panel displays are popular items these days with their sleek and elegant look
coupled with stunning picture quality. Competing heavily with plasma technology,
LCD displays are quickly making their way into the marketplace with similar picture
quality and other significant benefits. Unlike most plasmas displays, LCD flat
panels do not suffer from the typical screen "burn-in" problem. Not
to say that is doesn't exist, we just haven't seen it with this display and other
similar designs. The Mitsubishi's LT-3020 is a very attractive looking 30-inch
diagonal, widescreen display capable of resolving fine detail from high definition
sources. The cosmetic design is asthetically pleasing to the eye, so decor-conscious
consumers will love it. The native resolution is 1280x768 (1.67:1), making it
a true high definition display compatible with a variety of high performance products.
The aspect ratio is slightly taller than a standard 16:9 display (1.67:1 versus
1.78:1) due to the display's native resolution. The wide 170°/170° (H/V)
viewing angle also makes it ideal for rooms with several seating positions. Inputs
are abundant with the LT-3020 and rest assured that the DVI/HDCP copy protected
digital interface is compatible with the latest set-top boxes, including Mitsubishi's
own HD-5000 A/V Controller. The built-in audio system works well especially when
watching regular television, but you will ultimately benefit from a full range
5.1 audio system. The LT-3020 includes both a 3:2 pull-down deinterlacer and a
high-performance video scaler. This display comes with a tabletop stand that allows
it to be tilted vertically over a range of +20 to -5 degrees. However, wall mounting
is also an option and may be preferred by many users. The display also supports
Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-Out of-Picture (POP) modes.
front of the display has nine sleek buttons elegantly hidden at the bottom of
the display. The power button is located by itself on the left with the remaining
eight buttons in the middle. The left four buttons control volume and channels,
while the right four buttons select the input and control menu settings. These
controls can be disabled from the setup menu in the event the user does not want
anyone controlling the display from the front buttons (Little kids come to mind
here). The LT-3020 actually detects the incoming video and when no signal is present,
it automatically shuts off after a 2-minute warning message. Each of the built-in
speakers (2 main and one subwoofer) are driven by independent 4-watt amplifiers
for a total of 12-watts.
The LT-3020 has a large number of video inputs to support both analog and digital
interfaces. Looking at the rear, the left side of the flat panel contains AV1
and AV2 interfaces that accommodate composite or s-video and two-channel audio
connections per A/V input. There's also a pair of audio outputs that routes the
selected inputs to a receiver. The digital DVI/HDCP input supports protected digital
content, which is an important feature with any high definition display. Strangely
enough, there's also a headphone connection located back here. I guess they didn't
want to have an ugly headphone connector on the front of this elegant looking
flat panel. Finally, the RS232 interface used for the Monitorlink control
is located here. All of the RCA connectors are gold-plated for a long-term reliable
connection. Cables are routed through the bottom of the removeable panel. This
panel not only hides the ugly mess of wires, but it also keeps them bundled together
and firmly in place.
right side of the rear panel has two full sets of component video inputs (YPrPb)
via three RCA connectors along with two sets of corresponding audio inputs (Left/Right).
Once again, all RCA connectors are gold-plated for reliability. The 15-pin VGA
connector allows a computer to interface to the display along with a mono audio
signal if available. The VGA input also accepts RGB video from any compatible
set-top box. The RF input supplies a signal to the built-in NTSC tuner and can
be sourced from a roof-top antenna or an analog cable TV system. Using the setup
menu the user can automatically have the display memorize the active channels
based on signal strength. The DVI/HDCP (Monitorlink) interface is also located
here and is designed to work in conjunction with the RS232 interface on the other
side of the display when connected to the Mistubishi HD-5000 A/V Controller. The
HD-5000 is unlike any other A/V controller we've seen and is designed to work
seamlessly with the LT-3020. Like the other connector panel, all of the wires
are routed through the bottom of the removeable cover panel.
