A lot of people walked into Toshiba's 2008 CES press conference expecting a train wreck in the light of Warner's pre-show Blu-ray bombshell. But after a quick obligatory mention of it being "a difficult day" for the godfather of the HD DVD format, it was back to business: namely, highlighting the company's 2008 line of LCD flat-panel TVs. The company touted five new series of models, all of which will be released this spring. Full details after the jump.
AV500 Series: The entry-level line-up features 720p HDTVs ranging in size from 19 to 42 inches. Each model includes integrated digital tuners (ATSC/QAM), a single HDMI input, and a single VGA input for PC connectivity. Pricing and availability is as follows (with the first two digits indicating screen size, and all models in black unless otherwise indicated): 19AV500 (March, $430); 19AV501 (March, $430, white); 22AV500 (May, $550); 26AV500 (February, $650); 32AV500 (February, $800); 37AV500 (February, $1,000); 42AV500 (March, $1,100).
Regza CV510 Series: The step-up 720p panels get a makeover thanks to a thinner 1.5-inch ThinLine bezel and SoundStrip speakers. Extra features include 3 HDMI inputs, a new gaming mode (which supposedly reduces screen lag), and upgraded PixelPure 4G 14-bit video processing. Just two models here, both releasing in March: the 32-inch 32CV510 ($900) and 37-inch 37CV510 ($1,100).
Regza RV530 Series: The RV530 line steps the resolution up to full 1080p and adds a fourth HDMI port (albeit on the side). Moreover, the PC input can accept full 1920x1080 resolution as well. Five models are available: 32RV530 (March, $1,100); 37RV530 (February, $1,300); 42RV530 (February, $1,500); 46R530 (February, $2,000); and 52RV530 (March, $2,700).
Regza XV540 Series: The bit step-up for the XV540 line is the addition of 120Hz refresh rate, which Toshiba calls "ClearFrame." Ideally, the 2008 iteration (which includes film stabilization motion smoothing and--new for 2008--5:5 pulldown) will do a better job at reducing motion blur and judder than last year's LX177 models. Toshiba also touted improved color options (16,384 levels of gradation, ColorBurst backlight, x.v. Color and Deep Color implementations), but until compatible source material exists, those potentially impressive specs remain more a future-proofing option than a real-world improvement. The XV540 line is limited to three big-screen sizes: 42XV540 (March, $1,700); 46XV540 (March, $2,200); and 52XV540 ($2,900).
Cinema Series Regza XF550 Series: Toshiba's flagship TV line includes all of the goodies found in the stepdown models, but utilizes a Super Narrow Bezel (just 0.9 inches surrounding the screen) and equally petite SoundStrip 2 speaker system, delivering a "virtually all screen" appearance similar to that of the 2007 RF350U series. The three models are scheduled to hit next month: 40XF550 ($2,000); 46XF550 ($2,500); and 52XF550 ($3,200).
If these models fail to move you, you can hold out for the company's fall line-up, which will include a variety of high-end enhancements, including the integration of a PS3-style Cell processor for extra video processing capacity.