Big TVs With 1080p Resolution

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HP's 58-inch MD5880n delivers high image quality, and will accept 1080p video sources.
HP's 58-inch MD5880n delivers high image quality, and will accept 1080p video sources.

If you are going to shell out thousands of dollars for a big high-definition television set, you probably want it to deliver the highest resolution available so it won't be obsolete in six months. We tested three of the largest, newest microdisplay sets that offer 1920 by 1080 progressive resolution--the most you can get in a TV.

However, you won't find any 1080p sources (yet); getting a 1080p TV now is useful only for future-proofing. And not all so-called 1080p sets will accept 1080p video when it does become available. For example, the 56-inch JVC HD-56FH96 ($4000) that we tested does not accept 1080p sources; rather, it upconverts signals to 1080p resolution--so JVC can call it a 1080p set. The other two televisions we looked at, the 58-inch HP MD5880n ($4000) and the 62-inch Mitsubishi WD-62628 ($4699), will accept 1080p sources. For more, see "No TV Shows at 1080p"; for an explanation of high-definition standards, browse to "Ten HDTV Myths."

The HP MD5880n earned our Best Buy award by dominating our image-quality tests and offering some unique design touches. The image quality of the other two sets was disappointing. The Mitsubishi's picture was the least sharp, marred by blurry spots and grainy patches, and the image crawled at several points. The JVC's picture sometimes looked sharp, but with certain programs, areas of sparkling color distracted our viewing, especially with standard-definition programming. To read full reviews of all three shipping sets, click here.

The Really Big Picture

The HP MD5880n and the Mitsubishi WD-62628 use a Texas Instruments DLP (Digital Light Processing) chip, while the JVC HD-56FH96 uses three LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) chips. These televisions, like all rear-projection sets, have large cabinets. The acceptable viewing angle with these models is narrower than you get with plasmas, direct-view CRTs, or LCD sets.

HP says the TV uses technology to project two slightly overlapping, shifting images to create a sharper picture. That may just be hype, but the HP had the most accurate color, the best contrast, and the sharpest picture, whether it was displaying HDTV content, standard-definition programming, or DVD movies.

The HP's ports sit behind a large panel on the front of the set, making it easy to connect components. But to hide the cables, you'll have to snake them through the chassis.

All three sets have CableCard slots, digital and analog tuners, and two HDMI inputs. The Mitsubishi has a few more inputs than the other models (including three sets of component inputs).

Any of these sets costs a lot less than a flat-panel TV of the same size (if you can find one). Though the constricted viewing angle is a drawback, if you want a big TV with 1080p resolution, you'll get the most for your dollar with HP's DLP.

This story, "Big TVs With 1080p Resolution" was originally published by PCWorld.

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