Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
Rear projection TVs offer a lot of bang for the buck. The trade-off to getting a large display at a fraction the cost of plasma and LCDs is, of course, the size of the cabinet. Accommodating a large RPTV into a living room or den may substantially cut down on living space. Plus, they blend in with the d�cor like an elephant hiding behind a palm tree. Conversely, setting up a RPTV is far easier than mounting a display to a wall and fishing cables between drywall and through wood studs. Setting up a RPTV is so easy that the most difficult task is probably moving the set into place.
The 57HX93 has generous connections on the rear panel, making a powerful monitor with room to grow and expand. Once the Toshiba was properly positioned and connected to a new DirecTV HD TiVo digital video recorder, terrestrial HD antenna and a Harman Kardon DVD 22 player, I calibrated the video signal using my Digital Video Essentials DVD by Joe Kane. After the audio and video signals were optimized, I proceeded with the evaluation.
The size of my family room allowed for a 12-foot viewing distance, which was adequate for the 57-inch TV. This distance yielded positive results for the test; however, with a west-facing window at a 45-degree angle to the screen, I noticed a distracting glare that is common with rear projection units. Bright lights from an exterior source can really wash out the picture of a television, but rear projection sets are especially susceptible. With curtains drawn and lights down low, the 57HX93 demonstrated a much better appearance. While watching my favorite channel, Discovery HD, the animals on the African Serengeti appeared almost three-dimensional. The detail on lion manes allowed me to view single hairs blowing in the wind and the rough skin of the elephants and rhinos nearly gave texture to the screen. During Discovery's Shark Week, I enjoyed seeing images from the deep shown with terrific black levels. The dark oceanic images were so precise, small background details in poor lighting actually stood out. Brighter images such as with the opening scenes of Finding Nemo were warm and accurate with enhanced edges. The built-in color decoding and warm temperature controls did a splendid job reproducing the red, green and blue hues.
Toshiba scored a TKO with their on-screen menus. They are powerful, but still easy to navigate. The menus use colored buttons and graphics to control key features of the 57HX93. The universal A/V remote can control up to six components and is backlit in blue. It does not take a trip through the manual to figure out what buttons work each feature. As for the new cabinet styling, though functional, it looks humdrum at best. The black non-descript design doesn't do much to make the 57HX93 stand out, but it is smaller than other RPTVs in this class.
The Toshiba 57HX93 is priced about mid-pack when matched up with other RPTVs, but has so much to offer. Since image quality is at the forefront of judging any display, it's with great pleasure I put my stamp of approval on this HDTV. The lifelike theater-quality imaging, excellent white and black levels and superior detail outshine nearly every other rear projection system, period. With help from numerous technologically advanced video circuits, the picture processing provides well-defined, accurate and vibrant colors. Video dynamics of the Niltava Lens Technology, HD Dynamic Contrast and TheaterFine HD Super Fine Pitch Screen equal a well-focused, artifact-free picture. Conve-nience features such as the Gemstar interactive program guide for digital and analog program information, TouchFocus auto digital convergence system, dual tuners for PIP and POP operation, and illuminated remote deliver the combination punch that makes this contender a real champion.
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Toshiba 57HX93 Cinema Series HD RPTV
57-inch 16:9 Screen
Integrated HDTV Monitor
DVI-HDTV rear input
(2) IEEE 1394 (FireWire) input/output
TheaterLink IR output
Rear RCA audio input/output
(2) component video inputs
(3) S-Video inputs (1 front, 2 rear)
56 3/4"H x 52 3/4"W x 24"D
Weight: 204 lbs.
Warranty: 1 year (parts and labor)
2 years (picture tube)