57HX81 Review (Very Long)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Massimo N, Oct 8, 2001.

  1. Massimo N

    Massimo N Stunt Coordinator

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    I’ve had my 57HX81 for just over a week (since September 28th) and I’m really impressed with the picture so far. I thought I’d give my review on the set after living with it for a while.
    I’ve done the standard tweaks to the set:
    -Set Contrast (45), Brightness (57), Colour (49), Tint (-12), Sharpness (50), Disable SVM (through Movie Mode) using AVIA. These are my DVD (HD component 1 input) settings. Other inputs vary slightly.
    -56 point convergence
    -Clean up minor geometry issues (very, very few)
    -Overscan was under 5% all around and the picture was already centred dead-on
    -Clean Mirror and lenses
    -Mechanical and Electrical Focus (I was initially scare to do this, but it turned out to be very simple and straightforward).
    -Eye balled grey scale (took out some blue and red out of the low end and blue out of the high). I used an article from Home Theatre Magazine a while back where they did a test on preference of grey scale. They have pictures of the ramps at different colour temperatures. I used this as a guide (I know a bad guide, but a guide none-the- less) so remove any blatant colours. I will have the grey scale ISF calibrated down the road.
    Convergence: Only 1 grid to converge!!!! You only have to set geometry in the master 56 point grid, and the set will automatically do all modes for you. BLESS YOU TOSHIBA!!
    Lens Stripping: Grey scale tracking across the screen is very good (by eye). I cannot see any blue or red contamination on either side of the set. I’m sure there’s probably some deviation in the grey scale, but since I don’t notice any by eye at this point, I don’t feel that lens stripping is necessary.
    Herman-TLV Manoeuvre appears to be already done to my set. I’m sure one could improve on it, but I’m very intimidated by this procedure, especially without a colour analyzer.
    I feel that sharpness should be set at 50. This goes against my experience with other sets I’ve owned. It appears that 50 is the OFF position. No artefacts are introduced, and the picture doesn’t artificially soften.
    Duvetyne lining of cabinet interior. Next Project. I do get some internal reflections on bright scenes, and this will definitely reduce the reflections. I also noticed that although the interior is flat black, the brackets that hold the CRTs in place are stainless steel (I think). This could be my main reason for the internal reflections. This will wait about a month or 2 when the set is broken in completely, where I’ll do another cleaning and focus.
    I’m currently seated 12 feet away from the set. I actually see myself bringing the set closer, maybe 10’.
    I should note that with the adjustments I’ve made, each one alone didn’t provide a dramatic change to the picture, but the improvement after all the adjustments were made (collectively) you definitely noticed an improvement (not a huge improvement).
    The picture is truly amazing. Good transfers really shine, and you quickly find out what DVDs you own that have good transfers and bad transfers.
    Cable look o.k, but a good quality DVD transfer (Starship troopers, Magnolia, Hannibal, X-Men, Toy Story 1&2, Bug’s life etc) are very detailed,, very good colour saturation, outstanding contrast and balance.
    Issues I’ve had with other sets (red push, aggressive SVM and edge enhancements, hot spotting) are non existent with this set. I should note that the angle of view on these Toshiba’s is quite good. You can literally still get consistent image quality off angle.
    The anti-glare screen does still glare. I think I read in the press release that the anti-glare screen was to reduce glare by 50%. The TV is facing a bay window with Vertical Blinds. The blinds do a good job of blocking most of the light, but I will see about getting curtains.
    The turner is slow, but faster than last year’s model. The graphic menu is also faster than last year’s model. I don’t have any use for the speed surf option.
    A run down of the stretch modes:
    Normal:Keeps original 4:3 aspect ratio with grey bars on sides
    Full: Used for Anamorphic DVDs
    TheaterWide 1: Used for 4:3 images. Slightly zooms the entire image, Keeps the centre undistorted, and slightly distorts the sides. I got used to watching 4:3 cable on in this mode very quickly. VERY GOOD! Sports (football and hockey) look very good in this mode.
    TheatreWide 2: Used for Non-enhanced 16x9 images. Zooms the entire image evenly
    TheatreWide3: Used for ?? Slightly zooms stretches the entire image evenly.
    The set does exhibit some image ghosting. This is not the vertical line ghosting, rather a clear outline off-set to the right of the image. The mechanical/electrical focus did reduce this effect. From 12’ away, you cannot notice it. You have to be less than 3’ to really see this (if you know what to look for).
    Another minor qualm I have with the set is the Input Labels. I really appreciate the ability to name the inputs, but I wish I could give them any name myself. They let you choose from a list (DVD, VCR, DTV and others I don’t recall). I would like to name one Video Game for my Dreamcast and soon to be XBOX.
    I really like the individual memory inputs (4 memory). One for Cable, One global setting for Video 1, 2 and 3 and one for each of the HD inputs.
    The direct access to each of the inputs is really convenient. It makes creating macros easier. The direct access to each of the picture sizes is a nice touch. For those with the Radio Shack 1994 (or similar remote) you can program a button for FULL and Theatre Wide 1 mode. I don’t have the codes handy at the moment, but it takes one step from the process.
    Overall, I’m very happy with this set. This is my second HD set. I purchased the Panasonic 47” set back in June and for issues I had with the set, I decided to return it after 1 week. I documented my issues with the Panasonic on a previous post. For the record, my main gripe with the Panasonic was Huge Red Push, very aggressive SVM, out of control edge enhancement and severe hot spotting. I know that some of the issues were resolved and the set is a good performer, but the Toshiba 57HX81 is substantially better than the Panasonic (IMHO).
    To summarize:
    Cable/VCR look o.k. Quality differs dramatically station to station.
    Dreamcast: Depending on the game, it looks AWSOME. Some games like Metropolis Street Racer is riddled with shimmering (probably due to running at 30FPS and interlaced). Other games like Resident Evil Code Veronica, DOA2, NFL2K and Soul Calbour look outstanding. Makes me anticipate the XBOX even more. For those using a gaming console with this TV, make sure you turn the doubler to VIDEO.
    DVDs. The Colour Saturation, Detail, Black Levels, sharpness, contribute to the “film-like” image. This is the reason I bought a 16x9 HD ready set. And no more downconversion [​IMG]
    HDTV: I don’t have anything hooked up yet. I’ll report later on the XBOX. I believe there is a launch game that supports 1080i (Test Drive??). All games support at least 480p (to my understanding).
    I’m extremely happy with my purchase. No regrets what – so - every! When I was initially shopping for TVs, I was sceptical about a Rear Projection losing detail and sharpness from a direct view. WAS I WRONG!! Burn in will always be a concern of mine, so I’m very careful on static images (including the channel numbers). I keep my finger on the exit button to remove the on-screen identifiers immediately. I know I’m probably being a little over-concerned, but better safe than sorry.
    The size was another decision I had difficulty with. I was torn between the 50 and 57” I’m so glad I went with the 57”. I find it so amazing how fast I got used to the size [​IMG] I could have gone with the 65” but it definitely wouldn’t fit.
    Cheers!
    Mass
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

