I'm lucky enough to work in the video game industry where I have a wide variety of HDTV's to look at and use on a daily basis. But when I need to check something on a standard definition TV, I look no further than the trusty Toshiba 14" TV I have sitting next to me. It is a solid standard-definition TV with an excellent picture.
•• Hardware ••
The unit is a 14" TV in a silver frame with speakers on the side. The screen is perfectly flat and not too deep. It's not an unattractive unit, but doesn't have the sleek minimalist stylings of most HDTVs on the market today.
Included is a silver remote which tries to be a universal remote, but doesn't have the compatibility of modern universal remotes. It will control the TV and a 2 other devices. This should suffice for the bedroom, unless you have a modern DVD player, which the remote may not work with. The buttons on the remote glow, but don't have true backlighting. All features of the TV are accessible from the remote including the menu. Pretty basic stuff, as remotes go.
One thing I do like is that it has little indentations in the top to use as handles. While this is not a portable TV, these handles do make it easier to move and adjust the angle of the TV.
•• Features ••
The TV provides a stunning picture, for a standard TV. The colors are fantastically rich and vibrant. The reds are deep without too much bleeding and the black is a truer black than on most LCD HDTVs. This is the beauty of old-school TVs. In some regard, they look better than HDTVs. The images are crisp and sharp, with no bending at the edges.
The inputs are what make this unit stand out and allow it to stand the test of time. Not only does it have the basic coax input, but also has RCA in the front and back. It also includes S-video and Component. Yes, a 14 inch Standard TV with component inputs! This is great and allows me to plug in my Xbox 360 to the S-video and a DVD player to the component without losing picture quality on either. Fantastic.
Of note, and the only negative thing I can say is that the inputs can only be accessed via the remote. So if you lose the remote and want to switch the TV to any of the inputs, you're out of luck. There is no way to access the inputs on the TV itself.
The menu system is basic, allowing you to control all the fundamentals of good TV viewing: brightness, contrast, sharpness etc. The color temperature settings are pretty basic and there are no preset modes for viewing different types of media. As well, none of the inputs have a "memory" to retain their individual settings. Keep in mind that very few Standard Definition TVs have these advanced features, and certainly not one that is 3 years old.
One thing I noticed and I hate to bring this up because no one but a geek like me will care, is that when I masked off the safe area for some game testing, I ntoiced the left bottom edge cuts off the safe area a little. Not much, but a little. What is safe area and who really cares? Safe area is the area in picture where all information must be located. Nothing important should ever be around the extreme edges of the screen in the non-safe area because some TVs (like this one) may cut it off. To the second question of "who cares?". I can tell you quite confidently, that no one will care. But it's soemthing I noticed and figured was worth a mention.
•• Sound ••
Asking how sound is on a 14 inch TV is kind of like asking how well a Yugo performed on that Autobahn. The performance isn't good and it just wasn't meant to be, nor can one expect great sound from speakers this small. That said, the speakers don't sound terrible, they just don't sound great. The highs are good, but can get a little shrill at high volumes. The mid-range is fine, if a little muddy. And the bass is pretty much nonexistent. Cranking the volume way up gives a noticeable distortion and even the occasional case rattle. But asking this small a TV to have the quality of a Bose sound system, is unreasonable. And certainly the sound that comes out is of good enough quality for any application where a 14 inch TV is good enough.
•• Conclusion ••
A solid TV, perfect for a dorm or rec room, this unit has an excellent picture, lots of inputs and true flat screen.
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Amount Paid (US$): 179