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Toshiba 50L1400U LED TV Review

50 in.

The price tag looks great, but the picture doesn't.

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Behind the Screens

As entry-level televisions go, the Toshiba 50L1400U (MSRP $649) is a mixed bag of performance. This LCD fosters a very good black level considering its edge-lit backlight, and gets bright enough to produce a healthy contrast ratio. On the other hand, its default white balance heavily favors the blue sub-pixel, which erodes the accuracy of its grayscale and colors prior to calibration.

Calibration

Using the Konica Minolta CS-200 color meter, we measured the as-is results of the Toshiba 50L1400U in Movie mode. We discovered an overly bright gamma sum, a high degree of grayscale error, minor but notable color errors, and a white balance that overly emphasized the blue sub-pixel.

Using the TV's backlight, gamma, white blance, and color management controls, we tweaked this set closer to home theater specifications, seeking a gamma sum of 2.4 and a peak brightness of ~40 fL.

Below, you'll find the default settings for the Toshiba 50L1400U in Movie mode on the left, with our final calibration settings on the right. Note that the L1400U does not have Gain and Offset settings for RGB balance, but a +/- slider.

Toshiba-50L1400U-Calibration.jpg
Calibration involved heavily tweaking the L1400U's white balance so that it did not over-emphasize the blue sub-pixel.

Contrast Ratio

The 50L1400U tested with a very respectable minimum luminance level of 0.028 cd/m2, making it the second darkest HDTV out of the three other 2014 models we compared it to. We also measured a brightness of 154.70 cd/m2, giving this Toshiba a contrast ratio of 5255:1—very respectable for an entry-level TV. Expect satisfying shadows and brilliant brights.

Toshiba-50L1400U-Contrast-Ratio.jpg
The L1400U tested with impressive black levels and solid overall brightness.

Grayscale & RGB Balance

This TV's biggest problem was definitely its grayscale production and RGB balance defaults in Movie mode. Whites and middle/dark grays had an almost pink tint to them, giving it a "warm" color temperature. Errors within the sub-pixel balance meant missing the D65 standard for white (x=0.313, y=0.329, Y=~40 fL).

Using the L1400U's very limited white balance system—a plus/minus slider for red, green, and blue—we were able to remove much of this error during calibration, reducing the L1400U's DeltaE from around 10 to about 3.

Toshiba-50L1400U-Grayscale.jpg
The L1400U tested with a very high degree of grayscale error in its default Movie mode. We were able to correct much of this error using white balance controls, though the controls themselves were not extensive enough for fine tuning.

The root of the grayscale error lies within this TV's uncalibrated RGB balance. The L1400U's three sub-pixels are not in "sync" by default, so that the blue sub-pixel is receiving too much of the power signal, leaving less for the red and green sub-pixels.

Toshiba-50L1400U-RGB-Balance.jpg
Favoring the blue sub-pixel causes the L1400U to reduce emphasis on the red and green sub-pixels, which skews its white balance.

Other Tests

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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