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Preview: new Regza TV line-up at Toshiba World in Rome

Seth Barton
6 Apr 2011
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Lots of new TV and lots of new features

This year's Toshiba World event in Rome concentrated on the company's new TV range for 2011. We were there to see the all the shiny new screens, and here's our first impressions. There's plenty to get your head around in terms of models and features, and we'll run through the highlights here, which include passive and active 3D, 2D-to-3D upscaling, colour calibration and Toshiba Places, a new online portal.

TOP OF THE POPS

It makes sense to start with the high end models, as they have all the new features. In the UK these will be the nearly identical YL and WL series - which only differ cosmetically and are available in 42in, 46in and 55in sizes. The ZL series, with its full local-dimming backlight, will not be available on these shores, a decision Toshiba puts down to a lack of demand, a pity as its pretty stunning to behold both onscreen and off.

Regza TV ZL-series

Thankfully the YL and WL have the same smart design - in collaboration with Danish design firm Jacob Jensen. They also use Toshiba's new CEVO engine, which is related to, but less power-hungry than the Cell processor that Toshiba have used previously (and which also appears in the PS3). This allows for 3D upscaling of 2D content, which we have to say added some appreciable and sensible depth to video in the demos, but that may not reflect the reality of using it on a day-to-day basis.

These models use LED backlighting with the LEDs running doen the edges of the TV. These are divided into 16 segments on each side, which splits the screen into 32 narrow rectangular bands, which can be lit individually. Such systems are a long way from the accuracy of full LED backlights, but do provide some general controls over contrast on differing parts of the screen.

These models also include programme recording to an external hard disk (as does the cheaper UL model). Although we didn't get a chance to try out the usefulness of the PVR.

SUIT YOU SIR

Moving down the range, we can add in the UL and VL series when we're talking about Toshiba's new Auto Calibration system. This functions a lot like hardware monitor calibrators we've seen for PC monitors for some time.

Regza TV calibration

A hardware device is shipped with the TV, which plugs into one of the USB ports and is then hung in front of the display. The TV then goes through a range of greyscales plus the primary colours. The device reads the output from the panel, and then sets up the colour lookup table appropriately, so that the TV knows it's outputting the colour it thinks it is.

PERSONAL VIEW

Throw the mid-range SL into the mix and you get all the models supporting the new Personal TV feature. A webcam built into the TV will store an image of your face, and recall you when you appear in front of it. Having identified you, it will then switch to your personalised settings. These can include everything from image settings and volume, to a personalised channel list and recordings. You could setup profiles for other family memebers that restricts them to certain channels, great for kids.

Regza TV Personal TV

It worked well enough in the demo, though if you're living room has lots of people coming and going it seemed to constantly ask if you wanted to change user, something we hope you can disable.

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