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    This is quite funny that you posted this
    review.
    I just bought my first anamorphic Hi-Def
    television yesterday.
    It was the Toshiba 57HX81
    Many stores don't have it in stock (it is in
    high demand). Mine will be delivered within
    the next week once it becomes available.
    Your notes above will be very handy. I am
    not very experienced with calibrating televisions
    other than using VIDEO ESSENTIALS. I was able to
    get my current Pioneer 51" looking great, but I
    hear that 16:9 sets are a different ball of wax.
    Nice to see you really like the set. I bought
    mine sight unseen because of all the raves people
    had about last year's Toshiba. The store could
    not even keep the Toshiba sets in stock.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
    Circa 2000
    Home Theater Forum Administrator
    All forum questions & to get on our private forum mailing list (new members)... Email: [email protected]
    Problems with the webpage or site? Contact WEBMASTER
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  3. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Outstanding review, Mass. I followed your trials and tribulations with the Panny a few months ago.
    OOC, what size room did you put the Tosh in?
    ------------------
    --RR
     
  4. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the detailed review and information. I have been looking seriously at the 57HX81 for a few weeks now, and it is my #1 choice for a RP television.
    I'm still leaning towards a front projector system for my first dedicated HT, but the 57HX81 is making that decision considerably more difficult. [​IMG]
    ------------------
    John
    http://www.twowiresthin.com
     
