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Toshiba's LCD can't make HD wine from SD water

The Toshiba 46XV545U has an SRT Super Upconversion circuit designed to make standard-definition material look better, but don't expect miracles.

We review the Toshiba 46XV545U. CNET

The difference between HDTV and standard-definition TV is pretty drastic, and there's not much any device--television, DVD player, or cable box--can do to make standard-definition look like high-definition. But don't tell Toshiba.

The 46XV545U, a 46-inch LCD TV, represents one of the company's latest attempts to persuade buyers that with the right video processing, "all your DVDs and TV channels will be displayed in near High Definition picture quality." If you believe that, I have a burning five-dollar bill I'll sell you for a grand. Every company touts their upconversion technology, but Toshiba's "SRT Super Upconversion" blares its trumpets louder than anything we've heard.

In our tests, SRT basically added artificial sharpness, aka edge enhancement, to standard-definition images. You may like the look (we didn't), but you won't confuse it with HD. Without SRT, the television's standard-definition looked a good deal softer than other TVs in our comparison, for what it's worth.

It is worth mentioning that, as with all other standard-definition processing, SRT is irrelevant if you use an external source that does the conversion itself. Such sources can include upconverting DVD or Blu-ray players, or cable box or satellite boxes set to convert everything to HD.

But enough about standard-definition video processing; how does this HDTV perform otherwise? Click through to find out.

Read the full review of the Toshiba 46XV545U

Below you'll find the settings we found best for viewing the Toshiba 46XV545U in a completely dark room via the HDMI input with a 1080p, film-based source. Your settings may very depending on source, room conditions and personal preference. Check out the Picture settings and calibration FAQ for more information.

Video menu
Mode: Preference
Auto Brightness sensor: Off
x.v. Color Selection: Auto
Game Mode: Off
Theater Lock: Off

Picture Settings menu
Contrast: 90
Backlight: 30
DynaLight: Off
Brightness: 58
Color: 51
Tint: 0
Sharpness: 35

Advanced picture settings menu
SRT Super Upconversion: Off
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Static Gamma: 0
Color Temperature: Warm
Cinema Mode: Film
ClearFrame: On
Film Stabilization: Standard

Noise Reduction menu
DNR: Off
MPEG Noise Reduction: Off

Color Master menu
Color Master: Off

Theater settings menu
Picture Size: Native
Auto Aspect Ratio: Off