This time last year Toshiba launched the first 4K TV to the UK market. Although Toshiba was pushing the ZL2’s glasses-free 3D credentials, it was its Ultra HD 4K resolution that the gathered tech journalists were excited by. This year, though, Toshiba impressed the media even more at its annual product showcase when it announced an entire range of 4K TVs.
Toshiba’s new top-of-the-range 9 Series TVs all sport a native resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. There are three size options available – 58in, 65in and 84in – and all three offer 3D. However, while the 65in and 84in models employ passive 3D, the 58in utilises an active 3D system, suggesting that the latter’s panel comes from a different manufacturer to its sibling’s.
The 9 Series sets come equipped with Toshiba’s CEVO 4K processing engine to ensure that you’re treated to an ultra-sharp, crisp image no matter what source device you’re using. Given that you’ll be hard pushed to find much 4K content off the bat, these TVs’ ability to upscale is pretty important.
Toshiba’s new Cloud TV smart features add services such as Netflix, Vimeo, iPlayer and YouTube to the mix. You’ll also be able to stream media from USB or networked devices. Wi-Fi comes as standard, so you shouldn’t have any trouble hooking your new 4K TV up to your home network and the Internet. There’s even support for Intel WiDi, so you’ll be able to stream video directly from your PC or laptop wirelessly. You can record to a USB device too.
The image quality on the 84in 9 Series, when viewing native 4K content was incredible. The level of detail and sheer depth to the images was breathtaking, and gave a glimpse into what we might all be watching in a few years. There was a discernable amount of backlight bleed at the base of the screen, but these were early, pre-production samples.
Upscaled content proved to be a mixed bag, with CGI animated footage looking almost as good as native 4K video, but live action footage looked incredibly grainy and over-processed. That said, a bit of tweaking and dialling back some of the image processing options may well have sorted that out.
There’s no pricing for the 9 Series yet, but Toshiba did say that prices would be aggressive. So, should you wait for 4K before buying a new TV? I’m certainly starting to think so.