It's a funny thing, 1080p. As TV-resolution specs go, it's pretty damn popular — 1080p has gotten so much hype over the last year, I swear it must be represented by Lizzie Grubman. I mean, it's great if your HDTV can display it (it is the highest of high-def formats, after all), but outside of HD DVD and Blu-ray discs (and a bit of stuff on the Web), there's really no material actually in 1080p.
All HD shows on cable, satellite or off-air are in either 720p or 1080i (still pretty good), and DVD lags way behind at 480p (for what all these numbers mean, check out this primer). One could even argue that since most material on Blu-ray or HD DVD is converted from film, it doesn't actually make use of 1080p's full 60-per-second frame rate (since film is 24 fps). So really, for now, the key issue with a 1080p HDTV isn't whether or not it can actually handle 1080p but what those fancy processors and pixels can do for "lesser" material, since that's what you're going to be watching for the most part. Let's see how well Mitsubishi's LT-46231 LCD set did on that score.
THE ESSENTIALS: MITSUBISHI LT-46231 LCD HDTV
WHO WANTS THISCome on, who doesn't?
WHYWell, it's a 46-inch HDTV that can display every single pixel in a 1080p signal.
WHAT'S COOLGreat picture; lots of nice touches that add real convenience; it's beautiful.
WHAT'S LAMEAs with most LCDs, blacks could be deeper.
FINAL MARK: AThe Mitsubishi gives 1080p a good name, though it could still do better in the contrast dept., which keeps it from knocking this one out of the park.
Why? Okay, if you take anything from this review, it's this: off-air HDTV often looks better than the stuff coming out of your cable box. The colors are richer, the signal doesn't hiccup (or at least hiccups less) and the clarity is just as pristine. Which makes sense — in the airwaves, the signal doesn't have to fight for bandwidth like it does in your cable line. In any case, if you get your HD via cable or satellite, you should go out and get an antenna just to see what HDTV can really do.
One of the cooler things that Mitsubishi's TVs do is "know" when you connect something to it, and then only give you the inputs you're using when you call up a list. It's all part of the company's NetCommand system, which can actually do a lot more than juggle inputs, though to really take advantage of it, you need equipment that uses FireWire (a.k.a i.Link or IEEE 1394). For most, here there be dragons, but simplifying the connectors is most appreciated.
Sports fared pretty well. A Rangers game looked beautiful on the Mitsubishi, with the crisp brightness of the ice seemingly a perfect match for an LCD. College basketball looked good, too — even with balls and players zipping by in close-ups, I couldn't detect any motion blur, which can be a problem on some LCDs. Contrast wasn't the best I've seen, though I didn't expect it to be, this being an LCD. Still, it wasn't bad, especially with off-air material.