Turning to other specifications and features of the 46SV685D in our mission to justify its price, my mind quickly goes back to the IFA presentation I mentioned earlier, from which it was clear that Toshiba had worked closely with an independent imaging group – a member of which did the presentation – to optimise all the image for video use.
Then there’s the screen’s claimed 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, its inevitable Full HD resolution, and the impressive wealth of video processing it boasts. This includes, as you’d expect, Toshiba’s redoubtable Resolution+ system for improved upscaling of standard definition sources. But also there’s the mouthful known as Active Vision M200HD Pro – a combination of Toshiba’s general Active Vision video processing ‘all rounder’, and the brand’s first 200Hz engine.
This 200Hz engine isn’t a ‘true’ one, in the sense that the screen doesn’t actually fully refresh 200 times a second. Instead, as with Philips’ and LG’s 200Hz TVs, it relies on a scanning backlight system to come up with its 200Hz figure. But that’s certainly not to say that it won’t still produce a positive impact on motion reproduction, and as such could be another significant factor in justifying the 46SV685D’s cost.
Toshiba also seems to have tried to give the 46SV685D a little custom install appeal, via a strikingly expansive set of tweaks within its tidy if uninspiring onscreen menus. Particularly noteworthy are a good colour management system, and a fine degree of gamma adjustment.
Switching the 46SV685D on at last, I didn’t find myself feeling the instant feelings of devotion that I’d hoped for. Colours with any of the provided picture presets look surprisingly hit and miss tonally, and even black levels – usually a ‘sure thing’ with direct LED – don’t look as profound as I would have expected.
Just as well, then, that a little time spent in the company of a calibration aid such as the HQV Benchmark DVD or HD Video Essentials Blu-ray can improve the 46SV685D’s pictures no end.
Black levels, in particular, can be improved massively, leaving them ultimately looking extremely deep and free from grey mist. As we noted in our recent reviews of Sharp’s new LED TVs, the local dimming technology that helps deliver the 46SV685D’s extreme contrast performance can lead to some tiny bright details getting lost. But this doesn’t happen severely enough to leave me feeling ‘cheated’ out of detail, and I have little doubt that some movie fans will be happy to trade a few missing pixels of image content in return for black levels as good as those of the 46SV685D.
Paying close attention to dark scenes on the 46SV685D reveals another bit of good news, namely that images suffer scarcely at all with direct LED’s ‘halo’ phenomenon, where the local dimming system leaves glowing auras around patches of bright image content.