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Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U LED LCD Television Review

by October 14, 2009
Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U

Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U

  • Product Name: REGZA 46SV670U LED LCD TV
  • Manufacturer: Toshiba
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: October 14, 2009 10:00
  • MSRP: $ 2300
  • Buy Now

1080p Full HD CineSpeed Display
FocaLight LED Backlight with Local Dimming
2,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio
CrystalCoat Contrast Enhancer
ClearScan 240 with New Backlight Scanning Technology
Resolution+1 Super Resolution Technology
PixelPure 5G 14-Bit Internal Digital Video Processor
AutoView Automatic Picture Adjustment
ColorMaster Wide Color Enhancer
Dolby Volume Automatically Adjusts Uneven Volume Levels
4 HDMI Digital Inputs (1 Side) with InstaPort and REGZA-LINK®2
Next Gen Connectivity (USB Port, SD Card Slot, IR Pass-Through, High-Res PC Input)
ATSC/QAM Digital Tuner for Over-the-Air and Cable-in-the-Clear Digital Tuning
New Deep Lagoon Design with Infinity Flush Front
VESA mount: 200x400
Dimensions (no stand): 45.6" x 28.5" x 4.5"
Dimensions (w/ stand): 45.6" x 30.8" x 13.6"
Weight (w/ stand): 72.8 lbs

Pros

  • LED backlighting allows rich blacks
  • Deep lagoon design not unattractive
  • Excellent calibration options

Cons

  • No network features
  • Fast menu system timeout

 

46SV670U Features

Quite some time ago we predicted to death of plasma technology, albeit a tad early than was comfortable for most of our readers. The large reason behind this prediction was the advances being made in LCD technology. With the introduction of LED backlighting, LCD monitors have overcome one of the final hurdles that sets them apart from their plasma counterparts – black levels. Toshiba's REGZA 46SV670U capitalizes on this equalization of technologies and maximizes the viewing experience, bringing LCD into the realm of plasma and rendering blacks like you've never seen them before.

Features

There are a lot of excellent features that help the REGZA stand out against its peers. The Toshiba, among other things prides itself on a suite of top-notch features and specifications that offset its rather bulky frame and unremarkable form factor:

  • Gaming Mode
    The 46SV670U comes with a Gaming Mode whereby the television will bypass most of its video processing circuitry to cut off 48ms of lag that would otherwise take place when using the display. This helps tremendously when gaming requires as little lag as possible. Games that involve music syncopation , such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band make this a very necessary and useful feature.
  • ClearScan 240
    ClearScan 240 is perhaps misnamed, but it is a useful combination of two very different technologies. First, Toshiba provides ClearFrame 120Hz processing that performs frame interpolation, rendering an additional frame in between each real frame of video. Next, it flashes the backlight at 120Hz – twice the normal rate – which helps alleviate the pixel transition blur often inherent in LCD panels. When combined with the Film Stabilization mode it works to eliminate motion judder, however we never saw a significant effect to increase resolution during motion as we've seen with similar systems. There was almost no visible improvement with the system engaged or not, though we noticed a decrease in light output when the backlight scanning system was on (as would be expected since the light was being decreased in rapid frequency). 120Hz processing in general has a ways to go and there is still really no way to accurately recreate frames when the subject matter is in high speed motion across the screen. As such, fast left-to-right and top-to-bottom motion tends to produce artifacts that are not pleasing to the eye.
  • AutoView
    This combines an ambient light sensor with the ability to monitor the incoming video signal in real time and produce a picture that is pleasing to the eye. Professionals will want to disable this as fast as possible (it's called "Auto Brightness Sensor Settings" in the menu system and includes a sophisticated gamma control that can customize the brightness per level), but for those who cannot calibrate their sets it provides an interesting option for varying the picture quality and brightness with the ambient light.
  • FocaLight LED Backlight with Local Dimming
    This is a full LED matrix system that allows the backlight LEDs to be controlled by zones. There certainly isn't an LED for each pixel, but Toshiba is able to dim each zone differently depending upon the average picture levels present. This allows the set to produce deeper blacks in some areas of the picture versus others, producing a much higher real-world contrast ratio.
  • Resolution +
    This system wasn't nearly as impressive as I thought it would be, based on earlier demos we had seen over a year ago. The idea is that the system would improve 480i, 480p, and even 720p source material for a higher resolution picture that more closely resembles a 1080p HD source. In practicality, the differences are minor, but users will want to experiment with this setting, especially if they are feeding non-HD sources to the television.
  • Dolby Volume
    This technology is designed to provide a natural dynamic control to reduce volume peaks, but without losing the detail present in a soundtrack. It certainly works, however it also affects the natural dynamic range of the soundtrack and we found it greatly affecte4d intelligibility of dialogue. We suspect the effect varies from room to room, so experiment on your own to see what your preference is for your location.
  • InstaPort
    Designed to eliminate the 5-6 second delay inherent in switching between HDMI inputs, this technology reduces the amount of time it takes to lock on to a different HDMI source signal. The system works and we noticed a much snappier response when switching between inputs.

