Toshiba Regza SL753 (46SL753) Review

Steve Withers takes a look at Toshiba's 46SL753 and finds out how it compares to the competition

TV Review

9

Recommended
Toshiba Regza SL753 (46SL753) Review
SRP: £999.00

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Toshiba is a manufacturer that we have largely missed in the review rooms in 2010, so I was quite pleased to receive the 46SL753 for review. It also made a pleasant change to take a look at a 2D LCD after spending the last few months reviewing 3D plasmas. It will come as no surprise to discover that the 46SL753 uses the currently fashionable LED edge lighting but it also includes Toshiba’s Active Vision 100Hz motion processing and a built-in Freeview HD tuner. So let’s assemble AVForum’s usual battery of tests and see how the 46SL753 performs.

Styling and Design

The overall design of the 46SL753 is rather uninspiring with a simple gloss black plastic bezel surrounding the panel, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and personally I prefer the simple approach, especially compared to some of the more esoteric designs on the market. My only complaint would be that the 46SL753 has a slightly cheap feel to the construction and , whilst you could say this reflects the budget nature of the display, I have seen better construction from other manufacturers at a similar price point. However, one of the advantages of this cheaper construction was that the 46SL753 was reasonably light so at least I didn’t run the risk of developing a hernia whilst setting it up. Given that the 46SL753 uses LED edge lighting, I was surprised at how deep the chassis is, in fact I’ve seen plenty of backlit displays that were only slightly deeper. The front is free from clutter and only has a IR receiver, a tiny light to show the display is on and an illuminated ‘Toshiba’ which thankfully can be turned off. The stand is a simple black rectangle with a central column that provides stable and sturdy support.

Much like the display itself, the provided remote control has a slightly cheap feel to it but, once again, it is well designed and easy to use. The buttons are sensibly laid out; it includes all the main controls and can be easily operated with one hand.

Connections

The 46SL753 has a very generous selection of inputs at both the side and rear. At the back there are three HDMI inputs, along with two SCART connectors, a LAN socket and an optical digital out. In addition, there is a component video and analogue audio in with RCA style sockets, left and right analogue audio out with RCA sockets, a subwoofer out socket and a VGA connector. As is usual, the HDMI inputs at the back point outwards and, as ever, I would prefer them to point downwards to aid wall mounting.

On the side there is an additional HDMI input, a SD card slot, a Common Interface slot, two USB ports, composite video and analogue audio in using RCS sockets and a headphone socket.

Menus and Set Up

Setup was simple and after following a few instructions, on-screen, the 46SL753 had very quickly tuned in all the Freeview channels. The 46SL753 doesn't have internet capability but there is a LAN socket which can be used for networking and streaming content.

The EPG is adequate but the large number of channels shown on a page at any one time can make it hard to read and the lack of a thumbnail picture or any sound can be annoying when navigating through channels.

The menu system, however, is sensibly laid out and very responsive if rather monochromatic and there are five primary menu choices, Picture, Sound, Applications, Preferences and Setup.

The Sound menu includes a comprehensive set of controls but the actual sound of the 46SL753 was fairly mediocre despite Toshiba’s SoundNavi function. I have become used to the hidden speakers on modern displays resulting in an underwhelming sound but considering the 46SL753’s relative depth, I was surprised that it sounded no better than some of the ultra-thin displays I have reviewed. Whilst the sound is adequate for basic television viewing I would recommend considering outboard amplification if you want genuine audio performance.

Of the other primary options the Applications menu controls the media player and timer function and the Preferences menu controls the network set up, the AV connections and the REGZA-LINK settings. Finally the Setup menu allows you to select the menu languages and tune the TV channels.

The most important of these primary options is the Picture menu which includes both the standard picture controls as well as some reasonably advanced ones, including a [tip=CMS]Colour Management System[/tip] (CMS). On the first page of the Picture menu you can choose from a number of Picture Modes including AutoView, Dynamic, Standard, Movie and Game but, for the purposes of this review, I chose Movie. In addition you will find the standard controls for the Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Colour, Tint and Sharpness as well as a Reset function.

On the next page of the Picture menu there are a number of more advanced options, some of which are more useful than others. Of the useful controls there is the CMS which you need to turn on in order to use; once activated you can access the Base Colour Management menu which allows you to adjust the Hue, Saturation and Brightness for the three primary and three secondary colours. There is also the [tip=Colortemp]Colour Temperature[/tip] option which includes the two point [tip=Greyscale]Greyscale[/tip] control, the Noise Reduction features and a control called Static Gamma which allows you to select different [tip=gamma]Gamma[/tip] settings.

