Toshiba Regza Cinema Series HD 42XV545U LCD HDTV Reviewed

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Toshiba_42XV545U_LCD_HDTV.gifToshiba recently has made a major move in the LCD market that very likely has gotten the attention of the boys at Sony, Samsung and Vizio. Their latest line of high-definition LCD displays, specifically the 42-inch Regza Cinema Series HD display reviewed here are thinner, brighter and better than any other set in terms of refresh rate. What's even more impressive is that you buy one today for a reasonable $1,699 retail.

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While the product number may be confusing, the Regza Cinema Series HD LCD has a 42-inch, 16:9 display, with a native resolution of 1080p and a 120Hz refresh rate. I'll get into the 120Hz argument in a moment, but first let's take a gander at the TV itself. The Regza is an attractive yet minimal display. It doesn't hawk a lot of silvery plastic or flashy finishes at you, but opts instead for a simple gloss-black bevel with a subtle dark gray accent below the Toshiba badge. The Regza comes standard with a sleek pedestal stand, though wall-mounting is an option with a third-party wall mount. The display itself measures roughly 40 inches wide by 25-and-a-half inches tall and nearly four inches deep. The Regza, with stand, weighs a modest 54 pounds. The manual controls are located along the right side (looking at the display) of the display itself and feature hard buttons for power, menu, channel and volume, as well as a single HDMI and composite audio/video inputs, which are pretty much standard. Around back, you get three more HDMI inputs, two sets of component video inputs and a full complement of composite and S-Video connections, all with coordinating analog audio inputs. There is a PC monitor input (15-pin), as well as a IR pass-through, a fixed analog audio out and a Dolby Digital optical output.

Under the hood, the Regza boasts a myriad of features, some more standard than others. The Regza is a full 1080p display and, with the help of Toshiba's own SRT (Super Resolution Technology) Technology, it will scale all signals to 1080p. SRT is Toshiba's proprietary upconversion technology that upconverts and enhances the signal to bring legacy sources and the images they produce to near HD-quality levels. The Regza also utilizes Toshiba's ClearFrame 120Hz Anti-Blur Technology, which, like most 120Hz displays, does its best to eliminate motion blur on images by creating new frames from the digital data and inserting said frames in between the normally-produced frames. The 120Hz argument has its pros and cons and every manufacturer does it a bit differently, with varying degrees of success, at least to this reviewer, but the Regza may be the closest to ideal. The Regza is a 10-bit LCD design with deep color and x.v. color capabilities. It also has a 24 fps Cinema Mode, as well as numerous theater wide modes and image presets. One notable image preset is AutoView, which uses an internal light sensor to gauge ambient light conditions and tailor the viewing experience to the room at the moment for the best possible image.

No HDTV is complete without a remote. The Regza's is, well, a remote. It's a bit bulky; okay it's huge, more the size of a receiver remote and thick as a brick. The layout is mildly logical and, once you spend about fifteen minutes with it, it's easy to memorize by feel, but damn, it's just entirely too big and too cheap-feeling for a TV as good as the Regza.

The Hookup
I installed the Regza in my bedroom system, where my reference Samsung 120Hz LCD display would have to sit idly by. Due to its minimal design (by minimal, I mean lack of excess plastic framing), the Regza was far easier to position and install by myself than my Samsung could ever hope to be. Making the requisite connections was a snap, as I connected it to my Dish Network DVR, AppleTV and Sony PS3. My bedroom home theater is a bit between set-ups for the moment, so I utilized the Regza for both its audio and video capabilities.

Once connected, the set-up menus were superb and calibration was a breeze. Truthfully, to my eyes, the Regza is close to out-of-the-box ready in its AutoView and Movie modes, save for two items. The image is decidedly warm and should be set to a more neutral setting or, better still, a cool one. I had to back off the brightness just a touch to preserve a solid black level, but once I did that and checked it against my Digital Video Essentials disc on Blu-ray, I was good to go. The 120Hz ClearFrame settings can be activated at any time, but for my first go-round with the Regza, I kept them off. I should also point out that, if you start with, say, the Movie picture setting but change the color temperature to Cool, it will automatically set your setting to Preference, for you cannot alter the image presets in any way. Clearly, Toshiba's proud of the presets and doesn't want you mucking them up but the downside is, there is only one user preset option.

Performance
I kicked things off with a little AppleTV viewing, beginning with the digital download of The Dark Knight (Warner Home Video), with the AppleTV's internal scaling set to auto. Since I purchased The Dark Knight, the resolution was actually a touch less than DVD, landing it squarely in SD land with a fair amount of compression. Hell, it's a two-and-a-half-hour movie - that's less than two GB, but you wouldn't know it through the Regza. Was it HD quality? No, but had I not known where the source material came from, I'd swear I was watching a very well-played DVD. I don't believe DVD can look like HD, but DVD can look very very bad. Through the Regza, The Dark Knight was mighty impressive. Color accuracy and saturation was very strong and extremely natural and detailed. Black level was respectable, again on par with good DVD playback, but nowhere near as deep, rich or detailed as HD. What was most striking was how smooth and almost artifact-free the presentation was. Jaggies were kept to a minimum and noise levels in all but the darkest regions of the image were not noticeable from the proper viewing distance. Remember, the Regza was handling all the upscaling and processing of the image, which is something I seldom promote, as there are third-party scalers and chips that usually do a much better job than your TV's internal chips, yet I was impressed by the Regza. Edge fidelity was good and image dimension and depth were respectable, but these were the areas where the source material showed its cards as being clearly not HD and perhaps a touch below even DVD.

Read more about the Toshiba 42XV545U on Page 2.

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HTR Product Rating for Toshiba Regza Cinema Series HD 42XV545U LCD HDTV

Criteria Rating

Performance

3.5

Value

4

Overall

4

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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