Toshiba 50L7300U Review: A 50-Inch LED HDTV With Wi-Fi

OSD Setup And Calibration

You’ll see from our photos that the 50L7300U, like a majority of HDTVs, has an extensive menu system offering many more calibration options than the average computer monitor. There are also plenty of settings for the set’s audio and network features.

We’ll go screen by screen to show you what makes this display tick. The moire pattern in the photos is not visible to the naked eye. Apparently, there is something in the screen's anti-glare layer that interacts with our camera.

Pressing the Setup button on the remote brings up a menu tree typical of most modern HDTVs. The categories are on the left side and specific settings are on the right. The first screen, Picture, has everything you need for a thorough and precise calibration. There are six picture modes and all have different purposes. The default is AutoView, which uses a built-in light sensor to manipulate various image parameters based on ambient conditions and picture content. Dynamic is the expected torch mode; it's extremely bright and defaults to a very cool color temp and oversaturated color gamut. Standard is fully adjustable, but uses an oversaturated color gamut. The place to do your work is Movie, which is fairly accurate out of the box and can be calibrated to a very high standard. For gaming, choose Game. That mode eliminates extraneous video processing and improves response time and input lag (we were able to confirm this in our tests). PC uses a linear gamma curve to optimize computer images.

After the picture modes, you can see separate controls for brightness, contrast, and backlight. Most LCD HDTVs have this feature and we like it. It’s much easier to set the proper light level and maximize contrast when you can adjust the backlight independent of the black level. Sharpness adds unneeded edge enhancement and is best set to zero.

The remaining image controls are in the Advanced and Expert menus.

When you turn on ColorMaster, the CMS is unlocked. Although it won’t manipulate the color points well, it’s very effective at dialing in the luminance. The gamut in Movie mode is pretty good without adjustment, but it can be improved with an instrumented calibration. Color Temperature is simply three presets. The actual white balance sliders are in the Expert menu shown below. Auto Brightness Sensor modulates the backlight to match ambient lighting conditions. It’s best to leave it off. Dynamic Contrast and DynaLight work in concert to increase contrast by selectively dimming the backlight and altering the gamma based on image content. We experimented with them and you can see the results on page six. Finally, ClearScan is the frame interpolation algorithm. It has three levels plus Off. All options produce smoother motion, which some viewers prefer. Video purists will usually avoid this due to the “soap opera effect” it produces. If you leave it off, the TV will repeat frames to match the native 240 Hz refresh rate. When 24p content is received, it does a 10:10 pulldown that properly reproduces the original film-based content.

Here is the CMS.

It’s laid out correctly, but the saturation control acts more like a brightness (luminance) slider since it won’t alter the color points. Hue works well on the secondary colors. As you can see, we didn’t need to make large adjustments to render an accurate gamut.

The Expert menu gives you a series of test patterns, and both two- and ten-point white balance controls. You’ll have to choose one or the other. We were able to achieve a decent grayscale with the two-point sliders, though the 10-point rewarded our efforts with near perfection.

To set the 10-point white balance, you need to use the TV’s internal test patterns, which are accessed by turning on Window Display. Then you enter the 10P White Balance menu to adjust each brightness level individually.

While IRE is an older term for brightness level (it actually refers to an input voltage), it’s pretty much interchangeable with percent. There are red, green, and blue sliders for each level from 10 to 100 percent. We found that it’s best to work from the top-down when setting these controls. It’s a time-consuming process, but well worth the effort.

Audio from the 50L7300U is pretty good, considering the modest speakers. You can adjust the bass, treble, and balance, and utilize the Audyssey algorithms to simulate surround sound. Turning this on increases the sense of depth and spaciousness in the sound stage. If you want to use an external sound system, turn off the TV speakers altogether.

The remaining menus cover networking, which is very easy to set up thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, and convenience options like sleep timers, USB port settings, and the Bluetooth keyboard that comes in the package.

Calibration

Since this display is used in a different environment than most computer monitors, we’re doing things a little differently with regards to setting the maximum light output. However, all other standards for gamma, grayscale, and color remain the same. Our spec is Rec. 709/sRGB for the color gamut, D65 for the white point, and 2.2 for the gamma. For our tests, we calibrate the set for a day mode of 170 cd/m2 peak and a night mode of 120 cd/m2 peak.

We use the basic controls, along with the 10-point white balance and color management system, to make adjustments. The list of settings is long. However, if you want to get the most from the 50L7300U, they make a good baseline. The results are completely worth the effect if you have the gear to calibrate this TV yourself, though.

