Connecting Blu-ray and HD cable boxes via HDMI is about as easy as it gets. A wireless connection with the router is something else. We put the supplied WLAN adaptor into the dedicated USB port and had no troubles whatsoever linking to our router two floors above the set. Entering the WEP code with the remote was a bit tedious but hardly a problem. Speaking of the supplied remote, we’ll spare you our usual rant about the unsophisticated controllers packed with $2,000 televisions – buy a Logitech Harmony and be done with it.
Once you’re set up, just tap the Widgets key on the Toshiba remote and you’ll get a serious taste of Net TV with everything from 1080p VUDU movies, Facebook, Twitter, the NY Times and dozens more. It is, however, missing Netflix integration. This is not a huge deal since you can get Netflix on most Blu-ray players and game consoles. We were pleasantly surprised at the quality of streamed movies like Alice In Wonderland and definitely liked accessing our Pandora Radio account to hear some tunes. Given the dearth of first-run shows this summer, surfing these sites is a real plus.
The Internet is great but any laptop with a Wi-Fi connection gets you to these sites and more. The 55UX600 is first and foremost an HDTV, and a big one at that with a 55-inch screen and a $2,000 price tag. We settled in to watch a variety of programs via HDMI from our Verizon FiOS cable box and Panasonic Blu-ray player.
Like all quality HDTVs, the Toshiba offers many tweaking options—especially for video. They range from AutoView which adjusts quality depending on the ambient light and source material, Sports, Game, Movie, PC and Standard. You can make loads of adjustments for each depending on the setting. We kept it in AutoView most of the time but in Standard and Movie adjusted the color and contrast to our liking.
Audio adjustments are limited by comparison, but there’s a faux surround option that enhances the soundstage a bit, but is a mere shadow of a real 5.1-system. Like almost all flat-panel HDTVs, the UX600 has 20 watts of total audio power (10+10) for the two speakers which are located in the lower portion of the set. The down-firing speakers produce decent sound but you should really opt for at least a sound bar to add to the experience. On the plus side it has Audyssey EQ circuitry built-in to help the small speakers along by smoothing out some of the distortion inherent in speakers crammed into tiny spaces (i.e. the frames of HDTVs).
The 55UX600 uses an edge-lit LED backlighting system which has its pluses and minuses. It costs much less than full-array LED systems with local dimming as found in the Toshiba 46SV670, a TV with very deep blacks and great picture quality. Along with a lower price, edge-lit systems allow for very thin panels, about half the depth of the SV670. Admittedly a quality step-down from the company’s top-of-the-line Cinema Series, how did it stand on its own?
With the set in AutoView, we watched some FIFA game highlights–a great test for LCD blur–and the UX600’s 120Hz technology handled it well. Along with soccer and baseball we also watched a variety of other programming. Picture quality was decent but without the pop of the Cinema Series HDTVs or other full-array backlit sets. As DigitalTrends.com readers know, we still feel plasma has the best blacks and contrast; the UX600 is clearly lesser quality. After watching a variety of BD disks, we came away with same conclusion. Overall picture and sound quality were good but not at the same level of other HDTVs we’ve reviewed.
The Toshiba 55UX600 has a $2,499 MSRP but goes for around $2K at legit online sellers. Samsung’s Ethernet-only 55-inch Internet LED HDTV is around the same price, while a Panasonic a 54-inch Wi-Fi-ready G25 plasma is also around $2,000 including the optional WLAN accessory for your router. Given the similar pricing, the Toshiba is not a screaming buy, but it’s still a good television that easily connects to the web at the touch of your remote. After watching Net TV struggle along for years, we’re glad to see a gangly child up and running along like a FIFA all-star. We just wish this NET TV was a true world champion and included the likes of Netflix. If we could have our dream set, let Toshiba add Internet capability and widgets to a SV670 Cinema Series edition. It would definitely cost more but would be a dynamite package.
- 1080p, 120 Hz edge-lit LED HDTV
- WLAN Adaptor supplied
- Easy Net access
- Solid picture quality but not outstanding
- 4 HDMI inputs
- Does not support Netflix
- Remote could be better
- Full-array backlit sets are much better but costlier
- Higher-quality surround circuitry would be a plus