I’ve just returned from Florida where I saw the new Toshiba products, many of which were new even since CES in January.  The new REGZA line of TVs looks great. I especially like and recommend their new 26-inch LCD model for that special Dad or Grad.

 

As you can see from the picture above, it’s sleek, black and silver.  I liked what I saw (and learned) so much that I’ve borrowed one to report on.

It’s so simple. Why do you buy one TV over another?  Price?  Picture quality?  Ease of use? Styling? The right size for the space available?  All the latest technology, with an eye toward the future? Value?  It’s all here. Read on.

This is the model 26HL66. Not too big and not so small, it’s a High Definition set, part of Toshiba’s new REGZA line.  What’s a REGZA?  Good question, and here’s the company line directly from Toshiba: “ “REGZA” was coined from the literary German word “regsam” and connotes vibrant, dynamic qualities; it also captures Toshiba’s intent of “Real Expression Guaranteed by amaZing Architecture,” the superlative picture quality Toshiba achieves with its advanced expertise. Until now, Toshiba has used different brand names in marketing TVs in different regions, and “REGZA” is the first unified global brand for Toshiba’s TVs.”  Those wacky Japanese!

In this beautiful 26-inch set, Toshiba has improved the picture with more natural and smoother images – with 4,096 levels of gradation, with new, 12-bit processing. This technology provides 16 times the gradation levels of competitors’ 8-bit systems, and it shows.  Translation:  Looks better than other new sets I’ve seen in this size and comparably priced.

In addition, the set features Toshiba’s new CineSpeed LCD panel, which is easily demonstrable. The response time is 33 percent faster, at 8 milliseconds or less.  This means there is minimal blur or smear during fast action or fast motion sequences, which may be visible on other sets with slower refresh times. This technology is newly affordable in sets this size.  The LCD can keep up with what’s happening.  Just as on your LCD computer screen, the better ones have a quick response time of at least 8 milliseconds or less, especially noticeable when watching those action videos and playing games, so it makes sense that on a TV you’d want this fast response time.

Next in their tech bag of tricks, Toshiba has improved the picture quality with what they call PixelPure Hi-Bit digital video processing with up to 50 percent improvement in bit rate. Geek translation?  The picture quality is better than before, and it shows.

On the convenience and hook-up side, the 26HL66 is equipped with a complete jack pack that includes PC input and HDMI ((High-Definition Multimedia Interface) for a direct digital connection to an A/V source device such as a digital cable box or satellite receiver THAT ALSO HAS THIS NEW STANDARD CONNECTOR. Look for it on any video component for High Def systems that you buy from now on. In addition, there are ColorStream inputs for standard DVD players and also S-Video and RCA A/V inputs so no matter what you’ve got to connect to it, this set’s got the goods.

It also has a built-in over-the-air HDTV tuner and a standard analog tuner with a single cable connector.

Now that we’ve dispensed with the high tech mumbo jumbo, how does it look in MY house, here at Gadget Central?  Let me walk you through it. I unboxed it, put it in place, connected our antenna (for the local channels) and also my DIRECTV HDTV satellite receiver. I turned it on and was instantly wowed.  It’s about that simple. I sat and watched until I just had to move on to something else. No one is going to complain about the quality of the picture.   Everyone will love how easy it is to set up and to operate.

The picture really is spectacular, especially in High Definition. NO digital TV is or can be great with standard analog channels, but we have to live with this for at least a few years. In the meantime, whatever we watch in High Def will look great. Also, digital satellite channels and, to a certain extent, digital cable channels, look at least acceptable. The issue is that once you’ve seen HDTV on one of these sets, everything else looks crappy.

I like the look of this set even when it’s not on. I like the menus, too. Toshiba has done a very good job of making them easy to follow.

I highly recommend this set. Oh, and the price?  It lists for $1300, but, like most things in the consumer electronics world, you’ll find it for lots less, under $1000 DELIVERED, shopping online as I did.  Just Google the model number and click the Froogle link, and also check prices through www.nextag.com and www.pricegrabber.com to find the best current prices.

As with any truly good product, I know it’s a hit if my family does not want to give it up after I’ve tested it, and that is the case with this new TV!

More information is at www.tacp.com. Go to http://www.tacp.toshiba.com for the retailer nearest you or call 1.800.350.4105 for more information.

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