CES 2009: Toshiba Goes Feature Crazy

Toshiba has really pushed the boat out with its new Regza range of TVs.

I know that TVs launched at CES don’t always make it over to the UK, but in the case of Toshiba’s new Regza line, I seriously hope that they do. As well as a completely new sleek and undeniably stylish design, the new Regza LCD TVs are also sporting a raft of completely new features. And I’m not talking about tick box features here, this is stuff that is genuinely useful.

Of course the new Regzas will come with Resolution+, which is Toshiba’s latest upscaling technology, which reared its head back in August at IFA. Obviously a good upscaling system will make standard definition content look good on a Full HD screen, but Toshiba’s claims for Resolution+ went way beyond that. Toshiba claimed that with resolution plus a 1,920 x 1,080 source can be upscaled to a 4k screen without any artefacts! If that turns out to be true, I’ll be very impressed, but since no one is likely to be producing a retail 4k TV in the near future, I doubt I’ll be able to find out one way or another.

The new Regzas also feature something called InstaPort, which sets our to eliminate the annoying lag that occurs when switching between HDMI sources. The reason for the delay when switching HDMI ports is the HDCP copy protection. Because both the source device and the screen have to communicate and confirm that both ends of the chain are valid, it takes a few seconds when you switch from one HDMI port to another. With InstaPort though, as soon as the TV is switched on it does all the handshaking with all the connected devices straight away, which means that when you switch between sources it should be instantaneous. The only potential spanner in the works for InstaPort is if you use an HDMI switcher, as I do.

Toshiba’s new Regzas are also the first TVs to come equipped with Dolby Volume. Dolby Volume allows you to set a constant volume level regardless of source. This means that when a programme ends and the adverts start, you’re not blown off the sofa by the increase in volume. It also means that if you’re watching a movie late at night, you won’t have to turn up the volume to hear the dialogue, then turn it back down when the action hots up. Dolby has demonstrated this system to me a few times and it really is effective, so it’s good to see it appearing in retail TVs at last.

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