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65H80 Review

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Tip from Tom Herman:  "After exchanging some private emails with Steve Smith, I purchased the 65H80 from Star Club (Culver City).

The set was delivered today, as promised, and no question it was "factory sealed, brand new in box". Final price was extremely competitive, I'm satisfied. The owner, Isaac, also agreed in writing to exchange the set if was defective, within a 40 day period.

I confirmed at Tosh's web site that Star Club is an authorized dealer. The carton, had a Star Club shipping label from the Tosh factory in Tennessee (?).

Star Club also moved the 65H80 into place in my home. The 65H80 is a BIG BRUTE ... Me & 2-3 friends could probably NOT have moved it in.

I spent the afternoon doing some very basic tweaks & playing around. After the weekend I will post more details.

So far, not bad.

Service Convergence was off, as expected, but it was not "hosed".

Geometry could definitely use some work: a bit off center picture, slightly bowed grids, etc. Overscan is about 6%.

"Full" geometry (for anamorphic DVD) is tolerable, Wide-1 seems fairly off. Wide-1 is supposed to stretch regular 4:3 TV more at the sides, but not cut off height - which it is doing.

65H80 Focus is soft, esepcially edges. With Sony 530 player, 480I, Svideo - I measure 450-475 Horiz lines on AVIA. My well tuned TP61 gets 500 lines.

Tried Electronic focus ('cause it's easy), no improvement.   

Displaying the AVIA "dot grid" , clearly some astigmatism at screen edges, relative to center.

Need to do mechanical lens focus, also each CRT has 3 sets of magnetic focus adjusts for more control of focus (my TP61 had none).

The "improved" screen protector seems just as reflective as previous years. Out it goes, once I know the set is NOT going to blow up in the first few days of operation. I'm operating the set 24 hrs per day for the next few days, to force any infant mortality issues & early failures.

Did basic AVIA setup for color, tint, etc. Color decoder not too bad. With Blue bars set, Green is at 0%, Red about +10%. I slightly backed off User Color as a compromise, for now.

New feature this year, is every input (antenna 1-2, Video 1-3, HDTV 1-2) has its own separate Memory Preference.

Service Menu access is the same as last year, Design Menu access has been changed & is not readily accessible any more (for now). The list of available Service Menu codes is slightly different than last year.

Watched a few DVD excerpts - Jurassic Park & Matrix - looks fairly decent, but I need more effort to tune focus.

This weekend I will probably mate a Tosh SD6200 progressive player to the 65H80, should get interesting.   

Below is a list of the currently accessible codes in Service Menu, in the 65H80. There are some new ones, not in the past TW65x81 series. Some familiar codes, like "CNTC contrast 50% center point" must have been moved to the new Design Menu.

Access is same as previous years:

  • Press "Mute (remote)"
  • press & hold "Mute (remote)"
  • press "Menu (TV)"
  • Release both buttons.

Pressing "Menu" toggles between the "S(ervice)" icon and the actual "Code".

Nice touch ... Don't know if last year's sets did this, but when calling up Service Convergence, there is a text description on-screen, so you don't forget which "wide mode" you are in ... since every wide mode has a separate convergence memory.

Direct selection of Video Input is possible, requiring 2 keystrokes: "Input", then "0" - "5" corresponding to the on-screen display of the various Inputs.   

Channel selection & scrolling through Video Inputs is still slow, similar to prior models. Time to reprogram the Cinema-7 remote for the new method!

Comments on REMOTE:
Backlighting on remote is good, but I'll normally use the Cinema-7 anyway (crummy "glow in dark" buttons).  The Toshiba remote may make it easier doing some tasks in dim light (eg Service Convergence). The remote is "universal" type, and has a more cluttered layout than the remotes used on lower price point RPTVs.

Annoyance doing Service Convergence:
Normally the buttons "100", "0", "CH RTN/ ENT" toggle the Red, Green, Blue CRTs on & off. These buttons used to be big, and in a straight row. The new remote has separated out the keys "ENT" & "CH RTN".   "CH RTN" still toggles Blue, but it is a smallish key set away from the other Convergence Adjusting keys, hard to find by touch alone.

Comments on User Menu:
Colorful "bit map" graphical icons replace the prior text-like icons.  A pointing hand & finger replace text highlighting.  The list of icons scrolls (too) slowly down when "Menu" is pressed, instead of instantly activating.   The menu icons & graphics make it even harder to view the AVIA test patterns while doing adjustments.  Overall, silly & annoying.

