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First HDTV experience
on August 1, 2012
This is my first HDTV, having used an analog with converter box and I have to say it's been a delight to switch. It arrived well packed and protected. It was easy to unpack and uncomplicated to assemble to the stand which is square and stable beneath the TV; a little wriggling got even small tight screws (only 4 ea.) to match up perfectly so don't force them. Takes maybe 10 minutes from unpacking to plug in.
After plug-in and "ON", the TV goes right to 2 basic setup options. I forget the other one, but one option was channel scan and that's what I did.
PACKAGING: Be aware the TV arrives in original box, plainly visible as a TV. If you deliver to an exposed doorstep, you might want to use Amazon's "gift packaging" which puts it inside a plain brown shipping box.
SCREEN: The screen is matte finish without glare with a high gloss narrow black frame for full viewing. Display blacks are sharp and colors crisp. Some antenna-TV programs will still appear a little blurred (like VCR pictures) but that's not the TV, it's the program. Digital programs will be crisp and colorful. Flesh tone picture out of box tends to be a little red for my taste, but can be tweaked. Be aware the pixels may need time to fire up so be patient, altho this is more of an issue on the larger sizes. Out of box the larger TV picture is very good and even improved with first use (I know because I bought one for friends and set theirs up). Fortunately, pixel shyness is very brief, uniformly filling the screen as they should.
SOUND: With all the bad reviews about sound, I was sure I'd need a sound bar but the sound is fine for a 12 by 12 room (it's a 24 inch TV after all) In fact, bad reviews imply audio quality on the order of a transistor radio. Not so. Speaker location is on the bottom of the TV display, below the frame. True, it lacks decent bass depth most of us like, but there are customizable onscreen audio settings until you choose a sound system you like to beef it up. I have it set at 10-30% volume with a huge fan running behind it and viewing at 8-10 feet. If still too loud, go to Sound > Audessy ABX ON and Dynamic Volume OFF. CC1 subtitles are useful to back up low volumes during roommate sleeping hours.
There are multiple connectivity options on the back which allow other peripherals like cable/dish or computer or others like DVD player or better speakers. This TV is multi-purpose but has no ethernet port. Of course you can still get cable internet if you have that service, just not connect it to a home network. It does have a USB port on the left side of the screen for other peripheral uses like photos, security cams or home videos. Left side has dramatically recessed controls which are really awkward to reach, especially if wall-installed, so don't lose that remote ;)
I've been playing with this TV for a couple weeks and here are some TIPS:
You may want to use those old 2.1 computer speakers (i.e., 2 small speakers with subwoofer, with a single green stereo plug) for TV sound.
HOW: You'll need two things - a Y wire composed of red/white RCA jacks on one end for the TV with a single male stereo jack on the other end, and a female/female stereo connector to connect both male stereo jacks together (one from the TV and the other from the 2.1 speakers). Connect the RCA ends to Audio OUT ports on the back of the TV. Thats: Red/white RCA OUT on TV ... red/white RCA end of Y wire ... stereo male plug into female connector ... female connector other end to green stereo plug from computer speakers. After connecting all the loose ends, mute the TV speakers and turn on the external speakers to desired volume, and you're done. Remember external speakers cannot be controlled with the TV remote because you aren't using the internal TV speakers.
You can use headphones attached to the TV.
HOW: Use this same RCA Y wire and female/female stereo connector for your earphones. Just plug earphones into the connector instead of 2.1 speakers, mute internal TV speakers and use the volume control on your headphones. You may also want to consider wireless options, but ask yourself how many remotes you really want for a 24 inch TV considering the first one you grab is never the right one.
You can use that old boombox for audio:
HOW: Use this same RCA Y wire WITHOUT the female/female connector and insert it into the AUX port of your boombox. You can also use the MIC port, but it may dampen sound quality to just voice, so experiment to see if this is tolerable for you. If your boombox has a remote, all the better. Otherwise you'll have to control volume manually just like using 2.1 computer speakers. Mute Toshiba TV speakers to eliminate audio echo. The boombox set up is what I currently use, and frankly it's heads above Toshiba TV speaker quality, especially for movie sounds. No sound bar needed and the sound quality is better than a bar anyway. In fact, I bought a multipurpose boombox upgrade and it works great. WARNING: You'll be spoiled.
NOTE: You may notice the black audio IN port on the back of the TV, but it will NOT work for external speakers, nor is it a headphone port since it is not audio OUT. This black audio IN port is paired with the VGA IN port permitting sound on your laptop to be fed to the internal TV speakers.` Again, the internal speakers never disable, but must be muted to not compete with external sound systems.
You may want to watch digital free Hulu or other internet movies/programs on this TV.
HOW: USB to USB on the left side of the screen, or HDMI to HDMI port on the back of the TV to your laptop. If the laptop is next to the TV, you'll need to use a wireless mouse for control of mute, pause, play, etc. or, if next to your chair, a very long USB or HDMI cable to reach the laptop at your seating so you don't have to get up when the phone rings. Open YouTube in tabs and click through videos with a wireless mouse. Dim the laptop display and you're set for movie night.
You may want to use your older DVD or VCR player (no HDMI port).