46SV670U Build Quality and Menu System

Toshiba ships the REGZA 46SV670U in a box where you must open the top and lift out the television in its entirety. There are four corner supports and the entire box came wrapped with plastic wrap. Many other manufacturers employ a fully removable lid system, but in either case we had no real difficulty in extracting the TV or accessing the remote, user manual, and accessories.

There are several locations where the display's inputs are to be found:

rear inputs

On the rear we have three rear-facing HDMI inputs, an optical TOSlink output, RF antenna input, an HD15 PC input and ample analogue audio connections.

side inputs

On the side, Toshiba's 46SV670U has an additional HDMI input, a USB input, SD card, and composite inputs, This is also where the hard controls are for channel, menu and input controls.

The Toshiba correctly stores independent picture controls for each input (we specifically tested all four HDMI inputs to make sure. Even the backlight can be configured for each input independently, which we were surprised at, but pleasantly so. What's nice about this is that independent sources, which often carry their own video output levels and particular requirements in order to look their best, can be perfectly configured with each input to achieve a perfect fit.

Menu System

The menu system was a mixed bag for me. I liked its simple organization and the way it minimized during the configuration of settings. What I didn't like was the speed with which that setting reverted to the screen-hogging menu display (just 5 seconds). This meant that when I would try different things and attempt to observe the screen for the results, I had only 5 seconds to do so before the minimized controls would revert back to the screen-covering menu. It was also readily apparent that the Menu didn't remember where I was last. This became a tad frustrating when I had to repeatedly go back to the Color Temp settings via several button presses and navigational controls. Not a deal-breaker, but worth nothing for those who want to calibrate this TV in the user settings.

Picture
The Picture menu contains the majority of settings you'll use. Backlight, Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint and Sharpness are all here – every one of the basic picture controls. You'll also find advanced controls like the custom Color Temperature controls (with RGB gain/cut), Noise Reduction, and the processing modes like Dynamic Contrast, Resolution+, and ClearScan 240. Incidentally, Sharpness should stay at the default of 0 for the best result. A lower setting actually blurs the image and anything higher than 10 begins to introduce artificial edge enhancement.

It was here that I experimented with the ClearScan 240 mode along with Film Stabilization. While Film Stabilization reduced (and all but eliminated) judder effects, the ClearScan 240 really didn't impress us with any notable performance or effects. The Backlight scanning does indeed work and serves to minimize the inherent pixel blur associated with LCD pixel refresh, but that was about it. At the bottom of the Picture menu is a helpful item called TheaterLock. This feature essentially locks out the picture controls once activated. Though it's not password-protected, it does serve to keep the system from being mistakenly "adjusted" by your kids, pesky in-laws, or even the babysitter.

Sound
The Sound menu is brief and allows basic control over Bass Treble and Balance (though we can't see how you would possibly want to adjust balance on a TV). Other options include the Dolby Volume setting (we kept ours at Low for best results) and an Advanced Sound Settings area which unlocks control over (virtual) Surround, Voice Enhancement and Dynamic Bass Boost settings. By default, Voice Enhancement is on and Dynamic Bass Boost is set to High. Go figure... If you are outputting audio to your A/V system be sure to flatten these out completely.

Applications
This menu is actually more of a control system for your Media Player, Favorites Browser and Channel Browser. Requiring a trip to the Setup menu to play Media Files from the SD card slot seemed a bit odd to us, and we would much rather have seen this in the Input menu  which is easily accessible via the remote. This section also gives you access to the Sleep Timer and an unusual and unique On Timer. You can actually set the TV to come on after a certain number of hours/minutes, configure which input it will tune to, and even set the volume. If this isn't a practical joke waiting to be sprung I don't know what is!

Preferences
Here you can set the aspect and stretch modes for standard definition and 4:3 sources. You can also set the CC preferences and set a PIN for Parental controls. The REGZA-LINK (Toshiba's flavor of HDMI CEC control) can also be enabled here (actually it's on by default) and you can configure the speaker preferences and whether the system provides control over a compatible amplifier (A/V receiver).

Setup
The setup menu is a catch-all for configuration options like Menu Language, Antenna/Cable preferences and other tweaks. Hidden in here is the HDMI InstaPort setting (on by default) as well as a place to configure the digital audio output to PCM or Auto (and yes, we think it would work better under the Sound menu).