Of the less useful controls there is the Auto Brightness Sensor Settings which adjust the backlight on-the-fly depending on viewing conditions, the Active Backlight Control which is designed to boost the contrast ratio and the Black/White Level which I think is designed to boost the blacks or whites but at the expense of image detail.

On the final page of the Picture menu there are also controls for Resolution+ which acts like an additional sharpness control, Active Vision M100 which allows the user to turn the motion processing on or off and Film Stabilization which offers the user the option of Standard which does not include frame interpolation or Smooth, which does.

Whilst not in the Picture menu the Picture Size option does appear in the Quick Menu as well as a separate button on the remote control and gives the user a number of choices including Native, Wide, 4:3 and Cinema.

Features

As mentioned at the beginning of the review the 46SL753 has a 1080p Full HD panel that supports 1920 x 1080 resolution content. The 46SL753 also uses LED Edge Backlighting and comes with Freeview HD built in.

In addition, the 46SL753 includes Toshiba’s Active Vision M100Hd 100Hz picture processing technology that is designed to reduce motion blur as well as Toshiba’s Resolution+ technology which is designed to enhance standard definition images on the high definition panel.

The 46SL753 includes AutoView which is designed to constantly adjust the backlight depending on the lighting conditions in the room and the content being displayed. The 46SL753 also has SoundNavi which is designed to improve the performance of the display’s integrated speakers and Dolby Volume which reduces fluctuations in sound between channels, content or sources.

The 46SL753 is DLNA certified for wireless streaming and is also compatible with Windows 7. Finally the 46SL753 includes 4 HDMI inputs and a specially designed LCD EcoPanel which is intended to consume less power than conventional LCD panels.

Measured Results Out of the Box

Given the large number of picture controls on the 46SL753, it was important to ensure that the optimal choices were made prior to taking the out of box measurements and for this reason I chose the Movie picture setting. The Backlight was initially set at 50 - which is where I left it - and I also left the Contrast at its initial setting of 80 after checking for clipping with a Hi-Lo Tracking pattern but using a PLUGE pattern I set the Brightness control at -3. I left the Colour, Tint and Sharpness controls at their initial settings of 0.

There are a large number of different settings for Gamma but, after some experimentation, I found that leaving the setting at 0 got me a gamma curve that was reasonably close to my target of 2.2. A Colour Temperature setting of 2 gave me a reading that was very close to [tip=D65]D65[/tip] so I chose that setting. I used a multiburst pattern to check the different Picture Size settings and found that as expected Native produced the full 1920 x 1080 image without scaling or any artefacts.

In the interests of image fidelity I turned off the Auto Brightness and Active Backlight controls as well as the Resolution+ function and the Noise Reduction filters. I also turned the Active Vision function off and I left the Black/White level set to 0.

As the above graph shows, the overall greyscale performance is very good with most of the overall [tip=DeltaE]DeltaE[/tip] errors measuring below 3, such errors are basically indistinguishable to the human eye. The gamma curve is measuring at about 2.1 below 60 [tip=IRE]IRE[/tip] and 2.3 above but averages out at 2.2. In terms of the individual colours, red and blue are tracking reasonably closely to the target line of 100 but below 60 IRE green is tracking over 10% below which is resulting in some slight colouration on a stair step pattern. The two point White Balance control should allow us to improve the greyscale performance, especially in the 20 to 50 IRE range.

The [tip=gamut]colour gamut[/tip] performance isn’t as impressive as the greyscale performance but still isn’t bad for an out of the box measurement. As you can see from the [tip=cie]CIE chart[/tip] both green and blue are quite oversaturated and there is also some hue error in blue but hopefully the CMS can help with this. Red however is undersaturated so unfortunately, even with the CMS, there is nothing that can really be done about red’s DeltaC. The measurement of white is quite close to the D65 target, which reflects the impressive out of the box greyscale performance.

Calibrated Results

For the calibrated measurements I turned on the CMS and I used the two point [tip=Whitebal]White Balance[/tip] control within the Colour Temperature menu to calibrate the image further.

As the above graph shows, by using the two point White Balance control to calibrate the levels of red, green and blue at 30 IRE and 80 IRE the greyscale performance can be improved still further. The overall DeltaE measurements are now all below 2 - most are below 1 and all three primary colours now track closely to the target line of 100. The only area where this wasn’t the case was from 90 to 100 IRE which would suggest some clipping, normally this can be fixed by moving the Contrast control down slightly but in this case it didn’t make any difference. However, overall this is a reference performance and using a stair step pattern the transition from black to white is very smooth with no discolouration.

