The big news out of Toshiba's "Toshiba in your life" press event in New York City earlier this week was the official announcement of Vongo compatibility with the company's iPod challenger--and CNET Editors' Choice winner--the Gigabeat S. But the company was also showcasing its extensive 2006 lineup of HDTVs and DVD recorders, including LCD and plasma flat panels and DLP rear-projection TVs. Among the highlights: four giant DLP TVs and three large-screen (42-inch and 47-inch) LCD panels, all of which boast 1080p native resolution, and a networked DVD/hard drive recorder with HDMI output. We've outlined the highlights of the entire line in the charts below. One interesting bit of news that was a revelation to us: Toshiba has suspended its entire home audio line to remain focused on video and TV products. It's no great loss--there are plenty of other better alternatives when it comes to receivers and home-theater systems--but it's almost refreshing to see a company cut the deadwood from its line and move on.
Regza LCD: Toshiba is using the name Regza to denote its mainstream LCD flat-panel HDTVs in 2006. The three sizes of entry-level L66 models all feature built-in ATSC/QAM digital tuners, a single HDMI input, a PC input, and a black-and-silver cabinet design.
|Toshiba 37HL66||37||LCD||$2,000||August 2006|
Regza LCDVD: The so-called LCDVD line of Regza flat-panels includes a built-in slot-loading DVD player and has LV66 in the model number. Otherwise, they're identical to the ones above.
The Cinema Series line also boasts the cosmetic improvement of a high-gloss black finish. The other so-called improvements are a bit more questionable (we haven't had a chance to audition them in-depth). Toshiba's SoundStrip speakers are said to offer improved sound despite their smaller size, while its ColorMaster technology is designed to offer you more granular control over the color spectrum: brightness, hue, and saturation can be set for each of six colors.
|Display technology||Product line||Price||Availability|
|Toshiba 42HL196||42||LCD||XHD||$3,000||July 2006|
|Toshiba 37LX96||37||LCD||Cinema Series||$2,400||July 2006|
|Toshiba 42LX196||42||LCD||Cinema Series XHD||$3,300||July 2006|
|Toshiba 47LX196||47||LCD||Cinema Series XHD||$4,300||July 2006|
Toshiba LCD monitors: For people with cable or satellite boxes who don't want to pay extra for an ATSC/QAM digital tuner that they won't need, Toshiba is offering the Custom Series True Monitor line.
|Toshiba 26HLC56||26||LCD||$1,100||August 2006|
|Toshiba 32HLC56||32||LCD||$1,400||July 2006|
|Toshiba 37HLC56||37||LCD||$1,799||July 2006|
Other Toshiba LCD TVs: The Toshiba RealSteel is a 20-incher encased in a stainless-steel cabinet, designed to blend in with modern kitchen decor. It carries a $100 premium over its more traditionally styled 20-inch sibling.
|Toshiba 20HL86||20||LCD||$700||July 2006|
|Toshiba RealSteel 20HLK86||20||LCD||$800||July 2006|
DLP: Toshiba's 2006 line of DLP rear-projection sets offers nine different models, ranging in size from 42 to 72 inches. The four largest models--two each at 62 and 72 inches--boast a native resolution of 1080p; the rest are 720p.
All of the company's DLP models offer ATSC/QAM digital tuners and dual HDMI inputs. With the exception of the entry-level 42-inch model, each one includes a CableCard slot and an Ethernet port for streaming digital photos (JPEGs) and music (MP3 files) from your home network.
The entry-level 720p models are based on Texas Instruments' HD5 DLP chip and illuminated by a 150-watt lamp. The 720p Cinema Series models add the TV Guide electronic programming guide, a PC input, and the ColorMaster controls described above, as well as an all-black cabinet.
If you want the latest in high-def, you'll need to step up to the larger and more expensive XHD models, which offer a native resolution of 1080p powered by TI's xHD5 chip.
|Toshiba 50HMX96||50||DLP||720p Cinema Series||$2,200||Now|
|Toshiba 56HMX96||56||DLP||720p Cinema Series||$2,500||Now|
|Toshiba 62HM196||62||DLP||1080p XHD||$3,200||Now|
|Toshiba 72HM196||72||DLP||1080p XHD||$4,500||July 2006|
|Toshiba 62MX196||62||DLP||1080p Cinema Series XHD||$3,500||July 2006|
|Toshiba 72MX196||72||DLP||1080p Cinema Series XHD||$4,800||August 2006|
DVD: Toshiba's 2006 DVD recorder lineup includes five models, the highlight of which is the RD-XS55. In addition to playing and recording DVDs, the RD-XS55 can record video to its 250GB internal hard drive. Moreover, its Ethernet port allows you to stream programming to a PC or another RD-XS55 on the same network, and you can even schedule remote recordings via e-mail. Rounding out its high-end features is an HDMI output that can upconvert video to HD-friendly 720p and 1080i resolutions. The RD-XS55 is available now, and as you might expect, its whiz-bang features won't come cheap: it'll cost you $700 to bring this baby home.
Portable DVD: No longer content to cede the entry-level side of the marketplace, Toshiba has joined the ranks of name-brand rivals Sony and Panasonic with some modestly priced portable DVD units. All three of them offer a 4-in-1 card slot--SD, MMC, Memory Stick, and their respective variants--for reading digital media files; DivX compatibility (they'll play back home-burned DivX videos); dual headphone jacks; and a car charger. The more expensive SD-P2800 features the largest screen, a high-res 800x480 resolution, a component-video output, and something Toshiba calls In Plane Switching, which is designed to maximize the viewing angle. Toshiba rates the lithium-ion batteries on each player at 4 hours. All three models are available now.