Toshiba unveils its first 3D LED TV, other A/V products

Saturday, September 18, 2010, 19:51 by Tech Correspondent

Toshiba Wednesday launched its first-ever 3D TV Cinema Series – WX800 3D LED LCD TVs. The company also announced the VX700 Cinema-series 1080p LED LCD TV, the UL605 edge-lit LED TV LCD series, the SL400 720p edge-lit LED TV series and a 3D-ready BDX3000 3D Blu-ray Disc player.

The Toshiba WX800 3D LED LCD TVs are available in 46-inch version (priced at $2,599.99) and a 55-inch version (priced at $3,299.99). The series will be out in the US market this month.

No big deal, one might say. After all, viewers – those with deep pockets – already have the option of choosing a LED TV from five vendors, i.e. Samsung, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Sony and LG. So what is it that’s different about Toshiba’s third-dimension offering? Well, the WX800 3D LED LCD TVs are designed with “3D Resolution+” processing, which is touted to enhance 3D picture viewing by cutting down on crosstalk – a phenomenon wherein a signal on one integrated circuit affects a nearby signal on another circuit. This is one of the stand-out features of the WX800 series, Toshiba says, highlighting the crosstalk issue viewers have commonly encountered on other 3D models.

However, unlike select 3D TVs from other brands, the WX800 series models do not support 2D-to-3D conversion.

toshiba 3d led lcd tv photoThe WX800 3D TV models are equipped with LED edge lighting, which offer an ultra-high-contrast ratio (7 million:1) and come with ClearFrame 240Hz motion processing that minimizes judder. Users are also promised 1080p resolution across both the 3D TVs.

You won’t be disappointed with the WX800 series TVs on one count for sure – the look factor. Sporting an ultra-thin (less than 1.2 inches) profile and a single panel of glass with a flush-front floating bezel design, the 3D models from Toshiba match up to any modern high-end TV in terms of sleekness.

You will also like the fact that both the WX800 and VX700 series are Wi-Fi-enabled, saving you the cost of having to buy a separate USB dongle.

The Wi-Fi functionality means users can connect wirelessly to the built-in Toshiba Net TV system and access the Yahoo Widgets platform – offering access to the likes of Vudu movies, Pandora music, social networking sites, YouTube videos, The New York Times news, and many others.

If you were pinning your hopes on those rumors suggesting a glasses-free 3D TV from Toshiba, well, bad news, folks. Like all the other 3D TV makers out there, buyers of the WX800 TVs will have to fork out $169 for a pair of active-shutter glasses (model FTP-AG01U) to enjoy the 3D experience.

So, now then, the big question – can Toshiba’s WX800 lineup offer any serious competition to Samsung and Sony’s elite models which have thinner and bigger 3D sets and are clearly the market leaders in this segment (Not to mention Panasonic’s substantial presence in the high-end TV market which Toshiba will also have to face up to)?

Well, it would be pretty tough for Toshiba to convince potential 3D TV buyers to pick its WX800 models over their more top-of-the-notch rivals. The best Toshiba, therefore, can do to get consumers excited about its 3D TVs – and create a niche for itself in this market segment – is by being aggressive on the pricing front. A 10-20% discount to similar models from the likes of Sony and Samsung might just create the opening Toshiba is looking for. Or else, this could well be a real tough battle for Toshiba.

Other new products in the Toshiba lineup include the Toshiba VX700 LED LCD TVs, which have most of the features of the WX800, except for 3D viewing. The dynamic contrast ratio is also a little less at 5 million:1.

The 46-inch model in the Toshiba VX700 series will be available for $2,299.99, whereas the 55-inch version will cost $2,999.99.

Next up, the Toshiba UL605 edge-lit LED LCD TV series sports a 1.4-inch panel and a stylish frame. Built upon Toshiba’s current UX600 line, this series is equipped with ClearFrame 120Hz technology and Wi-Fi capability. The 40-inch model is available for $1,599, the 46-inch model can be picked up for $1,899 and the 55-inch version will cost you $2,699.

Now onto some more affordable ones. The Toshiba SL400 720p edge-lit LED LCD TV series, already available, sports dual HDMI-CEC outputs and has a built-in USB port for sharing photos and music. A 32-inch model is available for $699, a 26-inch one for $499 and a 22-inch one for $399. There is also a 19-inch version for which the price is unknown.

Finally, the Toshiba BDX3000 3D Blu-ray Disc player (meant to work with the WX800), which ships this month at an expected price of $300. It provides an output of full 1080p at 24 fps. The player also offers DVD playback with up-conversion to near-HD 1080p quality.

As with other products, the Toshiba BDX3000 3D Blu-ray Disc player is Wi-Fi-enabled and connects users to Toshiba’s Net TV partner services. It is equipped with Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio Essential support. The player sports has 7.1-channel analog outputs, a USB port and SD/SDHC card slot to enable AVCHD video, JPEG photos and MP3/WMA audio playback.

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