So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Awesome Image Quality, Rich Blacks, Wide range of connection options, Excellent sound quality.
- Average viewing angle, No HD tuner, Counter-intuitive menus and remote.
This is the best DLP rear projection we have reviewed thus far and we came away feeling very satisfied with both its performance and quality. Apart from the cool factor of owning a 62 inch TV, you should definitely consider this set, especially if you plan to view primarily HD content.
Price$ 6,499.00 (AUD)
We have been pining for a DLP Rear Projection TV to come along and prove to us that DLP can look good. So far our sad and naive devotion to this dream has gone unrewarded. When setting up the Toshiba 62CM9UA we had almost given up hope but once we flicked it on, we were mightily impressed.
The biggest challenge with giant screens is keeping the image quality at a high level and not all technologies can do it that well. DLP has emerged as a very cheap way to produce these large images but since it is still a form of rear projection, many people still shy away from it. The reason for this is that the earlier days of rear projection were owned solely by LCD rear projection, which even to this day, tends to be rather average.
So far, of the DLP rear projection models we have reviewed, we have been largely disappointed. At various trade shows we have seen future models that looked spectacular and this Toshiba 62" comes very close to those units. In our tests, the Toshiba passed everything with lying colours across all AV modes, possessing only a few problems that could adversely affect its viewing experience.
The design of the 62CM9UA is very stylish with a simple black bezel sitting atop a horizontal speaker, indented via an inverse concavity. The buttons on the face of the device are non-existent with only one small neon blue light to indicate projector status. The speakers deliver clear sound even at high volumes although do begin to distort at around 80%. However, if you are listening to your TV at 80% volume you either don't have any self preservation with respect to your hearing or your hearing has already gone. 80% volume on this TV is loud. Very loud. The rear of the unit sports a wide array of inputs including two HDMI ports, a 15pin D-Sub port, two component connectors and two S-Video/RCA video connections. These connections, especially the two HDMI ports, are quite incredible and will definitely come in handy.
Looking over the technical specifications of this unit we noticed something which interested us no end. The digital micromirror device (DMD) in this DLP unit has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. This makes it a 1080p unit, a rare thing in the Australian market, especially considering there are no devices available in this country that can output to 1080p. Curiously though, the specs also state that the TV can only do resolutions of up to 1080i, so where this extra resolution is going, we have no idea. Either way, a TV that can output 1920x1080 resolution will be able to display high definition content much easier.
We discovered this when we hooked the TV up to our Xbox 360 and played Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter in 62 inches of incredibly beautiful and detailed imagery. The colours were flawlessly displayed with deep blacks and a wide contrast range between light and dark areas of the image. If you are looking to buy this TV to play the 360, let us first state how jealous we are of you and second reassure you that it definitely looks quite incredible on this set. Playing video games on a TV like this one is an excellent way to check how well the unit handles fast motion. The Toshiba performed flawlessly with motion with no ghosting or smearing of the image. Surprisingly there was also very little Rainbow Effect too. Being rather sensitive to rainbow effect we spoke with Toshiba to confirm what we suspected with regard to this set. Rather than have the rather common 4 segment colour wheel that other DLP TVs have, the 62CM9UA has a six segment wheel, which cuts down on quite a bit of rainbow. While it wont get rid of it completely, we found it to be minimal and not painfully headache inducing like the LG 52SZ85R.
We played some scenes from a couple of DVDs to get an idea of how well this set handles an upscaled image. For the most part, DVDs looked pretty good, although there were some digital artifacts here and there and the darker areas tended to get a little blocky. These problems are noticeable at a distance but not too distracting. If you want a 62 inch television, there are some sacrifices you will have to make. Running a standard definition source on a TV capable of natively outputting extremely high definition will naturally look sub standard but we found that our test DVDs looked fairly good.
We love to test televisions by playing the lobby scene from "The Matrix". This is a great indicator of how good a TV is because it not only has heaps of action but also a green tint on the entire screen. This green tint tends to confuse most sets, washing out the definition in the blacks. On the Toshiba, the blacks were not as washed out as we expected. The detail on the marble interior of the lobby was reasonably well defined and the debris didn't end up a mess of pixels. There was a little pixelisation here and there but it was fairly minimal. The only real problem we noticed was a little aliasing in some sections but again, this wasn't too big a problem.
We also like to test televisions by viewing the T-Rex attack from "Jurassic Park" because how well a TV can view night scenes can tell a lot about its quality. Amazingly, the Toshiba had very few problems viewing this scene. In fact, we were quite amazed at how well pebbled skin of the T-Rex was defined. We have seen many LCD and Plasma TVs that have had problems with retaining definition in this scene but the Toshiba passed with flying colours.
In fact, in all our tests, the 62CM9UA came away looking good. We tested the PC connection via 15pin D-Sub with DisplayMate Video Edition and found the sharpness, resolution, ghosting and colour text tests were all passed flawlessly. It is very rare for a TV to have no problems in the colour text test. There is always at least one colour combination that ends up looking horrible but this set has no issues at all. We did see a little colour fluctuation during our colour block tests, but only ever so slight and only in dark green and dark yellow. While we think not handling green and gold is rather un-Australian, this fluctuation doesn't seem to have any direct impact on the overall image quality. The grayscale tests and 256 step intensity ramps impressed us the most with perfect reproduction of the source, which is not something we see often.
We test both the HDMI and Component connections by running our Digital Video Essentials tests DVD and found that every test we ran came off perfect. The SMPTE patterns were displayed as they should have been with excellent colour reproduction and the motion tests all came away without any stepping in darker areas. We were blown away at how well this TV performed in our testing.
Unfortunately, there is trouble in paradise as there are a few problems that we encountered that are rather annoying. The first is the menus systems and remote control. The Menus are not every intuitive and don't offer enough image calibration options. The remote is not clearly labeled and it is hard to work out how to change AV sources without consulting the manual. Even then, as you choose the new connection type, there is a noticeably and frustrating delay between each option. This delay extends to other remote control operations too, making the experience slightly less enjoyable.
We also found that since the unit is essentially a projector the lamp does tend to head up and dissipates via the rear of the unit. This creates quite a bit of heat behind the unit and may have to be taken into consideration when setting it up. We also recommend using this television in a large room as the extra heat may not be desirable in an enclosed area.
Also, like the Sagem Axium HD-D45 we found that the screen material tended to hamper the image quality. However, unlike the Sagem, the effect is only slight on this unit and forgivable considering the size and overall quality. It still should be addressed though as it may annoy some people to no end.
We were also disappointed to discover that the in-built tuner is only standard definition and looks rather pitiful. We reviewed this unit in conjunction with the Toshiba HD-C26H set top box and found that it greatly improved the image quality. Watching ABC TVs BoohBah on a 62 inch television set was truly terrifying. In HD, this set looks great for viewing television, although we did find that the viewing angle isn't exceedingly great with colour shift occurring at about 75 degrees horizontal and almost immediately vertically. Quite a bit of pre-planning will have to be undertaken before you buy this TV. Make sure you know exactly where you are going to put it.
We are now big fans of this television and heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a giant screen experience at a reasonable price. The price tag is slightly over inflated when compared with other TVs on the market but it is well worth it, especially if you intend to run High Definition content on the unit.
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