CES 2014 - First look at the new Ultra HD 4K TVs from Toshiba
Whether it's a laptop or a TV, it's Ultra HD 4K all the way as far as Toshiba are concerned
Just like every other manufacturer at CES this year, Toshiba are putting a lot of stall in Ultra HD 4K.
The Japanese company had almost no regular high definition TVs on display and those that were formed part of a series of lifestyle products that included mirror displays and signage. In fact Toshiba seemed quite keen on their black mirror multi-displays which are clearly an interior design concept. They certainly looked cool, apart from all the inevitable reflections of course. No it was Ultra HD 4K - Toshiba are obviously hedging their bets as far as the naming convention is concerned - all the way with everything from their laptops to their TVs sporting the higher resolution panels.
We’re not sure you will really get much benefit from a 4K panel on a laptop but when it comes to big screen TVs there’s no denying the impact of a native 4K image. Much like Samsung and LG, Toshiba even had a huge 21:9 panel with a resolution of 5K (5120 x 2160 pixels), although unlike the former this was flat rather than curved. However after looking at this behemoth for a couple of minutes we began to think that on a TV this big and wide, the Koreans might have the right idea putting a curve in.
Toshiba have a huge 21:9 ratio 5K panel themselves but theirs is flat.
Still Toshiba couldn’t resist a bit of bending themselves and they had both flat and curved Ultra HD 4K TVs in a number of screen sizes. The design of the flat TVs in particular appears to be identical to the Ultra HD 4K TVs that we reviewed last year, however in other respects there appear to have been a number of improvements. This is good news because, despite the higher native resolution on an Ultra HD 4K TV, in almost all cases it’s still an LCD panel with a LED backlight and thus subject to the strengths and weaknesses of that particular technology.
Toshiba have developed their Premium Ultra HD 4K TV range that uses their new Radiance 4K Full Array LED LCD Panel in conjunction with their Third Generation 4K Engine. The intention is to create a high transmittance panel that is twice as bright but with better blacks and a more even backlight. The new panel also has a much wider colour gamut, which should mean more accurate colours a lower saturation levels. Toshiba’s Third Generation 4K Engine is designed to improve upscaling of lower resolution content by using high dynamic range restoration and high precision colour space processing.
Toshiba's Premium Ultra HD 4K TV uses their new Radiance 4K Full Array LED LCD panel.
The results certainly looked very good on the Toshiba stand and it was encouraging to see that, just like last year, they were using dynamic footage played off RED’s RedRay player. The backlight uniformity and blacks certainly looked impressive, whilst the detailed images were bright and the colours were vivid. We especially liked the fact that some of the demo material had motion in it, as opposed to static shots, because it allows for better assessment of motion handling. Overall this looked good, although there was bit of stuttering on some rolling credits at one point.
In terms of other developments, Toshiba has added HEVC decoding and updated the Cloud services for their Smart TV platform. The new portal includes enhanced graphics and improved speed to help users access all their favourite apps and services quickly and easily. There are also new services such as personal messaging and photo sharing to help keep you in touch. Finally Toshiba has added Cloud Gaming to their Smart TV platform. Certainly based upon the Ultra HD 4K TVs we reviewed last year and what we saw on their stand today, Toshiba are heading in the right direction.
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