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Toshiba Regza 46ZV555DB review: Toshiba Regza 46ZV555DB

The 46-inch, 1080p LCD 46ZV555DB is a straightforward set that handles high-definition content particularly well. That's fortunate, as the set doesn't perform so well with Freeview and standard-definition material. Overall, we liked this TV but felt Toshiba could have done better

Ian Morris

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5 min read

Let's make one thing clear. The 46-inch, 1080p LCD Regza 46ZV555DB is not, as Toshiba has claimed, "the world's first upscaling TV". All HDTVs upscale everything they show. If they didn't, TV shows from Freeview would appear in a tiny box in the middle of your screen. Of course, Resolution+, the technology that Toshiba includes in this TV to perform the upscaling, is designed to be more capable than other upscalers.

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7.5

Toshiba Regza 46ZV555DB

The Good

Good HD picture; simplicity; films look very good.

The Bad

Styling isn't as attractive as the picture-frame range; price is too high; Resolution+ isn't that impressive.

The Bottom Line

We had high hopes for the Toshiba Regza 46ZV555DB's Resolution+ upscaling technology, but we just weren't that impressed with its performance when dealing with real-world material. The HD quality of this TV is great though, and sound is good enough for most applications -- just avoid the bass-enhancement feature. Overall, we liked the 46ZV555DB but, for the price, we think you'd be far better off with one of Toshiba's slim bezel TVs, such as the Regza 40ZF355D

In theory, this TV, available for around £1,000, should offer the sharpest and most impressive Freeview images imaginable, but how does it fair in practice?

Design
As far as aesthetics go, the 46ZV555DB isn't a bad-looking TV. It's a straightforward, glossy black affair, with a 'dissolving colour' effect at the bottom of the bezel. Don't ask us what that's all about -- we really aren't sure.

At the back, you get a rather meagre two HDMI ports. In 2009, we really don't think that's enough. The TV redeems itself slightly by adding a third HDMI port on the side, along with the composite video input. In an ideal world, a TV this size should really have four HDMI inputs -- it's not like these connections cost big money to include.

For older, analogue video sources, there is a pair of Scart inputs too, as well as component video, which is really handy for games consoles. You'll also find a VGA socket, should you want to connect a home-cinema PC or a laptop to the TV.

If you want to improve audio from the TV, there's a subwoofer output, which is useful for increasing the low-level sound effects on movies. There's also an optical digital output, which will enable you to send digital audio to your AV receiver for increased sound quality and volume.

The front of the TV is reasonably clutter-free. You'll find a simple power LED that tells you when the TV is either on or in standby mode. Like all Toshiba TVs now, there is a proper power switch too, lurking around the side of the set. Also present is an illuminated Toshiba logo. The practice of including glowing logos is, sadly, becoming more common and, while we don't think anyone will hate it, we can't think of anyone that would request such a feature either.

We hoped for more HDMI ports on the 46ZV555DB's back

The remote control is the usual Toshiba affair. We have no complaints about it, and it does the job well. The buttons are large enough for all but the most ham-fisted users and there aren't any confusing controls to befuddle the less technically minded.

Features
Resolution+ is one of this TV's most important features. Toshiba has claimed that with this technology DVD can look as good as Blu-ray, and 1080p video can be upscaled to 4k resolutions -- in other words, four times the resolution of 1080p. That's all marketing talk, of course, and must be taken with a pinch or two of salt.

Resolution+ is based on the same technology that runs the PlayStation 3. Part of a joint venture between a number of large electronics firms, the Cell Broadband Engine is designed to process massive amounts of information very quickly. The idea here is that, as TV pictures are so complicated, an upscaler must be incredibly powerful to do a good job.

The usual 100Hz processing joins Active Vision M100 processing, with the aim of decreasing film judder and making movies look smooth and natural. You also get the usual noise-reduction modes and picture presets. Toshiba has included a game mode as well, which ensures the TV provides a full-sized image, rather than an under-scanned one, which misses detail around the edges of the screen.

The built-in speakers are powerful enough, at a combined 20W. There is SRS WOW audio processing too, which is designed to increase dialogue audibility and bass response.

Performance
It seems logical to start with the Freeview performance of this TV. Sadly, we weren't that impressed. The default settings left us with a picture that had too much colour and didn't look realistic. Tweaking the settings helped greatly, but we still didn't feel this TV was as capable as others we've seen from Toshiba.

HD material, on the other hand, made up for any standard-definition shortcomings. We watched clips from quality movies such as xXx: State of the Union and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Both looked lovely, and we couldn't help but be impressed by the colour and detail levels. It's not unusual for a TV to be much better at handling colour from HD sources than SD sources, but the difference between HD and SD on this set is so marked that it's like watching two different TVs.


We also tested the beautiful Dark Knight Blu-ray, and we have to say it was pretty spectacular. We did notice on the IMAX material at the start that some fine lines strobed slightly, but this is a minor irritation in the grand scheme of things. Everything else had the vivid detail we've come to love from LCDs fed with a good HD signal.

The most important question of all, however, is how the Resolution+ technology deals with images, and what difference it makes to the overall picture quality. Having spent a good deal of time switching it on and off while watching Freeview and upscaled DVDs, the result was the same. Shown to other people in the office, we agreed that it really just sharpens the edges of the picture. That's fine with certain material, but it can also result in nasty halos around hard edges, which isn't desirable at all.

Sound from the set was decent too. We noted that, with the bass enhancement turned on, the sound took on a woolly and overcooked sound. However, with the TV set to normal, dialogue was clear and we were able to enjoy it as it was intended to sound. We like the option of plugging in a subwoofer or an AV receiver. We'd suggest that movie lovers implement one of these options, as it will greatly improve the film experience.

Conclusion
In terms of HD material, there are no problems with Toshiba's Regza 46ZV555DB. For Freeview-based viewing, we think there are TVs on the market that do a better job. It's not terrible by any means, but we do think Toshiba is capable of better, and this is reflected in the score.

If you can bear to lose six inches, we love the Toshiba Regza 40ZF355D and think you should get one of those. At this price point, however, Panasonic's 1080p plasma TVs are within reach, and almost certainly a better bet if you're a movie lover.

Edited by Charles Kloet

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