Mitsubishi Launches Laser-based DLP HDTVs

At a posh SoHo loft in New York City, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc. formally announced today additional details surrounding the performance and functionality of its new LaserVue TV, which is based on Texas Instruments’ DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology. As the first-ever laser-powered television, LaserVue hopes to deliver a range of color seemingly never before seen in home entertainment, which Mitsubishi is calling “a true dimension experience.” Mitsubishi sums up their laser-based television technology by saying that “Believing is Seeing.”

According to Mitsubishi, today’s HDTVs display less than 40-percent of the color spectrum that the eye can see. Supposedly, laser-based illumination produces twice the color of conventional displays. Laser beam illumination also provides a wide range of rich, complex colors, along with an enhanced clarity and depth of field not provided by other display technologies.

Mitsubishi LaserVue TV

Using TI’s DLP projection technology as a base, LaserVue features laser technology as the next-generation of its illumination light source in rear projection DLP HDTVs. While Mitsubishi indicated that LED illumination (as used by Luminus Devices’ PhlatLight technology) is a good choice for new illumination schemes in DLP rear projection TVs, Mitsubishi believes that laser is clearly superior, and “one step beyond” LED. Like PhlatLight illumination, laser illumination also eliminates the color wheel and lamp found on other DLP projectors. Lamp-less DLP projection in either front or rear applications is the current direction that this display technology is now headed. And, by eliminating the color wheel and its expensive replaceable lamp, the depth of the television is also reduced.

Mitsubishi indicated that laser beams provide the widest range of rich, complex colors, along with the most clarity and depth of field. Precise and focused, the purity of laser light reportedly far surpasses current high definition technologies. The color gamut as a percentage of BT.709 (a standard for color measurement in televisions) for LaserVue prototypes has been measured at approximately 200-percent, delivering over twice the color of many of today’s HDTVs. Brightness has been rated at about 500 nits (nits = a measure of brightness that relates to televisions). Additional features found on all LaserVue televisions include Smooth 120 Hz refresh rate that helps with motion lag and judder, and x.v. Color for an improved color palette.

LaserVue will be available in 65-in. and 73-in. screen sizes. Mitsubishi hopes that LaserVue will raise the bar for large screen television (those models over 60-in.) by delivering twice the color at half the power of today’s current LCD and plasma HDTVs.

Like other new DLP rear projection television’s, Mitsubishi LaserVue TVs not only provides excellent picture quality, they are also capable of delivering a new and somewhat unique 3D viewing experience. As well, the new LaserVue TVs are environmentally friendly by operating power targeted at fewer than 200 watts. These televisions will use approximately one-half the power of today’s LCD TVs, and one-third of plasma TVs. At a depth of approximately 10 inches, LaserVue TV has been designed for both floor stand and wall-mount applications.

At Mitsubishi’s line show last April, the company had a “shoot-out” demonstration between a Pioneer Elite 1080p 50-in. plasma HDTV and a Sharp Aquos 65-in 1080p LCD HDTV. The image quality of the Mitsubishi LaserVue looked impressive to this reviewer as compared to the other displays. The colors were deep and rich with amazing reds and blacks as compared to competitive plasma and LCD 1080p panels. Contrast and clarity were among the best that this reviewer has seen in a long, long time. Mitsubishi indicated that several TV manufacturers have attempted to bring laser TV to market, and have failed.

The 65-in. model (L65A90), which is part of Mitsubishi’s Diamond line, will begin shipping to authorized retailers in the third quarter of this year. The 73-in. model (L73A90), which is also part of their Diamond line, will follow to Mitsubishi retailers later in the year. Pricing will be set closer to launch in the Fall.

by Dennis P. Barker, Electronic House