LT-46149 iSP Sound Projector
I had thought the term "sound projector" was trademarked, but apparently the trademarked term is "digital sound projector" so Mitsubishi is safe. In either case, their Integrated Sound Projector (iSP) is a cool technology and it's a wonder to see it integrated right into a flat panel television. After all, this is the exact thing most consumers I talk to ponder the most: How do I get surround in my living room without running wires. You don't... OK, you can, but we don’t' recommend it. Fine, buy a soundbar if you won't do anything else. And now Mitsubishi has included it in the price of the television. From the pricing of the LT-46149 vs. the still-shipping LT-46148, they've apparently dubbed it a ~$700 premium add-on (the only other difference we could tell from the 148 was the addition of a CableCARD slot). I'm not sure if this sound bar is worth $700, but it's certainly nice to see on a TV.
We tried out several of the default modes, which include various positions the television might occupy in your home. These recall preset virtual beam locations which get the sound across the front of the soundstage and also behind you as surround sound information. You even set the wall lengths and the distance to your seated position (or "sofa" as Mitsubishi labels it). What we liked best, however, was the Custom Setup mode where you could steer the beams around the room until you located just the perfect positioning for your seated position. Both the front and rear speakers need to be beamed off side or rear walls but you have plenty of leeway to help this take place. Once we were done directing the beams, we got to work setting the levels with our SPL meter and dialed in the system quite nicely. The sound projector worked well in both corner and side wall locations, but, as with other sound projectors I've tested, the side wall location worked best for a realistic surround field.
The system has 16 2W speakers for a grand total of 32 watts of sound. We're not sure how it's rated, but the bottom line was that we could get a reasonable amount of volume out of the system. It could not rock the house in party mode, but we never found ourselves straining to understand anything that was going on with the action. Explosions had lots of bite, but had absolutely zero "oomph" until we connected our subwoofer mid-way through testing. That shook things up, but our top-out volume was still low.
Dialogue was nice and clear. We never had any trouble with intelligibility. On music DVDs we quickly noticed a lack of defined midrange - however this is all relative. Compared to most television speakers I've heard, this was a premiere sound rig. We utilized a subwoofer with this setup and it really added to the experience. This is a minimum recommendation I would have with anyone looking to get the most out of these speakers.
I would have to say that this system is much more than a toy. It actually works to create a nice, full sound field. It's certainly not the best sound bar or sound projector I've heard, but it blows away most television speakers I've listened to and completely decimates the DSP-based virtual surround modes I've heard to-date. It also only adds a scant two inches to the overall height of the TV when wall-mounted. It's likely that some people will purchase this television just for this feature alone, and I can't say that's a bad thing.