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Toshiba WL48: verdicts so far?

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by Loada, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. Loada

    Loada
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    Hi all,

    This is really directed at all existing WL48 owners....and apologies if I'm straddling topics from other WL48 posts - I'm just trying to condense the information down a bit!

    I'm looking at getting the Toshiba WL48 to replace a Sony 28" WS TV. Until now, none of the existing LCDs have been a) cheap enough b) good enough to warrant the change. However, the 32WL48 looks to be the right mix of price to features, particularly connectivity.

    It's main use will be viewing Sky+ (and when it comes, SkyHD). Generally, how does Sky look? My viewing distance will be 8-10ft away and I intend to wall-mount it. I like to watch a lot of football (Sky Sports) so it needs to handle fast-movement and not highlight too many MPEG/encoding artifacts, at least from that viewing distance.

    I want to run a HDMI DVD player too - I've noticed some WL48 owners are having good results with the Denon 3910 but that's a bit out of my price range - I'm looking at the 2910, the Pio 668 or the new Pana 97B so opinions on the HDMI dvd performance would be handy.

    Basically, I just want an endorsement from experienced WL48 owners before I buy - my alternative is the Panasonic PW7 plasma display as it's a similar price but it is a low-res panel and doesn't come with connections (HDMI/SCARTS/Component) out-of-the-box so anyone who has constructive appraisals of the advantages of the WL48 would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance!!!
     
  2. Loada

    Loada
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    Can anyone post pictures of their 32WL48's showing Sky+, maybe one of the Sky menu, one with the banner overlaying normal pictures and one of the movie channels and/or sport?

    Thanks
     
  3. ginger

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    Loada, I tried to get some screen shots but my camera won't scale them down enough to post the pictures. If you really want them then pm me your e-mail address. I also watch a lot of football and don't have any great problems watching it on my WL48. The last round of Champions League games I watched were broadcast on a pretty low bitrate and, whilst being watchable, weren't the best. I guess this is because Sky broadcast ALL the games on one channel (with the option to flick between them). For normal Premiership games I can't fault it.

    p.s. I watch from about 6ft.
     
  4. Eddy Kins

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    Here are some screen shots from SKY+ taken from 2 metres distance.
    (You don't want to be any closer than this!)

    Picture quality is much better with DVD progressive.
     

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  5. scrapbook

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    Is the picture really that pants close up? looks great from those pics, perfectly normal picture
     
  6. Loada

    Loada
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    Thanks for the photos!

    I've just got back in from a bit of testing on a friend's new 32WL48 (thanks Mark :thumbsup: ). We ran some DVDs on a Pioneer 868 via component prog scan (didn't get a chance to try HDMI sadly) and depending on the disc, things were very nice indeed once we tweaked the colour/brightness settings down. Quality varied from disc to disc; Monsters Inc (R1, 480p) and LOTR:TT (R1, 480p) were excellent - Spiderman2 Superbit (R1, 480p) was terrible - lots of grain and poor definition - the disc transfer being the main culprit NOT the tv which was surprising for a so-called "superbit". Just for comparison, we ran the same discs on a £40 AMW P80L dvd player in prog scan. Even for such a crappy deck the picture was not bad - we tried RGB scart with both players and found the picture lost a lot of detail over prog scan component but was good nonetheless. We were using crappy leads as well, which maybe didn't help.

    We discovered that from "normal" viewing distances (say 6ft+) things looked great - getting closer the screen would mercilessly show flaws in the mpeg encoding (if they were there). Still not seen Sky+ "in anger" on the set yet but DVD testing was very promising. I reckon a good HDMI player outputting 720p or 1080i would be another step up again.

    We finished up with a bit of Outrun2 (480p) on the xbox and it looks superb. Soul Calibur 2 (720p) was also beautiful although only 4:3 (a limitation of the game itself). Incidentally, we did have an issue via s-video *and* SCART *and* composite with a 1st-gen USA (1.0) xbox that would appear to display normally for 30secs to a minute before the image started to flicker rhythmically with a sort of subtle "interference". Despite trying numerous cables, moving the xbox, different PSUs etc, we couldn't fix it. Connecting the same Xbox via the MS hi-def component pack was fine and the other xboxes we tried (green and crystal) were fine on all connections. We also tested the same xbox on another LCD and a Sony Trinitron CRT and things worked fine so we summarised it must be some interaction between the Tosh WL48 conversion circuitry and the video chipset in that particular early-generation USA xbox?

    All in all, very impressed with my first brush with a "proper" LCD tv...
     
  7. patrik_f

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    The problems with LCD (generally I belive from what I have read -personally I only have the 32WL48) is black level and detail in the darker areas.

