The 2007-2008 football season is nearly underway; Coinciding with the new football season is the start of the 2007 TV selling season. Though the prices of flat displays has dropped by about 30% in the past year, you can find bigger, better values with larger screens sizes at the top 1080p resolution by purchasing a microdisplay (DLP, LCoS or LCD) rear projection HDTV. Here’s why.

At the same time flat panel demand increased, there has been a rapid drop in demand for microdisplay rear projection televisions. As a result, Toshiba and Hitachi will soon cease production of all of their rear projectors.

JVC, Samsung and Sony have decided to hang in there, but the market shift created a glut of inventory for every vendor.

The manufacturers are responding by gutting the most expensive, seldom used features out of their 2007 models. All makers have dropped CableCARD slots and most have removed the FireWire interface. At the same time set makers sought to reduce costs by not making costly changes in microdisplay performance.

The set makers won’t tell you what the HD Guru knows, many 2007 microdisplay models lines are basically carry-overs with new cabinets and afew less features. If you can find a closeout 2006 model at your local dealer you can get fantastic buy. Whether it’s a 2006 or 2007 the 1080p microdisplay rear projectors produce excellent high definition images.

The HD Guru evaluated many of 2006 1080p rear projectors for performance and features. All units were tested for upconversion of standard definition as well as high definition test signals. The top picks are rated using the HD Guru “♥” system. Three hearts are recommended and four hearts is “best in class”. To learn more about microdisplay rear projectors please go to for a complete explanation on the technologies and their particular strengths and weaknesses. Here is how the sets rate.

On additional note: If you like to watch action movies and sports, the HD Guru has examined motion resolution of microdisplay rear projector versus flat panel LVDs. These tests determine how much detail you will see when there is action on the screen such as a football player running down the field. You may be surprised to learn all the microdisplay rear projectors tested had better motion resolution than any tested 2007 LCD flat panel television. .

Here are the top sets tested

Mitsubishi WD-57831

The WD-57831 is part of Mitsubishi’s top of the line Diamond series. It is a DLP based unit. The HD image was quite compelling with vivid color good contrast and brightness. While the Mitsubishi did not have the very deep blacks of the Sony KDS-R60XBR, the level was found to be adequate for viewing with or without ambient room light. The Mitsubishi excelled in a number of categories. The WD-57831 has the most features of any HD rear projector evaluated. These include, CableCARD for viewing encrypted cable TV programs without a cablebox, TV Guide On Screen program guide and full function Firewire interface allowing recording now on DVHS and hard drive recorders and the ability to record on upcoming recording high definition discs systems (Blu-ray and HD DVD).

The Mitsubishi is the only DLP tested with a six-color color wheel. This system provides well-saturated color, as well as freedom of “persistence of vision” artifacts commonly known as rainbows, (momentary color stripes seen on other single chip Microdisplays). Primary colors can be set close to the industry standard for highly accurate reproduction by using the user controls. Overall the Mitsubishi wins out over the competition with top feature set, accurate color, proper deinterlacing of 1080i (for full resolution with all 1080i sources) it is also available in smaller screen size with the same chassis and performance.

The Mitsubishi WD-57831 receives ♥♥♥♥ the HD Guru’s top rating and it is highly recommended. DLP is a proven technology (see microdisplay article for an explanation of proven and unproven tech.) This model is also available in the 65” size


The HD-61FN97 uses JVC’s LCoS technology called DiLA incorporating three chips for continuous color, eliminating the need for a color wheel and the possibility of rainbows. The JVC also has a mechanical iris for excellent black levels and contrast ratio. The feature set includes CableCARD and Firewire. Unlike the Mitsubishi’s the FireWire is not full function, it’s only capable of recording to a DVHS recorder.

The color accuracy is not a good as the Mitsubishi with the green considerable more saturated and somewhat “Gatorade” in hue.

JVC employs excellent signal processing and passes the 1080i deinterlace test. The HD61FN97 has the best bandwidth of any set test, clearly reproducing the one pixel on off test pattern.

Overall it is an excellent performer however with less color accuracy and fewer features than the Mitsubishi, the JVC receives in a ♥♥♥ HD Guru rating. A fine choice if you don’t need a full feature set and will not mind the slight color inaccuracy.

