Toshiba 65L9300U HDTV: 4K That Doesn’t Break The Bank
After publishing Asus PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review: Top-Shelf Ultra HD For $3500 and Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD Monitor Review: UP3214Q At $3500, I was personally anxious to get my hands on a 4K HDTV. Toshiba obliged by sending its new 65L9300U.
When Sony introduced its first Ultra HD TV in 2012, it was only available in an 84-inch screen size for an eye-watering $25,000. Today, Sony and its competition offer smaller screens at more down-to-earth prices. Selling for a now-familiar $3500, Toshiba’s 65L9300U represents a relatively good value in the 4K space.
Of course, Ultra HD means 3840x2160 pixels. Although that's not quite a true 4K (4096x2160), it comes close. At the very least, it's four times the resolution of Full HD’s 1920x1080. While the first generation of Ultra HD screens had specific bandwidth limitations, this is the first display we’ve seen with HDMI 2.0 support. You do need the very latest firmware from Toshiba's website. But once you're equipped with that, the TV accepts UHD signals at 60 Hz. Currently, the only way to generate such a signal is either through a computer or a streaming device like a Redray player.
The Toshiba 65L9300U is a 65-inch LED 4K HDTV. It includes the company's cloud-based software platform, uses passive 3D technology, and includes the first HDMI 2.0-compatible input we've seen in our lab.
The bandwidth issue really isn't as big of a deal with film-based content, since it’s delivered at 24 FPS. And pretty much everyone who buys this HDTV will be connecting a standard Blu-ray player that outputs good old 1920x1080. So, the real test for this generation is the quality of its upconversion.
|Backlight||W-LED, edge array|
|Max Refresh Rate||240 Hz|
|3D||Passive, pattern retarder|
|Response Time (GTG)||Not specified|
|Brightness (cd/m2)||Not specified|
|Speakers||2 x 10 W|
|Audio In||1 x 3.5 mm, 1 x RCA|
|Audio Out||1 x 3.5 mm, 1 x optical|
|IR Control||1 out|
|Panel DimensionsW x H x D w/base||57.6 x 37 x 14.7 in1463 x 940 x 374 mm|
|Panel Thickness||2.8 in / 71 mm|
|Weight||108 lbs / 49 kg|
Feature-wise, this HDTV is packed. Besides its Ultra HD resolution, there’s passive 3D and the same Cloud TV software we reported on in Toshiba 50L7300U Review: A 50-Inch LED HDTV With Wi-Fi. Wireless networking is of course built-in, or you can connect an Ethernet cable to the TV's LAN port. Plus, there’s a built-in WiDi receiver that lets you stream content from compatible laptops and portable devices.
3D is less of a marketing tool today than it was in the past. However, all mid- to high-priced HDTVs still include it. The 65L9300U offers passive 3D through pattern retarder technology. Unlike active 3D, where the glasses contain LCD shutters that must be synced to the display, passive 3D uses fixed polarizers in both the glasses and screen to achieve a stereo effect. Light output is much higher on passive sets, but the effective resolution is halved. Each frame shows every other horizontal line, and your eye/brain has to stitch them together. Fortunately, a 4K TV gives you plenty of extra pixels to get the resolution back up. So, for fans of stereoscopic content, an Ultra HD screen with passive 3D may be the best option you can buy.
The video technology here is not revolutionary, though. Backlighting is provided by a white-LED edge array. Contrast performance can be enhanced through a local-dimming feature called DynaLight, which modulates the backlight depending on content. There are also several other picture enhancement features that we’ll explore in-depth.
Toshiba addresses video processing with its quad-core CEVO 4K engine. Since nearly all of the content delivered to an Ultra HD TV will be 1080p for the foreseeable future, scaling quality is super-important. We’ll take a close look at some 2D and 3D Blu-rays on page four. And we’ll thoroughly test the video processing on page 11. We also get to check out some native 4K video courtesy of a laptop Toshiba included in our press package.