For movie content, I spun the HD DVD of Backdraft. In the opening shot, where two young brothers shine a flashlight on firefighters' helmets lined up in a dark locker room, I could make out fine details in the stitching of the hemets' colorful black leather shields. Later, the red of the fire engines in bright sun popped off the screen, and the lime-green robe worn by singer David Crosby in his cameo as a resident of a burning building looked natural and punchy. Fire, a challenge for any video display, came across with good richness, depth, and color.
In this film - and, frankly, all my viewing - I couldn't help but yearn for a little blacker blacks and a little more detail in the shadows, but the Toshiba did an admirable job that ranks it among the better LCD panels I've seen. Also, while the set did pretty well upconverting clean 480i DVDs to fit its 1080p screen, its two noise-reduction modes weren't much help with poor-quality 480i cable broadcasts, which generally looked soft and noisy.
BOTTOM LINE Though not flawless, Toshiba's 47LZ196 delivers an excellent picture that puts it in the top tier of late-generation LCDs. What's more, its innovative features, sophisticated adjustments, and thoughtful remote are in a class by themselves. Whether you just like to sit back and watch or prefer to play, play, play, you'll find plenty to pass the hours with this impressive HDTV.
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