Tosh 34HF83 vs Sony 34HS510, revisited

Discussion in 'Displays' started by AngeloNA, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. AngeloNA

    AngeloNA Agent

    Aug 9, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Since my HDTV purchase came down to two options, the Sony 34HS510 or the Toshiba 34HF83, and others might need some insight, I thought I would share my experience with these two sets. If you have either of these models and are content and don't want nagging thoughts about your purchase, then don't read ahead!

    I first purchased the Tosh because it was ~$200 cheaper, 40lbs lighter (I would need a new stand to support the Sony), and reportedly nearly as good as or equal to the Sony set. After a few days of playing around with the Tosh, I noticed a vertical band on the left side of the screen that was slightly lighter than the rest of the screen. This was clearly noticeable with darker or washed out images and sometimes noticeable the rest of the time. I exchanged the set for another one (same model), and the problem was even worse!

    This led me to believe that the problem was an engineering flaw with the set (outside of outside interference). Upon further research, I discovered that people were finding that the latest Toshiba CRT models were of a lower quality than previous years (as also reflected in a CNET review). Toshiba technical support claimed that it was a "characteristic", which sealed the coffin. Almost 2 grand for a flawed tv is a waste of money.

    I then purchased the Sony, and after having spent over a month with the Toshiba and some time with the Sony, I'm able to make some comparisons between the two. I imagine that many of the new Tosh's out there won't even show this defect (or the user doesn't notice it), so then there are other factors that could affect a purchasing decision. The Sony's also reportedly have a problem with 1080i signals, but from what I've read, this can be fixed by some service menu adjustments or a technician.

    The big problem that bugged me with the Tosh picture quality was the poor black level retention. Movies with a mixture of bright and nighttime scenes will wreak havok with this set. I've read that this is prevalent in most consumer CRT's, but the Sony performs admirably in this case. In the past, one had to access the Sony service menu to adjust an item to achieve better DC restoration, but I believe that this item no longer exists in the new CRT models, perhaps because it's permanently adjusted. In any case, the retention of black levels on the Sony is far superior, with or without the service menu fix.

    Another problem with the Tosh was that the glass seemed more reflective than the Sony. This could be my imagination, but the Sony seems less responsive to ambient light. I think this may have indirectly contributed to poor dark details in bright images. Even though my tv setting is a very dark room, I found that with the Toshiba, the glass was reflecting light that was reflected off of the wall by the tv itself!

    The Tosh does handily trump the Sony when it comes to SD cable viewing. I realize that these are HD sets, but these manufacturers need to realize that for many consumers, most of our tv watching will still be in SD cable. As has been written, SD cable quality on Sony sets is terrible. And it's really terrible when compared to the Toshiba, which surprisingly does a good job.

    Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to test out the HD abilities of either set, but the DVD 480p quality of both seemed comparable.

    The Sony also fails miserably when it comes to geometry. Both Toshiba sets that I received had good geometry from the beginning. As everyone knows, Sony's require some service menu tuning to correct the geometry problems, which is a shame considering that consumers aren't even supposed to access the service menu in the first place. I don't understand why a company would work to engineer an above-average-quality electronic device, and then not correct a fixable problem. But, at least the Sony set can be user adjusted to one's preferences. Both sets have color decoders problems, but only with the Sony can one resolve this issue.

    In the end, it is my opinion that the Sony's superior DC restoration, adjustable color decoder, and so far defect-free image beats the Toshiba's cheaper price, good geometry, and very good SD cable quality. If you don't want to touch the service menu, then the Sony's bad geometry would make this comparison pretty even depending on the condition of the set that you receive. For what it's worth, the Sony manual and user menu are better, while the Toshiba looks cooler in my opinion, and it sounds better plus it has input sensitive settings.
  2. JamesClif

    JamesClif Extra

    Dec 4, 2003
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    JVC AV-34WP84 , so far none of the problems you mentioned with the Sony and Toshiba.

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