Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.The design of the WD-52525 is very similar to that of the wildly popular Samsung models that came to market two years ago. A black bezel surrounds the entire screen area, and below that the rest of the chassis is finished in a dark gray. There is a flip-up door below the center of the screen that reveals a full set of A/V inputs with S-Video, a FireWire port, and four flash memory card slots for quick display of digital photos: Memory Stick, CompactFlash, SmartMedia, and MMC (MultiMediaCard)/SD (Secure Digital).
Compared to other microdisplay sets, the Mitsubishi is rather heavy at 134 pounds, and its 17-inch depth is typical of the category. You'll need to set it atop some sort of stand to get it to eye level; naturally, the company offers a matching stand with space for components, model MB-52525, for another $299. The TV is equipped with a protective acrylic shield, which we found reflected a tremendous amount of glare from the room. Happily, we were able to remove it quite easily; the manual provides complete instructions.
The remote control is identical to those of Mitsubishi's other big-screen remotes. It's on the large side, but well laid out with a minimum of buttons, and we found it intuitive to operate. We were also pleased to find that the most commonly used buttons can be backlit by pressing a button on the right side of the remote. The graphical menu system is fairly straightforward and easy to navigate.The feature package on this set is simply too lengthy to list completely. It starts off with Texas Instruments' HD2+ DLP engine, which has a native resolution of 1,280x720, an exact match for 720p HDTV. All other sources, including 1080i HDTV, DVD, and standard television, are scaled to fit the available pixels.
Dual-tuner PIP and POP head the list of conveniences, although digital and HDTV channels can be viewed only as the main picture, not as the sub picture. Mitsubishi's NetCommand system is also onboard, which allows you to use the TV--via a series of IR blasters and an onscreen interface--to control other components in your system. This digital-cable-ready set also incorporates the new CableCard feature that allows you to view scrambled cable channels without a cable box, as long as your cable provider offers the service (by now, most do).
Picture-enhancing features include three selectable color temperature settings (Low, Middle, and High), 2:3 pull-down in the video processing, and a Perfect Color menu for adjusting the color decoder. We counted six aspect-ratio modes for standard-def sources, and only two for HD.
Connectivity is also extremely comprehensive. The WD-52525 has a built-in HDTV tuner, and in fact both RF inputs will receive and display HDTV as well as NTSC signals from an antenna or cable--the latter can work in conjunction with the CableCard slot. There are three component-video inputs, one of which can also accept RGBHV signals. An HDMI port and two FireWire (DTVLink) I/Os are also on tap here for direct digital-to-digital connections. Two A/V inputs with both S-Video and composite video and stereo audio are provided for analog sources, along with a 15-pin VGA input for use with a PC and an RS-232 port for use with AMX or Crestron touch-panel remotes. Finally, there is an A/V output with composite video only and a coaxial digital output for routing audio to an A/V receiver.
Like all microdisplay TVs, the WD-52525 has a lamp that will eventually burn out. Mitsubishi unofficially rates lamp life at around 6,000 hours, although at 4,000 hours a message appears telling you to consider buying a replacement assembly ($299).