Toshiba 50L7300U Calibration  Settings
Picture Mode
Movie
Backlight
50 Day, 35 Night
Contrast
75
Brightness
1
Color
0
Tint
0
Sharpness
0
ColorMaster

Color
Hue
Saturation
Brightness
Red
0
0
-2
Green
0
0
-1
Blue
0
-2
0
Yellow
3
0
-1
Magenta
0
0
2
Cyan
0
0
-1
10-point White Balance
IRE
Red
Green
Blue
100
-3
0
6
90
2
3
4
80
-3
2
-4
70
-2
0
0
60
-7
-2
1
50
-9
-2
2
40
-9
1
-3
30
0
0
0
20
0
0
0
10
0
0
0
Other Settings
DynaLight
Off
Dynamic Contrast
Off
Noise Reduction
All Off
ClearScan
Off
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  • cats_Paw
    A bit expensive. Give me a good plasma 50-60 inch, low input lag, no smart, wifi... maybe 3d and usb play, but even that not necesary for a low price and im sold (like maybe LG 50PN6500, althou most reviews say its not too good).Leds are a bit more pricey at 50 inch >D
  • iam2thecrowe
    Toshiba have always made good stuff, i had a toshiba tv a while ago and it had a better picture and more picture adjustments than anything else on the market at the time.I fully disagree with the above about a plasma, regardless of input lag or whatever, the picture quality is total garbage with all the speckles, all plasmas have it.
  • cgsample
    Does it "phone home" like LG?
  • BigMack70
    dat PPI *shudder*
  • toddybody
    Love Toms...truly.BUTWhy are they reviewing a Ho-Hum 1080p TV from Toshiba? Seems more up CNET's alley to review blase consumer tech. Tom's is special for it's in depth and technical reviews of less heralded techie gear (i.e., CPU/GPU/HDD/Special Peripherals/Technical Prototypes...etc) What Im really trying to say is, Where is Half Life 3 and nVidia Maxwell? :D
  • cangelini
    Quote:
    Love Toms...truly.BUTWhy are they reviewing a Ho-Hum 1080p TV from Toshiba? Seems more up CNET's alley to review blase consumer tech. Tom's is special for it's in depth and technical reviews of less heralded techie gear (i.e., CPU/GPU/HDD/Special Peripherals/Technical Prototypes...etc) What Im really trying to say is, Where is Half Life 3 and nVidia Maxwell? :D
    Christian is writing Tom's Hardware-style display coverage for us, and doing a fantastic job applying the same deep-dive methodologies we use for other components to help quantify the strengths and weaknesses of monitors/TVs. Don't worry; you'll see us cover Maxwell when the embargo lifts on it ;) For Half-Life 3, you need to talk to Gabe.
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Toms, could you please confirm/deny if you actually tested that the Movie preset was the best and didn't just assume it was like many people do? While it doesn't sound like the TV model you tested has this specific issue, it's definitely something to keep in mind that the "Movie" preset may not always provide the best picture. I own a Toshiba 39L1350U and the Movie preset reduces the contrast and black levels considerably. To quote myself from the following post I made on AVS Forum:
    http://www.avsforum.com/t/1477874/toshiba-l1350u-series-2013/30#post_23923173

    "Using the same settings on both Game and Movie, via OCD-levels of eye-balling I found that Game and/or PC modes (which look identical) have similar white levels with backlight @ 50 compared to Movie's backlight @ 68. By comparison Movie's backlight setting had to be set to 40 just to get black levels similar to Game and/or PC with backlight @ 50. And for reference,"Standard" seems to be about the same as Game and/or PC except that the backlight @ 42 seems to equal Game/PC's backlight @ 50."


    For reference, CNET seemed to have assumed that the the "Movie" preset was the best when reviewing the L2300U (which is the same as the L1350U but in a different color) and then went and criticized the TV for having poor contrast and black levels. I just want to make sure Tom's doesn't make the same mistake in the future.
  • ceberle
    Anonymous said:
    Toms, please do not just assume that the Movie preset is the best. I own a Toshiba 39L1350U and the Movie preset reduces the contrast and black levels considerably. To quote myself from the following AVS Forum thread post:
    http://www.avsforum.com/t/1477874/toshiba-l1350u-series-2013/30#post_23923173

    "Using the same settings on both Game and Movie, via OCD-levels of eye-balling I found that Game and/or PC modes (which look identical) have similar white levels with backlight @ 50 compared to Movie's backlight @ 68. By comparison Movie's backlight setting had to be set to 40 just to get black levels similar to Game and/or PC with backlight @ 50. And for reference,"Standard" seems to be about the same as Game and/or PC except that the backlight @ 42 seems to equal Game/PC's backlight @ 50."

    This also means that your calibration settings are most likely incorrect for Game mode.

    It's important to note that CNET made the same mistake by calibrating via the "Movie" preset when reviewing the L2300U (which is the same as the L1350U but in a different color) and then went and criticized the TV for having poor contrast and black levels.


    We did not assume that Movie mode produced the best contrast, we measured every mode to determine which was the best starting point for calibration. Our black level measurements take into account the full rendering of detail down to the lowest brightness steps. It's easy to drop the brightness control and measure a better black level but detail will be crushed. In the game mode, we couldn't get any better black levels than movie when you take detail into account. Check out the article where we talk about the use of dynamic contrast. That will give you a pretty good idea where the balance is between contrast and detail. Remember also that Game mode does not have the accurate color gamut or flat grayscale and gamma tracking possible in Movie.

    When referring to forum posts, a statement like "via OCD-levels of eye-balling" means that the writer is expressing an opinion, not facts arrived at by science. We suggest taking information like that with a grain of salt.

