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Toshiba 42X3030D Picture Quality

by Vincent Teoh & Colin Tang
17 May 2007

High Definition

Continuing our appreciation of the excellent BBC HD service, we turn our attention over to its varied music selection of concerts, BBC One sessions and the ever popular Late Night with Jools Hollands for some critical viewing. The well-lit stage combined with the low lit audience floor and surroundings give ample opportunity to examine colour balance and make out black level and shadow detail quality. While the Toshiba 42X3030DBuy this for £712.49 at Dixons
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cannot spit out prodigious amount of blacks, it doesn't disappoint either. With our settings, we were quite happy with the 42X3030D interpretation of black and its neighbouring greys. Foreground performers and stage props stand out marvelously as a result.

For viewers who want to experience all subtlety in shadowy scenes, the Toshiba seemed quite capable of delivering on that front. We saw more detail and 'landscape' in the sea of audience surrounding the rock stars or divas in those music sessions, rather than a big black hole that inferior LCDs frequently portray.

Colour is perhaps this TVs strongest asset, with fidelity and balance closely matching plasma TVs. Unfortunately, it doesn't come like that from the factory. You (or someone else) will need to work at it to make it perfect. That's what the 3D colour management system will do for you, if you are willing to stick to your guns. Watching James Brown, Norah Jones, Pete Townsend and countless other performers belting out their greatest hits, it never occured to me that any colour was out of place, especially in skin tone reproduction.

Norah   Pete Townsend
Talented Norah Jones (zoom)
 
Fiery Who?

The HD DVD version of Troy, the homo-erotic, swords-and-sandals epic adventure, landed on my doorstep over the weekend, so I loaded it up to take some pictures. (I watched it half a dozen times already). Despite an unusual cast with mismatched accents and bigger-than-life egos, it was nevertheless entertaining and fun to watch for its well shot combat scenes. For us, our interest lies in 42X3030D's competent execution in delivering clear, crisp images of bright scenes illuminated with strong daylight, which Troy has in abundance. I know I bang on and on about colour temperature and secretly I know many of you prefer to watch stuff in colour temperatures above 6500k because it's just brighter and not as 'yellow'. Such guilty pleasures are quite alright with me, as long as you know what you're giving up. Many of the combat scenes are shot in high noon, so calibrating the TV to D65 creates extra realism and ensures colour accuracy in those scenes.

Moire defects and jaggies on HD material is difficult to detect when 3:2 cadence detection is not up to par. It's something you don't have to worry about with the Toshiba 42X3030DBuy this for £712.49 at Dixons
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, just switch on Cinema mode for film input at 60 Hz for peace of mind.

Achilles Showdown
Let's stay behind Achilles (zoom)
 
Take that...
Trojan Horse   Helen
Trojan Horse...
 

They didn't come for her...

Standard Definition

Selby Snooker
Selby in fine form... (zoom)
 
Snooker?

Ahh... I was rooting for (or was it betting on?) the Jester from Leicester in the championship finals, and on the last day Selby won 6 frames in a row before Wizard Higgins regained his composure and cruised on to win the trophy. When I wasn't enjoying the duel, I was looking intently on the SD picture quality. I don't know if it was the reception or what, but the quality wasn't the best and certainly nowhere near the American dramas on UK TV. Some MPEG noise was evident with the broadcast, but I didn't want to lose any more detail by turning on the MPEG noise filter, which essentially blurs the whole picture.

Colours were spot on once again and although it's been a long time since I was near a snooker table, I liked the deep, realistic colours the 42X3030D produced, especially in red and green. It was as near to real life as I remembered it.

Some digital noise is visible at about 6-7 feet and certainly more so at close up. I normally switch off any noise processing, but in some instances I could be tempted to indulge in a little noise reduction. It's down to personal preference really. For my part, I am generally insensitive to some noise, so it takes quite a lot to unnerve me.

 

I dug up an old DVD classic, Shawshank Redemption, for some light-hearted testing on the 42X3030D. Our Toshiba HD-E1 player helped dish out a fine picture with more edge definition than the 42X3030D's internal scaler. The movie is also quite dark in a lot of scenes, but the TV seems capable of pulling some detail out of oblivion on our settings. I can't wait for a proper high definition transfer of this great movie, as there is no doubt that HD easily reignites my passion for film again. It's part of what this site is all about.


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