Toshiba has chosen IFA 2009 to confirm that this month European's will be able to get their hands on two new full 1080p HD televisions in its Regza range, a 46in and a 55in. As well as being LED backlit for the first time, these new SV models also sport a sensor that monitors ambient light and constantly readjusts image settings so that the viewer automatically gets the best possible picture.
The must-have tech for LED backlit TVs at the moment is local dimming. While some LED backlit TVs use strips of LEDs running round the edges and feeding light towards the center of the screen (edge-lit), others have clusters of LEDs arranged behind the screen that allow darkening of certain areas of the display during low scene lighting while other areas remain bright.
Local dimming is already being appreciated by owners of some TVs from manufacturers such as Samsung, Philips, Sony and LG. Toshiba claims that its "Regza Accurate Dimming" technology (which uses a diffusion filter to adjust and coordinate the brightness of each individual picture area with the image content) allows the new range of Regza SV TVs to achieve a dynamic contrast of 2,000,000:1 with 10 Bit processing creating a palette of over a billion colors which completely eliminates banding.
Complimenting the LED technology is something Toshiba calls "Active Vision M200HD" which alters each frame to create faster, smoother moving images. This is achieved by enhancing its 100Hz technology to create a 200Hz effect. Toshiba explains: "images are broken up into specific segments and black sections introduced into intermediate frames, which are quickly refreshed in tandem to provide efficiently managed, fast-moving pictures with no image judder."
(near) HD quality standard definition viewing
Image improvement technology continues with "Resolution+", which aims to bridge the gap between standard definition source material (such as digital TV broadcasts or a DVD movie) and the high definition screen. Viewers watching standard definition programming should see improved edge detail and texture thanks to a powerful processor that looks for areas in an image with similar waveforms and combines the pixel information to enhance image detail.
Toshiba utilizes a single chip solution, the MetaBrain, to manage the technologies already mentioned as well as something called AutoView. This sees a sensor being used to automatically adjust picture settings (such as color, brightness and backlit LED intensity) depending on ambient lighting. Nothing revolutionary there, other manufacturers use similar technology for their TV offerings.
But AutoView analyzes the content on-screen too, and combines these results with the information gathered by the ambient light sensor to adjust for the best possible picture quality at all times. And if the image quality of the TVs on show at IFA 2009 is anything to go by, it works pretty well.
The automatic picture adjustment combined with the use of LED technology should result in low energy consumption but to ensure that off really does mean off and not just stand-by, the Regza SV televisions come with an energy-saving switch that completely disconnects it from the power supply.
The televisions also benefit from Dolby Volume which monitors the volume levels of what's being watched and stops those annoying (and sometimes startling) changes in volume when switching between channels or sources by forcing a consistent level at all times.
So that's image and sound taken care of, what about connectivity? There are no less than four High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) ports which feature Instaport technology to cut port switching lag in half. There are two SCART ports, a subwoofer output and an SD card slot allowing for viewing of JPEG photos. Connecting to a computer is made easy with a dedicated PC input, the Regza SVs being capable of MP3 audio and DivX video playback. And there's an integrated digital tuner which negates the need for an additional set-top box.
Coming in high-gloss black/silver and tying in with Toshiba's "Deep Lagoon" design, where the screen sits flush with the frame, the 46SV685D and 55SV685D will be available throughout Europe during September. Pre-release online prices vary greatly at the moment so it would be wise to check your favorite price comparison site for the best deals.
More information on the Regza SV series can be found on Toshiba's UK website.