A month has come and gone since inviting the Mitsubishi's Unisen LT55265 55" LCD TV into our household, a sizable edge-lit LED display that has proved to be both a blessing and a curse in several ways (more about that later). With the Super Bowl festivities just around the corner, this beautiful beast might be worth considering as your game day display for both its capable video and audio features packaged together into a space-saving form factor.
Besides the annual weight gain attributed to our affinity for Las Vegas buffets, the one negative about attending CES each year is returning home with a bad case of upgrade-itis. We've been itching to upgrade from a not-so-thin 720p LCD display to one of the many larger, but more efficient, LED backlit 1080p displays that have become the new standard for home entertainment. It doesn't matter all broadcast/cable feeds have yet to capitalize and maximize display capabilities; nearly any display in the last 2 years looks markedly clearer, truer in colour and are more energy efficient than nearly any HD set made 5-6 ago in real world use. And in the case of the Unisen LT55265, the improvements between today and yesterday is even more apparent because this display does both audio and video better, and remarkably so.
- Edge-Lit LED Backlight
- 18 Speaker Immersive Sound Technology (52W Total)
- True 240Hz Video
- 1080p 5G 18-Bit Digital Video Processing
- iPhone Remote Control App
- iSP Calibration Microphone
- ISFccc Advanced Video Adjustments
- Wired IR input
- Built-in Wireless Connectivity 802.11n
- Surround Preouts
- EnergyStar 4.0 Qualified
- Clear Contrast Panel
- 6-Color Processor
- 4 HDMI inputs with Deep Color & x.v.Color
- Easy Connect
- USB Media Input for photos & music
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound Processor
- Digital Audio Output
- Variable Subwoofer Output
- 168 watts power consumption
- 18 Speaker Immersive Sound Technology (52W Total)
The Unisen LT55265's most differentiating feature is hidden behind the display's lower black grille front. Utilizing 18 mini speakers, the Unisen model basically offers an integrated soundbar speaker system for better surround sound reproduction. Like any soundbar speaker solution, the Unisen's simulated 5.1 surround sound is best experienced in an enclosed 4-wall setting, utilizing interior acoustics to bounce sound in simulation of surround sound.
As owners of a 1st generation Yamaha soundbar model, we are already acquainted with the quasi-surround effects that are admittedly a compromise between standard stereo and a dedicated surround sound system. We were informed during a CES demo the 18 speaker system is actually licensed technology from Yamaha, albeit with an improved sound and thinner form factor than our earlier model. Partnered with a subwoofer, the system does create convincing surround effects, though nowhere near the clarity of discrete speakers. Center channel performance is considerably improved with broadcast material, and even more so during feature films offered in Dolby Digital 5.1, especially with dialogue-heavy films, Those 18 speakers can do a fine job for those either unwilling or capable of setting up a powered separate system. Users can also further customize/calibrate the sound to fine tune the surround effects, while four programmed sound modes adjust the sound in accordance to intended use (e.g. "Night" turns off/redirects specific speakers to project a more narrow sound).
We used our camera tripod with the calibration microphone, positioning it at about the same height and distance as our seated viewing position.
After setting up the audio with the included calibration microphone (a loud process sure to fray the nerves of pets and annoy the neighbors), we connected our cable box, PS3 and Apple TV to test the set in everyday use. Out of the box the unit's most neutral video setting, "Natural" offers a muted image, marred by a red tint. After a few hours utilizing both the reference photo available via the video calibration menu, alongside referencing both live programming and movies through the PS3 Blu-ray player/Apple TV, we had programmed two additional customized settings that gave us image quality worth gloating about.
Our first custom setting reduced sharpening to eliminate the "1980's British TV Show Effect" that plagues many of the higher end, newer HD models. Wthout adjustment, HD movies like I Am Legend exhibited a picture quality more like HD video rather than film. Once corrected, the edge-lit LED backlit picture proved itself capable of creamy-clear images honoring film-sourced content; a "Film Mode" automatically detects and applies film-decoding correction, adjusting the frame rate to 24 frames per second for 1080i signals. The LT55265's detail rich display does wonders with both Blu-ray, quasi-HD streamed material and even to an extent well-engineered DVD material. It was no surprise the LT55265 could handle Blu-ray reference material well, but it did surprise us the set handled standard def content so capably, bridging the gap between DVD quality and true 1080p material when streaming film content through either Netflix or the Apple TV.
Our second custom setting turned on all the bells and whistles through the expansive calibration menu (one can easily get lost for hours while tweaking minute changes in colour, saturation and contrast), though we once again turned down the LED backlighting to improve darker blacks and lessen the light spillage that sometimes would appear in high contrast situations (this effect isn't specific to this set, but effects all edge-lit LED displays to greater or lesser extent). Our second custom setting was especially enjoyable for watching live sports, and the LT55265's ability to eliminate blurring during action made it a joy to watch during Lakers games, only hampered by each network's broadcast quality. About 75% of the time the set has been left in this 2nd custom mode, with a picture a little brighter and vibrant for network broadcast and perfect for an evening of sports and House Hunter's International.
With such exemplary performance one has to wonder why Mistubishi decided to include a remote control which one could only describe as "adequate". At a list price of $3,199 (the set is available for considerably less online), the Unisen LT55265 is in the upper realm of non-3D displays available today, but the remote doesn't look any better than the remote we still use with our half decade old Samsung. We'd suspect most people who purchase such a feature rich display will do themselves a favor and ditch the included remote and partner it up with a programmable Logitech remote or something similar.
Other things we wished were included was a swivel base and better wi-fi connectivity. The unit comes equipped with built-in wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity. While Bluetooth worked without a hitch, the wi-fi proved to be a challenge, not recognizing our network after validating the connection time after time. We had to resort to running a hardwire Ethernet connection for a quick preview, but since we're a Netflix Streaming/Apple TV household and generally not a fan of integrated web apps (so slow!), the hassle wasn't worth the trouble anyway.
At the start of this review we mentioned the Mistubishi display had proven to be both a blessing and a curse since being taken in for its limited engagement as a review unit. Above, we list the myriad of features that have made watching the LT55265 a complete joy each and every time we turn it on. The curse is due in part to the effect it has had since living with it for over a month, spoiling us to forever realize what a remarkable differences a newer 1080p, LED backlit display can offer in real world use, even with crummy broadcast. In fact, during the holidays, my own mother dropped by and noted the display and requested "one just like THAT one!" (alas, a bit out of my price range, so she had to settle for a more affordable model). And now my better half is begging for me to inquire about purchasing this review unit to keep, and this from the girl who once remarked, "Why the big fuss about 1080p HD?".
The only real strike against the Mitsubishi Unisen LT55265 55" is its price tag. But considering the more friendly pricing available online, the space saving all-in-one form factor and the excellent performance, you wouldn't be foolish in considering this your next big purchase if performance trumps all.
Pros: Beautiful HD and SD image with impressive black level once calibrated, 18 speaker quasi-surround sound is equally impressive once calibrated using Sound Projector calibration mic, internet connectivity/Vudu web apps for those without external set top device.
Cons: Remote control quality doesn't match screen quality, wi-fi connectivity is finicky, suffers from edge-lit LED backlight bleed (lighter areas on a dark or black background), no swivel, expensive.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.