Toshiba 52XV545U LCD HDTV Page 2
I would prefer to have red, green, and blue controls for high and low brightness, or at the very least, an R Drive control in the user menu. Still, I improved the set’s measurements significantly by using just the B and G Drive controls. This brought blue and green into close alignment across the brightness range, although red was still deficient. However, I got the measurements even closer to correct when I used the service menu.
The ColorMaster controls did far more damage than good to the set’s picture. Out of the box, the green color point was way off the mark, and the ColorMaster green controls couldn’t completely correct it. I managed to bring the other colors into line with their targets, but when I displayed real program material, it looked terrible, full of noise and weird contouring. Also, the colors didn’t look right at all, so I decided to disable the ColorMaster settings and review the set au naturel.
I looked at the HQV Benchmark DVD in 480i via component to test the effect of the SRT upconversion technology. I started with the color-bar test. This section also includes some bursts—areas with alternating lines of black and white, as well as other areas with alternating lines of two different colors—at different frequencies. (The higher the frequency, the thinner the alternating lines are.) With SRT turned off, the horizontal black-and-white high-frequency burst was almost completely rolled off, as was the high-frequency vertical color burst.
When I turned SRT on, I discovered that it has three modes, each with a five-step Level setting. According to the manual, Mode 1 is intended for low-quality, standard-def content with lots of noise, Mode 2 is for DVD content, and Mode 3 is for 720p broadcast content. There’s also an Auto mode that automatically adjusts SRT according to the input signal.
As I played with these settings, the contrast seemed to increase when I went from Mode 1 to 2 to 3. The Level setting did the same thing at higher values. High Level values also introduced obvious edge enhancement and noise. In addition, Level 3 caused banding in the vertical high-frequency black-and-white burst, while the other Level settings did not. Mode 2 at Level 2 seemed to sharpen the bursts the most without adding undue edge enhancement.
Next, I looked at the HQV detail test, which is a clip of a road and bridge with lots of fine detail. It quickly became clear that Mode 1 actually softened the picture from DVD (as it had on the bursts), whereas Mode 3 looked too edge-enhanced. Once again, I settled on Mode 2 Level 2 as the best setting. This did, in fact, sharpen the image noticeably. Higher Level values seemed to sharpen the image even more, but it started to look unnatural and noisy.
Moving on to my other standard tests, jaggies were moderate and most pronounced on the waving flag. The set’s digital noise reduction (DNR) was reasonably effective without softening the picture, even on its High setting. The Auto setting didn’t seem to do much at all. MPEG NR softened the picture a bit but didn’t do much for mosquito noise, so I left it off.
Still on standard definition, the set’s processor picked up 3:2 pulldown pretty slowly. It took a full second to lock on and then lost the lock at the end of the HQV race-car clip. Unfortunately, the Cinema Mode control has no auto setting, so you must manually select Film or Video mode depending on the content. Even in Video mode, the 2:2 clip had a fair amount of jaggies. The mixed 3:2 film-and-video text crawls took a moment to stabilize. After that, it was fine, but the diagonal bass strings were more jaggy than usual.
On the HQV Benchmark HD DVD at 1080i via HDMI, jaggies were invisible, and the video resolution loss test was solid. The film resolution-loss test took about a second to lock onto the 3:2 cadence. After that, it was fine except for an occasional loss of lock. The seats in the bleachers lost a fair amount of detail during the pan.
The 52XV545U’s Film Stabilization feature improved things in the pan across the bleachers in this test. It smoothed the motion considerably, especially in the Smooth setting. The Standard setting was not as good, and the motion was the most jerky when I turned Film Stabilization off.
With the FPD Benchmark Blu-ray test disc, ClearFrame improved the detail and sharpness of the scrolling monoscope resolution pattern, but the bursts in the pattern were full of smudgy artifacts. Moving characters, such as the pan across a world map, were sharpened quite a bit with no ill effects, as were the license plates of passing cars. However, it didn’t do as much to improve the sharpness of some of the other motion clips, especially the girl on a swing. Her fine-striped blouse looked a bit sharper with ClearFrame on, but it was still pretty blurry.
With Mission: Impossible III on HD DVD at 1080i, there was moderate moiré in the pan across the staircase. Shadow detail in the catacombs was quite good, but the black tuxedos in the party scene looked a bit flat. Black level was excellent—I could easily ignore the letterbox bars.
Frame interpolation can cause shimmering in a couple of spots at the beginning of the Star Wars: Episode—Return of the Jedi VI DVD, but not on the 52XV545U. However, SRT did introduce a bit of shimmering in the fine vertical stripes on the side of the landing bay as Darth Vader’s shuttle approaches. SRT also sharpened the image considerably, even at a Level setting of 2. I decided I could live with a few artifacts for the sake of a sharper DVD picture.
Staying with DVD, the player’s high SRT settings caused obvious edge enhancement on Topsy-Turvy, but Mode 2 Level 2 minimized it while it clearly sharpened the image. Shadow detail wasn’t bad in the carriage on the way to the opera. Color was also surprisingly good, from the over-the-top sets and costumes to the more subdued real-world colors. However, the green wallpaper in Sullivan’s bedroom was a bit too green.
One shot that’s murder on frame interpolation occurs at the beginning of Cars (Blu-ray) when Lightning McQueen is profiled during the Piston Cup race. McQueen appears in front of an array of bright blue lights, which can look smudged with frame interpolation turned on. But it didn’t happen in this case. Overall detail was excellent, and colors were rich and well saturated.
The black of space in Independence Day (Blu-ray) was nice and deep, and the detail in city skylines and spaceship hulls was sharp and clear. Colors were generally natural, except for neon-green foliage and blue skies, which looked a bit too saturated.
Next up was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Blu-ray). Various shades of white in snowbound Narnia were well differentiated, and detail was excellent. Snowflakes and each hair in Aslan’s mane were clearly visible. Colors were rich and natural except for certain greens like the grass at Aslan’s encampment. These seemed a bit too intense, as did the red tents and blue sky. Shadow detail in Tumnus’ house was very good.
I’m afraid the 52XV545U’s onboard audio quality is subpar. It was very boomy out of the box, but it improved when I turned down the Dynamic Bass Boost control. (Turning it off altogether made the sound way too thin.) Dialogue intelligibility was not great in any case.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Toshiba 52XV545U’s SRT works quite well at lower settings, although higher settings introduce too much edge enhancement and noise. Detail is excellent for an LCD, as are blacks and shadow detail. If you watch a lot of SD content and you don’t mind the color inaccuracies I mentioned here, the 52XV545U is a respectable set.