Perhaps the best value in big-screen HDTVs right now is in microdisplays, more commonly known as rear-projection TVs (RPTVs). As the category shrinks because of ever more popular and large flat-screen models using plasma and LCD technology, RPTV prices continue to drop.
There are always exceptions, however, such as the Mitsubishi WD-65833, which is one of the most expensive RPTVs on the market. With increasing competition as TV makers slash prices, this model is no bargain, considering what you get in terms of performance. Overall color fidelity suffers, mainly because of faulty color decoding and highly inaccurate red and green primary colors. Yes, the set has some good points, as well, including a solid feature set and attractive design, but they're outweighed by its picture quality shortcomings and higher price.
The WD-65833 is pretty sleek and sexy for a big box. The glossy black finish will appeal to many, though its tendency to reflect light can be distracting. A unique accent is provided by blue lighting on the front, which looks sort of like ground effects on a high-schooler's cruiser.
The stereo speakers located below the screen, rather than on the sides, help give it the appearance of having a relatively small footprint, an effect that's enhanced by the thin bezel around the top and sides of the screen. All told, the WD-65833 measures 58.2 inches by 39.5 inches by 16.1 inches, and it weighs 78.1 pounds.
The remote is a downsized design from earlier Mitsubishi models. Although we liked the red backlighting that appeared behind every key, we found ourselves wishing for a Return key when trying to navigate the menu system so we could go back a page at a time. To save time accessing the picture controls, you can hit the Video button, which takes you right to the picture control menu.
The Mitsubishi WD-65833 offers a decent selection of picture controls, starting with the usual picture modes, which include Brilliant, Bright, Natural, and Game, which are all independent per input. While most manufacturers offer at least three color temperature presets, this Mitsubishi has only two: Low, which provides the most accurate grayscale, and High, with an extremely blue grayscale.
The Perfect Color and Perfect Tint features are designed to improve color accuracy, but we didn't find them very helpful in practice. Perfect Color actually helps tame the severe red push that the color decoding exhibits at the factory settings, but it doesn't do much to help the problems with the green.
Perfect Tint gives you adjustments for all the primary and secondary colors for tint. Mitsubishi makes the only HDTVs we've seen, with a color management feature aimed at tint, which we find a little strange. We'd prefer to see accurate color decoding and primary colors so that we could simply set the normal color and tint controls, and be done with it. See performance for more details.
Speaking of color, the WD-65833 also offers the HDMI 1.3-associated features of Deep Color and xv Color, both of which, as usual, are not yet available from any of the HD sources we currently have. This set also has a version of the hottest new feature in TV, 120Hz processing, which is supposedly designed to eliminate the judder visible in some film-based material. This set also has 3D capability, but we were unable to test this feature, and it works only with compatible PCs, and requires an external kit and glasses.
The WD-65833's NetCommand system enables the TV to control other AV devices using an included two-unit IR emitter--generally, you'll set it up to command a cable or satellite box and an AV receiver. This system can learn the commands of various clickers, and the learning process is quite painless. (Editors' Note: We did not test NetCommand with the WD-65833, trusting it to behave the same as it did during our earlier test of the Mitsubishi WD-65734, which follows.)
We set up our DirecTV HR20, for example, as the "satellite" device in about 5 minutes, and afterward, we were able to control it relatively seamlessly via the Mitsubishi's remote. There was a slight delay between each button press and the HR20's response (less than a second, but still noticeable) and, inconveniently, we couldn't repeatedly press a key in succession to move more quickly.