There are countless trends competing for attention in the gaming notebook and laptop space but not all of them are either useful or benefit the core gaming experience.
- Attractive design, Good image quality, HDMI support
- PIP didn’t work well.
If you need a set to top box to produce good high definition images, the Toshiba HD-C26H will do the job nicely.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
Silver, sleek and the perfect complement to the Toshiba television range, the HD-C36H is a simple set top box providing both High and Standard definition television signals.
In the end most set top boxes look pretty much the same, but the Toshiba makes an effort to stand out from the pack with an attractive set of buttons on the face of the device. While these buttons function rather well, most people generally won't use them as the provided remote control does the job nicely. That being said, remotes can be lost and we found these buttons handled all the major functions of the box, meaning you won't get left in the lurch. The HD-C36H is extremely light and has a nice array of cable outputs including a HDMI slot, RCA and S-Video out, DSub out, and component connectors. There is also both optical and coaxial sound output too, which will come in handy for those wanting to connect their box to their home theatre set up.
Booting up the C26H didn't take too long and the initial installation channel scan only took about 10 minutes. We were amazed at just how many channels it found, including some we didn't even know we could receive.
The image output was fairly good with options to display in 578i, 720p or 1080i. Thankfully, you have the option of letting the box choose these automatically, so you don't need to think about the output too much. The SDTV looked reasonable, although we did notice some digital artifacts in the image, most likely caused by the scaling from 578i. The HD signal looked a lot better but still suffered from the up-scaling since very few shows are actually broadcast in 720p.
We tested the Picture in Picture function and found it to be quite attractive on screen with the option to position it wherever you want but we no matter how much we tried, we couldn't get it to display two different channels at the same time. For example, if we were playing channel 10 in the main window, the PIP window would only let us display other signals from 10. The manual didn't explain this problem at all.
The EPG is very basic and only really tells you what you are watching and what is coming up next. Since this is not a PVR device there is no need for a highly detailed EPG since there are program guide available on separate channels for each station.
The controls on the HD-C36H were fairly intuitive and simple to use and we felt the image quality was more than reasonable. While there are other set top boxes on the market that are higher quality than this one when it comes to image, this is one of the few boxes that supports HDMI and allows the user to set their video format to suit their own panels. Though the price take is a little on the expensive side, it is justified by these few elements.
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