    And yes, our calibration settings would be incorrect in Game mode.

    -Christian-
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Quote:
    We did not assume that Movie mode produced the best contrast
    Could you please read the edit I made to that post? I attempted to remove (or at least greatly reduce) any accusatory wording I may have used.

    Quote:
    When referring to forum posts, a statement like "via OCD-levels of eye-balling" means that the writer is expressing an opinion, not facts arrived at by science. We suggest taking information like that with a grain of salt.
    I stated that I was quoting and linking to a post I made myself; if look at the user name of said AVS Forum post you would see that it is my own. Therefore I don't exactly appreciate it when you say that my results have no scientific merit and are purely an opinion...not all of us can afford multi-hundred dollar calibration tools just to provide exact numbers on what we're seeing. (for reference, I was not even the person that insisted on buying the TV, I would have been fine without one)
  • n3cw4rr10r
    I want to see a review on the Vizio 4K TVs :)
  • toddybody
    Anonymous said:
    Quote:
    Love Toms...truly.BUTWhy are they reviewing a Ho-Hum 1080p TV from Toshiba? Seems more up CNET's alley to review blase consumer tech. Tom's is special for it's in depth and technical reviews of less heralded techie gear (i.e., CPU/GPU/HDD/Special Peripherals/Technical Prototypes...etc) What Im really trying to say is, Where is Half Life 3 and nVidia Maxwell? :D
    Christian is writing Tom's Hardware-style display coverage for us, and doing a fantastic job applying the same deep-dive methodologies we use for other components to help quantify the strengths and weaknesses of monitors/TVs. Don't worry; you'll see us cover Maxwell when the embargo lifts on it ;) For Half-Life 3, you need to talk to Gabe.


    Christian did a great job, no issue with the article...just curious why (of all things) a random Toshiba TV gets the Tom's wax n' wash. Obviously, my whining can be attributed to an overabundance of first-world-white girl problems.

    Lastly, I did try to talk to Gabe about HL3...but apparently im no longer allowed to attempt contact after mailing him 3 of my fingers with a note written in blood and tears, asking:

    "Can you count to three now?"

    :D
  • ceberle
    Anonymous said:
    I want to see a review on the Vizio 4K TVs :)


    We're working with Vizio to get samples of their new 4K screens. In the meantime, we have a Toshiba 4K HDTV arriving next week. Samsung is also looking good for future reviews. Definitely stay tuned!

    -Christian-
  • georgekn3mp
    I can't wait to see and hope that is the Toshiba 58L9300U 4k UHDTV you review. I have had that set since November 2013 and it has almost exactly the same appearance as this set you reviewed. It is a great TV and one of the best values, from a name-brand manufacturer too. It does a great job of upscaling 1080p to 2160p, and I expect that will show in the review whether you review the 58", 65" or the huge 80" 4K set. It has all the features you reviewed plus a few more, including upgraded sound and speakers
  • TeamBLU 4K
    BIG THANKS for giving us HDTV reviews now as well. You asked to suggest what you should cover in more detail in future HDTV reviews, so here's my take -I'm in the process of upgrading my media center to 4K by end of May, so I'm mostly interested in how to best integrate a high-end gaming desktop to a 4K 60Hz display.For example, what connectivity the TV allows to produce 4k 60Hz content, which graphics cards will support HDMI2.0, how did the PQ look playing a modern game in 4K, etc etc...
  • ceberle
    Quote:
    I can't wait to see and hope that is the Toshiba 58L9300U 4k UHDTV you review. I have had that set since November 2013 and it has almost exactly the same appearance as this set you reviewed. It is a great TV and one of the best values, from a name-brand manufacturer too. It does a great job of upscaling 1080p to 2160p, and I expect that will show in the review whether you review the 58", 65" or the huge 80" 4K set. It has all the features you reviewed plus a few more, including upgraded sound and speakers
    It is indeed the L9300U model but in the 65-inch size. I'm looking forward to it as well!-Christian-
  • CaedenV
    Come on Tom's! Surely there is something good in the world to write a review about!Smart TVs aren't even exciting to the general consumer market, meanwhile in the tech world it is a liability that we look to avoid. I welcome TVs which will eventually allow us to wirelessly display content from our other compute devices, but I simply want a display... leave things like UI and content to companies that know what they are doing.Anywho, I understand it is the doldrums of winter news... but you can do better.
  • denzel4u
    Nice review, on future content, please include a section detailing the sets ability to function as a monitor for productivity and gaming as I am considering buying a 4K set as my primary monitor.
  • TeamBLU 4K
    Quote:
    Nice review, on future content, please include a section detailing the sets ability to function as a monitor for productivity and gaming as I am considering buying a 4K set as my primary monitor.
    +1
  • BulkZerker
    I'll be interested when I can get a TV like this for under $400. But by then 4k's will be $1200 and I'll want those instead :(
  • georgekn3mp
    Anonymous said:
    I'll be interested when I can get a TV like this for under $400. But by then 4k's will be $1200 and I'll want those instead :(


    When 8K sets come out, I will buy one and sell you my 4K Toshiba for half price! Only $1400 then for late 2013 model ;)