Mitsubishi WS-73909 Page 4

In The Lab

COLOR TEMPERATURE: (Warm setting before calibration/Normal setting after calibration) Low window 6,956/6,509 K High window 8,741/6,467 K BRIGHTNESS: (before/after calibration) 20.1 /17.1 ftL

With its Warm color-temperature preset selected, the Mitsubishi WS-73909 measured close to the NTSC color standard on the low-window test pattern from Ovation Software's Avia DVD, but the high-window pattern was slightly blue. After calibration, the TV measured 6,500 K at both ends of the grayscale, tracking within 100 K at each 10-IRE increment, which is excellent. (Calibration needs to be performed by a qualified technician with specialized equipment, so discuss it with your dealer before purchase, or call the Imaging Science Foundation at 561-997-9073.)

Resolution with DVD test patterns measured the maximum 540 lines for the format. The TV's ability to hold black was excellent. The color decoder accentuated reds (+20%), so a reduction in saturation was necessary to achieve realistic colors (adjustment parameters for modifying the WS-73909's color decoder are available from the service menu). Geometry was excellent, but the picture required recentering to correct for 8% overscan on the left side of the screen. Scan-velocity modulation (SVM) could be defeated only via a service-menu adjustment.

You can adjust picture settings for each of the WS-73909's inputs, and the set will automatically store your changes. After switching to the DVD input and selecting the Warm color-temperature setting, I made my initial adjustments using Ovation Software's Avia test disc. Viewing Hannibal - Ridley Scott's over-the-top sequel to Silence of the Lambs - directly after, I found the images wonderfully sharp and clean, but flesh tones were somewhat red (see "in the lab," page 56 for details).

Lowering the set's color control made flesh tones look more natural. In the opening shootout scene from Hannibal, Julianne Moore's skin had the same marble-pale hue that it has in all of her movies. When she talked on the phone with an Italian police officer in a later scene, the TV effortlessly rendered contrasts between the icy blue fluorescence of the FBI crime lab and the warmer lighting scheme of the policeman's office. Once contrast was set to an optimum level, the Mitsubishi also did a fine job of revealing shadow details. In other scenes that take place in the lab, subtle gray tones in the photographic negatives and X-ray transparencies came across clearly, lending images a filmlike depth.

The WS-73909's built-in line doubler performed considerably better than those in previous Mitsubishi sets I've used. You can select between two line-doubler modes in the video setup menu: Video, for programs like sports or news shows shot on video, and Film, for movies. With Film selected, fine details in the haystacks from the opening of Star Trek: Insurrection were free of noise, while the diagonal lines in the subsequent shot of the communal garden looked completely solid and straight.

The set's internal HDTV tuner features a new, third-generation chip that's supposed to improve reception of off-the-air digital broadcasts. After plugging in an antenna, I confirmed that this was indeed true: in addition to the digital transmission from New York's WCBS, I was able to tune in signals from a PBS affiliate in Brooklyn that my Dish Network receiver/HDTV tuner hadn't been able to pull in. I was unable to receive the local Fox channel, however - the only other digital station currently available in the NYC area. But Fox still isn't broadcasting any HDTV, so I'm not complaining.