46SV670U Remote Control, Calibration and Benchmarks

Toshiba's remote is large, well laid out and not backlit in the least. In fact, the only thing that lights up is the source selection whenever you push a button (or select the source). Why they included a backlight there and not for the rest of the remote will remain one of life's great (OK, not that great) mysteries. The remote is separated onto three main sections: Source and keypad, menu navigation, and transport controls. Other than the lack of a backlight and no direct input buttons, the remote is actually quite ergonomic and easy to use. I liked the Menu controls and, though the CH Return button as a "back out of the menu" button was an odd choice, it kinda grew on me. The only way to select an input on the Toshiba remote is to either toggle the solitary Input button or press it once and use the menu selector to choose an input. The remote is able to control up to 3 additional devices (Cable/Sat, DVD, and VCR/PVR) which is a big plus for those looking to simplify control over their A/V systems.

remote control

Using the Television's Media Features

Calling up photos, music and video on the 46SV670U was easy. After we inserted an SD card the display wanted to automatically bring up the new source. We could, of course, connect to it at anytime using the Applications menu. Pulling up that menu we were able to navigate the folders and files of the SD card and quickly get to the content I wanted to display on the television. After only a moment's hesitation, the TV played our desired pics in a slideshow. It seemed fairly quick and snappy and, even though these files were large hi-res JPG files, there wasn't any lag in the display rendering time for the images. Each image showed up in the slideshow, with a brief period of black in between each picture. It would have been nice for there to be transition options, however this system only allows basic image playback with no frills.

Calibrating the Television

We utilized SpecraCal's CalMan software (v3.5) and an X-Rite Chroma 5 meter. This is a great combination for reviewing LCD flat panel TVs and the Chroma 5 is now available in a form that is ready for LED backlit televisions. The Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U is remarkably flexible in its user calibration menu. Aside from its full RGB Gain and Cut controls, the TV also provides "ColorMaster" controls which allow adjustment of Hue Saturation and Brightness of each primary and secondary color. Our initial measurements showed runaway Blue levels and a very disjointed RGB grayscale response, which matched our initial impressions of the picture, even in Movie mode:

RGB before
Afterwards, we were able to make significant improvements with some grayscale calibration:

RGB after
The above results were calibrated starting at the Movie Mode with a Color Temperature 2 setting.

We took some ANSI contrast measurements and got the following, impressive real-world results:

  • 38.778 fL/0.0208 fL = 1,864:1 – Movie Mode (backlight at 30 [default])
  • 101.1292/.0320 fL = 3,160:1 – Sports Mode

In terms of real-world performance we like to see at least 400:1 on displays while in Movie picture modes. With the impressive 1,864:1 ratio we measured off the REGZA TV I'd say viewers are going to enjoy a really great image. Comparing this to non-LED Toshiba sets we've looked at, the 46SV670U is in a different league. Varying the backlight doesn't do much to affect the contrast ratio (as expected), so feel free to crank it up when ambient light conditions exist, and pull it down pretty low for nighttime viewing and when you want to achieve the darkest Black levels possible. We found that with the backlight down low and when viewing the set in a darkened room, it was hard to distinguish the black bars on the top and bottom of an anamorphic-formatted movie from the black bezel. That's something I had only formerly experienced with plasma displays.

Color temperature tended towards Blue, with most of the readings defaulting to well over the desired D65 baseline, even in the Movie mode. Here are what the various modes yield in their default settings with an 80 IRE window pattern:

  • 13,300K – Sports Mode
  • 10,000K – Standard Mode
  • 6,700K – Movie Mode (adjusted to Color Temp 2)
  • 10,500K – Game Mode
  • 10,000K - PC Mode

Color accuracy as measured by the CIE chart placed the color ranges outside of the desired Rec 709 boundaries (particularly Green). We adjusted the ColorMaster controls to alter the Hue Saturation and Brightness of the primary and secondary colors to dial in the display almost spot on.

CIE before CIE after
CIE chart before (left) and after (right)

HQV HD Perfect Score is 100

Toshiba 46SV670U HD Benchmark Score: 70

Test

Max
Points

Score

Pass/Fail

HD Noise

25

0

Fail

Video Resolution Loss

20

20

Pass

Video Reconstruction

20

20

Pass

Film Resolution Loss

25

20

Pass*

Film Resolution Loss Stadium

10

10

Pass

Total Points

100

70

 

*Interestingly, Film Resolution Loss only passed when Film Stabilization was activated. We feel like this setting should probably stay on (it worked fairly well at removing judder without detrimental artifacts) so we gave partial credit. Even with Film Stabilization activated, however, note that it did take a second for the pattern to lock each time it reset.