The remote provided with the LT-3020 is the standard issue with most of the Mitsubishi
display product line. The remote has buttons that are easy to see and are large
enough for those with big hands. The button layout has all the frequently used
buttons in easily accessible places. A slider switch at the top of the remote
selects between controlling different components from other manufacturers. The
power button is located in the upper right with Up/Down paddle buttons for selecting
the Device, Channel and Volume. The Device buttons select from all of the video
sources that include Antenna, A/V Input1, A/V Input2, Component1,
Component2, MonitorLink, and PC.
Menu controls are also provided to navigate through the on-screen menu system.
Video Settings include Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Color and Tint. Color
temperature can be set to High, Medium, or Low. The Advanced
Features Menu has a Color Balance submenu. Here the user can adjust the color
balance (Magenta, Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, and Blue) for each of the active inputs
on the display. There's also an Auto Color Correction option that automatically
optimizes flesh tones. We set this to off for all of our testing. Each
active input can also have the color reset. The Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-Out
of-Picture (POP) feature works well, but is limited when using the PC (VGA) input.
Audio menu provides Bass, Treble and Balance controls. There's
also a Surround control that can simulate stereo on a mono signal or provide surround
sound on a stereo signal. For over-the-air broadcasts, the user can set the Listen
To setting to Stereo, SAP or Mono, depending on the desired content from the
broadcaster. The user also has control of the dynamic range using the Level
Sound feature and the Subwoofer output level for the built-in subwoofer.
Based on the input, the user can control the screen modes to optimize
the picture based on content. The Standard mode, which is the default mode
used with HDTV, evenly distributes the image across the full screen. This mode
is also used with anamorphic (16:9 enhanced) DVDs. The Expand mode is intended
for non-anamorphic DVDs that would normally stretch the image horizontally and
insert bars on the top and bottom of the screen. This would look okay on a standard
4:3 screen, but not on a 16:9 screen. This mode stretches the image vertically
correcting the aspect ratio distortion, while cropping some of the video on the
top and bottom to reduce the black bars that are normally seen with these discs.
This emphasizes the importance of anamorpphic DVDs and why they maximize video
resolution. Ideally, you do not want to use this mode, but it exists to make non-anamorphic
DVDs viewable on this widescreen display. The Zoom mode essentially increases
the overscan both horizontally and vertically to help eliminate the top and bottom
black bars on movies that have wider aspect ratios. This will crop the right and
left side of the picture, so any self-respecting movie-buff or cinematographer
would object to this immediatly. It's analogous to people complaining about the
top and bottom bars on 4:3 displays, so Mitsubishi included it as one of the screen
options for their display. The Stretch mode is one of my favorite as it
takes a 4:3 source and distributes it across the full screen in a way that doesn't
make it look too objectionable. This is accomplished by stretching the sides more
than the center area, resulting in a fairly good looking center picture. However,
scenes that pan will quickly reveal the technique used here to help the majority
of the image. The Narrow mode exist for 4:3 content that uses gray bars
on the right and left side of the image to preserve the aspect ratio on this display.
The PC input can select between this mode and the Wide mode only. It must
be noted that the Expand, Zoom, Stretch and Narrow
modes are not available when using 1080i or 720p video. Only the Standard
mode supports 480i/480p/720p/1080i video formats.
a special HD Expand mode for 1080i and 720p video that works similar to
the Zoom mode. This mode zooms on the image that helps reduce the top and bottom
black bars on widescreen source material. It can also help reduce the side bars
from broadcasters when watching 4:3 content in the 720p or 1080i modes.
did notice that when displaying 720p or 1080i video using the component inputs
in the Standard mode, small bars always appreared on the top and bottom
of the display. The bars are the result of the video only using the 1280x720 pixels
(720p) for true 1:1 pixel mapping, resulting in a true 16:9 image on the screen.
Mitsubishi also has the HD Expand mode that fills the entire screen with
a small amount of overscanning on the left and right side of the picture. The
two screen modes offers viewers flexibility with their high definition content,
so everyone should be happy.
We took color measurements using our Sencore CP5000 All-Display Color Analyzer.