On the plus side, there is a separate Memory Preference for each physical input (Antenna, Video 1-3, HD 1-2).  Each memory setting has to be explicitly saved, or will be lost when power is turned off.

Available Service Menu Codes:

Name  Original.Value
RCUT     30
GCUT     40
BCUT     30
RDRV     2C
BDRV     26
BRTC     86
TNTC     45
SCOL     11
SCNT     10
HPOS     68
VPOS     05
HIT        3D
LIN        13
VSC        0F
VPS        0A
VCP        0A
WID        1E
PARA       1B
CNR        08
HCP         00
VFC         00
HPHA       2D
BLKS       06
BLKE        22
PHUE       40
PCNT        14
PCOL        10
PYOF        3D
PIOF        05
PQOF       06
EYOF        06
EIOF        1D
EQOF       19
ECNT       16
VCEN       79
OPT0        50
OPT1        05
TVOP        00

I tried the set's "DNR" (digital noise reduction) feature. 

The choice is either "Auto", or "Off". I cannot tell them apart. They both look bad.

IMO, I would not use the presence or absence of this feature, as a selection criteria, or tie-breaker.

About 3/2 pulldown ...

Toshiba Marketing uses the following "A-plus double duck speak" on their web site -

x81 series: IDSC Circuitry (Intelligent Digital Scan Conversion).

65H80: IDSCTM (Intelligent Digital Scan Conversion), and New Vector Progressive Scanning.

So maybe this "Vector Progressive Scanning" is the 3:2 ??

Of course, all of the market-speak is gibberish, with no meaningful engineering definition.

Based on some very preliminary testing, the 65H80's doubler ("de-interlacer") seems superior to my TP61's doubler, but I do not have am x81 set for comparison.

Here is an outline of the 'quick n' dirty' testing I did, somewhat subjective. The player is a Sony 530D, non-progressive. I suspect the choice of player may affect the results.

Viewing material: The Music Man, chapter 21-22. Disk is 2.35:1 anamorphic. Robert Preston is wearing a suit with a finely checked, busy, brown & white pattern.

If you ever want to see how bad ordinary Composite Video connections are, this is a good demo. On Composite Video, as Preston moves around, his suit is shimmering & moiring with various colors, even a non-videophile viewer will easily see it.

Player setup: Compared both "16:9", and "4:3" modes, for a fairer comparison to my 4:3 TP61H95 set.

65H80 setup: compared both "Full" and "Normal 4:3" modes.

The 65H80 has less shimmering artifacts than does the TP61, under all these conditions. The 65H80 is not quite "zero" artifacts, but is very low ... you have to be paying more attention to the suit, than to the movie, to get too annoyed about it.

Note, I did not do a direct side-by-side comparison of the TP61 & 65H80, as they are now in separate rooms, and this weekend I will be spending more time on Focus, Screen Protector removal, etc. But I will do a more detailed comparison of line doublers next weekend.

On a good progressive player with 3:2 reverse pulldown (like the Panny HD1000 & Tosh SD6200 are reputed to have), the results should be quite good.   Star Club had just sold out their last SD6200, so I was not able to get one in time for this weekend , but Isaac said he should have more, within a week.

Other Superficial Observations:

1) all 3 CRT lenses have the wingnut (on the rotating lnes barrel), pointing neatly at the 6:00 position. How likely is THAT to be the position of best Focus?!

2) On the AVIA Needle Pulse test, the bright "needle" line has really awful false outlining, at all settings of Sharpness, even 00. It looks almost like a double line. I suspect this is the SVM doing its mischief, so I'm going to disconnect it this morning. 

The SVM layout is changed from my TP61, and changed from some of the photos posted at various sites. Each CRT has 2 small circuit boards mounted on it - one board at the very bottom ("CRT Drive Board" ?), and 2nd board higher up, next to the rotating magnet tabs.

On the 2nd boards higher up, there is a 2 pin connector with a yellow & a white wire coming out ... I think this is the SVM for each CRT.

Disconnected the SVM, it is the yellow & white wire going to each of the 3 circuit boards. It was a little tricky, especially the Blue CRT. If caution is not used, you could end up cracking the board or CRTs.

I used 2 long needle nose pliers ... one to steady the little circuit board, a 2nd to pull off the connector.

WARNING - even when power is turned off- lethal, deadly voltages may still be present.

The shadowy false outline on the Needle test is much improved. Horiz resolution improved a bit, but this is a bit "squishy". Previously my notes indicate "450-475" lines, now it is "almost" 475. But this result possibly interacts with ambient lighting, etc. 

