Mitsubishi Megaview Pro 37 CRT Monitor (Mania.com)
Date: Sunday, April 13, 2003
What They Say
Mitsubishi Megaview Pro 37
Review (High Definition on a budget!!)
If you’ve been looking for a cheaper solution to getting Hi-Definition quality images while you’re watching anime and are a little tech-savvy (the cool way of saying you’re an A/V geek) getting a large computer monitor might be something you’d like to consider. These large monitors began popping up in large numbers in the mid-to-late 90s mainly for the purpose of PowerPoint presentations for corporate office-meetings and such. Now with the advent of video cards with TV-outs and cheaper CRT projectors, such monitors are all but obsolete to businesses. Yet for those willing to put a little work into it, these monitors become HDTVs for those on a budget (and what otaku aren’t on a budget?!?)
You can find these large monitors (27”+) used on auction sites more often than not. It was here that I came across the subject of this review, the Mitsubishi Megaview Pro 37. It has a 37” picture tube (35” of it is viewable—meaning an inch on each side of the tube is covered by the housing), a 4:3 aspect ratio and a maximum resolution of 1280x1024 (more on this in a bit.) As far as inputs go there are two sets of composite inputs (NOT component, mind you), two sets of S-Video inputs, one 15 pin D-Sub input (the same that any other CRT computer monitor has) and dual set of 5 BNC RGBHV inputs (one set is a 75 ohm connection—though I’m unsure when you’re supposed to use that one over the other.) This model, originally manufactured in ’99, had an MSRP of $9999. Ouch! I was lucky enough to find a vendor selling it for $750. I had to pay an exhorbitant shipping cost of $150 to get it to me, but a grand total of $900 for something that is worth more than ten times as much is a pre!
tty good deal to me!
Now as I’ve said before, with having such a hi-res monitor over a much more user-friendly but higher priced consumer HDTV, there comes a little more work involved in getting it to work with your VCRs, DVD players, LD players, video game systems, etc. While it does have S-video and composite inputs, in order to get your HD/Progressive Scan images you have to utilize the RGB inputs. Luckily, if you have a Progressive Scan DVD player like the Skyworth 1050D which has a 15 pin RGB output like I do, hookup is a snap.
For my VCRs and DVD/LD player I purchased a DVDO I-Scan Plus line-doubler by Silicon Image. This device will take any interlaced composite or S-Video input and covert it to a progressive RGB or component (YPbPr) signal. It has a 15 pin output, but having only S-Video as its highest level of connectivity makes it for all intents and purposes obsolete (everyone wants component now.) So it is now a bargain on auction sites as well. I snagged this one for $120. Pretty good when it originally went for $500.
So here’s how I have everything connected. All of my equipment that have S-Video output are plugged into my receiver (Pioneer Elite VSX-27TX) which is in turn plugged into the line-doubler. The equipment that have 15 pin RGB (Skyworth DVD Player and Sega Dreamcast—Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive 2 look absolutely amazing in VGA) along with the line-doubler are plugged into a KVM switch; another outmoded device that lets you connect multiple computers with mouse and keyboard a single monitor or vice versa and switch between them. If you’re keeping tally of my expenses (which is a pretty good idea) this cost $18 at a computer show.
One minor annoyance that comes with this monitor that I have to point out is that you have to adjust the screen everytime you switch it on or switch the RGB sources. The monitor will attempt position the image on the screen in the middle usually, but sometimes way off to the left. Luckily you’re provided with a remote control that lets you access the menus with the screen information, just like any other CRT monitor. So you often have to take 10 seconds to stretch the screen vertically and horizontally to completely fill the screen properly.
Okay! Now lets get down the meat of the matter; video quality. I can tell you, DVDs look unbelieveably stunning on this monitor—especially when you use the Skyworth. My brother thought I was stupid for getting another DVD player when I already have the Pioneer DVD/LD player along with the line-doubler, but he’s now eating crow after seeing Monsters Inc., Shrek, Blood (import Special Edition) and Princess Mononoke through the Skyworth with the RGB connection on this monitor. Rough edges due to interlacing are GONE! Colors are so vibrant, and details leap off the screen.
