So we got a new HDTV, a Toshiba REGZA.

Notable for being 1080p but forget about that, it has Resolution +.

Funnily enough the TV has a cell processor in it, using Toshiba's spursengine technology to scale up all standard definition content to near HD resolutions.

About a year ago I tried out the DVD player:

Resolution +: A God send for Standard Definition content on HDTVs?

It actually works better than the TV because it has Resoultion + and something called the XDE, three additional video processors to give you a better control of the picture.

Anyhow, so we got this TV back and firstly, the SD TV picture through the television aerial was pretty assey. Not only that DVD SD content through a scart cable looked crap too. I was not impressed.

It's not a great dvd player though and the TV signal is only 70% strength so I think a signal booster will give the TV more info to turn into a better picture.

So by now I was pretty down, the old warhorse SD Sony Trinitron was gone, here begins the age of shitty looking Wii.

Then I tried it out. And wow. Oh yes indeed. This is nice.

For the tech heads out there, realise that I was using an interlaced signal through the cable, this is important because an internal TV scaler will always work better with a progressive signal i.e when I use components at 480p it will look better.

But screw that, because even an interlaced image looked schweet. It's important because it means that other consoles like the Dreamcast and Euro Gamecube can look just as good on this set. :) Games that don't support 480p can now look great on an HD set. Hello motherfucking RE4 and Shenmue 2! I've missed you, you magnificent bastards :)

So the manual for the set is pretty crap, its only once you dig into the advanced settings of the picture menu where you stumble onto Resolution +

Crank it up to max. Here is the tradeoff, sharpness vs jaggies. You can have it sharp, sharper than a wii has ever looked on an HD set but it will also create more jaggies that way. It will be up to you what setting you want.

How does it compare to a SD picture? Well if we can say that wii looking its best on an SD set is 100% then the picture here is about 92% as good. Not a bad trade off, especially when its splashed across a 42" screen.

The only real difference is the jaggies, a scaler will create these, there is no way around if, but its noticebly less than several other HD sets I have tried. There doesn't seem to be any artifacts, the colour is fabulous and the vibrancy is there. There is even a game mode to make things smooter.

First I plugged in Metroid Prime 3, this is an easy test as it will look good on most TVs, HD included, but wow, on the (other) HD set it lost alot. Here, aside from a couple more jaggies it was on par with the SD set.

I tried other games but the important one was Endless Ocean. This is a game which relies on immersing you in its world so any imperfections can really break you out of that. I booted up the Marige Atoll level and was just wowed. It is going to be freaking sweet playing EO2 in the next few months.

Oh yeah, realistic looking games like Dead Space Extraction came out well too, although the textures weren't as dense or detail and there were a few jags, it came out relatively unscathed.

Little Kings story was interesting. Because of the saturated lighting its one of the blurriest games I've ever seen. On this set, at 1080p there were defintely more jags on the characters because they are so small you're bound to notice more, but hell the picture was definetely sharper than even the SD set. I started noticing details that weren't visible before. I warped to an area I knew well and hell if that cow cannon didn't look sharp as anything.

The bad news was that mario galaxy, one of the best looking games..... fared not well :(

I think because it relies on a clean rounded look, when you see what was once a perfect line, now with jaggies, or a perfect circle now with imperfections it breaks that lovely clean look it has. :(

Anyhow, I can now, after testing fully reccomend the REGZA line of Toshiba TVs - just make sure it has Resolution + in it.


I have to retract some of that above^ I would say it only looks 82% as good, sometimes less, sometimes more. I tried a few more games, NSMB looks like crap, mostly because the camera is zoomed out. For small characters or objects the pixellization gets worse. This TV is strange, it seems to depend on the source material. Some TV programmes or movies look decent, others bad. I tried flicking through some channels, most looked poor, the movies looked good.

Then I tried the dvd player again that looked bad last night, this time with Ponyo and it looked amazingly good considering it was a bog standard 480i signal dvd player. No artifacts, no jaggies, smooth as butter.

I tried Overkill again, all is good there. Then I tried Mario Kart, sheesh! This is a 60 FPS game and playing splitscreen with a friend it seemed laggy and the brightness was so low. Then I tried Madworld and for some reason, well this has nothing to do with the scaler but the backlight isn't bright enough, the parts in Madworld which should be white come across as a dark grey unless you crank up the brightness.

