A Perfect Fit: Three 1080p LCDs What Do You Think?
I was surprised at how close these three TVs performed. Really, the differences come down to just price and size. That being said, there was still enough to separate them.
The NEC was surprising. The company did a lot of things right, considering they haven't been in the consumer display business for a while. I was a fan of the looks, but the pretty metal top and bottom were offset by the cheap plastic on the sides. And the 1980s yellow LED power light has to go.
The Olevia had some great processing, but it was too bright for its own good. More annoyingly, the menu system was atrocious. The menus were simply the worst I've seen in a consumer product in years. They're hard to navigate, hard to adjust, and hard to look at, and they make even the simplest of adjustments tedious. There is nothing good about them.
In the end, I kept being drawn back to the Mitsubishi for several reasons. It was the cheapest, for one, and the motorized base was cooler than you'd think. Most importantly, it had the best black level and contrast ratio of the bunch. Sure, 1080p is useless in something this small, but it looked great regardless.—GM
With each passing LCD comparison, the choices become harder because the displays, hopefully, keep getting better. Yet, there are still attributes that quickly differentiate one from the other. In this case, it was black level, which is one of the first things that I notice on a display. When placed next to the other sets, the Olevia looked to have a high black level, while the Mitsubishi was a little darker than the NEC. With high-def content, there was little, if any, difference in the detail or noise, and all of the sets were watchable. The real test still seems to be how displays handle DVD-quality video.
At the outset, the Olevia is at a slight disadvantage. Due to its larger screen size, it is bound to look less detailed next to the other two, which it did but not overly so. As I watched scenes from The Fifth Element, I found my eyes constantly moving back to the Mitsubishi. Its colors were more pleasing than those of the other two sets, and its lower black level pulled me into the screen. Add to that the coolness factor of a mechanical swivel base and the lowest price of the three, and it's an attractive combination. If your plan is to watch mainly HD DVDs or Blu-ray discs, any of these displays can do the job. But, for versatility, go Mitsubishi.—JH