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.
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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.