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The HDTV Podcast
This review is featured in the latest podcast from The HT Guys
http://www.htguys.com/archive/2007/January26.html


Today we are taking a look at the Toshiba 42HP66 42 inch Plasma TV ($1,200 US Buy Now ).

Features:

  • ATSC/NTSC & QAM Digital Television Tuners
  • 720p
  • Resolution: 1024 x 768
  • 8,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Dual HDMI Inputs
  • Coaxial and Optical Digital Audio Output

We have become pretty jaded by large contrast ratio numbers so when we saw a 8,000:1 rating we were not too impressed. But we were wrong. This TV produced some of the best contrast and detail that we have seen in a long time. When compared to our regular TVs the Toshiba could display more detail in darker scenes than we are used to. The colors really pop off the screen and really made anything we watch look more spectacular. The blacks on the plasma are very BLACK. Standard Definition programming looked good and the sound the speakers created was a pleasant surprise. It wasn't surround (even though they claim to create a three-dimensional sound field from just two speakers) but it was clear and full. Toshiba also has something called "StableSound" which attempts to limit audio fluctuation between channels and between programming and advertisements. We found it to level the sound but it did not compare to the Dolby Volume demo we saw at CES.

The TV comes with an ATSC and QAM tuner so you can watch HDTV even if you don't have HDTV service. In many cases a simple set of rabbit ears will be all you need if you live close enough to the transmitters. If you have cable, plug in the cable to the QAM tuner and see if your cable company is transmitting encrypted HD through your system. If you have HD service through your cable or satellite company you'll want to use one of the TVs HDMI inputs to connect the picture. The TV has two HDMI inputs so if you have a next gen DVD player or and upconverting standard DVD player you can easily connect both sources. The only issue with this is that there is one calibration setting for both inputs. The TV also has a coaxial and optical digital output so you can enjoy Dolby Digital sound when watching over the air HDTV.

The remote is not very good but we did like the fact that you can select each input from the number pad on the remote. The menus are quite simple and very easy to navigate. From an aesthetics point of view the TV looked pleasing to the eye. It has a black bezel to frame the screen. It measures 42.16" x 30.91" x 13.4" (WxHxD) with the stand and weighs 90.41 pounds (107 X 78.5 X 34 cm 41Kgs). We also wish manufacturers of 42 inch plasmas would create screens with 1366X768 resolution.

What we liked:

  • Fantastic HD picture
  • Vivid Colors
  • 8,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • Two HDMI inputs
  • Coax and Optical Digital outputs
  • Price

What we disliked

  • 1024 vs 1366 horizontal resolution
  • remote control
  • HDMI inputs can't be calibrated individually

Conclusion:
The Toshiba 42HP66 is a nice looking (both when its on and off) HDTV with decent Standard Definition performance. The TV passed all our critical viewing tests for contrast with flying colors. Speaking of colors they were quite bright and vivid. At $1200 online this is a good TV for a apartment or condo dweller. It will go nicely in a bedroom as well.

Posted by The HT Guys, January 26, 2007 7:00 AM

More in Category: HDTV Displays

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.