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CNET First Look
Toshiba L9300U series: More pixels but less picture qualityAlthough its 3D deserves praise, overall the Toshiba L9300U is a worse performer and more expensive than its 4K competitors.
Hi. David Katzmaier from CNET, and I'm with the Toshiba 65L9300U. This is the company's best TV for 2013 and it is a 4k resolution television. That means it has four times the number of pixels of a standard 1080p TV. The idea is to provide extra sharpness when it is given 1080p and 4K sources, of course, 4K sources are extremely uncommon today, so you mostly gonna be up converting 1080p and watching it on this television. Toshiba's exterior design falls a little bit short than some of the other 4K TVs out there that looked really futuristic to justify their high prices. This one it has a silver bezel around the edge. This sort of rounded corners looked a little bit retro. The stand matches, at least, it's open and it does allow a little bit of swivel, so that's one nice feature. Another unfortunate retro touch is the menu system. It was pretty slow to respond, and on a big screen like this, its old school graphics really looked dated. There are a lot of jagged edges in the softness. That menu does encompass the TV's Smart TV feature suite, which again is not really laid out or designed as well as some of the other TVs we've seen. The Cloud TV function as they call it, it kinda buries the best functions including Netflix and a lot of the other streaming services. There is no Amazon instant on this TV and other kind of knock, and all told that is one of the least impressive Smart TV suites we've seen. On the other hand, Toshiba does include in the box a wireless USB keyboard with a touch pad, so that makes navigating the browser in particular a lot easier on this TV. On the other hand, the browser, of course, pretty lack luster compared to what it used to on your phone or tablet or especially a PC. The other big standout feature on this television is passive 3D. Toshiba throws in four pairs of 3D glasses in that passive 3D plus 4K resolution, really helps, I'll talk about that in a little bit. First, when we talk about 4K resolution on this TV real quick like the other 65-inch 4K TVs that I've tested, it's really difficult to the difference between this and a 65-inch 1080p TV with both 4K and standard program material. So, again, you're gonna get much of a benefit in sharpness on this TV despite all those extra pixels unless you sit extremely close. This TV, despite its 4K resolution, really falls short in other picture quality areas primarily contrast. Its black levels are relatively light, again, lighter than a lot of the other budget LCD TVs that I compared it too, let alone ones in its price range. That, of course, made the picture looked pretty washed out and the colors' not quite pop nearly as much as you would expect from a TV that cost this much. There's also some blooming artifacts where some of the brighter areas spilled over into the darker areas. Off angle wasn't great and this TV did collect a lot of light in a bright room, so all told a pretty bad performer again for a 4K television. Color was pretty good and again we did mentioned that 3D picture quality. 4k resolution plus pass of 3D gives you the best of both worlds, you get excellent sharpness with 3D basically the same as an active 3D TV as oppose to a standard 1080p 3D TV where you do have some artifacts, none of that with this television. You'll also get the benefits of passive 3D which includes zero cross-talk, which you don't get those ghostly double images. The glasses are a lot more comfortable and cheaper to use, so all told this TV's great for its 3D, but again, it does suffer the same picture quality issues that we saw in 2D. The Toshiba's connectivity is amp with 4 HDMI 1 component video input and even an analog VGA style PC input. There's also a pair of USB and an SD card slot. Toshiba also says the HDMI's can be upgraded to be compatible with 2.0 specification meaning they can accept a 60-frame rate signal with 4K, that firmer update is coming soon. The L9300U is a 2013 4K TV, one of Toshiba's first and the company did announced a slew of other TVs in 2014 with 4K resolution that might improve upon this TV's picture quality. Until then, don't worry about this one, wait for the next one. That's a quick look at Toshiba's L9300U 4K television. I'm David Katzmaier from CNET.