COD REFLEXs textures were all PS2-ey. They weren't great to begin with though. Oh and Animal Crossing was jaggy. It seems like the games which rely on simple clean artstyles suffer, whilst the more detailed games get away with it.

Cursed Mountain looked great on it.

I wanted to plug in my XDE dvd player but I left the cable somewhere else. Have to check it next week.

So all in all a mixed bag.

I guess the only proviso is that:

a) I'm using an interlaced signal - I will have to try with components and a progressive image for wii and HDMI with a decent dvd player. The picture will improve.

b) My wii still has red and green dots on the screen which tarnishes any image quality.

But Resolution + is supposedly there to work with any input so I thought it would work well with interlaced too. Turns out it changes depending on what your source material is.  

Posted by gamingeek Thu, 31 Dec 2009 11:34:29 (comments: 17)
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Thu, 31 Dec 2009 12:13:23
Sounds cool. Too bad the cheapest REGZA HDTV available here is an $800 40" at my local Best Buy (at least according to their website). Sad
Thu, 31 Dec 2009 12:19:44

Check amazon.

There are some between 30-40" which would be cheaper.

The REGZAs under 40" aren't guaranteed to have Resolution + though so make sure.

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 13:52:15
Do 2D games look good on it too, namely those with hand drawn sprites like SNES games?
Thu, 31 Dec 2009 16:09:21

Oh shoot, I'm going to have to edit the blog, I tried out a few more movies and games... not so good Sad

Stuff like World of Goo looked good, NSMB looks like roasted crap.

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 17:49:37
Hmm, so it's kinda hit and miss, huh? I don't think I'll pay extra for that feature then. I'd rather everything look like ass then have some games looking good and others bad. Nyaa  

The HDTV I want is a $400 32" 720p Toshiba. Wii would probably look better on that due to the smaller size and lower resolution. At least I hope so. Component cables would be a must for any HDTV, though. Too bad the official ones are so damned expensive ($30).
Thu, 31 Dec 2009 20:31:30

Oh for ***** sake. So I keep trying games. Twilight Princess looks great, which is has no right too considering its not even one of the best looking Gamecube games. Another code looks great, nice and clear, vibrant. But Mario Kart, the 60 FPS game with a clear art style? The TV runs that at about 25 FPS. And Madworld the game that should look great on any TV looks bad because the backlight isn't strong enough and the whites are grey!

I think Bravia engine 3 is the way forward. This is annoying!

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 21:10:46

Right I think I know why it runs Mario kart slower.

There is a game mode, but it only works with HDMI consoles. Otherwise all the picture processing slows down the response times.

Game Mode
An exciting new feature for the gamers amongst you - Game Mode. This feature bypasses much of the picture processing technology required to enhance TV programmes and films, resulting in an improved response time and screen refresh rate.

Game Mode is compatible with any HDMI equipped games console and automatically adjusts the picture to deliver a more realistic game setting and importantly 1:1 pixel mapping. This allows every last detail of the original image to be shown without cropping the edges; giving the online gamer a distinct advantage over opponents without a dedicated Game Mode.

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 22:04:56
Hmm, that's good to know. My dad's Toshiba HDTV has that Game Mode feature too. I tried it when I hooked up my Wii months ago, but it made most of the games look distorted. I didn't know why until now. Oddly enough, it decreased the noticeable lag I had with the IR pointer.

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 22:10:42

So for really fast paced games, the picture processing decreases the frame rate? And the game mode wont sort it out unless the signal is run through HDMI.

Oh noes.

But the full manual I downloaded says it works for external input, its the bare bones manual that came with it that says it only works with HDMI.

But you can select it on any source. WTF?

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 22:16:51
I suppose there's really no easy way to get around SD gaming lag on an HDTV. When it has to upscale an SD signal to six times its original resolution, it's going to be slower. Lag was pretty noticeable on my dad's 1080p Toshiba.

I think I'm going to look for a used 27" or 32" SDTV instead of buying an HDTV anytime soon. There's too many problems with HD tech right now, and it would be far cheaper to for me to avoid it. I mostly game on Wii, and the 360 looks fine in SD.

Hopefully, when Nintendo releases their next console, it'll be backward compatible with Wii/GC, and upscale those games to HD. That would eliminate TV upscaling lag, and we've seen the great results that emulation upscaling can achieve on a good PC, so here's to hoping.
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