Toshiba REGZA 37WL68A
- Attractive Design, Excellent PC performance, Good colour reproduction and black levels, Excellent HD movie playback, Wide array of connection options.
- Pixelation during HD gaming, noticeable noise and pixilation in SD video playback, No digital tuner.
The Toshiba REGZA 37WL68A is a well-priced mid-range LCD television that performs well when viewing HD movies but has shortcomings in other areas.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
The Toshiba REGZA 37WL68A is a 37in LCD television with a native resolution of 1366x768. We tested the various supported resolutions and found that the unit to be a mid-range television due to image quality issues, most relating to pixelation. It is still quite a good television in many ways, it just shouldn't be considered a high-end product. Considering the low price of the unit, it will still suit those on a budget, who are looking for an LCD television that will perform well, support all their AV equipment and not break the bank in the process.
Using the film King Kong on HD DVD, we tested the high definition capabilities of the unit (at 720p and 1080i). Viewing the Empire State building scene, we found very few problems. There was a minor amount of pixelation on edges but this wasn't noticeable from a comfortable viewing distance. There was no contrast stepping, no noticeable image noise and motion was handled without excessive blur or jitter. There was noticeable over-sharpening but we were able to remove it to a large extend by lowering the sharpness level in the on-screen calibration options. The colours and black levels were both excellent and the level of detail, particularly in Kong's fur, was crisp and easy to distinguish.
We also tested 1080p gaming using the Xbox 360 at 720p resolution. Here, the REGZA didn't fair quite so well. While the images still looked quite good, there was noticeable contrast stepping and pixilation, the latter of which was particularly noticeable. Unlike the REGZA 47WL68A, this pixilation wasn't isolated to fine detail but was noticeable on many objects, particularly those with curved surfaces or diagonal lines. However, from a comfortable viewing distance, the effect of these issues would be greatly reduced. These kinds of issues are consistent with a mid-range television and wouldn't be seen on a high-end model. It doesn't mean the television isn't worth looking at, it just means that it isn't quite as good for gaming as some of the more expensive high-end models. If you own an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 you can be confident that you will get a good image for the price you pay for this unit, but if you have more money to spend, you might want to look higher up the food chain.
Since so many people own DVDs and DVD players, the standard definition performance of a panel is vitally important. Unlike the REGZA 47WL68A, the results of our DVD tests were not particularly impressive. In our first test, we viewed the lobby scene from The Matrix. There was no discolouration and no contrast stepping but there was a noticeable level of excess interpolation noise. Interpolation is the process of converting the standard definition video signal so it can be viewed on a high definition television. During the process, information that was not in the original DVD is created by the television. An excellent television will create this information in such a way that you barely notice it. However, the 37WL68A displayed a little too much noise, making it more prominent than it should be. There was also a slight over-sharpening and come pixilation on edges that hampered the standard definition performance. Despite these problems, this unit isn't terrible by any means. While the issues are noticeable, they aren't excessive and you will still be able to comfortably view a movie on DVD. Just keep in mind that there are other units on the market that look much better.
We also performed a second series of DVD tests using the Digital Video Essentials DVD. This DVD has a series of still test patterns that we use to check for any problems at a fundamental level. This test was passed without incident. There was no noise in the greyscale tests and the colour tests were all delivered flawlessly. This suggests that results of our Matrix tests are not a fault of the panel itself, but seem to be directly related with how well the television can scale (interpolate) the video signal.
Utilising the D-Sub VGA connection, we connected a PC to the television at the maximum supported resolution of 1280x768. Using our DisplayMate Video Edition testing software we ran the panel through its paces. We were pleased with the results, and found no problems whatsoever. The desktop icons were crisp and clear with no overt over-sharpening and the colours were spot on. There were no problems during the greyscale and colour tests and the resolution tests showed no fault either. If you own a media centre PC, the REGZA will do a good job or faithfully reproducing your PC desktop.
The design of this unit is fairly understated which tends to give it an air of sophistication. In a market where many televisions have a piano black finish, the bezel on the REGZA has a matte black finish, which is accented by a silver base and stand. The stand is similar to the Sharp AQUOS "boomerang" shape and fits in nicely with the overall aesthetic of the unit. The rear panel houses an array of input options which includes two HDMI, two component, two composite, one S-Video and a 15 pin D-Sub port for connecting a PC. The speakers on the unit are hidden below the panel and produce excellent and loud sound with very little distortion at high volumes. The bass is good without falling victim to any muddiness and the treble registers are clear without losing detail. This is augmented rather well by the WOW SRS modes which boost the quality of the audio quite significantly when watching movies or playing video games. There is a reason that this unit has such a good price point and that is the omission of a digital tuner. Those wishing to purchase this unit with a HDTV tuner will be pleased to know that Toshiba also offers a similar unit with an integrated HDTV tuner as well.
Despite its shortcomings in standard definition and high definition gaming, both the High Definition movie and PC performance on the REGZA 37WL68A are excellent. The lack of a digital tuner is unfortunate but considering the price point, this is to be expected.
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