0 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Age Rating: All
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: Other
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Hardware Reviews
Toshiba 55HX70 55
April 04, 2002
Toshiba 55HX70 55
What They SayThe Review!
Toshiba 55HX70 55" Rear-Projection HDTV
By David Christopher Asher
- MSRP $3499 ($2150-$2750 street)
- 4:3 Aspect ratio
- HDTV (1080i, 480p) compatible
- 1280 lines vertical resolution
- Illuminated A/V universal remote
- Approx 47"x58"x23" (WxHxD), 250LBs
Short Review: BUY THIS TV!
Two years ago, I was walking by the TV section in Best Buy when one Projection TV caught my eye, so I went over for a closer look. This was my first encounter with an HDTV, in this case, the 55HX70's model-ancestor the TN55X81. Two things about this TV stood out immediately: the picture was two to three times brighter than the standard projection TVs, and the picture, when viewed up close, was as sharp as my 27" Trinitron--at more than twice the size!
I have looked at a number of other HDTVs in the past two years, including models by SONY, Hitachi, Samsung, Pioneer, and Philips. The Toshiba is the equal of the best of them, but can be found for $500 to $1000 less than most, including the 53" SONY it closely resembles. Additionally, Toshiba makes both 4:3 and 16:9 sets.
I chose a 4:3 set because a) I watch a fair amount of normal TV, b) most anime is 4:3, and c) overall, you get more screen area on a 4:3 set. Watching a 16:9 movie on my set, the picture is about the size of a 50" 16:9 set (10% smaller). Watching TV on the 56" is like watching TV on a 45" TV (18% smaller). Plus, the 4:3 sets are $300-$600 cheaper than the 16:9 sets. I finally broke down and ordered mine from crazyeddie.com who had the best price I could find ($1878 + S/H).
The 55HX70 has an extensive on-screen menu system, and allows near total control of the picture. In addition to the standard picture controls (brightness, contrast, tint, etc.), there are controls for color temperature, 9-point convergence adjustment, flesh-tone correction, and more. It has 4 preset sets of values optimized for sports, general TV, film, and one custom for the user's preference. It also has a reset to defaults option in case you mess things up beyond your ability to fix them.
Audio features thorough, and the TV's speaker can be used as the center channel in a surround system using a seperate connector in the back of the unit. The set also has one of the coolest audio features I've seen, called "StableSound". Often, you need to turn up the TV to hear the dialogue on a show, and when the commercial comes, it's loud as hell. StableSound fixes that little problem. It features bass-enhancement and SRS surround enhancement options.
I have not used the tuner capabilities of this set (no cable). I should note that the set does NOT, repeat NOT have a digital HDTV tuner. HDTV tuners currently sell for $1000 or so, and Toshiba has chosen to make it a seperate item on their TVs. Since HDTV broadcasts are rare (especially in my area), for me it is no loss, and it saved me $1000. The set does have two NTSC tuners, and a host of PIP functions to go with them though.
The remote is is a universal-type, large, but not overly large. I am not very impressed with the layout, but it works fine. The TV is on casters, which makes it easy to move around, or get at the connectors on the back. The TV body is MDF, with black/grey laminate.
The picture quality is phenomenal. I cannot stress enough how good everything looks. Colors are smooth, bright, vivid, with no bleeding. The set allows for tremendous levels of contrast, and has what Toshiba calls "Advanced Velocity Scan Modulation", which they claim improves the transitions from black to white. It works--the subtitles on Trigun Disc 8 were very blocky, which I soon realized was because the font was being rendered in perfect little square pixels. The viewing angle is quite wide, and while any projection TV will get dim at off-angles, the 55HX70 maintains even brigntness across the screen very well.
I tested the set with the following video:
The Matrix (DVD), track 29 (the lobby scene) - Nice overall, much of the scene is blurry explosions of marble and dust, but the slo-mo explosion at the end was very nice.
Gladiator (DVD) - I wondered about it for a while (the movie is very blue in the beginning), but what an absolutely gorgeous picture. You can see the tiny bumps on people's skin. You can see the film grain in some shots. It's scary.
Ghost in the Shell (DVD) - Long considered a reference anime title, this looked very nice. Brilliant colors were well-reproduced, although the big set revealed the occasional MPEG artifacting here and there (especially in dark scenes).
Arc the Lad v1 (DVD) - I chose this because the picture quality looked really good when I watched it the first time on my 27" SONY. Excellent video quality (digital ink and paint). The only down-point I can make about it is the image was very sharp, and you could easily see the pixels in the image (which a standard def TV will hide).
Trigun v8 (DVD) - I felt like watching this again. VEry nice, though as I mentioned, Pioneer uses a skinny font and it looked blocky.
Bottom Line: BUY THIS TV! Toshiba's Cinema Series offer the most bang for the buck right now. The picture quality is outstanding, and it's available for the price of a standard-definition projection TV 5 years ago. If you have the room (I live in a studio apartment) and the cash, take a serious look at Toshiba's 50/55/61HX70 TVs.
2 Y/Cb/Cr component inputs
3 S/composite inputs (1 front/2 rear)
(stereo audio on all sets of inputs)
1 Center channel speaker input (RCA-type)
2 75-ohm antenna inputs
1 Variable audio output
1 Composite video output
1 75-ohm antenna output
APEX AD-600A DVD player w/ Monster Video 3 component cables
SONY Playstation 2 with SONY component A/V cable