The Colour Management System that Toshiba builds into their displays has been a source of some annoyance because, although it includes controls for Hue, Saturation and Brightness, the use of the Brightness control has resulted in video artefacts. However I used all three controls when calibrating the colour gamut and the resulting performance was very close to [tip=Rec709]Rec709[/tip] with very natural colours and no visible artefacts so it would seem that Toshiba has finally addressed the issues with their errant CMS. As the graph shows the overall DetlaEs are all less than 2 with the exception of red which is still less than 3, the level below which errors are mostly rendered indistinguishable to the human eye. There are no major errors in Luminance which is the most important measurement and only very minor ones in saturation and hue with the exception of red which remains undersaturated. This undersaturation in red didn’t seem to adversely affect the actual colour performance of the 46SL753, mainly because of the very accurate Luminance. White is now measuring exactly on D65 as we would expect given the excellent greyscale performance and overall this is an equally impressive colour performance too.

Video Processing

The overall video processing of the 46SL753 was excellent with the display passing most of the tests that we use here at AVForums.

Using the PAL and NTSC HQV DVDs the 46SL753 correctly reproduced the colour bars with excellent detail, no ringing and smooth gradations in colour. The 46SL753 performed equally as well on the jaggies tests, only showing slight jaggies when the line was at a very acute angle on the first test and on the bottom of the three lines in the second test. This meant the waving American flag test looked very good, especially the PAL version due to the increased resolution. The detail tests looked very good on both discs and the 46SL753 correctly detected film material (although it took half a second to lock on) and 3:2 cadence, unfortunately it failed to detect 2:2 cadence. There really is no excuse for not being able to correctly detect 2:2 cadence but it is quite a common problem and I guess it reminds Europe of its place in the TV world order. Finally, the 46SL753 was able to correctly display video text over film material without producing shredding or other artefacts.

Using the Spears & Munsil Bluray disc, I was able to check the high definition video performance of the 46SL753. As with the previous tests the 46SL753 was able to detect 3:2 but not 2:2, however it did correctly display 24p material. The Spear & Munsil disc also contains a number of 1080i tests which the 46SL753 passed without any problems.

Two of the most useful tests on the Spear & Munsil disc allow you to check the high and low elements of a display’s dynamic range. At the low end of the range the 46SL753 correctly displayed information down to video level 17 and black below that, so I knew the Brightness level was set correctly. However, as I suspected, at the high end of the range the 46SL753 was clipping above video level 247 and this would explain the slight clipping seen on the greyscale measurements. A display should be able to show information up to video level 255 and unfortunately, as I had already established, the usual fix of lowering the Contrast control didn’t make any difference. This is a minor issue though and I seriously doubt you would ever actually notice when watching actual material.

I used my Sencore MP500 to test the sharpness controls on the 46SL753 and I found that it was best to leave the control set to zero, with this setting I couldn’t see any ringing on the tests or softness. Toshiba’s proprietary Resolution+ function is designed to improve standard definition material when viewed on a high definition display but I largely found the function to offer little more than some additional sharpening. Given the excellent deinterlacing and scaling that the 46SL753 already offers I found little use for Resolution+ and generally left it off.

Finally, using my FPD Benchmark test disc, I tested the 46SL753’s ability to handle motion which is one of the main weaknesses of LCD displays. With the Active Vision function turned off the 46SL753 resolved about 300 lines on the scrolling test chart; this is standard for a LCD display. Once the function was activated this improved to about 450, which is actually a lot less than other manufacturers have managed to achieve with their motion solutions. Personally I feel that users just need to accept that LCD’s handle motion poorly and I find that limitation less annoying than the additional artefacts created by frame interpolation. In the case of 46SL753 the additional 150 lines really didn’t seem worth it so I just left the Active Vision off.

The Film Stabilization function has three settings, Off, Normal and Smooth and I would recommend always leaving it set to Normal. With this setting the 46SL753 was able to detect film based material and correctly display it for a pleasantly cinematic presentation. It is best to avoid the Smooth option as this adds frame interpolation which results in giving film material a horrible 'video' look that is best avoided.