HOW: If you only have a yellow (or red/white/yellow) RCA wire from your DVD player it'll still work fine on this TV for color movies. Even though there are blu/red/grn video ports on the back of the TV, put your DVD player's single yellow RCA adapter into the green port (upper right of cluster) and ignore the other two colors. You'll still get full color for your DVD movies.
NOTE: If for some reason the DVD disc screen is in black/white, go into TV display Preferences > AV input and change from "Colorstream HD" to "Video" ON to correct this. It's a bit buried in the menu so be persistent until you find it.
Remember: Use your DVD player's own remote; DVD options on the Toshiba remote won't work for it. If you try, the TV screen will display in red: "Not Available". When this first happened, I thought there was a connection problem but turns out the TV remote is standard for both this model and the model with built-in DVD player. The Toshiba remote won't detect any Toshiba TV DVD, hence, "not available". It might work if your external DVD player is also Toshiba brand ... can't hurt to try.
UPDATE: 2013, four months of ownership. Turns out the Toshiba remote really IS a learning remote. All of a sudden it started to control my Philips DVD player out of the blue, no programming at all. I discovered this by accident when I thought I was holding the DVD remote but using the wrong buttons on the Toshiba remote. Voila! DVD player control on the same remote. Took maybe a couple months of use for it to learn. :)
*remote is fussy about line of sight; just pointing in general direction of TV won't do.
If you find this unbearable, Philips makes a stellar combo remote with wider IR spread, quick code pickup and easy button programming. You can just point it to the sky and control the TV (very useful if your face is in a pillow and you don't want to sit up before falling asleep). I use it to control Toshiba TV/Philips DVP/Magnavox VCR/Bose audio without any trouble. Threw all those crap remotes from the drawer in the trash. [Philips SRU5106/27 6 Device Universal Remote Control, ~$13 retail. Buy NEW so you get all the manuals].
*Sound inconsistencies: Before you yell at Toshiba, check all the audio settings on your peripherals. For instance, if you set your cable box volume to low using the cable remote, you'll still have to crank up the TV audio just to hear your program. Or, if the DVD player audio is set low, you may not hear anything out of your TV. Decide which remote you want for TV speaker audio control before sound problems with too many compounded remote commands.
If sound jumps from low to normal to low to high, chances are you have Sound Dynamic turned ON. This feature was meant to level annoying commercial blasts, but may have seconds delay in volume detection. When you return to the program, it may delay while determining commercial break has ended before returning program to normal volume. For many, just not using this feature resolves difficulties. Also, make sure all your cable connections are snug, not just haphazardly jammed into ports so signals are consistent. ;)
*Note for analog-to-HDTV newbies: there's a few second delay time before onscreen viewing, particularly when turning the Toshiba TV ON. And the remote may skip too far ahead if trigger happy. It takes getting used to this digital delay compared to analog TV, but the picture quality and connectivity options are worth the wait.
*Note for analog-to-HDTV newbies:
VIDEO AND SOUND: HDMI carries both video AND sound and is digital; USB carries both video and sound; COAXIAL carries video and sound.
ONLY VIDEO: S-video carries only digital video; VGA carries only video. RCA red/blu/grn or yellow carry only video and is analog
ONLY SOUND: red and white RCA cables carry only audio and is analog. Be aware audio OUT is for speakers or earphones while audio IN is for sounds to be played through the TV. S/PDIF TOSLINK carries only audio on a digital light beam, so tempting as it may be, don't push anything in that port but a TOSLINK cable. ;)
*Newbie note about antennas: Out of box you can get a few major broadcast channels depending on where you live, unless you're in a valley or between skyscrapers. To get a bigger selection of free digital programs you'll still need an antenna using a coaxial cable or else cable service. The inexpensive $15-20 Artec HDTV Flat Antenna I was using on top of a converter box on the old portable analog TV, added another 15 digital channels (mostly paid programming, but CLEARER, crisper, color picture w/o-annoying-signal-break-up). For newbies, it attaches to the ANT/CABLE post in the back. If you're in a valley or between skyscrapers, you might want something on the roof or closer to the window or bigger. Antenna size and shape do matter. Better shaped antennas can pull in more digital channels. Cable or dish service gives you much better programming, but this Toshiba out of box will give you a few crisp free digital channels to start. (i.e. for newbies, no converter box needed anymore).
UPDATE: I've since switched to an all metal Yagi style antenna with stronger reception. (looks sort of like a model airplane on a desk stand). It's multi-directional and efficient for HDTV signals. Watch out for plastic imitations.
*TIP: put the base and your dvd player on a rotating disk/lazy susan to get to the back or position for viewing without having to lift or scrape it side to side. It's light enough and the base small enough to put on the black plastic ones used in refrigerators but there are nicer ones out there.
*TIP: because the TV is delicately balanced on the base, there is no angle adjustment for viewing. In this case, it may be helpful to set it on a monitor riser, and the turntable on that - or install it on the wall at desired angle with an accessory mounting frame.
I LOVE this TV even in its most primitive setup. Nothing about it is cheap or subpar for the ~$200 price or in its features. This is the first time I've laid hands on a digital TV and it was a breeze to setup, picture is fantastic, sound/volume acceptible for a med/large bedroom or 12x12 living room. Add an inexpensive digital antenna for more free digital channels and less signal breakup, or a cable service line for better programming, and you're all set.