  5. Massimo N

    Massimo N Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron,
    Congratulations on you purchase! I bought the TV also based on the rave review from last year's model. With so much going for this set, the issues I had with the set are minor (IMO).
    I didn't think I was much of a calibrator, as this is my first RPTV (unless you count the 1 week I had with the Panasonic). Over the last few months I've been reading up on all the tweaks avaiable. By reading what each tweak involved I became more comfortable what each was trying to accomplish. As I mentioned I was terrified by opening up the set to adjust the mechanical/electrical focus, but these new models provide extra hooks on the screen so you can mount the screen a foot higher and have access to the CRTs.
    Doing the cleaning, mechanical/electrical focus, and 56 point convergence all for the first time, it took me a whole 1 1/2 hours [​IMG]
    Rick, the room I have my Home theater in is long and narrow. It's 33' long by 12' wide. I am very flexible on the distance I can sit from the set. This gives me total freedom (length wise) to position speakers, tv, equipment etc.
    The TV was the last major component of my Hometheater, so I finally have a sence of completion. My equipment list is (I'll try and get pictures later):
    TV: Toshiba 57HX81
    DVD Player: Panasonic DVD-RV30
    Receiver: Yamaha RXV995
    Front Speakers: Paradigm Reference 40 v.2
    Rear Speakers: Paradigm Reference 40 v.2
    Centre Speakers: Paradigm Reference CC v.2
    SUB: SVS20-39PC
    Cheers!
    Mass
     
  6. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    Congrats Mass! Glad to see you finally made it to TV happy land!
    ------------------
    John Golitsis
    Next Big Thing Electronics
     
  7. Doug_JC

    Doug_JC Extra

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    Massimo N,
    I also have the same set for about a week and am very happy with it. So far I did the 9 pt convergence with the remote. As this is my 1st RPTV, I have some questions about your excellent review:
    1- How did you clean up geometry issues
    2 - could you provide steps on cleaning the mirror & lenses
    3 - How do you do a mechanical and electrical focus
    4 - eye balled grey scale - took out some blue & red from low end and red from high end, could you please explain this. What is greyscale and where were you making these adjustments
    5 - Convergence - only 1 grid. I have read some threads that you have to make or buy grids for the screen for a 56 pt convergence. How did you do the 56 pt convergence, are there step by step procedures
    I realize this may require a long response to adequately answer these questions, any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm excited about getting the best picture I can from my new set.
    Thanks, Doug
    ------------------
     
  8. Massimo N

    Massimo N Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Doug!
    I'll try and answer your questions as best I can. Most of the information I found at
    http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/index.htm http://www.hometheaterspot.com
    For anything I mention, remember to perform them at your own risk (standard warning). You should get a service manual before you do any of the modifications.
    1. Geometry Issues: I'm almost embarased to say it, but I eyballed them. I entered the service menue, brought up the 56 point convergence grid, I turned off the Blue and Red guns, and where the grid bent a little in the corners, I straightened them out. Please keep in mind that my grid was good from the factory, so I had very little to do here. I plan on making a grid in the future, but I'm happy for now.
    I then converged the blue to the green (Turn on the Green and Blue guns), and then the Red to the Blue, (Turn on the red and blue guns, turning off the green), and then touched up all colours with all guns firing.
    2. Cleaning the lences and mirror. This requires that you remove your screen. Please refer to the keohi.com site for detailed instructions. You definitely don't want to scratch anything here.
    3. Mechanical/electrical focus. This again requires that you remove/reposition your front screen. On this year's models, there are hooks that allow you to set the screen 1 foot higher giving you access to the CRTs.
    Once the screen is re-positioned, start with the electronic focus. READ THE POT ADJUSTMENTS FIRST!!! On my set, the bottom ones were the focus, while the top ones were the screen trimpots. ADJUSTING TRIMPOTS CAN SERIOUSLY RUIN YOUR SET. Bring up the convergence grid, turn off all guns except the one you're focusing (I started with Blue). Adjust focus for the guns until you get the thinnest line (using convergence grid).
    Loosen the wingnut on the (BLUE) CRT, adust the focus (just like a camera lencs).
    Repeat for all three CRTs.
    Grey Scale: Enter Service Menu, adjust the _CUT for the low end of the grey scale and _DRV for the high end.
    Finally re-did 56 point convergence.
    I'm sorry if I'm not that detailed, but you should definitely have a good read at the keohihdtv before attempting any of the mods.
    I put together a binder of all the mods that I did, and I felt comfortable with them before I made any of the changes.
    I'm just a rookie at this too, so PLEASE read as much info as you can. Hope I've helped!
    Mass
     
