Mitsubishi’s soon to be released LASERVUE rear projection TV has been receiving a great deal of attention lately at the expense of its 2008 line of noteworthy LCD HDTVs.

Last year Mitsubishi introduced a line of full-featured 1080p LCD HDTVs featuring 120 Hz refresh rate, CableCARD, TV Guide and exceptionally thin bezels (less than one inch) that allow, for example, a 46” panel like the new set reviewed here, to fit in the same space as a 42” set with a standard bezel.

This year’s line retains all of last years hot features, while adding updated “judder-free” 120 Hz signal processing and a TV first: a built-in, 5.1 surround sound audio system.  You remember loudspeakers?  Those old-fashioned “thingies” that turn your favorite stunning high def movie into a “talkie” by adding dialog, music and sound effects?

Mitsubishi engineers managed to place a sound bar the company calls an Integrated Sound Projector (iSP) within the cabinet that effectively produces sound from the front, sides and rear—minus the wiring and amplification clutter that normally are required—from any of the set’s four HDMI connectors.

The LT-46149 ($2799 MAP) measures (inches) 29.9 H x 42” W x 4.8” and weighs 64.4 lbs. (without included table stand).  The remote control backlight made operation in a dark room easy.  The on-screen menu is a traditional layered structure.  My only complaint is the 5-second time-out, which occasionally is not sufficient to make adjustments and which then requires the re-entering of the menu selection. Mitsubishi should either lengthen the time-out or add a “10 second till menu disappears” option.

This Mitsubishi is among the most full featured LCD HDTVs available for 2008.  Many other top of the line LCDs incorporate 120 Hz, judder free display film conversion, variable backlight and 24 Hz input, but few include TV Guide Daily (a free program guide service) and CableCARD— a feature that permits viewing standard and premium subscribed programming without a cable box (on most cable systems).  Also included is a fully and easily programmable learning remote control.

The LT-46149 has a plethora of inputs including two antenna/cable input jacks (a rarity today: most 2008 HDTVs now only have one), the four aforementioned HDMI jacks, three composite video jacks, one S-Video input, three component video inputs and a USB jack for cameras and JPEG files.  There are also 5 pairs of analog audio inputs.


The out of the box brightness (white) level measured a blazing 88-foot lamberts—far too high for any sanely lit viewing environment.  Black measured at .22 ft. lamberts—too bright of a level for optimum viewing in a room that has low to moderate amounts of ambient light, as it produces gray looking blacks.

Changing the picture mode from “Brilliant” (showroom) to “Natural” (in-home) and lowering the “backlight” control from maximum to “25” (around 30%) reduced the black level to 0.023 ft lamberts—a level comparable to many top-of-the- line LCD sets.  The calibrated image brightness produced 26 ft. lamberts—making a bright, snappy picture that can be viewed comfortably in most rooms.

Changing the color temperature setting from factory default  “High” to “Low” achieved neutral dark grays and blacks with, slightly bluish whites, and near-whites.  Utilizing the controls within the LT-46149’s service menu and a Photo Research spectroradiometer corrected these issues.  Finally, adjustments of the standard user accessible controls (color, tint, contrast etc) and the TV’s (user selected) Perfect Color Control resulted in a very pleasing, very accurate image.

The only area where the Mitsubishi fell short (as a number of other flat panels do) was the primary color point of green, which measured a slightly towards blue and slightly oversaturated.  The primary points of Blue were “spot on” the HDTV standards; and red was within .002 (x&y).  The readings were (with the HDTV standard numbers in parenthesis) Red .x .642 (.640) y.332 (.330); Green x .256 (.300) y.632 (.600); Blue x .15 (.15) y .06 (.06).

Using the Silicon Optix HQV Blu-ray test disc to test signal processing I confirmed that the set properly de-interlaced 1080i content and displayed all 1080 lines of resolution contained within a 1080i signal.  The 3:2 film conversion test failed, producing noise at the edges.  Failure of the 1080i film test is something many other top-of-the-line 2008 sets have in common with this Mitsubishi.  The jaggies test produced few artifacts, earning an “excellent” rating.  The noise test revealed only a slight effect when selecting the “High” setting of noise reduction circuit to reduce random video noise.

The upconversion of 480i signals using the standard def HQV test disc produced mixed results.  The set’s processor passed the single bar “jaggies” test with a “good” rating, while failing the three bar, flag, and detail tests.

These issues can be bypassed when viewing DVDs by using an upconverting player with better internal scaling such as those equipped with the Silicon Optix Reon or Realta chips.  The set failed the 480i 3:2 film test as well.  According to Mitsubishi, the 3:2 works at 480i but the circuit activates too slowly for the HQV racecar test sequence.

