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I've a friend with a Toshiba TN55X81 (4 x 3, so-called HD capable) which was purchased in August of 2000. At that time Toshiba advertising claimed the set to be "seamlessly" capable of showing an HD signal. Fast forward 3 years to October of 2003. When connected to his cable providers HDTV programming package (Insight Cable - Gahanna, Ohio) the HD image is stretched vertically, filling the frame, but obviously with a distorted picture. His cable provider has sent techs with no success, he has had a service call from one of the local Toshiba repair centers, and has contacted Toshiba directly all to no avail. In fact at this point Toshiba now claims (though only after numerous contacts) that there is nothing wrong with the set, that it is in fact showing an HD image, and that at that time they never claimed the set would re-size the image to 16 x 9! Of course it seems pretty far-fetched to me that a claim could be made of a set to be "HDTV capable" in spite of the fact that set could not show the HD frame in a watchable mode!! When re-reading the Toshiba literature on this set it certainly seems it should show a "beautifully detailed, etc. etc. HD picture!

My friend has contacted attorneys, the Better Business Bureau and anyone he can think of because he feels he was lied to by both the retailer he purchased the set from, as well as Toshiba. He wants someone to either give him his money back for the set or to replace it. The dealer of course claims there was no way to guarantee the sets performance on all future HDTV formats, (Insight did not begin HD service until 2003), and that they too were misled by the set makers claims, and had no reason to believe the set would not work as "advertised". And Toshiba claims the retailer should not have assured him the set would show a proper HD frame just because Toshiba advertised that is would - after all, they never specifically advertised the set would, or would not show an HD image in the 16 x 9 aspect ratio!


1. Has anyone heard of this problem?

2. Is there a solution to the problem which does not involve "dumbing down" the TV set or the STB* (i.e 480P resolution)?

3. Who should take responsibilty if this problem is unsolvable, the manufacturer, the retailer or both - the retailer has indicated that it

feels my friend has a legitimate gripe, but they think the problem is that they too were mislead by the manufacturer, and that after 3 years they should not have to give him his money back, (though would make some kind of "deal" - as yet unspecified - towards a new set).


Any help would be appreciated

Doridog


*I think the STB is a Motorola - I don't know the model# but this would be easily obtainable
 

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I also have an early generation Toshiba RPTV, a TN55x81 with the same problem. Toshiba's early models assumed that the STB's could properly scale 1080i. That may now be true for some of them, like my HiDTV PCHD card but most cable boxes cannot do this properly. Toshiba intended their own STB's would scale this properly but I don't know if they (the DS?3000) did.


Your friend could probably find an OTA STB and maybe check also if any of the satellite boxes can handle this. But be careful because many boxes that can scale some modes cannot do it for 1080i for some reason.


Toshiba never claimed responsibility but did fix the problem on all later models.


It is also possible to go into service mode and permanently squish the picture so all 1080i is shown at only 3/4 height giving a 16:9 ratio. I've instead compromised by using greater horizontal overscan and slight vertical underscan. That way the picture ends up sort of 15:9, and with people on screen looking just slightly thinner than normal.


Be very careful with service mode, you can screw up your set. But check out the instructions for "anamorphic squeeze" at:

Keohi's site


- Tom
 

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Doridog,


I have a TN55X81 and I faced the same problem about a year ago when I first got my Samsung OTA tuner. Toshiba originally planned for their HD tuners to scale the picture, but that never happened.


When I first displayed a 1080i picture, it was a disaster because the convergence board had been replaced during the first year I had the set and the technician never adjusted the 1080i mode, just the 480 mode. I decided to make the 1080 mode 16:9 myself. I made a "grid" out of strings and taped them to the front of the set, using dimensions mentioned in the service manual.


I adjusted the HIT and WID settings in the service menu to get a 16:9 aspect, then I adjusted the green convergence to match my "grid" of strings. I then adjusted red and blue to match green and just like that, I had a 16:9 1080i mode.


After that, the TN55X81 has a beautiful HD picture. There's absolutely no such thing as 1080i content in 4:3 format, so I'm not sure what Toshiba was thinking. If you are comfortable working with the convergence and picture size adjustments, the change is easy and well worth doing. If not, then you would have to find someone to do it.


Ron Volkman
 
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