    There is simply not enought dynamic range in the luminance (specified as contrast ratio -the ratio between maximum luminance and minimum luminance). Plasmas do this better, but seem to have lower resolution in general.

    Bright scenes look gorgeous. Dark scenes are not so existing.

    I got this panel since my 4:3 TV made letterbox movie pics so extremely small. If I had a widescreen already I would probably hold off buying LCD for a while.
     
  8. Loada

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    In our testing, we noticed that if you turned "Black Stretch" OFF, a LOT of detail was restored to dark areas of the screen - obviously, this is at the (slight) expense of black levels. Our test disc during these tests was LOTR:TT (R1, 480p) which has a boatload of dark scenes. It was quite a noticeable difference when toggling black stretch on and off, especially seeing a lot of the film takes part at night or in shadow.

    Tonight is HDMI testing...will report findings later.

    Edit: I daresay that tweaking the contrast settings with a test disc like Avia or DVE would help - just with cursory fiddling with the contrast, brightness, backlight and DNR, we noticed a significant difference in picture quality. By default, the contrast and backlight were very high (100) and this had a marked negative impact on the picture. Bringing the values down to 50 (or less) improved the picture, especially on details in the "Sully in bed scene" in Monsters Inc. Also, the viewing distance played a big part (as I mentioned above).
     
  9. andya

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    good :smashin: review look forward to hearing your hdmi results
     
  10. JonStatt

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    With a contrast ratio of 600:1 which the Toshiba is, I am surprised you want to lower the contrast from 100%. Generally with LCD televisions, you want to lower the backlight to the lowest level you can accept whilst the contrast stays at 100%. At 600:1 you will not have more contrast than you need. Therefore you want to get black to an acceptable point (probably at around the 20-30% from the bottom of the backlight control range). Having fixed your black point, you will probably find the contrast at maximum is not too high.

    If you keep the backlight at a higher level and turn the contrast down, you will be lowering the contrast ratio from 600:1 to something smaller. This is because you have now prevented the LCD panel from becoming totally translucent, cutting off the brightest white.

    The contrast ratio is effectively the range from the darkest to the lightest. It says nothing about how black it goes. That is purely determined by the backlight level and the amount of opaqueness that the LCD can achieve. 600:1 is considered an acceptable contrast ratio. No LCD manufacturer I know of quotes the lumen level of black, because they simply haven't got it good enough yet.

    On a Toshiba 30WL46, with test discs, the contrast at 100% maintains a fairly even spread of the levels of grey from black to white. You know that the contrast level and/or brightness is wrong when light greys are pushed into white, or dark greys are pushed into black. Because of the black problem with LCDs, dark greys always have smaller steps between shades than lighter grays. This is then perceived as a lack of detail in darker scenes.

    Jonathan
     
  11. Loada

    Loada
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    Cheers Jonathan, all seems to make sense. I'm merely telling things as I saw them - we didn't get to use a test disc or play that much with the various controls to form a more rounded and balanced view of the images. If I get the chance tonight, I'll put your theory on the contrast settings to the test. It may be that the brightness was the main culprit and we hoisted down the constrast along with it when we maybe didn't need to.
     
  12. JonStatt

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    Sure. On the 30WL46, the default brightness of 50 and colour of 50 actually matches up correctly with the calibration disc. The contrast I left at a 100. In other words, the only settings I changed were sharpness and backlight. On the 30WL46, the backlight doesnt run from 0-100, it runs from 0-15. I have it set to 2 as the room is never brightly lit and so keeps black levels under control. Sharpness is very different on the 32WL48 so I can't offer any advice there.
     
  13. spergabite

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    Star wars episode 1 and 2 dvd have a simple test pattern - Its not too great but its ok to set up gemeometry etc... Have a look if youve got the disc(who hasnt eh?)
     
  14. patrik_f

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    Contrast adjustment could also be a change of mapping of brightness levels, just lika a gamma curve.

    I think a contrast setting of 50-70 works well on my WL48. However, the best setting seems to be pretty dependent on the actual material being watched (not just kind of source, but actual film, for example).
     
  15. JonStatt

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    Hi Patrik,

    You are right. I would hope that the contrast controls don't change the gamma curve and that all they are doing is linearly shifting the maximum brightness. Some sets have a separate gamma control (sometimes hidden in a service menu).

    A way to set contrast if the gamma curve is shifting, is to use a 100% maximum brightness test card. Shift the contrast up to the point at which the white screen no longer gets any brighter. Only at this point would you achieve the maximum contrast ratio. If the gamma is wrong at this point then you would have to make a compromise between maximum contrast or correct gamma curve. A grey-step test card helps to see how this looks. Maybe the 32WL48 is shifting gamma which is why you have experimented with other contrast settings.

