"Great Picture but Bells & Whistles Below Expectations"4.0 starson by jwmarr
Pros: Excellent picture quality; 120Hz with 5:5 pulldown (ClearFrame); matte screen finish
Cons: Cinema Mode only works with interlaced signals; Film Stabilization only works with interlaced signals and effects are extremely subtle; On-screen menus take up too much screen space
Summary: If you are looking for an HDTV that will give you an excellent picture when playing a Blu-ray DVD without the desire for the film stabilitzation effects that 1st-generation sets were providing, this set is the one for you. A 1080p24 signal from a Blu-Ray player with the ClearFrame feature provides for an incredible picture. This is one of the few sets that provides 120hz with 5:5 pulldown, so instead of having to do 3:2 pulldown and dealing with telecine judder, you can have 5:5 pulldown to get true reproduction of 24 frames per second.
However, if you are looking for a set that does rock-solid anti-juddering for 3:2 pulldown on a 1080p24 signal, this is not the set for you. It turned out to be a major disappointment for me. You might ask, "Why in the world would you want this when you can have 5:5 pulldown without juddering?" I wanted this feature because of the effect it has on the cinematography of a movie (some call it the Soap Opera effect).
My wife and I first became interested in getting an HDTV and Blu-Ray player when we saw one on display in Las Vegas last winter playing Santa Clause 3. It immediately caught our attention because of the rock-solid detail on the screen. We also noticed it had a different look to it. The anti-judder software caused the movie to look more like video than film. We really liked the effect and this was our top requirement for an HDTV. The Toshiba Film Stabilization was supposed to do this and actually does on some of their sets. For more info on this effect, read this article posted at http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6792632-1.html
There is a trio of features on this set that interact with each other. First, there is the Cinema Mode which one would think you just tell the TV whether the source is film (DVD;Blu-ray DVD, etc.) or a video (TV). These are the choices for this set, but for some reason, Toshiba decided to make this feature available only to an interlaced source (480i and 1080i). Why in the world would they do this? Film is film and viewing a Blu-Ray 1080p24 source is why I wanted an HDTV. Progressive sources versus interlaced sources should be irrelevant to this feature. So I guess this means that for Blu-Ray, Toshiba did not want to give me the option to see a movie via 3:2 pulldown, but don't really know for sure.
Then it gets more convoluted. To use Film Stabilization, the Cinema Mode must be set to Film and Clearframe must be on. Clearframe switches the set from 60hz to 120hz, though I'm not sure why one would pick 60hz for anything since 120hz should be able to handle any pulldown or soucre signal that the 60hz option would be used for. Since Cinema Mode of "Film" only works with interlaced sources, Film Stabilization only works with interlaced sources. This sucks because my Blu-Ray player only displays 24 frames per second when in the 1080p mode.
I haven't figured out how, but a couple of times the set has allowed me to change the Film Stabilization setting with the Cinema Mode grayed out. I couldn't tell whether the set was really doing 3:2 pulldown or 5:5 pulldown. In the highest Film Stabilization setting of "Smooth", the effects were barely noticable, except for the occasional slow-pan where the objects skip from one point to another on the screen during the pan. Even then, I would have never noticed the difference if I was not looking for it. The same subtleties occurred when I set the Blu-Ray player to output in 1080i (output is not in 24 frames per second).
I called Toshiba to verify that this set is designed to use Film Stabilization only with interlaced sources and they concurred. I filed a complaint via their website as their advertisements never told the consumer that Film Stabilization is not designed to work with 1080p sources, but they never responded. I guess customer satisfaction is not that important.
I waited to purchase this set because it was one of the few 5:5 pulldown sets out there. I ordered it through Amazon/J&R Music because of the incredible sale that J&R was running. The set wasn't here in the local stores, so I guess the lesson-learned is to wait until the set gets into the store so that you can see if it lives up to all the hype.
Even with all the criticism I've provided, I'm giving it four stars. If this set didn't have an amazing picture with 5:5 pulldown capability, I would have rated it at 2 or 3 stars.