New for 2003, Toshiba has augmented its lineup of wide-screen rear-projection HDTVs with a middle-of-the-road 46-inch model; it's the same size that other manufacturers such as Sony and Mitsubishi have had in their lineups for awhile now. The new 46H83 qualifies as a big-screen set by the slimmest of margins, and it's designed to fit in spaces other RPTVs can't--for half the cost of a similarly sized plasma. Despite its less than stellar color decoding, its price-to-performance ratio is tough to beat. You can find the Toshiba 46H83 for as little as $1,300, making this set one of the best values in its category.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.
Although the 46H83 looks a lot like the DLP or LCD-based rear-projectors, the 22-inch-deep 46H83 cuts a trim figure for a CRT set., we thought the black speaker-grille cloth made it even more attractive, adding some contrast to the otherwise all-silver finish. Since this is a tabletop model, you'll either need to buy the matching stand ($199) or mount it on a table or bench that stands 20 to 24 inches high. Although not as thin as some
Toshiba's awesome remote remains one of our all-time favorites. It can control up to five other A/V components, its keys are fully backlit, and it allows direct access to any input source--without your having to scroll through them all individually. The familiar icon-based menu was easy to use and quite comprehensive.
Like most rear-projection HDTVs today, the 46H83 converts all incoming images to either 1080i or 540p resolution, and it can display 1080i HDTV when connected to an external HD source. Among the HD-compatible inputs are a pair of wideband component-video jacks as well as a DVI input with Hollywood-approved HDCP copy protection.
Top convenience features include Splitscreen MultiWindow dual-tuner PIP (picture-in-picture) for displaying two images side by side, as well as TouchFocus autoconvergence to automatically align the electron guns. An excellent TheaterWide aspect-ratio mode, one of five, does a good job of filling the screen without distorting or cropping the picture too severely. There is also a powerful onboard audio system with an SRS mode designed to simulate the surround-sound experience with the set's two stereo speakers.
Picture-enhancing features include a 3D-YC comb filter to clean up composite-video sources such as VHS and cable TV; 3:2 pull-down in the video processing to help eliminate jagged lines and other artifacts; three selectable color temperatures; and three picture presets. We found the combination of the Movie mode and the Warm setting to be the best choice for home theater; it was the most accurate in terms of color temperature and had a reasonable contrast setting out of the box.
Before we did our standard ISF-style calibration of the 46H83, we measured the bottom end of the grayscale at 5,500 Kelvins and the top at 7,525 Kelvins. That's closer than most sets come to the ultimate goal of D6500. Postcalibration, the grayscale tracked extremely well. The bottom dialed in at 6,475, and the top measured 6,500 on the nose.
Unfortunately, Toshiba's color decoding has gone downhill over the last few years. It used to be really good without any need of adjustment in the service menu, but the 46H83 accentuated red too strongly, requiring us to desaturate the color. As a result, you'll get somewhat less vibrant colors since the set can't take full advantage of the increased color resolution of component video.
Aside from that desaturation, the 46H83 delivered accurate color fidelity, thanks to its ability to track grayscale fairly accurately. The violets and the green fields in chapter 31 of Charlotte Gray looked good with decent pop, as did chapters 4 and 5 of Monsters, Inc. A Sencore Hardrive provided 1080i HDTV sources that looked impressive, with tons of detail, real snap to the picture, and improved color saturation.
The 540p video processing does a good job and incorporates the all-important 3:2 pull-down detection necessary for the elimination of motion artifacts in film-based video sources (such as most DVD movies). It should be noted that the TouchFocus autoconvergence feature doesn't work well out of the box. This is true of any of these autoconvergence circuits, which have settings that are thrown off after the units have been shipped around. The only way to get accurate convergence is to do it manually or have the set serviced.
The 46H83 is a decent performer when compared to the few other sets in this size category. It's not quite as impressive as the, but it's also a little less expensive. We like it better than the more expensive and smaller Mitsubishi WT-42413.