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32C3030D Picture Quality Assessment

by Colin Tang
10 April 2007

The performance of the Toshiba 32C3030DBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £0.00 discount
can't live up to more expensive models but that's not surprising really. At £550-£600, you can only get an average LCD panel. The first hint of this is in the advertised dynamic contrast ratio, rated at 4000:1. Despite different measurement standards, you can roughly rate the performance of a panel on this value, which gives a strong indication on how blacks appear on-screen. Now let's move on to the tests.

Torture Test

Dead pixels One dead subpixel
Screen Uniformity Mild vertical banding
Overscanning on HDMI, Component 2.5 percent
Blacker than black Passed
Black level Below average/poor
Black level retention Stable with active backlight off
Primary colours Fair, (but red push present in colour decoding)
Scaling Fair, standard TV upscaling
Video mode deinterlacing Above average, Passed waving flag test
Film mode deinterlacing 3:2 cadence passed
Viewing angle 90-100
Motion blur Mild
Digital noise Noisy at 8 feet
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement

On default settings, red push (oversaturated reds) is present on a blue colour temperature pallette. Colours look oversaturated across the board and image noise is quite obvious on many scenes.

Some vertical banding is present in our review model. Consequently, fast pans in a football game or any other uniform surface made this noticeable.

Black Level

THe Toshiba 32C3030DBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £0.00 discount
has below average blacks as the 32 inch panel can only muster a 550:1 calibrated dynamic contrast ratio under average brightness levels. Black retention patterns are stable with active backlight feature off. The unit passes blacker than black data, so no problems there.

Greyscale

Gamma CCT
Gamma exhibits S-shape processing
Even on service menu, that was the best we could do... probably the worst we have done.

Even with service menu calibration we are unable to coax a flat CCT graph at 6500K. It's an improvement compared to default presets but colours are contaminated with a slight reddish or bluish tint depending on the colour temperature deviation along the 6500K graph. Gamma measures about 2.4 but exhibits a mild S shape processing that is prevalent in LCDs. Without the service menu greyscale alteration, most of the dots in the right graph was above the 6500K line. Smooth greyscale ramp reveals no unsightly bands of colours.

Colour

CIE
Green and red primary colour points are off.

Primary green and red colours are mildly inaccurate. Green takes on a bluish tinge and red is undersaturated with a orange tint. This latter is probably compensated with red push at colour decoding. Take all this with the bluish temperature and you get inaacurate colours on real time viewing.

The 3D Colour Management system is a bit of a puzzle. We determined that the saturation controls does exactly just that and should probably be left at zero default. Hue doesn't always affect the primary and secondary colours equally. For example, trying to correct for the red hue error above caused a saturation drop. We managed to get magenta spot on however. It's still not clear to me what brightness does, and so we left it at default.

Motion

Avid sport fans may bemoan the slight motion blurring that is visible with fast action material. Motion compensated frame interpolation technology is now available (we've had a sneak peak at 100Hz MCFI) but this is currently limited to the higher spec models. Definitely an area to watch in the LCD arena.

Detail and Sharpness

The Toshiba 32C3030DBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £0.00 discount
has `standard TV upscaling' as listed on its specifications. We looked at it and noticed a softness to edges which is pretty much on any other TV we have reviewed. I didn't notice any aliasing `jaggies' or excessive ringing on the test images. Of course you may compensate for this with some sharpening at the expense of a little haloing artifact.

At the usual 2m sitting distance, smaller TVs tend to give sharper looking pictures due to edge contrast effect.

Viewing Angles

THe viewing angle of this screen won't match the more expensive S-PVA or IPS-alpha panels but the swivelling stand may help with this.

Video Artifacts

For a low cost entry into HDTV, the Toshiba 32C3030DBuy this for £0.00 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £0.00 discount
unexpectedly handles film mode deinterlacing with competence. On our test patterns, pattern lock for 3:2 cadence was for most part, successful in avoiding deinterlacing artifacts. Mixed video and 3:2 film material was a relative breeze for its processor.

With video mode deinterlacing, some occasional jaggies slips through the processing but major combing isn't seen. On the waving flag test pattern, the lines appear smooth and background images retained detail convincingly. I didn't quite expect to see this on a lower range model.

The Toshiba suffers from visible digital noise on a wide variety of material, even from 8 feet. Therefore, there is a case for switching on Digital Noise Reduction to reduce this artifact.

High Definition

Dragon   Goblet of Fire
He didn't like Harry...
 
Goblet of Fire...

With HD resolution, you get sharper pictures compared to larger screens at 8 feet. At this price, deficiencies in overall contrast, colours and blacks are evident. For example, dark scenes don't convey the extra depth and realism we have been seeing on other more expensive models. Shadow detail looks muddled and swallowed into a gray fog. This affected several darker scenes on Harry Potter 4, but was most notable in the final graveyard confrontation between Master Potter and his arch nemesis, Voldemort.

The latest Harry Potter film, the Goblet of Fire also has several scenes which reveals shortcomings in green foliage and skin tones. Red push on flesh tones is used to counteract the bleaching effect of the bluish colour temperature (despite a warm setting) and cannot be dialled out.

Standard Definition

Darth Vader   Star Destroyer
Ultimate villain...
 
Ominous opening scene...
Cast   Boba Fett
In the dock...
 
Light Saber vs Blaster: not exactly fair izzit?

At 8 feet, which is the usual viewing distance for many households, a 32 inch TV can give fairly sharp pictures on SD material even with standard TV upscaling. The main downside is that the screen would occupy a smaller area of your vision, which some people will gladly tradeoff for better sharpness. In this case, watching Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was a pleasant experience when combining the smaller screen size and superior upscaling of our Toshiba HDE1.

The blacks on the opening scene with the Star Destroyer approaching the Death Star was not deep enough to convey the abyss of space. Also, some shots of Darth Vader with his long flowing black robes reveals poor shadow detail definition where you can't easily make out the creases.

Although the pictures above are not representative of actual performance, the effect of red push is evident on the Jabba the Hutt desert footage with skin tones looking a little redder than expected and sand having an orangy tint. Given the general bluish temperature, the sky overcast looks a tad richer than they should be to my eyes.

On SD football, some vertical banding is visible on our sample model during panning shots. The severity of this artifact will of course change with different sets. Motion tracking exhibited some smearing, but that is generally expected on a LCD without the latest motion improvement technology. Hell... I've watched so many LCDs nowadays that I think I've become immune to a little motion blurring.

Settings

The following settings are optimized for HD broadcast and HD DVD performance via HDMI input. There are several reasons why they won’t work for you, as they can all affect `final’ picture quality.

  • Personal preference
  • Ambient light
  • Source material
  • Players
  • Intramodel variation

Magenta +5 (in 3D colour management)
Active Backlight OFF
Backlight -30
Contrast 100
Brightness 54
Colour 35
Tint 0
Sharpness -20
Black stretch Off
MPEG NR Off
DNR Off
Colour temp Warm

If you are using this for gaming or PC, you should probably turn up the colour temperature to Normal or Cool, because that's what we're used to. In case you didn't know, they don't have this problem in Japan, studio standards are at 9300K!!!


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