NuVision�s 52LEDLP St. John's NL
March 1, 2007 By David Birch-Jones
Cathode-ray tube (CRT) TVs are now practically nonexistent outside the sub-$500 category. But another type of vacuum tube—Edison’s trusty lightbulb—still dominates high-definition TV. DLP, LCD, and LCoS rear-projection sets, all powered by high-pressure lamps, sell at roughly double the rate of LCD and plasma flat panels in the larger screen sizes.
Clearly, consumers don’t see a lightbulb as a black mark for a TV, but bulbs do have problems. Their intensity begins to fade noticeably somewhere in the middle of their useful life; you may spend half your TV time watching a dimmer-than-optimal picture. And bulbs must be replaced, usually every 2,000 or 3,000 hours at a cost of $200 to $300 (plus a service charge for those who don’t want to change the bulb themselves).
NuVision’s 52LEDLP dispenses with the bulb in favor of innovative LED modules. A trio of red, green, and blue high-power LEDs generates the three primary colors in lieu of the usual lamp and spinning color wheel. The PhlatLight (for photonic lattice light) modules are rated at 60,000 hours, or more than 20 years of 8-hours-every-day viewing. Each module flashes its colored light in turn onto the 1080p DLP chip, which selectively reflects light to create a video image, and your eye combines the red, green, and blue images into one just as it does with a color-wheel-equipped TV.
As with a bulb TV, a cooling fan is incorporated, but this one runs so quietly as to be unnoticeable, and the amount of heat generated is miniscule, making the set an ideal candidate for in-wall or in-cabinet installation.
Dressed in simple and unpretentious attire, the 52-inch NuVision set is only barely larger than the 50-inch plasma screen in my den. The rear panel’s connector array is fairly generous, but the side-mounted composite video/stereo audio input is too basic for my taste. An HDMI or component video input on the side would make it easy to make temporary hook-ups of high-def gaming consoles and digital camcorders.
Start-up is quick; the picture appears within seconds because there’s no bulb to warm up. A walk through the on-screen menu reveals clearly defined picture setting options refreshingly free of marketing gobbledygook, including color-temperature choices that the color analyzer confirms are spot-on. Choosing the color-neutral 6,500 degrees Kelvin setting gives us exactly that over almost the entire gray scale range, with a slight reddish tint at the darkest levels. Because the output of the LEDs can be precisely controlled, the set can produce deeper blacks than traditional microdisplay projection TVs can; a scene from ABC’s Desperate Housewives in HD shows Felicity Huffman’s Lynette wearing an inky black pantsuit devoid of grayish tinge. My color analyzer reports nearly perfect colorimetry—as good as I’ve seen from any video display—with both the primary and secondary color values coming in pretty much exactly where they should. The opening credi...