LAS VEGAS – Toshiba America Information Systems (TAIS) travels to International CES to take the wraps off an expanded line of Ultra HD LED LCD TVs and a revamped core line of FullHD models.
At its showroom in the Mandalay Bay Casino, Toshiba is presenting its 2014 line designed to trigger growth of the brand in the TV category over the next 12 month, said Scott Ramirez, TAIS home entertainment marketing VP.
The line is positioned to take advantage of both ends of a bifurcated market appealing to value conscious consumers on one end and offering newest-tech, best-quality products at the other.
Gone from the lineup in 2014 is 3D capability, which Ramirez said consumers have not shown much interest in having. The move reduces costs while preserving the key features and benefits consumer are willing to pay for.
“We expect a big shift coming in the 55-inch and over TV segment this year as manufacturers move their premium LED sets from FullHD to Ultra HD,” said Ramirez. “We will have multiple series of 4K Ultra HD. One is simply not enough anymore.”
The top four model series step up the picture quality focus while adding new technologies and additional compelling features.
Models include Toshiba’s own Radiance LED LCD panels that use its own CQ engines. Ramirez explained that the Radiance LED system uses Toshiba’s own LED backlighting technology, allowing the company to directly control the brightness, contrast and color saturation levels.
The L7400 series, in the 47- and 55-inch FullHD screen sizes, features a full-array Radiance LED panel with ultra-bright LEDs producing twice the brightness of a standard LED, Ramirez said. They also feature a Prism wide color gamut system, CQ Plus (single plus dual core engine), Quantum Black local dimming technology, Cloud Portal TV experience, and a Labyrinth Speaker System that boosts bass response from a built-in sound system by folding the sound wave back and forth in the box. Other features include WiDi wireless connectivity and an RVU system for DirecTV, enabling the set to accept a signal from a DirecTV Genie box without the need for an extra thin-client box.
The L8400 series features the 50- and 58-inch screen sizes and steps into 4K Ultra HD resolution with LED edge lighting, a CQ4K (quad- plus dual-core) picture engine, new HDMI (aka 2.0) input, HDCP 2.2 content protection, HEVC H.265 compression decoding, Labyrinth speaker system with DTS Premium Surround Suite, and a Cloud Portal TV system that adds basic level voice control commands through a mic in the remote.
All Toshiba 2014 Ultra HD TVs will have the DirecTV RVU system, which Ramirez sees as the company’s eventual native 4K content solution along with eventual streaming 4K content from Netflix delivered via the Cloud Portal System.
The L9400 series, with 58- and 65-inch screen sizes, is the company’s 2014 premium series. It features a Radiance 4K panel using Toshiba’s own Ultra HD full-array LED backlit LCD panel with double brightness.
The series includes a black with chrome-accented ultra-thin-bezel cosmetic design, where all four sides of the bezel are the same width. It also includes Quantum Black local dimming, and wide color gamut.
Toshiba will continue to offer an 84-inch Ultra HD in the 84L9450, featuring the same chassis as the L9400 series, but with LED edge lighting instead of the full-array Toshiba Radiance panel and a gunmetal cosmetic design.
The entry four series in the core LCD line are focused on offering best value, Ramirez said. These target great picture quality, great cosmetic designs and aggressive price points. Omitted are “every bell and whistle that a value-conscious consumer doesn’t want to pay for,” he added.
The entry L1400 series includes 32-inch 720p, and 40- and 50-inch FullHD 1080p models. In the first four series, the 32-inch models offer direct LED backlighting while larger sizes feature LED edge lighting.
All L1400 models offer slim bezels and gloss-black cosmetic designs, along with such core features as dynamic LED back and edge lighting, DTS TruSurround, and an ample jack pack. The step-up L2400 series adds Clear Scan 120Hz frame rates, a gunmetal cosmetic design, and an entry 32-inch FullHD 1080p model, along with 40- and 50-inch FullHD sets.
The L3400 series, which includes the 40- and 50- inch screen sizes, adds smart-TV functionality along with a more powerful Cinema Quality (CQ) Dual Core Engine, built-in Wi-Fi and expanded jack panel.
The L5400 series takes the L3400 core features and applies them to bigger screen sizes, including the 58 and 65 inches, and steps up to Clear Scan 240Hz frame rates.
Toshiba is also refreshing its Symbio streaming-media and universal disc player lineup in 2014, with two new models offering FullHD Blu-ray combined with advanced streaming capability, including an open browser and a wide app lineup.
The form factor has been redesigned to a small square that looks more like a streaming-media player than a Blu-ray deck, includes an enhanced user interface, like the Toshiba Cloud TVs, and Smart TV Alliance capabilities to enable adding more and more apps in the future. The two models will be differentiated by FullHD (BDX-3500) and FullHD with 4K Ultra HD up-conversion capability (BDX-5500).