Toshiba 65HM167

The HM167 series Toshiba DLP represents its 1080p rear projectors. However, compared to other sets in the review it lacks some features such as a Firewire jack (found on the Mitsubishi, JVC and Samsung) as well as a six-color color wheel that Mitsubishi uses (Toshiba uses a four color wheel). This results in the occasional rainbows being seen by some viewers, something prospective buyer should look out for. The Toshiba accepts a 1080p native signal via HDMI; its maximum component video input signal is 1080i. The 65HM167 properly deinterlaces 1080i into 1080p so all 1080 lines of resolution are retained (1080p sets that do not properly deinterlace 1080i reduced vertical resolution to 540 lines)

The Toshiba’s very deep black level was somewhat offset by its lower maximum brightness when compared to the other sets viewed, though I would call the brightness level quite adequate. It should be noted the Toshiba signal processing passed the 1080i deinterlace test, but it did not pass the 1080i 3:2 sequence test. Toshiba has been known for good upconversion of standard definition signals and the 65HM167 is no exception. High definition bandwidth is rather constricted; ultimately limiting the finest detail the set is capable of rendering.

Like the JVC the greens take on a Gatorade quality, unnatural and slightly yellow, the other primary colors are close to the industry standard.

Overall the Toshiba is a good performer . The HD Guru awards the Toshiba a ♥♥ (satisfactory overall rating) The 167 series is also available a 57” screen size. Note the 167 series was introduced in 2007, see below an incredible closeout price for the 57” model

Sony KDS-R60XBR2

The KDS-R60XBR2 is in Sony’s top SXRD (LCoS) rear projection series. The set has a lot going for it. Its three chip design prevents the possibility of persistence of vision artifacts (rainbows), it has three HDMI inputs (many other sets tested have two) and like all the other sets tested it has a CableCARD slot for scrambled cable TV reception without the need of a cablebox (great feature that will disappear on all 2007 Sony TVs) butt does not have TV Guide program information found on the Mitsubishi, Samsung and Toshiba 2006 models. The also set lacks Firewire input

The KDS-RXBR2 properly deinterlaces 1080i content, but like many otherwise fine HDTVs fail the 3:2 pulldown test.

Where the Sony excels is in black level. It had the lowest level measured value providing excellent dark room viewing as well as an outstanding contrast ratio. Sony’s SXRD is the youngest technology of the group and has not been proven for its long-term reliability. The HD Guru Awards it’s rating on condition the buyer purchases an extended warranty to assure the light engine is covered long term. The HD Guru conditionally grants the Sony KDS-R60XBR2 a ♥♥♥ rating

Samsung HL-S6188W

Samsung’s HL-S6188W DLP set combines an excellent feature set (CableCARD, PC inputs, two HDMIs and two-component video, with accurate color performance and slim bezel cabinet.

The Samsung performs well with very accurate color, good black levels and an extremely bright image. The latter could be overwhelming in a dark environment and the set requires a non-user control service adjustment to tame down peek brightness. However, if you are lights on when viewing guy or gal, this Samsung may be the ticket for you.

As with other Samsung sets tested, this one properly deinterlaces 1080i into 1080p but fails the Silicon Optix HD 3:2 pulldown test. The bandwidth test did not fare too well; it does not pass all the fine detail in the 1 pixel on/off test.

Overall the accurate color, high feature set, and the ability to calibrate its light output level, the HD Guru awards the Samsung HL-S6188 its ♥♥♥ rating.

You may find a close-out of the above models at your local retail at incredible low prices, An alternative, the set makers 2007 models. Below are some current examples culled from internet websites. You can check out the Price Grabber buys too, by clicking on the links to the right.

Samsung HL-T5676S 56 Inch UltraSlim (<11”deep) 1080p DLP Rear Projection DLP HDTV $1,576.83 including shipping (Amazon) Toshiba 57HM167 57 inch 1080p DLP Rear Projection $1099 Free Shipping (Tiger Direct) Sony Grand Wega KDS-55A2020 55" 1080p Rear Projection HDTV $1799 Free Shipping (Amazon) Copyright ©2007 HD Guru/Gary Merson All rights reserved.