There is no denying that home theaters are hot these days. Everyone has one, wants one or would like to upgrade their old one. Moreover, following the adage of bigger is better, big screens are king of the do-it-yourself cinema realm.
• Read all of today's best Plasma HDTVs reviewed here.
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But when comparing prices of high definition televisions, the disparity between all the different types of display devices can be overwhelming. Unless you have a large budget or your kids do not mind missing a few meals each day to help subsidize that expensive plasma screen, a large display may be out of reach. However, rear projection televisions (RPTVs), even in super-sizes, continue to maintain an affordability that is hard to beat.
One of the top contenders in the HD rear projection ring is Toshiba. Their newest Cinema Series sets have solid performance, new cosmetics and loads of technology improvements while still maintaining competitive pricing. The second largest display in the Cinema Series line is the Toshiba 57HX93. This 57-inch widescreen weighs in at 204 pounds, which would rank it in the heavyweight class if it were a professional boxer, but even as a television it's still quite portly.
The 57HX93 has three CRT rear projectors with Toshiba's PowerFocus HD4 optics and Niltava Advanced Lens Technology for accurate color reproduction and better color tuning than asymmetrical ground lenses. Toshiba's TouchFocus automatic digital convergence system makes adjustments to compensate for natural and manmade magnetic fields. TouchFocus provides a faster, more accurate digital convergence for optimized corner-to-corner focus at the touch of a button. Toshiba even includes manual override adjustments for fine-tuning.
By increasing the contrast and color saturation, HD Dynamic Contrast circuitry enhances detailed information in the picture for a sharper image. This is accomplished by analyzing both the bright and dark areas of the picture and optimizing the dynamic range of each area separately. Picture enhancements include luminance transient improvement, green enhancement and blue stretch; and improve all video signals including 1080i.
To help reduce detail noise in intricate scenes, the 57HX93 is equipped with a 3D Y/C (4MB, 10-bit) digital comb filter with vertical contour correction for RF and composite video signals.
For DVD content, Cinema Mode circuitry identifies original film-based material and processes it with a 3/2 pull-down switch. Since motion pictures are based on 24 frames per second (rather than video-based 30fps), there is often a flicker when these frames are converted to a 60Hz NTSC television. The Cinema Mode eliminates the possibility of artifacts and video errors by reassembling the frame sequence to more accurately reproduce the original 24 frame film-based material. The proof is in the pudding, uh, sharp and accurate full-frame progressive image.
Inside the newly designed two-piece cabinet, the 57HX93 packs a 40-watt MTS stereo with SRS WOW and Virtual Dolby. This creates a wide, three-dimensional sound field that is enhanced with a TruBass sub system for better low frequency effects. StableSound is a feature close to my heart. StableSound maintains the television volume within a preset range to eliminate the shock of a standard program volume level followed by dramatically loud commercial interruptions. It also regulates the volume levels when changing channels for audio symmetry across the tuner.
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