HDTV

Toshiba 55SL417U 55" Edge Lit LED LCD HDTV

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Introduction to the Toshiba 55SL417U 55" Edge Lit LED LCD HDTV

With all the hoopla surrounding 3D, the other big innovation in HDTVs has been largely forgotten – LED backlighting. For an image-quality geek like me though, this is a far more significant advance in technology. LCD panels can now play in the same black-level arena as plasma TVs. In some cases, they even exceed. As anyone schooled in imaging science will tell you, dynamic range is the single most important factor in perceived image quality. The greater the distance from minimum black to maximum white, the deeper and punchier the picture. Since the upper limit is easy to achieve – most LCDs can produce far more light than is needed – the quest for blacker blacks becomes the new frontier.

Pioneer set a standard with its ninth-generation Kuro plasmas that has yet to be equaled. Sadly, they are no longer available. But LCD, the king of flat panel sales, is getting ever-closer to that mark. With the advent of LED backlighting, the gap is now narrower than ever before.

While zone-dimming sets are still the top performers in the black-level category, edge-lit designs like the Toshiba 55SL417U reviewed here do a superb job with contrast at a much lower price point. It wasn’t long ago a premium 46-inch LCD sold for nearly $5000. Toshiba has come in with a superb value in a 55-inch panel that retails for only $1,499.99. Did they have to cut corners to achieve this? In a word – no. As I measured and watched this HDTV, I was continually impressed by its image quality. It offers tremendous performance for the money and competes favorably with displays costing significantly more.

Specifications of the Toshiba 55SL417U 55" Edge Lit LED LCD HDTV

  • Design: Edge Lit LED HDTV
  • Native Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Maximum Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
  • Screen Size: 55" Diagonal
  • Input Signal Compatibility: 480i/p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p24/60Hz
  • Display Formats: 4:3, Full, TheaterWide 1-3, Native (1:1 pixel)
  • Audio: 10 watts x 2, Optical Digital Output (Dolby Digital, 2-channel PCM)
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI (1.4), 1 Component, 15-pin VGA, 2 USB, 1 Ethernet
  • Internet Apps: Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, Blockbuster, Pandora, YouTube, Yahoo Widgets
  • Power Consumption: 140 Watts in Use, 40 Watts in Standby
  • Dimensions: 33" H x 49.8" W x 1.25" D
  • Weight: 67.2 Pounds
  • MSRP: $1,499.99 ($1,299.99 from Toshiba Direct)
  • Toshiba
  • SECRETS Tags: HDTVs, 1080p, LED