    Program material does vary greatly. I thought the 32WL48 with active vision had an auto contrast facility to "analyse the scene" and change the contrast to even this problem out?

    Jonathan
     
  16. patrik_f

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    I think you are referring to "black strech" which only seems to be working on the darker areas, and to me it doesn't seem to do much good, pushing more detail into the totally black (dark grey) region. The usability of "black stretch" may depend on the other settings too!

    I guess the feature you mention may also exist in the background, even though it doesn't show up in any menu (or in the manual).

    BTW, thanks for bringing up the contrast issue. I have actually put it back at 100% now, and started fiddling only with the other controls. I guess it is an ingrained reflex to turn down the contrast -from the CRT days where maximum contrast was guaranteed to cause clipping (and with som TFTs as well, BTW).

    It seems hard to cause clipping. If I turn contrast to 100%, then the brightness control seems to work a bit lik a gamma control. (And "backlight" is the real brightness.)
     
  17. Loada

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    Better late than never, have managed to test the 32WL48 with a HDMI DVD player (Pioneer 868AVi)....

    It will come as no surprise that the picture via HDMI at 720p is as good as you'd expect. Tried the old favourite "Monsters Inc" (R2) and "LOTR:TT" (R1) and both gave a fantastic picture. Knocked the player back to 720x480p for comparison and (I felt) there was a noticeable difference - the upscaled image appearing to show finer detail, but these things are always subjective. We tried 1080i, everything appeared as it should but I always feel the 720p gives a better all-round image and I think the display better suits 720p. I don't think you'd be disappointed with either to be honest!

    As ever, the colour/contrast/brightness/backlight/sharpness settings need a fair bit of jiggling to suit personal tastes and can change the perceived-quality of the image quite a bit. We played with the Avia (NTSC) disc but it was difficult to discern any real difference when messing with the various test screens, particularly the sharpness one (LCD technology I guess?). Again, the consensus for us was that you could dial DOWN the settings from 100 (max) or else everything was just too bright and detail appeared to be lost. The backlight in particular we found could be turned right down without seeming to have a major effect on the overall picture but we were viewing in a darkened room so that might explain that. In particular, the constrast at 100 was too much we thought. As I said earlier, it's a subjective thing - there's plenty of tweaking room for those so inclined.

    In short, it looks like the WL48 is a winner when it comes to being a great all-rounder with futureproofing (well, as futureproof as it can be in these uncertain pre-HDTV times) and competitively-priced. Games consoles were great, DVDs (with a good player) are very good, spectacular in some cases, especially with well-encoded discs upscaled images via HDMI. Sadly, I haven't tested with Sky or terrestrial TV but from others' opinions, I guess if you give an LCD display a crappy quality signal you'll get a crap picture back - thats just the nature of the technology - it doesn't hide anything. IMHO, it's unfair to criticise the Tosh for that but arguably, you could dial some of this out with the DNR features. Perhaps an external scaler would also help in these circumstances. Oh, as with most LCDs and plasmas, you need to give the display soom "room" in terms of viewing distance - I'd say 6ft+.

    Well, there you go. My impressions on the WL48. I don't work for Tosh - I'm a potential customer just like a lot of you. I'd be happy to put my money where my mouth is - I suppose that tells you everything you need to know if you're reading this. Hope it helps... :D
     
  18. ccparkhill

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    The Tosh is reviewed in this month's What Hi-Fi, but they complain about the HDMI input stating the output is disappointing and grainy, anybody care to comment?
     
  19. Loada

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    er...see post above?!? :rolleyes:
     
  20. ccparkhill

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    Hmm, I don't see any comments relating to the What Hi-Fi review :rolleyes:

    Anyway, anybody any idea why WHat Hi-Fi might make those comments about the HDMI connection when I've been reading the opposite on these forums?
     
  21. NickHe

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    Obviously everyone on these forums is lying and What Hi-Fi have got it right. My advice to you is .... Buy a Sharp.

    A happy 32WL48 owner. Purchased by reading and trusting the hundreds of posts I've read on this superb forum.
     
  22. Bob Todd

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    yes sharp are the daddy :smashin:
     
  23. spergabite

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    Evn though I share What Hifis opinion of the Tosh i have still bought one, on the basis that a hd or upscaled dvd will look great on it and that the TV in teh store wasnt set up right.I posted a very similar finding to What Hifi about 2 weeks ago...Hmm
     
  24. aldergrove

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    well i have been an owner for 3 days and the picture is fantastic, LOR 3 was amazing and through Sky+ the picture is fine, still waiting for my componant cables to check prog scan but through a cheap scart i was amazed. Buy one (if you can find one) you wont be disapointed
     
  25. mickbarlow

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    says on www.stasia.net that the screen is 280mm deep, that seem rather larger for a so called flat tv?

    i need to mount mine on the wall, so would anyone like to comment if they have done this and how it looks?
     