One DVD we love to use to show off the depth of color is Ridley Scott’s Legend Ultimate Edition DVD. Remastered to the max, the brighter colors like purple and red of flowers offset from the yellow of the fields or greens and browns of the forests stand out so well that you want to try to reach out and grab them! To show off literally jaw-dropping clarity (yes, some of my friends have stared at the screen with mouth agape) take any DVD that is transferred directly from a digital source: the aforementioned Monsters Inc., Blood The Last Vampire, A Bug’s Life, Shrek, Toy Story, Star Wars Episode II, etc. You’ll start noticing the little details like the spots in Mikey’s skin in Monsters Inc., the amazing amounts of textures in Shrek’s clothing and so many others that you’ll start watching them over and over again just to find more (wow, I’m sounding like such a geek again!)
For anime (other than Blood and Princess Mononoke) when mastered well, look much better than before. Some however, show more flaws that weren’t apparent in the lower resolutions. For example, the pixellization that was only partially evident in Cowboy Bebop, really stands out now. And the MPEG tiling in the Ranma ½ OAV Box Set is more evident than ever.
My two new favorites (for content as well as technical merit) to watch on this monitor are Chobits and Fruits Basket. I’m convinced that since both of these shows seem to have a bit of computer aided animation, they have to come from progressive sources. They both come off so crystal clear and vibrant that there’s no other explanation.
For actual High Definition video (DVD resolution maxes out at 480p for NTSC and 576p for PAL—not quite High Definition) I’ve only been able to test this monitor once. I don’t have an HDTV receiver, and don’t plan to get one until they become cheaper (budget remember!?) So I used my only piece of equipment that is capable of reproducing true HD-Video; my Xbox. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of games that have true HD resolutions. I know of two that run at 720p; Sega’s NBA 2K3 and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 and 4. I rented Tony Hawk PS4 just for this test.
I also had to get a component to VGA adapter to hook my Xbox to this monitor. You see, the only way to utilize the Xbox’s higher resolutions is to get the High Definition A/V pack that comes with component video connections. There is a 3rd party made VGA adapter for the Xbox that would probably work better than this (and probably be cheaper) but I don’t think it has optical audio output like the HD A/V pack does (I like my games in digital surround sound, thank you.) Key Digital Systems’ KD-CTCA2 component to RGB convertor is probably the best one on the market for the price (around $200.) It is one of the few that supports 720p and 1080i resolutions.
So when I booted up Tony Hawk I was a bit disappointed. The image wouldn’t center properly and I couldn’t get the edges of the image to reach the ends of the screen after I centered it as well as I could. I think this is more a fault of the process of converting the YPbPr component signal to RGB than it is of the monitor. This monitor should be able to handle 720p with ease as its max resolution of 1280x1024 is much higher than the actual resolution of HD 720p which is 1280x720. Still the picture that I did get from Tony Hawk when I formatted the image was stunning, so much more detail and clarity than any 480p image.
There is one game that runs at 1080i, Dragon’s Lair 3D, but I didn’t bother with it. I don’t belive this monitor can rasterize an interlaced image properly. The XBox boot up and menu screen runs at 480i and cannot be centered on the screen no matter how hard you try and looks slightly warped on this monitor. Going by pure pixel count 1080i should theoretically be possible on this monitor. Actual 1080i resolution is 1920x540 which makes for a pixel count of 1,036,800 in one raster. The max pixel count of the Megaview Pro is 1,310,720 in one raster. So HDTV programming isn’t out of my reach yet. Especially when you consider that there are receivers out there which not only have 15 pin RGB output but will convert 1080i to 540p, which the Megaview can reproduce.
So there you have it. High Definition at a bit less than “regular” HDTV prices. You just need a little more stuff to go with it. And remember, if you’re so inclined you can hook your PC to this thing with much better quality than you would with a regular TV out from your video card. I am in fact building a new PC just for that. Yes, I’m a geek . . . and proud of it!!
(for images and specs of the Megaview Pro 37, go here)
Age Rating: All
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Other
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Hardware Reviews