Comments on Testing

One of the more revealing tests we performed on the REGZA 46SV670U was the Rainbow Dither 2/3 test which is present on the AVIA Pro disc. This test is excellent for determining the level of rainbow effect (RBE) in DLP projector, but it also serves as an excellent motion pattern for checking out how well 120Hz processing is functioning in a display. It was with this pattern that we armed ourselves to determine, once and for all, just what the processing on the Toshiba was doing. It turns out the answer was: not much. While the Film Stabilization mode eliminates judder completely, the ClearScan 240 mode hardly affected the on-screen image at all when activated or deactivated. Except for the decreased light output due to the backlight scanning on and off at twice the normal frequency, there was really no discernible difference in the picture. Motion blur was still present and the picture didn't take on that "Live HDTV" feel that often accompanies 120 Hz frame interpolation. Noise reduction, for HD material, was also almost completely absent.

46SV670U Viewing Evaluation and Conclusion

The picture quality of the Toshiba 46SV670U was marked by its impressive Black levels. For everything we watched that seemed to dominate our focus and direct our attentions. Colors certainly popped and we enjoyed the vivid picture the LED-backlit television delivered, but the deep Blacks were the one thing that differentiated this TV from other non-LED sets.

BD: The Fifth Element (Revised Version)
I use this on just about every display review for good reason – it's an excellent source and I am intimately familiar with the material. On the Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U LED backlit display the colors really seemed to pop. Detail was good, though we've seen sharper images on other sets from our reference sources. Overall, this disc showed that the REGZA is capable of playing back rich, detailed material in a very pleasing way. 

Fifth Element 1 fifth element 2
All the detail of this brush and the texture of the wall came though, and the colors of the reconstitution scene were absolutely stunning post-calibration.

 

BD: Torchwood – Season 2
Black levels are good, but what about Black levels when there are ample amounts of white in the frame? For this we turned to Torchwood: Season 2, which always delivers on deep shadows and contrasting foreground elements. In one of the scenes we captured, the background detail has very dark elements that are contrasted by Owen Harper (played by Burn Gorman) who is wearing a standard white lab coat. Here, the FocaLight LED backlighting system was able to darken the background elements, while allowing the peak white in his lab coat to punch through as much as is proper. It resulted in a nicely contrasted image that I hadn't seen on any CCFL-backlit LCD displays. 

torchwood 1

torchwood 2

DVD: Beyond Borders
This movie presented a lot of material for us to look at. In one scene a character comes into frame with a checkerboard pattern in her coat. The fine lines which made up the pattern were a nice real-world challenge for this set. Skin tones were all over the board due to the nature of this film and its remote location and setting, however we found the facial detail to be superb (especially for DVD) and enjoyed the contrast given by, for example, dark hair on light backgrounds and scenery that combined many different elements.

beyond borders 1 beyond borders 2

Conclusion

Toshiba has a winner with the REGZA 46SV670U LED backlit television. This set rivals the black levels of plasma and has the flexibility to handle a great many sources, each of which can be custom tailored with unique calibrations settings. At first we found it odd that Toshiba focused on display quality and eschewed "thin" flat panels. Since almost none of the other manufacturers who have been touting that "thin is in" have delivered as of yet, we'd have to agree that Toshiba simply called it like they saw it. The user calibration options for this set are superb, though we found that the ability to dial it in fully will require patience and a lot of backtracking. Color is above par. Detail is good, and we liked the simple Media player that allows the TV to show off your movies, photos and music from an SD card. Considering this TV has way more features than Toshiba's last high-end model and retails for over $300 less, it's a veritable steal and something that we highly recommend you take a look at when deciding which TV is going to be best for you.

Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U
Street Price: $2300

http://www.tacp.toshiba.com/
800-631-3811

About Toshiba Digital Electronics
Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. is owned by Toshiba America, Inc., a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, a world leader in high technology products with subsidiaries worldwide. Toshiba is a pioneer in HD DVD, DVD and DVD Recorder technology and a leading manufacturer of a full line of home entertainment products, including flat panel TV, rear projection and direct view televisions, combination products and portable devices. Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. is headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey. For additional information please visit www.tacp.toshiba.com.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Detail and ResolutionStarStarStarStar
Deinterlacing & ScalingStarStar
Contrast and Black LevelsStarStarStarStarStar
Color ReproductionStarStarStarStar
Noise ReductionStarStarStar
Calibration OptionsStarStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStar
Ease of SetupStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStar
Remote ControlStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStar
ValueStarStarStarhalf-star
About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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