Toshiba XD-E500 Upconverting DVD Player Setup & Tests
All my testing was done via HDMI, and hookup was a simple task. Unfortunately, the player's power cord is not detachable, so routing the power cable behind my equipment took much more time than attaching the HDMI cable to the player.
Video setup in the menu system was a snap, and for most of my testing, I utilized the 1080p/60 output. I initially chose 1080p/24, but some of the tests I run are video-based, and I saw significant stuttering with 1080p/24. Another issue with the video output is that it clips above-white and below-black information, making calibration more difficult and flattening subtle white details.
The Toshiba does a very good job of deinterlacing and scaling a 480i signal to 1080p. Using Silicon Optix's HQV Benchmark DVD, the XD-E500 performed admirably. It passed the single-bar diagonal-filter test, but the three-bar test was borderline with jaggies in the bottom two bars. The waving-flag exhibited no jaggies, and the film-detail test showed only a split second of moiré before the signal locked on. Real-world tests, including the opening of Star Trek: Insurrection and the Coliseum flyover in Gladiator, didn't show any adverse defects in the deinterlacing performance with film-based sources.
Next, I tested the three user-selectable XDE modes, which Toshiba claims will deliver a near-HD experience from SD DVDs. First on the line was the Sharp mode, which didn't work very well. Using the sharpness pattern from Avia Guide to Home Theater, I toggled this control on and off—when activated, it caused severe ringing in the test pattern. Sure, it does sharpen the picture, but sharper doesn't necessarily mean better. Unfortunately, the Sharp mode is active when any enhancement mode is enabled. The only way to rid the image of excessive ringing is to turn all enhancements off.
Turning to the Color mode, I used the color-decoder test from Avia with the enhancement turned off to gauge the strengths of red, green, and blue with the color filters. I then turned the Color mode on and found that it did enhance the colors, specifically green and blue with a boost of 5 and 20 percent, respectively. Unfortunately, this yields an inaccurate picture that may please Joe Six-pack, but not UAV readers.
Finally, I tested the Contrast mode utilizing the reverse gray ramps from Digital Video Essentials.This mode did indeed boost contrast when active, impacting higher brightness levels more than low, but the entire grayscale did receive a slight boost. Compression noise was also highlighted with the higher contrast, resulting in a less-than-satisfactory picture.