs, with matching stereo Audio Ins. Also, Mitsubishi supplies a USB port for uploading still images into the TV.
The back connection panel contains all the rest of the usual gang, three HDMIs with one matching stereo Audio In, two more Components (YPbPr) with Audio Ins, one Composite with an Audio In, an S-Video, one stereo analog Audio Out, and one digital Audio Out.
The two RF antenna connectors link to integrated NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuners. Since the tuner system is Clear QAM compatible, you can attach your cable TV signal directly into the RF connector and tune in unscrambled cable stations.
For those concerned about the DTV transition coming up, the ATSC tuner is the key. With the proper antenna, you will be able to tune in digital signals broadcast over the air.
Somewhat surprisingly with two antenna inputs, the WD-60735 does not have a Picture-in-Picture feature. Also, there is no Ethernet port to link the TV to the Internet or your home computer network.
Speaking of computers, the connection panel omits a VGA port. If you wish to attach to the TV, your computer's video card will need to have a DVI or HDMI out, which you will cable into one of the TV's HDMI inputs.
The special extra on the back panel is labeled 3D Glasses Emitter. All of Mitsubishi's DLP HDTVs are capable of playing back 3D content. They have been for over a year. The problem is the availability of playback devices.
Currently, there is no commercial 3D DVD player. Right now, you need to play the 3D program from a PC, which is connected to the TV. You activate a 3D setting in the menu and attach the 3D emitter to communicate with the special 3D shutter glasses. We're not talking about those funky cardboard kind with green and red plastic lenses.
At conventions, I have seen examples of 3D programs displayed on DLP TVs. The crowd is always enthusiastic. I assume we will see more playback options in 2009, especially as Disney and others are committed to producing more 3D movies.
On the 2D still image front, the TV's Photo Viewer leaves plenty of room for improvement. I like the front panel access to the USB port, but the options for image playback are limited.
While other TVs offer interval times between slides down to one second, the fastest on this model is 15 seconds. And it jumps to 30 seconds, then 1, 2 and 5 minutes. The only transition is a slow Wipe down. Also, I couldn't find a way of adjusting the picture when in Photo mode.
The remote control is a boxy, utilitarian instrument with good sized buttons. The middle section of the remote glows red when any button is pushed. I would have preferred more direct access to the input sources.
Our process of measuring the power consumption of our review units is straightforward. We plug the TV into a watt meter, called Watts up? Pro, and take a simple sampling of readings during the playback of a full screen video clip.
The first measurement is at the TV's default picture setting, which is often some form of Vivid. With the WD-60735, it's called Brilliant. This reading ranged from 216 to 219W. Mitsubishi's manual states power consumption at 265W.
This is the first microdisplay that we have measured and I was surprised to see a similarity between Brilliant and our next reading, which is taken after we adjust the picture to our preference. Even though this is a much less bright image than Brilliant, the power consumption was the same.
Both of those readings were with the Light setting at Standard. When we changed that to Bright, the power consumption rose to the 242 to 243W range.
Finally, we turn off the TV and measure how much power it is using. The WD-60735 offers a Fast Power On and a Low Power mode.
If you activate Fast Power On and turn on the TV, it takes about eight seconds to display a picture and about another eight to reach full brightness. From Low Power, you will wait almost 45 to 50 seconds before the image appears. Though that seems to vary depending on how long the TV had been turned off.
The power consumption readings when the TV was off also fluctuated. If Fast Power On was selected and the TV was switched Off, the power reading dropped in steps. For the first 20 seconds or so, the meter would hover at 119W and then down to 28 and then 24 and finally resting at 15W.
With Low Power chosen, we saw a similar step down pattern, but the power eventually dropped to 1 or 2W.
To calibrate the microdisplay, we use the the Blu-ray version of the Digital Video Essentials DVD called HD Basics. We are playing the DVD on a Pioneer BDP-94HD Blu-ray player connected to the HDTV with an HDMI cable.
We use the test patterns to adjust black level, white level, and color bias. The player is set to output a 1080p signal, which is the native resolution of the WD-60735.
To begin, I followed my usual pre-calibration routine. First, I choose a Picture Mode that is not vivid. With this Mitsubishi, the choices are Brilliant, Game, Bright, and Natural. I picked Natural which is the least vivid.
If this were an LCD, I would then turn down the Backlight, which a microdisplay does not have. The comparable setting is labeled Lamp Mode, with two options, Standard and Bright.
The manual states, "Standard is for most viewing conditions and may extend lamp life by using lower wattage." Sounds like a winner to me.
Finally, I set the Color Temperature. With only two choices, High and Low, I felt like Goldilocks. High was too cool blue and Low was too warm red. I wanted the porridge that was just neutrally right. Alas, I settled for High.
With those tasks completed, I work through the test patterns. The default setting for Brightness was good. The default for Contrast was pushed to the maximum, which always gives me pause. Why create a default where there is no wiggle room in both directions? For my own sense of order, I dropped Contrast a few notches down from maximum.
When it came to adjusting to the Color Bars pattern, I had a hell of a time. I tried playing with the basic Tint (Hue) and Color (Saturation) controls and then moved on to the more refined Perfect Color feature. I never did achieve a satisfactory result when looking through my color filters card.
I finally capitulated to Plan B. I put the test patterns away and started eyeballing actual footage. I'm happy to report that the default settings, with a slight boost in Color (Saturation), produced a perfectly satisfactory picture.
At this screen size, the detail is wonderful. The Sharpness control defaults to the middle of the slider. I noticed that if you drop it lower, the image will soften.
If you are a real tweaker, the WD-60735 does not supply the type of fine tuning controls that would satisfy you. I suggest looking at the 736 or 835 series from Mitsubishi.
After surviving the setup mini-ordeal, I turned to the more enjoyable pursuit of watching a variety of content from a range of sources.
Let's begin with one of the main reasons to buy a big screen like this 60" WD-60735, football. The colors are great and the detail is only limited by the source. You definitely want an HD channel to reap the full benefits of the TV.
Let me mention two drawbacks to a five foot image. First, almost all broadcast football games that I have seen display artifacts, often blockiness in fast moving scenes. I attribute these to the network and not the TV, but at 60", the artifacts are more visible. (This is also painfully true with the blemishes inherent in standard definition programs.)
Second, I like big screens because they can intimately involve you in the action. Of course when your alma mater loses on a last second touchdown pass, you may wish you were watching on your iPhone.
If you are planning a football party, consider the viewing angle when placing the chairs. The farther one sits off angle, the darker the image. This includes up and down off angle as well as side to side. If it's a big crowd, you can accommodate more of them in the optimum viewing angle by seating people in rows.
My best experience watching this TV came when I was sampling Blu-ray movies. I popped in the new Blu-ray release of Die Another Day with Pierce Brosnan as James Bond and the incandescent Halle Berry.
After nodding my approval for the color rendition, I became immersed in the movie only to be yanked back to reality by a telephone call. I credit that experience to three factors, the movie, the picture quality, and the screen size. You will have to supply the first, the WD-60735 will provide the latter two.
Now, I did notice that the blacks were crushed occasionally, which erased detail in what would have been dark grays. Also, don't expect this RPTV (rear projector TV) to render deep rich black levels.
As for audio, that extra cabinet space seems to give the sound a little reverb and more body. The quality is just fine for a big game. If you are thinking home theater, then treat your ears to a dedicated audio system. The pair of integrated 10W speakers do not do justice to this big screen performance.
Any discussion of the WD-60735 begins with its 60" display. But a screen that size requires picture quality to match, and this microdisplay does not disappoint by producing a colorful, detailed image.