Picture Quality

The 46SL753 performed very well with standard definition, no doubt thanks to the impressive video processing mentioned in the previous section. When watching Freeview material the image was largely free of any jagged edges, juddering or flickering and any artefacts were usually the result of the broadcast, itself, rather than the display. With DVDs the performance was even better with the 46SL753 pulling as much detail as it could from the 576i images.

The high definition performance of the 46SL753 was even better with the accuracy of the greyscale and the colour gamut really shining through on the demo reel at the start of the Spears & Munsil disc. In 24p everything looked natural with wonderful detail and very realistic and smooth images and the undersaturated red didn’t seem to affect the performance at all. The same was true of any Blu-ray movies that I watched, with the 46SL753 producing a very film-like image. With Freeview HD the performance was equally as assured and the 46SL753 was able to handle the 1080i images without any issues.

The 46SL753 was capable of producing surprisingly good black levels coupled with a very impressive dynamic range. In the past LCD displays have struggled to produce decent blacks but, after calibration, the 46SL753 really impressed with wonderful deep blacks, an impressive dynamic range and plenty of shadow detail. I was amazed at how well the 46SL753 performed in this area and even users that are used to plasmas should be pleased with this display.

Unfortunately these impressive blacks were compromised by a very poor backlight uniformity. As is quite common with LED Edge Backlighting there is an unevenness to the screen with patches that are lighter than others, especially at the edges where the lights actually are. I have seen this to some degree or other on all edge lit LCD displays but unfortunately the 46SL753 was the most uneven I have experienced to date. During darker scenes it was very obvious and whilst this problem will vary from panel to panel I feel it is something anyone thinking of buying the 46SL753 needs to be aware of. I’m not sure why Toshiba bothered using edge lighting because the 46SL753 isn’t much thinner than a display that is genuinely back-lit and I would rather have a deeper display with an even backlight.

Another area where the 46SL753 performed poorly was in off-axis viewing but once again this is a traditional weakness of LCD technology. I believe the 46SL753 uses a SPVA panel which would account for the excellent black level and dynamic range but once you moved off-axis the contrast ratio, colour fidelity and black level immediately fell off. The only panels that can offer a reasonable off axis performance are IPS panels but they have weaker blacks so as always it’s a compromise but it is something that people need to be aware of.

Gaming Performance

In Movie mode the input lag on the 46SL753 measured a decidedly lethargic 100ms, thankfully things improved considerably when Game mode was selected. In this mode the 46SL753 measured a much more respectable 30ms which should keep all but the most demanding gamers happy.

Energy Consumption

As you would expect for a LCD display the power consumption of the 46SL753 is both economical and consistent as long as the Auto Brightness and Active Backlight Controls are left off and AutoView is not selected. In Movie mode, the 46SL753 measured just 78 watts at 0, 50 and 100 IRE and averaging 78 watts when watching actual viewing material. This is an excellent performance in terms of energy consumption and is possibly the best I’ve seen from any LCD display I’ve reviewed, which would suggest that Toshiba’s EcoPanel design really works.

Verdict

7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

The Good

  • Very good out of the box greyscale performance
  • Good out of the box colour accuracy
  • Reference greyscale performance after calibration
  • Very good colour accuracy after calibration
  • Very good video processing apart from cadence detection
  • Good black levels for a LCD
  • Impressive dynamic range in most cases
  • Full Colour Management System that does appear to work correctly
  • Reasonably short lag time for gamers
  • Very responsive menu system

The Bad

  • Very poor backlight uniformity
  • Very poor off axis performance
  • Failed to detect 2:2 cadence
  • Lack of internet capability
  • Outward facing HDMI inputs could make wall mounting difficult

Toshiba Regza SL753 (46SL753) Review

Overall the Toshiba 46SL753 is a very capable display that can produce some great images for an LCD. The superb greyscale performance and good colour accuracy, combined with strong blacks and dynamic range resulted in some nice looking high definition images. The very capable video processing meant that standard definition images also looked good, no matter what the source. In fact the only areas where the 46SL753 performed badly were its backlight uniformity - which was very poor and its off axis performance but this is more a limitation of the technology. Whilst the 46SL753 doesn’t have some of the more recent developments such as 3D compatibility and internet capabilities, it does offer reasonable value and a very impressive 2D performance and, as such, is certainly worth a demo.

Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

.
.
.
7

Screen Uniformity

.
.
.
7

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Video Processing

.
.
8

Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

Sound Quality

.
.
.
.
.
5

Smart Features

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
.
.
6

Ease Of Use

.
.
.
7

Value for Money

.
.
.
7

Verdict

.
.
.
7
7
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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