capsule review

Toshiba 46XF550U LCD HDTV

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba 46XF550U

    TechHive Rating

    Underpowered and overpriced makes this set a poor choice

It's hard to imagine why Toshiba thinks that the 46XF550U is worth $2500. It came in fifth place out of nine competing 46- and 47-inch HDTVs in our April 2008 image quality tests. Our image-quality judges detected an unduly sallow complexion in the characters in our According to Jim clip. I thought that the Return of the King standard-def DVD clip suffered a bit from an oil-painting look, but I was quite impressed with the quality of the Blu-ray Mission Impossible III clip (a fellow judge thought that it looked a bit grainy, however).

The 46XF550U has some nice extras. Turn on your DVD player (or any other connected source), and the set automatically switches to it. The TV swivels on its stand, too, supporting odd viewing angles and providing easier access to the rear inputs (which are harder to access than they ought to be because the inputs face downward). This model supports Toshiba's Regza-Link version of HDMI's Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) channel, which enables one device to control another.

The remote control has a decent layout and feel; its buttons look as though they should be backlit but they're not. The remote also has a feature that I haven't seen elsewhere: Press the mute button once to cut the volume in half; press it a second time to mute it completely.

The solid blue on-screen menus, which occupy a lot of space in the middle of the screen, are nothing to write home about. Options like 'Theater Settings' and 'Auto Aspect Ratio' go unexplained. When you press the remote's Info button, the resulting information box appears lower on the screen than it should be, increasing its odds of blocking an important part of the picture.

I couldn't find explanations for these options in the manual, either. (As I write this, the manual is unavailable online, meaning that there's no electronic version that you can easily search through.) The book is thick, bilingual, and contains 74 pages of English text, with small but useful illustrations. There is no separate quick-setup guide.

If the 46XF550U were a bargain-priced TV, it would be worth considering. But in view of its premium price, it's an exceptionally bad choice.

This story, "Toshiba 46XF550U LCD HDTV" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Underpowered and overpriced makes this set a poor choice

    Pros

    • Swivels on stand

    Cons

    • Underwhelming video and audio
    • High price
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