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Toshiba’s Cinema Regza 46XF550U Belton MO

The set’s picture quality depends on finding the right combination of adjustment settings, and, as expected, the default mode (Sports) is really only intended to provide the absolute maximum perceived brightness on the showroom demo floor, and it produces a horribly over-bright, garish picture that is devoid of detail on both bright white and dark gray scenes.

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Toshiba’s Cinema Regza 46XF550U

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June 4, 2008 By David Birch-Jones

More screen, less cabinet

Proving that less is often more, Toshiba’s latest top line Cinema Regza LCD HDTV series features a dramatically thinner bezel than earlier offerings, trimmed down to just under an inch. Compared to last year’s model, the 46XF550U is dramatically smaller, with a much shorter overall cabinet height, and similarly trimmed width – which should allow the set to fit into a wide range of home entertainment cabinetry that would have only allowed a comparably-sized 42” model, for example.

As befits its top line product positioning, the set is loaded to the gills with features, including an extensive array of picture processing modes. The set features Toshiba’s ClearFrame 120 Hz technology, which upconverts (via interpolation) the standard 60 Hz video signal timing, providing a noticeable improvement in picture clarity, and it pretty much eliminates motion blur. We reviewed this model’s predecessor last year, and were highly impressed with the ClearFrame Film Stabilization feature, which works to reduce judder from 24 frames-per-second film-originated sources. That feature carries over to this latest series, and works like a charm to smooth out the judder that is most often noticeable with slow lateral camera pans.

The set’s picture quality depends on finding the right combination of adjustment settings, and, as expected, the default mode (Sports) is really only intended to provide the absolute maximum perceived brightness on the showroom demo floor, and it produces a horribly over-bright, garish picture that is devoid of detail on both bright white and dark gray scenes. With a measured output of a whopping 163 foot-Lamberts of brightness in that mode, it won’t take too long for eye strain to kick in. Choosing the Movie mode transforms the picture instantly, with preset settings that include the proper color temperature choice (Warm), along with a sensible 20% backlighting setting that presents a much more pleasing and sufficiently bright 43 foot-Lamberts of brightness.

While the set features individual picture memories for each input (as do most sets these days), it lacks the ability to save more than one picture memory setting, which would allow a brighter backlighting setting for daytime viewing, with a lesser backlighting value for evening viewing, for example. I’m also disappointed to note the lack of direct input selector buttons on the remote control, meaning that I have to step through the 8 input choices to get to the input I want.

As expected, the Movie mode’s Warm color temperature setting provides the most neutral white balance (neither too red, nor too blue), and a 10-step gray scale measurement with my color analyzer reveals a remarkably flat result, varying only slightly over the gray scale range, measuring very close to the D65 color temperature ideal at the various measurement points.

When I connect my Samsung Blu-ray player to one of the Toshiba’s HDMI inputs, I’m...

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