Some observations on my new Tosh 50HX81

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Moreau, Nov 5, 2001.

  1. Chris Moreau

    Chris Moreau Stunt Coordinator

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    On the first day that DVD's were available (March 21, 1997) I began collecting. Since that time I've amassed a bit over 300 titles, which I've been watching on a relatively ancient small screen set. On Friday I finally acquired my first 16X9 large screen, the Toshiba 50HX81. Here's my initial impression of both it, and what it did to my video collection.
    I unpacked the set, turned it on, and immediately changed it to movie mode where contrast is set to 50. The first disc I tried was "Fools Rush In" which just happened to be sitting on the coffee table where I'd put it after a borrowing friend returned it. WOW!!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. The film opens on downtown New York, where it's snowing lightly. I've seen this disc about 10 times, and until Friday I never knew it was snowing! As I switched from one disc to another I continued to see things in them that I'd never noticed before. If an ISF calibration really does improve on this out-of-the-box picture, then it must be spectacular, indeed.
    I love the widescreen, but I can't say that I'm really happy with any of the ways of displaying 4X3 material. The recommended theaterwide 1 mode isn't too bad, but if there's a closeup of a person's face near either side of the screen, it makes for a rather strangely shaped head! Actually, I found that the grey bars are not bad at all, but I've read so much here about burn-in if they're used, that I was afraid to leave them on more than a few minutes. I would assume that their grey color is close to the average brightness of a moving image over a period of time, so why do they burn in?
    On Saturday I went through all of the Avia patterns. I was again amazed at just how good this set is right out of the box. Contrast and brightness were both very close to where they should be, color saturation was just a tad high, and hue only slightly off from ideal. Red push was no greater than 5%, overscan less than 5%, and the needle pulse didn't bend at all. I did find that the sharpness needed to be turned down to about 35 from the default of 50. All in all, wonderful! However, even I can see on black and white material that the grey scale is far from flat. (Fixing that will have to wait for a technician, obviously.) Also, I saw no evidence of the right side "halo" that some people on the forum have found on the HX81 series.
    The remote's not bad, and it will control everything in my system. However, I quickly found that changing from one device to another is a bit of pain, since one must cycle through each one, rather than being able to choose the desired device directly.
    Now, for what it's done for my videos:
    Until now, most DVDs looked very good to me. Now I see just how much they vary in quality. How disappointing it was to see how bad "The Sound of Music" really looked. (NOW I understand all the fuss about EE! This tranfer must have had EE pushed all the way to the max. When Maria first sees the Captain's house, the bars in the fence look like one dark bar between two white ones.) Some, such as "Mary Poppins," looked downright fuzzy compared to others, such as "Notting Hill," that seemed so detailed that at times I thought they were in 3D.
    I also found that, in general, anamorphics do look better than those that aren't. But, I did find any number of non-anamorphic transfers that looked very, very good. I will, though, certainly now join the bandwagon with those who say no more non-anamorphic transfers, ever, and get rid of ALL edge enhancement.
    One more thing. Yesterday, I finally got around to seeing how VHS looks on this set. I've decided that I might as well throw away all my tapes, because they're simply not watchable. Of course, even on my old set, DVDs looked much better than VHS, but I had no idea just how much better.
    One question for anyone else who has the 50HX81: are any of you using it with an HD STB? If so, please tell me which one, how well it's working for you, etc. I'm hoping for this to be my next purchase (I was hoping before the SuperBowl, but I've just learned that it WON'T be in HD!), and I'd love to hear what others are saying about this set in true HD.
    Sorry that this post has turned out to be so long, but as you can see, I'm really happy with the "new arrival." I even considered taking a day of vacation, today, just to be home with it!
    [Edited last by Chris Moreau on November 05, 2001 at 02:15 PM]
     
  2. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    Chris, regarding the burn-in from displaying 4:3 material in Standard mode (with gray bars in the sides), I have had my TW56F80 for 4 years now (Nov 1997) and still have no signs of burn-in visible. As long as you calibrate the set accordingly you shouldn't worry too much. I have actually been watching at least 50% 4:3 material without a problem. My contrast setting has been 37-38 with the brightness around 63 from day one. I don't know if others have experienced the same results as myself, but I am VERY happy with my TV still today. The picture looks just as good as it did years ago.
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    nice post chris...i'm also looking at this model and appreciate your comments.
    i've heard all your positives. if you have any negatives would you mind commenting? i'd like to hear what a 'real world' user has to say on this unit.
    tia
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    "The ship of death has a new captain." - nosferatu (1922)
     
  4. Luke_Y

    Luke_Y Second Unit

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    Chris, Congratulations on the new set! I love to read posts like yours as one of the big Tosh sets will be replacing my aging Hitachi 50" within the next year. Looking forward to joining you [​IMG]
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    Luke
     

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