Toshiba 47LZ196 Regza 47-inch LCD HDTV Page 2

The Short Form
Price $3,900 (AS TESTED; $4,500 LIST) / / 800-631-3811
Solid LCD picture quality combines with an incredible feature set in Toshiba's new flagship LCD.
•Vibrant, natural color •Crisp 1080p detail •Innovative Color Palette control •Excellent, fully backlit remote
•Poor handling of noisy cable programs •Uneven brightness on some scenes
Key Features
•1,920 x 1,080-pixel LCD display •1080p-capable HDMI inputs •Color Management Pro palette control •Ethernet link for photos, music, email •Fully backlit 6-device remote •Video inputs: 2 HDMI, 2 component-video, 2 composite-/1 S-video, 2 RF, VGA
Test Bench
The Toshiba's Pro2 and Movie modes measured closest to the grayscale standard, but were still unacceptably blue. Service menu adjustments in Pro2 brought it to within ±50K from 30 to 80 IRE. Brightness in this mode was 27.5 ftL before calibration and 31.0 ftL after. Color- decoding error measured +20% red and +7% green, but Color Palette tweaks zeroed these out. Red, green, and blue primaries were notably accurate. 1080i and 720p patterns were fully resolved via HDMI but slightly softer via component. Full-field gray patterns below 50 IRE were slightly darker in the middle than on the sides. Full Lab Results
SETUP Inveterate picture-tweakers will love the Toshiba's extensive menu. The six picture presets include three partially fixed modes (Sports, Standard, Movie) and three fully customizable ones (Preference, Pro 1, Pro 2). You can associate any mode with any input, and all modes retain your adjustments for each input. There's a slider for backlight control, three color-temperature options (with blue and green trims for each), and a mildly effective Gamma control to help extract shadow details while retaining black level.

Most notable, however, is the Color Palette, a feature I've not seen on any other TV. It allows independent adjustment of the hue, saturation, and brightness of red, green, blue, yellow, magenta, and cyan, plus three arbitrary user colors you can pick up from anywhere on any video frame. All your changes are graphically tracked on a swatch that shows where you are in that part of the color space, and you get adjoining "before" and "after" bars that let you clearly see the differences your adjustments make. Awesome! This feature was fantastic for endlessly fine-tuning the picture to account for color variations in programming.

PICTURE QUALITY I started my viewing with a wildlife documentary on Discovery HD and was immediately taken with the sharp clarity of the Toshiba's image and its robust, striking color. Fine details were apparent in the undulations of fur on a polar bear basking in the Arctic dusk and in the coats of wolf pups in Yellowstone. In one shot, a park guide climbed a rocky hill against a rich blue sky with an almost three-dimensional wisp of white cloud. Small brown boulders were clearly tinged with rusty stains, and every blade of tall, yellow grass cropping up among the rocks and patches of crisp snow seemed set off in perfect relief. The scene looked almost photographic. Later, talking heads in an HD Net news report displayed similarly startling details, such as the subtle pinstripes in a man's black suit and the fine creases in an old woman's face. ESPN HD football highlights looked spectacular, with the blue and orange uniforms of the Denver Broncos and the silvery helmets of the Oakland Raiders vividly rendered and no distracting trails during fast action.

But in another scene of the wildlife show - a nearly still shot of the full moon against a dark sky - I noticed that the sky on either side of the screen seemed a little lighter than in the center. Earlier, I had observed that on dark gray test patterns, the Toshiba's image was slightly brighter in its far left and right zones than in the middle, and now here it was in program material. This kind of imperfection is not unknown in LCDs (JVC's 46-inch LT-46FN97, reviewed in December, suffered the same fault). It may have been endemic only to my sample, but in any case, it manifests infrequently in moving pictures and is difficult to spot unless you're really looking for it.