The graph shows the results of all three factory measurements. The LT-3020 produced
accurate colors with good shadow detail, especially for an LCD display. The black
level on this display was still not quite as dark as we would like to see, but
was not a significant problem in well lit rooms. The light output of this display
was similar to a CRT, making it ideal for rooms where sunlight may be difficult
to control. We reduced the factory light output setting to increase performance
of the display. Overdriving the contrast setting sometimes clips the white level
causing bright scenes to lose detail.
The primary colors produced by the LT-3020 were measured using our GretagMacbeth
Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer along with the Milori ColorFacts software. The CIE
chart indicates where the ideal primaries are located where the three small points
make a dark triangle. The measured primary colors are marked by the red, green
and blue markers connected together with the white triangle. Only colors inside
this triangle can be produced by the display by definition. Colors were well saturated
and looked excellent overall with impressively rich reds that were remarkably
accurate and confirmed by the measurements. Greens were lush with only a slight
hint of yellow and blues were deep and accurate. Skin tones had a natural appeal
and color fidelity was superb.
We connected several sources to the LT-3020 to get a better feel for how it handles
real-world material. As mentioned earlier, we connected the Mitsubishi's HD-5000
high-definition A/V Controller as an over-the-air source for high definition content.
Using this controller allowed us to receive and send high-definition digital video
directly to the display. This unit takes a variety of other video sources and
converts them to the DVI MonitorLink interface. The full-featured HD-5000
also has a FireWire (IEEE1394) link that allows it to control many D-VHS VCRs
directly. Basic VCR functions can be completely controlled by the HD-5000 remote.
However, we connected our Marantz MV8300 D-VHS VCR to one of the component video
inputs for testing both 720p and 1080i analog high-definition video. We also connected
our Sony DVP-NS900V DVD player using interlaced component video. We did this to
test out the deinterlacing capabilities of the LT-3020. We also fed the display
progressive component video from our Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M changer with built-in
Picture quality on the LT-3020 was excellent for an LCD display. The internal
scaler does a wonderful job of converting incoming video to the native 1280x768
resolution. Even poor source material from a standard VCR looked reasonably good
on this display. High resolution material came alive with natural looking flesh-tones
with nicely saturated colors. Scenes from HDNet's Bikini Destinations really
unveiled the high-definition capabilities of the LT-3020. Over-the-air programs
such as Las Vegas looked wonderful using the HD-5000 A/V controller. Like
all flat panel displays, the LT-3020 has perfect geometry which is often difficult
to acheive with CRT-based display technology. The downside to this technology
is the lack of deep blacks. Other digital technologies also have this issue including
plasma and DLP displays. This is certainly not obvious to most viewers especially
in normal viewing conditions. It will become more apparent in a dark room.
really liked the fact that each of the video inputs on the LT-3020 has its own
set of memory parameters allowing calibrated inputs to be unique to each component.
This is a feature that many manufacturers neglect. The resolution and color saturation
was impressive with scenes from Monster's Inc. The fur on Sulley's body
had texture that looked real (albeit bluish-green). The display did a great job
of scaling the 480p video to match the display's native resolution. Curved objects
were very smooth looking with the 480p material. We did notice some artifacts
with certain over-the-air NTSC programs and standard VCR-based source material.
However, the built-in 3D motion-adaptive Y/C comb filter did a good job separating
chroma and luminance signals, virtually eliminating cross color artifacts on the
internal 3:2 deinterlacer worked well with challenging material. Star Trek's Insurrection
DVD has some of the most difficult material for these processors and the LT-3020
did very well. The introduction scene not only has slanted roof-tops and a curved
bridge rail, but the camera also slowly pans across the set, making it a completely
dynamic deinterlacing challenge. The rooftops and bridge rail exhibited minimal
deinterlacing artifacts and looked very good overall.
The Mitsubishi LT-3020 is a fantastic high definition LCD television with an extensive
number of video inputs including the very important DVI/HDCP interface. The video
processing included with the display is excellent with its 3D motion adaptive
comb filter, 3:2 deinterlacing and smooth scaling. Our overall impression of LCD
technology is positive, but it does have some issues with deep black levels as
noted in the review. However, as an alternative to plasma, LCD technology and
specifically the Mitsubishi LT-3020 is capable of delivering an excellent high