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Friday, March 02, 2007

Toshiba 62MX196 DLP HDTV

In last year’s RPTV Face Off, the Toshiba and JVC TVs tied for second place. This year, the Toshiba missed out on that same tie by only one point. Other TVs in this Face Off excelled strongly in certain categories and not in others. The Toshiba, on the other hand, did well in most categories, except for one, that is.

The comments for the Toshiba generally remarked on its balance. The color accuracy, while not as good as some of the other displays’, was better than average. The Toshiba’s overall contrast ratio was the second lowest, but its ANSI contrast ratio was the second highest. The amount of detail was better than some but not as good as others. And there didn’t seem to be too much noise in the image with any of the sources we demoed.

Processing was fairly average. The 62MX196 picked up the 3:2 sequence with 480i on both the Gladiator clip and the Silicon Optix disc. The waving flag from Silicon Optix had some jagged edges,but it wasn’t too bad. While the 62MX196 deinterlaced 1080i/30 correctly, it wasn’t able to pick up the 3:2 sequence (like most of the displays here). As you’ll see in a moment, this was more of a pressing issue here.

While the value of this TV may seem high, you’ll need to add $300 to its price for a good calibration. Out of the box, the 62MX196 is wickedly cool, like every other Toshiba display we’ve reviewed recently. I understand why a manufacturer would want their TVs to be set to the coolest color temperature out of the box, but why not at least give us enthusiasts the ability to drop to normal levels if we want?

This is the only TV in this year’s Face Off that doesn’t accept 1080p on any input. Last year, such ability was a rarity, but now it is commonplace. This exclusion is notable and disappointing. Other TVs in Toshiba’s line accept 1080p, but not the 1080p RPTVs. Now that we have a real 1080p/60 source (PlayStation 3), this lack sullies an otherwise decent TV. Furthermore, the 62MX196 can’t pick up and process the 3:2 sequence from 1080i correctly.

So, on a performance level, the 62MX196 does a lot of things well but doesn’t excel in any one area. With the lack of a 1080p input, it wasn’t able to move any higher.


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