  9. Massimo N

    Massimo N Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Doug!
    I started to write out the procedures, but I though it'd be best to point you to the source of the information. Have a good read through both sites on the calibration process. They can explain the process a lot better than I could.
    A good start is to grab yourself a copy of AVIA or Video Essentials to calibrate the basic settings.
    http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/index.htm http://www.hometheaterspot.com
    On the keohi site, there is a good explaination of grey scale. Basically, you want to set the intensity of the 3 guns (RED, GREEN, BLUE) at the same level, so they produce a colour temperature of 6500. To set correctly you require an expensive piece of equipment, or hire an ISF professional to set it for you. By bringing up the RAMP pattern on AVIA, or any of the grey fields, no blue, red, or green can be visiably seen.
    By setting this up correctly, you are seeing the true colours that the director intended, and the film was mastered in.
    Hope I've helped.
    Cheers!
    Mass
     
  10. Fred Galpern

    Fred Galpern Agent

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    This set sounds like what I have been looking for. One question though...
    Is it progressive scan?
    ------------------
    Fred Galpern
    Art Director
    http://www.galpern.net
     
  11. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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    Fred, you are a bit confused. TV sets are not "progressive scan" DVD Players are.
    Brian
    ------------------
    Zed's Dead Baby...
     
  12. Fred Galpern

    Fred Galpern Agent

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    Yup, I am confused. I guess what I'm asking is will this TV display the higher quality image from a progressive scan dvd player? My current Hitachi RPTV does not. Thanks for the correction Brian.
    ------------------
    Fred Galpern
    Art Director
    http://www.galpern.net
     
  13. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Congrats Massimo! Glad to see you finally were able to get a set that you're happy with!
    I went the Front Projection route myself and couldn't be happier. Went with the NEC LT150 DLP projector and it is truly amazing. With a little 3 lb projector I am now able to watch DVDs on a 60 x 80 inch screen.
    A true movie experience!
    Hopefully your TV will give you the same enjoyment.
    ------------------
    Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
    MyHTSetup
     
  14. Massimo N

    Massimo N Stunt Coordinator

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    Fred, YUP, the set is HDTV ready, so it does accept a 480p and 1080i signal from a progressive scan player, and from what I’ve read you will see a minor improvement in the picture quality pairing up the set with a Progressive player. This set scales all 480i and 480p signals to 540p, and displays a 1080i without further processing. I find that the internal doubler/scaler and 3:2 circuitry on the Toshiba do a very good job with an interlaced signal.
    Lou … Front Projection on a 80” screen! Now that’s truly bringing you the Home Theatre experience. Looks like this year’s being an expensive upgrade year for a few of us [​IMG] I contemplated front projection, but I don’t have 100% controlled lighting and the dollars were just a bit too much for me [​IMG]
     
  15. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Screenwriter

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    Guys-
    Would this set be a good one to use a HTPC on by chance?
    I will most likely be building one (HTPC) in about a month or two after hopefully purchasing this Toshiba set in about a month once my move from MS to Washington is complete.
    I don't really need to feature DVD playback on this HTPC - I mainly want it for internet browsing and to check email in the living room. DVD playback would be a nice bonus though.
    How would I connect my HTPC to this Toshiba set? And how would it be displayed? Will I have gray bars like I would when viewing 4:3 material? Just curious......
    I will also have a Progressive Scan DVD player to connect - EVENTUALLY [​IMG] - along with a PS2, Sony SAT-T60 Satellite Receiver w/ TiVo & a Pioneer LD player.
    Would anyone be able to point me to the online users manual for the Toshiba 57HX81 by chance?
    Thanks very much!
    Best Regards,
    Mike B
    ------------------
    I WAS DRUGGED AND LEFT FOR DEAD IN NEW MEXICO AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS STUPID T-SHIRT
    My Home Theater
    My DVD Collection
    My LD Collection
     
  16. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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  17. Mike Kao

    Mike Kao Second Unit

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    So there are no VGA or BNC/RGB inputs on this set? Does any such HD RPTV with these inputs even exist? That's quite a shame as I was planning on purchasing this or the 53HX71 set for HTPC usage... speaking of which, does anyone know of any differences between the HX81 and HX71 series besides the 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios?
     
  18. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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    Mike, just buy a freaking adapter. You can't expect manufacturers to have an input for something that less than .01% of people use (HTPC's). BTW, I believe the only difference in those models is the screen size.
    Brian
    ------------------
    Zed's Dead Baby...
     
  19. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    I believe the Pioneer Elites or the Mits Diamond have RGB in..not sure which though. But man...does that put a price tag on it u can buy another TV set!
    ------------------
    Eric Samonte
    Dito sa Pilipinas..may Hom Tiyeter rin kami!
     
  20. scott_freeland

    scott_freeland Auditioning

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    The 55" Philips has a VGA input.
    -scott
     

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