Longtime CNET readers may remember when we complained last year that Mitsubishi's 120Hz equipped LCDs lacked video processing to smooth out judder, and so didn't deserve the "Smooth" description that the company used in its product literature. This year its lineup, including the LT-46148, finally deserves the word, because now these models do include the dejudder processing designed to smooth out motion in film-based sources. This relatively expensive flat-panel LCD also has one of the most compact, all-picture designs we've ever seen. The bad news is that despite all that fancy processing, this set couldn't get the basics, namely black levels and color accuracy, quite right. Still, if you want to wedge as large a screen into as small a space as possible, you can't do much better than the Mitsubishi LT-46148.
Going back to Mitsubishi's LT-46144 from last year, the company has attempted to design the most-compact HDTV possible at a given screen size. The 46-inch LT-46148 takes that a step further, ringing the screen with an incredibly narrow bezel that measures even less than an inch thick on the top and sides. The area below the screen, with its strips of perforated plastic for the speakers, is also very thin compared with most flat-panel TVs. It's about 2.75 inches at its thickest point. The glossy black frame's thinness lends the TV a no-nonsense austerity when turned off, and makes it seem like almost all-picture when turned on.
Including the matching, black swivel stand, the LT-46148 measures just 42 inches by 28 inches by 10.9 inches and weighs 61.6 pounds. Without the stand, the panel measures 26.4 inches by 42 inches by 4.9 inches and weighs 61.1 pounds.
Mitsubishi didn't change its remote or its menu system from 2007. We liked the manageable size and the red backlight behind most of the important keys, but we wish the remote offered a few differently placed, strategically located keys. We found the staid grid of buttons difficult to get to know by feel. The menu might not be as slick as the system found on a Sony or a Samsung, but at least it packs a lot of information on the screen at once. The main picture menu gives way to a submenu for PerfectColor, and while common picture parameters such as contrast and brightness drop obediently to the bottom of the screen while being adjusted, the color submenu annoyingly obscures the screen. The menu system also includes a very intimidating-looking setup screen for the set's NetCommand remote interface (see Features for details).
New for this year, Mitsubishi has added dejudder processing to its 120Hz refresh rate. It's designed to smooth out the judder characteristic of film shot at 24 frames per second, like most with such mode, its effects depend on how much you like the smoothing. The 120Hz refresh rate also has the benefit of reducing blur in motion and allowing better compatibility with 1080p/24 signals. Fully Equipped has a few more details about 120Hz, and the Performance section below has all the gory details about Mitsubishi's implementation.
Like most LCDs these days, the LT-46148 has a native resolution of 1080p, the highest available today, although as usual the difference afforded by those extra pixels is nearly impossible to discern. Unlike last year's LT-46144, the 148 includes an aspect ratio mode, called "full native," that lets the set display every pixel of 1080 resolution sources without scaling or overscan. We recommend using this setting unless you notice interference along the extreme edges of the picture, which can occur on some channels. Mitsubishi includes three other modes for HD sources and six total for standard definition.
Other picture controls are relatively sparse on the LT-46148. We did appreciate that all three of the preset picture modes can be adjusted independently for each input, offering plenty of flexibility for inveterate tweakers who want to set up, say, one mode for daylight, another for early evening, and another for pitch darkness. The Mitsubishi also has a set of picture parameters called "global" that includes dejudder controls, a film mode to engage 2:3 pull-down, and four levels of noise reduction.
The LT-46148 has the capability to fine-tune color balance via its PerfectColor controls, although it lacks the PerfectTint controls found on some other Mitsubishi models. The set also offers a pair of color temperature presets, of which "Low" came closest to the D6500 standard. Unfortunately it wasn't close enough that we didn't miss having the ability to fine-tune color temperature as well.
One feature unique to Mitsubishi is the NetCommand system, which enables the TV to control other audiovisual 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 remote controls and the learning process is quite painless. We didn't test this iteration of NetCommand, but if you're curious check out the review of the Mitsubishi WD-65734, where it performed relatively well.
While the LT-46148 lacks a power save mode designed to conserve energy while the TV is turned on, it can be set to consume less power when turned off, i.e. standby mode. According to our tests, it uses about 129.2 watts less with standby energy saver engaged, which works out to just about $90.96 per year. As a trade-off, the set takes about three seconds longer to warm up and turn on. See the Juice Box below for more power consumption details.
As usual for Mitsubishi, the LT-46148 boasts a good number of connections. Four HDMI inputs are available on the main input bay, which faces sideways along the spine of the TV. There are also two component-video inputs, an AV input with S-Video and composite video, two RF-style inputs for antenna and cable, a coaxial digital audio output, and a stereo analog audio out. There's also an easy-access side-panel input bay with a third component-video input, one of whose jacks can also accept composite video sources. A USB port for digital photo display is also on board.