The standard definition noise reduction circuit was excellent, with some of the best test results of any HDTV tested to date.  It does a tremendous job with the simulated noisy broadcasts and poor video test signals.

The Mitsubishi passed the 1:1 aspect and bandwidth test, proving this Mitsubishi can resolve all the fine detail within a top quality HDTV source,  down to a single pixel and display all of an HDTV image without cropping (“overscan”).

The set’s static and motion resolution tests provided a result which put it at the top of all the standard (CCFL) backlit 120 HZ flat panels tested to date, with full 1080 line “static” resolution (per picture height) and 620 lines of motion resolution.  Only LED backlit LCDs and Plasma flat panels have tested higher in motion detail. The ability to handle motion well is a necessity for watching any fast moving sports programs, especially football.

The dejudder circuit has three settings (“Off”, “Standard” and “High”).  The “Standard” setting reduced judder (seen as jerkiness on horizontal pans with film-based content, due to 3:2 conversion of 24 frames per second into 60 fps).  The “High” setting eliminated judder, but also smoothed the image to the point where all film based content appeared to have the look of video tape with no film grain visible. The image image that was reminiscent of viewing an HD episode of the video taped daytime drama “The Young and the Restless”. Full dejudder circuits on all of the other 120 Hz sets test produced the same type of artifact.  Some consumers seem to like the effect, but I feel it detracts from the film experience.


The 16 speaker integrated sound bar, aided with the “on screen” set-up guide produced an amazing surround sound effect (using the built-in test signals) which creating the illusion that the source was emanating from the center, left front, right front, sides and behind me.  The technology to pull it off is similar to the one used in Yamaha’s highly rated sound bars, though somewhat downsized to fit nicely beneath the 46” screen.  Once the iSP was optimized for the room, the LT-46149 delivered the promise of built-in surround sound.  My only dispute, the .1 designation, which stands for a low bass channel, and needs to have the frequencies handled by a subwoofer.  However, the LT-46149 has a subwoofer channel output (RCA jack) that can be connected to any powered subwoofer to add low bass response found in sources such as Blu-ray movie discs and many HDTV cable and broadcast programs.  I sampled a number of HDTV programs with and without a powered subwoofer connected.  The subwoofer added oomph to explosions and other sound effects as expected, though the lack of the subwoofer did not detract from the surround sound separation or clarity.

The sound pressure level peaked at an ample 97 decibels at 10 feet, without any audible clipping distortion (measurement was made without a connected subwoofer).  The sound that emanated from the iSP did not have the point focus or power of a full blown, expensive surround sound receiver with discrete speakers.  However, the iSP produced a far more satisfying sonic experience than the audio quality I have hear from lower end “Home Theater in a Box” systems with 5 separate speakers .

Simply stated, the LT-46149’s built-in iSP Dolby Digital surround sound provides the highest level of audio sound quality of any HDTV I have every tested!

A variety of Blu-ray discs were sampled.  A stand out was the opening color sequence of Casino Royale with its fast motion, fine details, and wide variations of lighting and effects.  When played with the iSP cranking, one clearly hears the gunshots ricocheting of the side walls. I felt engulfed by the crowd in Madagascar. Overall, the brilliant Bond soundtrack provided an enveloping smorgasbord of aural delights. It’s pretty amazing, considering all the sound heard was being generated by the built-in TV speakers directly in front of me.

The Verdict
Mitsubishi has created an HDTV first, combining a high quality LCD flat panel with a one-piece built-in surround sound system.  Considering this panel’s good color accuracy, fast motion sharpness, and fine HD bandwidth performance, even without the integrated sound projector, HD Guru  would rank it near the top of the LCD heap.  As readers will learn next month when the HD Guru publishes its 100 model HDTV test report, many other LCDs have inferior HD performance when measuring static and motion resolution and bandwidth.  The only HD area where the Mitsubishi LT-46149 did not excel was its black level, where it is average compared to a number of other LCD displays and not as good as some other top of the line models.

Which potential HDTV buyer should consider this Mitsubishi?  Anyone that is interested in superior audio without the wiring or complexity of an external audio system in a room or viewing environment that does not lend itself well to surround sound systems.  Immediately bedrooms, secondary rooms such as a den and rooms with brick, stone or plaster walls come to mind.

The LT-46149 overall image quality rates an HD GURU recommended ♥♥♥.  Add another ♥ for its groundbreaking, built-in surround sound system.

Copyright ©2008 Gary Merson/HD Guru® All rights reserved. HD GURU is a registered trademark.  The content and photos within may not be distributed electronically or copied mechanically without specific written permission.