Jeremy's almost but not quite entirely moribund blog

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Toshiba 37AV52U - bought and returned

I've been wanting to upgrade my 20" tube TV for quite awhile now. Lately my wife has been expressing a desire for a bigger screen too, mostly to improve Wii gaming with friends over. So I decided to take the plunge. I picked up a Toshiba 37AV52U (37" 720p LCD) for $650 at Costco. Then returned it hours later. Here's why.

I'm into rhythm games (DDR, Rock Band). These are sensitive to lag--if the TV delays the picture or sound, the game suffers. I picked this model specifically because it has a game mode, intended to minimize lag. Well... even in game mode, this TV's lag is unacceptable.

Rock Band 2's auto-calibration (using the sensors on the guitar) measured about 50ms of video lag, and 100ms (yes, a full tenth of a second!) of audio lag. In game mode. This is on a Wii connected via component cables, running in progressive-scan mode. That amount of video lag is passable, but not great, especially for a "game mode"... but a triple-digit audio delay is just plain unacceptable. That would mean during drum fills in Rock Band, the sound would come out like a third of a beat behind.

I tried DDR too, and got a D on a song that just yesterday I got a AAA on using my tube TV. Clearly Toshiba's game mode is not as effective as Sharp's. Actually, game mode had zero effect with progressive scan video. With 480i video, it made the picture flickery and unwatchable, and probably decreased lag to the same miserable 50ms that you get in any case with 480p.

It's a shame, really ... because other than for rhythm games, this TV would be great. Discounting lag, it does a fantastic job deinterlacing and cleaning up SD signals, and over-the-air HD channels looked simply jaw-dropping.


  • I was having this same issue with a 40av52u, but then I tried hooking the audio up directly to a seperate source, computer speakers, (that sound a hell of a lot better than those built in speakers anyway) and my audio lag in the auto-calib on rock band 2 went from 95ms to 4ms. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 PM  

  • That is an option if there's just one input, but I've got more than one - PS2 for DDR and DVDs, and Wii for Rock Band and other games. I don't want to have to unplug the PS2 from the speakers to plug in the Wii, and I don't want another external switch for the audio either.

    Fortunately, the Vizio VO32LF has just 19ms of audio lag, short enough that I can get a AA on DDR with the timing adjustment at 0. So I can route the TV's audio output to my stereo system and all my sources--the PS2, Wii, VCR, and TV tuner--get enhanced audio.

    By Blogger Jeremy, at 11:14 PM  

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