DLP finally looks good

So far, DLP rear projection models we have reviewed were largely disappointing. We have seen future models that looked spectacular and the Toshiba 62CM9UA comes very close. In our tests, it passed everything with flying colours across all AV modes, possessing only a few viewing problems.

The design is very stylish with a simple black bezel sitting atop a horizontal speaker, indented via an inverse concavity. The buttons on the face of the device are non-existent with only a small blue neon light to indicate projector status. The speakers deliver clear sound even at high volumes although they do begin to distort at about 80 per cent. The rear of the unit sports a wide array of inputs including two HDMI ports, a 15-pin D-Sub port, two component connectors and two S-Video/RCA video connections. These connections, especially the two HDMI ports, are quite incredible and will definitely come in handy.

The digital micro-mirror device (DMD) in this unit has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. This makes it a 1080p unit, a rare thing in the Australian market, especially considering there are no devices available in this country that can output to 1080p.

When we hooked up to an Xbox 360 the colours were flawlessly displayed with deep blacks and a wide contrast range between light and dark areas of the image. Playing video games on a TV like this is an excellent way to check how well the unit handles fast motion. The Toshiba performed flawlessly with no ghosting or smearing. Surprisingly, there was also very little Rainbow Effect too. Rather than the common 4 segment colour wheel that other DLP TVs have, this one has a six segment wheel, which cuts down on quite a bit of rainbow.

We played some scenes from a couple of DVDs to get an idea of how well this set handles an upscaled image. For the most part, DVDs looked pretty good although there were some digital artifacts here and there and the darker areas tended to get a little blocky. These problems are noticeable at a distance but not too distracting. If you want a 62-inch television, there are some sacrifices you will have to make.

We tested the PC connection via 15-pin D-Sub with DisplayMate Video Edition and found the sharpness, resolution, ghosting and colour text tests were all passed flawlessly. It is very rare for a TV to have no problems in the colour text test. We did see a little colour fluctuation during our colour block tests, but only ever so slight and only in dark green and dark yellow. The grayscale tests and 256 step intensity ramps impressed us most with perfect reproduction of the source, which is not something we see often.

We tested both the HDMI and Component connections by running our Digital Video Essentials tests DVD. The SMPTE patterns were displayed as they should have been with excellent colour reproduction and the motion tests all came away without any stepping in darker areas. We were blown away. Unfortunately, there were a few problems that we found rather annoying. The first was the menus systems and remote control. The menus were not very intuitive and don't offer enough image calibration options. The remote was not clearly labelled and it is hard to work out how to change AV sources without consulting the manual. Even then, as you choose the new connection type, there is a noticeably and frustrating delay between each option. This delay extends to other remote control operations too.

We also found the unit tends to head up and dissipates via the rear of the unit. We recommend using this television in a large room as the extra heat may not be desirable in an enclosed area.

We also found the screen material tended to hamper image quality. However, the effect is only slight on this unit and forgivable considering the size and overall quality.

We were also disappointed to discover that the in-built tuner is only standard definition. We reviewed this unit in conjunction with the Toshiba HD-C26H set-top box and found that it greatly improved the image quality. In HD, this set looks great for viewing television, although we did find the viewing angle wasn't great with colour shift occurring at about 75 degrees horizontal and almost immediately vertically.

We are big fans of this television and heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a giant-screen experience at a reasonable price.

The price tag is slightly over inflated when compared with other TVs on the market but it is well worth it; especially if you intend to run high-definition content.

What's Hot: Awesome image quality, rich blacks, wide range of connection options, excellent sound quality.
What's Not: Average viewing angle, No HD tuner, counter-intuitive menus and remote.
The Final Word: This is the best DLP rear projection we have reviewed and we came away feeling very satisfied with both its performance and quality. Apart from the cool factor of owning a 62-inch TV, you should definitely consider this set.
RRP: $6499