  26. hechizero

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    First off, this set looks great. Simple and modern, I love it. Personal prefrence - much better than the Sharp in looks :laugh: .

    Sky picture quality is below average - period. Unless you are watching something like Futurama. The rest of the time you find yourself noticing the poor picture - and no amount of tweaking solves the problem. You find yourself changing channels, only to have to adjust the picture again...best to be at least two meters away else it will annoy no end. You do get used to it, something like living next to a railway line though...

    Everything else about the set is commendable. Connectivity is great, although the restricted resolution via PC is perplexing...however using the ATI software (if you own an ATI card) you can simply do an overscan to fill the whole TV screen removing the irritating side bar thing...not a prefect solution but better than nothing.

    When HDTV is launched the major downfall of LCD displays and normal broadcast signals will be a thing of the past and all us 32wl48 owners will have nothing left to complain about! :clap:
     
  27. phibsboro

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    My first post, but I've been lurking for the last few weeks as I tried to figure out what telly to go for. In the end I went for the 32WL48 and it arrived yesterday (after some really bad customer service from tvandvideodirect.com - but thats another story!). Thanks to everyone who posts on these forums - very informative.

    So, for my first, first impressions, straight out of the box...

    1. Its big! I had a Philips 20" LCD before and this is a monster in comparision
    2. Its bright! Seriously, the defaults would light up the room - very overwhelming.
    3. Skimpy accessories - no leads, manual is tiny - PC input gets 1/4 of a page.
    4. Not mad on the look, but I knew that before I got it.

    So for the picture. I'm not set up for high quality sources, so I figured this would be a trial.

    NTL Analogue Cable - Had heart failure first off when it did a quick setup scan (after I set the country to Ireland) and failed to find any of the cable channels - its only searched the Irish terrestial channels. Some manual tuning though did find all the cable ones. Have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Once I had lowered down the brightness/backlight, the picture was much better than I anticpated. My cable reception is dreadful and on the Philips it really showed. On the Tosh for some reason its much better - maybe a better tuner? So I was delighted with that.

    DVD - I only have a cheapo DVD with even cheaper scart. Not sure what its outputting over the scart but basically I wasn't impressed with picture. It didn't 'hold' the picture well and there was some slight shimmering of the image. All of this is to do with my dvd i think, and also because it paled in comparision with the following which I had been playing with all week on my LCD monitor ....

    PC via VGA connector - I am running Myth (www.mythtv.org) with Fedora Core linux on a Shuttle SK41G computer. I have an ancient Geoforce 2 graphics card. Myth plays DVDs (I use Xine as the player), Dixv (mplayer) and its own PVR recordings (internal player). The output of Myth menus was amazing - the TV defaults PC mode into 4:3 so it looked awful initially - big black bars down the side. My heart sank! But then I clicked it into widescreen and - wow! Gorgeous rock solid full screen picture. Slight bar down one side but a quick re-positioning via the TV's positioning setting and it filled the whole screen. Tried the DVD first - amazing! Totally rock solid - LOTR looked great, wide helicopter pans held beautifully.

    Next I tried Divx playback - I had some rips of US broadcast HD shows. Even though they were divx'ed down (175megs per half hour show), they looked astounding - its hard to explain, but they just looked really solid, really calm on the eye. Even Joey was watchable ;)

    So overall, after just one day, I'd have to say I'm impressed with it - I reckon I'll get used to the size and I'll swtich next month to NTL Digital when the price falls here in Ireland. And whenever my mates come round I switch over to Myth and show it off in all its glory :)

    C
     
  28. Bob Todd

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    Time for a new set of specs sir :laugh:
     
  29. Eddy Kins

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    :smashin: I stuck my baby on the wall with this mount
    http://www.rs100.co.uk/index.html?t...html&lang=en-gb

    The set is positioned higher than eye-level so I've tilted her forward to maintain a 90 degree viewing angle.
    Fantastic screen, but stay outside of that 2 metre exclusion zone!!
     
  30. mickbarlow

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    so is the screen 280mm deep or 99mm like ive read on the tosh sales sheet...

    also, i think the pc input side of things is rather disturbing.

    has anyone tryed to force it a 1366x768 picture using ati custom resolutions through dvi or vga, as i want to connect a windows media pc so readable text is essential.

    cheers
     

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