As suggested by AVIA, I turned Color down to 00 before doing the Sharpness & Resolution tests, to reduce any possible Chrominance signal interference with the Luminance (where Resolution is primarily perceived by the human eye).

Also recall, the set has not been focussed yet.

Did a more careful focussing on the 65H80 this afternoon.

First, mechanical lens focus, projecting the image onto a strip of tracing paper. I used the Service Convergence Grid as the visual aid. Lens Focus was substantially off.

Iterated again with electronic CRT focus (Focus VR trimpots) and Lens barrel. I have NOT yet adjusted astigmatism on the CRTs.

Adjusted 56 pt Service Convergence, again, using the better focussed gridlines.  In a word ... WOW!

I'm getting a bonafide 500 lines horizontal resolution on AVIA, with my Sony 530D (480I, non-progressive, S-Video outputs), up from the 450-ish out of the box.  Played back some excerpts from Jurassic Park DVD, looks stunning. Picture is starting to look very good. Didn't notice any artifacts on the few scenes I watched.

I can hardly wait to view from a progressive DVD player, am hoping to find an SD6200 by next weekend.

The cumulative, synergistic benefit of the various adjustments, is starting to payoff:

  • AVIA setup.
  • disconnect SVM.
  • electrical CRT focus.
  • mechanical lens focus.
  • Service Convergence .
  • and of course, the set's improved (apparently) line doubler / de-interlacer (will be irrelevant on a progressive player, but should help non-DVD sources).

Major tasks still remaining:

  • remove screen protector.
  • adjust CRT astigmatism (focus could be better near screen edges).
  • lens hood.
  • maybe Duvetyne (inside of cabinet is "flatter black" than my duvetyned TP61 originally was, so I may skip the duvetyne for now ... it was a pain to install on TP61).
  • dial out Y/C offsets (if needed), by varying cable lengths on Component Video.
  • geometry.
  • gray scale, including lens striping trick to improve color temp uniformity across the screen (I'll rent the CA-1 PC based analyzer from Phil Tuttobene).
  • Hack entry to Design Menu
  • Iterate as needed.
  • and last , but certainly not least ... the H-TLV Maneuver!

Then, I'm gonna be in Hog Heaven!

The set's been operating about 48 hrs continuously now ... if it makes thru another few days without exploding in a shower of sparks, I'll feel pretty good about its long term reliability prognosis.

So far, so good.

There is already one chink in the 65H80's armor: gray scale uniformity across the screen. With gray fields on the screen, the right hand side is noticeably red/warm, left side is cool/blue. For some reason the lower right corner is the reddest. I didn't really notice the effect on color programs, but it is noticeable on full screen B&W programs. But, this is somewhat inherent in any RPTV; see also Michael's observations in this thread.

Hopefully Guy Kuo's lens striping trick will reduce the behaviour to an acceptable level.

The new remote generally operates the TP61 identically as the TP61's original remote, and vice versa: TP61's remote operates the 65H80.

There is one annoying change on the new remote. Refer to this image of TP61 Remote. In Service Convergence, the buttons "100", "0", "Ent/Ch Rtn" toggled the 3 CRTs on & off. On the new remotes, the last button is now separated into 2 buttons, "ENT" and "CH RTN". "ENT" is still in the same place, but "CH RTN", which toggles Blue CRT, is now a small button buried in the lower portion of Remote. This is a nuisance.

I have also not been able to access the 65H80's built-in test patterns (eg, cross arms for XY centering) in the same way as the TP61. I will re-check this.

Some of you may be wondering how the 65H80 compares to the TW65x81. Well, I don't know, since I don't have an X81 for direct comparison! But since the CRTs & Lenses seem the same, mechanical layout is similar, etc, I would expect the two sets to be about the same.

The main differences, possibly, are:

  • 65H80's line doubler supposedly uses inverse 3:2 pulldown. It does appear better than my TP61's doubler, but I don't have a direct comparison to an X81 set.
  • 65H80's Design Menu is hidden (for now). IMO, a big drawback (until it is hacked). It is somewhat tolerable, because every physical input has a separate Memory Preference. But issues like Red Push (about 10%), dimming the Convergence Grid, etc, will require access to Design Menu to fix.
  • MSRP & street prices now seem lower, than same time last year. Sets are more plentiful, most places have them in stock.

BTW, figuring out Design Menu from trial & error alone, could be very difficult."

Above are part of a thread from Digital Theater.  To follow the thread for any new information, please click here.