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Televisions are the heart of any home—when you’re not reading, exercising, pursuing hobbies, mowing the lawn or spending time with loved ones, you are more than likely watching TV. And in this highly advanced technological world, TV is facing stiff competition from computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. How will television manufacturers keep up?
Toshiba knows that one way to keep up is to build TV sets that incorporate new technologies that keep pace with today’s sophisticated viewer. I took a look at Toshiba’s 2013 lineup, and I came away impressed. Toshiba is definitely putting more into their televisions than just a tuner and some HDMI ports.
Toshiba’s two newest flagship models are the 58” and 65" Ultra Slim Cloud LED TVs. These Full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution 3D televisions feature 240 Hz refresh rates and Cine Speed panels (a special screen rated for 8 ms or less of response time, which enhances action scenes or fast-moving sports scenes).
All of the Cloud TVs feature built-in Wi-Fi, so you can access all the latest social media sites, digital streaming content warehouses (like Netflix and Hulu) and streaming-music services such as Pandora. The TV also supports Intel® WiDi (wireless digital), which allows you to display small-screen content from a PC or other mobile device on the TV. The Cloud TVs are also Skype ready, so you can connect with all your friends online (camera is optional and sold separately).
These TVs also feature DynaLight technology, which automatically adjusts the intensity of the LED backlighting based on the content of the image being displayed (darker scenes receive more backlighting, bright scenes less), and the Dynamic Picture Mode further enhances the picture to provide sharper detail and sharper contrast where needed. On the sets we viewed, with the settings adjusted to their optimal levels, there was a definite difference in screen quality than there was with the factory settings.
As with any large-screen TV, the speakers will never be adequate enough to provide a full theatrical experience, but the Toshiba Cloud TVs do enhance their 20W of stereo speaker power with the Audyssey Premium Television suite, which includes Audyssey EQ and Audyssey ABX technology. The integrated speakers sounded great in a small enclosed setting with little background noise, but in the midst of a party or medium-sized gathering, clear crisp sound could not be achieved. It is almost impossible to find a large-screen HDTV that can achieve this, so these sets are par for the course where audio is concerned.
The Cloud TVs are 3D capable, using passive 3D (meaning specialty Active 3D glasses are not required). The 3D effects are exciting and crystal clear and, thanks to the 240 Hz refresh rate, I noticed there’s less strain on the eyes with passive 3D after long and repeated 3D-enabled movie viewings.
Other amenities included are a gaming mode that reportedly cuts down on the lag time and controller delay that plagues some newer-model TVs (I was unfortunately not able to test this), and a CQ Engine processor that helps to speed up and manage some of the multitasking of the TV's options more efficiently. Most casual users (like myself) will not notice the extra power in the processor, especially if the only two modes you admire in a television are On and Off.
These models also come with a wireless keyboard with a touchpad (a nice addition if you plan on using the TV's Internet functions often) and an illuminated remote control. There are four HDMI ports available for extra peripherals such as a DVD or Blu-ray player, and an optional VESA mounting kit for wall-mounting your set.
For those television enthusiasts who aren’t completely sold on the 3D experience, Toshiba also introduces a new line of Wi-Fi enabled TVs that match the 3D Cloud TV experience in every area except the extra dimension.
These TVs include 50”, 58” and 65” screen-size models with the same Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, the same high 240 Hz refresh rate and the same Audyssey audio technology. They looked fantastic, and I had trouble telling them apart from their 3D counterparts. With the refresh rate so high, content almost appeared to be 3D, but that was simply my eyes tricking me because of the blur-free, crystal-clear picture.
Toshiba also has a more budget-friendly line of 2D Cloud TVs that feature everything the above TVs feature, with the exception of a slightly lower refresh rate of 120 Hz. Even at the lower refresh rate, the TVs performed exceptionally well, and the picture didn’t suffer any dead spots or motion blur. The lower refresh was somewhat apparent in sports scenes, but not enough to put off most casual TV buyers.
The same audio technology and interactive modes are still available on these sets, as are the keyboard with touchpad and universal remote. The 2D Cloud TV line includes smaller 32” and 39” models, along with 50” and 58” screen size sets.
Face it: most people are confused when it comes to Wi-Fi-enabled televisions. Toshiba helps to ease the transition by offering higher end, non-Wi-Fi-enabled televisions. These TVs include Full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution, a 120 Hz refresh rate for clear, crisp viewing (including action and sport scenes), and modes like DynaLight Backlight Control and Dynamic Picture Mode. They even offer the same gaming modes and Audyssey audio technology of the Cloud TVs.
But to keep things simple, they don’t include integrated Wi-Fi or a keyboard and they also reduce the HDMI ports to three. These simple, uncomplicated TVs still have great picture and sound, and make a perfect gift for the less technologically enabled people in your life. These models are available in 39” and 50” screen sizes.
Toshiba also offers televisions in 2013 that are squarely aimed at consumers who are looking for an eminently affordable replacement television or spare television for a guest room, and these feature-rich TVs still offer some great extras.
They still include DynaLight backlight control, but nix Wi-Fi and Dynamic Picture mode. The speakers are slightly reduced to 14W total output (7W per speaker, as opposed to the 10W per speaker of the other models), but they still include the same Audyssey audio technology of their big brothers. HDMI outputs go from four to three, and USB outputs from three to one.
Most significantly, the refresh rate drops to 60 Hz, and the screen resolution is 720p, as opposed to the 1080p of the higher-end models. But that difference in screen resolution won’t matter to your kids or your relatives when they’re camped out in the spare room. This passed the kid test for me as well—my kids (14 and 11) could not identify the higher-resolution 2D cloud TVs from the 720p models. The 720p TVs are available in 23”, 29”, 32” 39” and new 50” screen sizes.
Looking to buy a new TV? Time to replace and upgrade your home entertainment system? Or just looking to buy a loved one a special present this year? Toshiba has all your bases covered and can satisfy both the high-end enthusiast or the low-tech friend or relative.
For more information about new Toshiba TVs, speak with a B&H sales professional in our New York SuperStore, over the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or via Live Chat.