A brand-new successor to Mitsubishi's LT-2220, the LT-2240 has a swanky design and a dizzying array of options that mark it as a serious high-performance TV, but getting its screen to look right is a challenge. At default settings, the LT-2240 was by far the brightest of the TVs we reviewed--so bright that most color and detail were washed out. We had to make considerable adjustments to improve image quality for our DVD movie test--primarily turning down the contrast and the backlight intensity. While this helped, the LT-2240 still couldn't match some of the fine gradations of color (especially in skin tones) that rival models such as the Sony 21SG2 displayed.
And our adjustments only produced good images if we viewed the screen straight on. When we sat even slightly to the side (as someone in a group of TV viewers would have to do), colors began to wash out again--and more dramatically than on any other LCD TV we reviewed). This effect is a result of the TV's multidomain vertical alignment (MVA) pixel technology, which displays high contrast when you view it straight on, but looses contrast rather quickly when you move to the side. Such a narrow viewing angle is acceptable for a desktop computer monitor that you sit directly in front of, but it is problematic for a TV.
The intense brightness does have an upside, however. The LT-2240 was by far the most impressive screen for viewing high definition clips from IMAX movies encoded in the Windows Media High-Definition Video format. It displayed stunning, luminescent colors in underwater footage of coral reefs, for example. Equally impressive was its ability to produce inky dark blacks. By comparison, most rival TVs could only muster very dark grays. This was especially noticeable in a scene featuring both deep shadows and a mosaic of black and white tiles.
The LT-2240 has a superb sound system that maintains rich, full tones even at high volume. A modest subwoofer and a simulated surround-sound option truly add punch.
The LT-2240 has an abundant array of options and controls. In addition to pairs of S-Video and composite inputs, it has two sets of component video inputs--allowing you, for example, to connect both a progressive-scan DVD player and a standard HDTV tuner without compromising on quality. A DVI-D port allows you to connect a newer TV tuner or DVD player that provides a digital output. Mitsubishi does not recommend using the DVI-D input for attaching a PC, as many graphics cards require a DVI-I input instead, but the set does provide an analog VGA input for PCs and Macs. Finally, a port, called RS-232C, combined with the DVI-D input, forms Mitsubishi's proprietary MonitorLink for attaching Mitsubishi's HDTV tuner, the HD-5000, and controlling the TV via the tuner interface.
Should you want to refine the image quality (which we definitely recommend), the LT-2240 provides extremely granular control. A Video button on the remote brings up individual image settings that appear at the bottom of the screen, allowing a nearly unobstructed view as you toggle through standard options-- such as brightness, contrast, color saturation, and backlight level. You can choose among three color temperature levels (warm, standard, and cool), as on most TVs. Or you can enter an advanced menu that allows you to individually adjust six primary color levels: red, green, blue, magenta, yellow, and cyan. Another option, "Black Enhancement," makes some images stand out more dramatically, but it kills a lot of detail in shadow areas or in features with fine color and brightness gradations, such as hair and eyes. Our basic adjustment recommendations: Turn off black enhancement and reduce both the backlight and contrast levels by about 50 percent to bring out more color and detail.
One more useful feature to mention is a Format button on both the TV and the remote, which lets you toggle through different screen formats, including 16:9 for HDTV and 4:3 for distortion-free standard NTSC TV viewing.
The downside to the LT-2240's plentiful controls is that they are a bit difficult to navigate: We sometimes had trouble remembering how we had gotten to a particular advanced menu.
Mitsubishi's LT-2240 is a very sophisticated system targeting video purists. But only they may have the patience to deal with its complex settings and limited viewing angles.
This story, "Mitsubishi LT-2240" was originally published by PCWorld.