|Toshiba 52HL167 52-inch LCD HDTV|
|Home Theater Flat Panel HDTVs LCD HDTVs|
|Written by Adrienne Maxwell|
|Saturday, 01 September 2007|
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Television And Movies
It seemed only natural to begin my evaluation of this 1080p TV with some of my favorite 1080p discs from both the HD DVD and Blu-ray camps. Chapter Three of Mission: Impossible II (Paramount Home Entertainment) provides a challenging blend of shadows, rich colors and ornate detail in the background décor, and the 52HL167 did an excellent job in all three areas. I was particularly impressed with the blacks, which obviously aren’t as deep as those on my reference projector, but are very good for an LCD. Combine that with solid light output, and the result is an image rich in contrast, color and three-dimensionality in a darkened theater. Of course, one of the beauties of LCD is that, when you turn up the lights, you can still enjoy a vibrant image, and that proved true here.
When I moved to even better transfers, such as Kingdom of Heaven (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), Black Hawk Down (Buena Vista Home Entertainment) and Trading Places (Paramount Home Entertainment), the level of detail through the HDMI input was simply outstanding. The opening black-and-white scenes from The Corpse Bride (Warner Home Video) further emphasized the TV’s good contrast, as it brought out detail in blacks, while still allowing the whites to pop. When the colors kicked in during Chapter Six, the effect was simply gorgeous.
As I moved on to television and standard-definition DVD sources, the 52HL167’s positive attributes continued to pay dividends. Both 1080i and 720p HDTV signals boasted excellent detail, a big improvement over last year’s LX model, on which 720p content looked very soft. That wasn’t the case with ESPN HD’s 720p broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball: I could make out every pore in facial close-ups, and colors were vibrant – perhaps overly so. The red and green color points don’t appear to be accurate: red leans toward magenta and green is quite oversaturated. Here’s where the ColorMaster feature came in handy, allowing me tweak the hue and saturation of these colors. But be careful: you can do more harm than good with this feature. Thankfully, there is a reset button, but you still might want to hire a professional calibrator if you find the out-of-the-box colors objectionable.
The new Zodiac DVD (Paramount Home Entertainment) provides good fodder for a display, moving from expansive outdoor vistas to dark highways to harshly lit newsrooms, and the 52HL167 ably reproduced fine textures, black detail and skin tones. The same held true with The Prestige (Buena Vista Home Entertainment), and I was particularly impressed with the TV’s ability to present this complexly lit film in both bright and dark viewing environments.
During my review process, I shuffled back and forth between HDMI and component video and was ultimately more satisfied with the quality of the HDMI signal, with every source and resolution I fed it. It’s not that the component video signal looks bad; it just lacked that extra bit of detail and colors and skin tones weren’t quite as natural. Given the high number and higher performance of the HDMI inputs, the TV is ideally suited to consumers who have embraced digital connections, either HDMI or DVI, in their set-top boxes and DVD players.