LCD televisions are perfect solutions for all small spaces – bedrooms, kitchens, dens and even bathrooms. Their slim profiles allow them to be placed virtually anywhere. Getting a video feed to them may however be a challenge. You may not have a cable television outlet close to where you’d like to place the television. Connecting a DVD player to an LCD television proves to be even more difficult. You’ll have to find extra space for the DVD player and somehow conceal both the video and audio cables running from it to the television. After all, no one wants to see cables creeping out from behind a sleek LCD television.
Toshiba’s 14″ SDP4000 TV/DVD combination eliminates the more challenging of the two problems. Its built-in progressive scan DVD player adds barely anything to the depth of the unit and eliminates the issues associated with finding a separate place for an external DVD player and cables needed to connect it.
The SDP4000 comes in a simple but elegant silver finish synonymous with most of today’s television sets. It comes with a removable base if you choose to mount it on a wall. The angle of the television can be adjusted from 5 degrees forward to 15 degrees backwards from its vertical position when using the base. The 4:3 screen is accompanied by slim speakers on both sides running from the top to the bottom of the unit. DVDs and CDs are loaded vertically from the right-hand side. On the left-hand side you’ll find a headphone jack as well as one composite input with L/R audio inputs. The top of the unit features 10 small buttons that allow quick access to basic television and DVD player functions. The rear panel of the unit features one of each: composite, s-video and component inputs. It also has a coaxial digital audio output, RF in jack and a DC power jack. Of course, the SDP4000 comes with a sleek full-function remote control.
One thing you have to understand when looking at LCD televisions is that their picture quality cannot be compared to CRT, rear-projection, or plasma units. LCD screens are simply not capable of delivering picture quality to match these other technologies, not yet at least. LCD televisions have their own beauty. The beauty of convenience and slimness, that is. These super-slim televisions can be placed anywhere previously not possible because of space constraints. They are also a great way to give your room a high-tech makeover and are guaranteed to impress just about anyone.
Under day-light lighting conditions, where most entry-level LCD televisions fail, the Toshiba performed very well. Not to call the SDP4000 an entry-level unit because it’s certainly not entry-level by any means. In fact, we chose to review this television after a side by side comparison of several major brand LCD televisions with the same signal feed. At first sight it appeared to have the best picture quality of all current LCD televisions.
I set up the Toshiba in my kitchen and began my viewing tests under normal daylight conditions. It is reasonable to assume many people would place this television in their kitchen. I stood the SDP4000 on the kitchen counter and slid it slightly under my wall-mounted cupboards where it fit perfectly. Anything even slightly larger would have not fit in this space. There was a double sliding glass-door opposite to the television about two meters away, so the television was in a bright spot but not in direct sun light. I plugged in the power adapter and connected regular cable television to the Toshiba. The power adapter fit snuggly between the television and the wall and was concealed by the television itself. I had installed a cable television jack in my kitchen a couple of years ago in just this spot, so I used a short cable that also hid itself behind the television.
I started by putting on Cable Pulse 24, a channel I usually watch in the mornings as I prepare and enjoy my breakfast. My first observations when watching the SDP4000 with default factory settings were that the picture was a little dark and the colors were not natural. I wasn’t surprised, as these are typical results for LCD televisions right out of the box. The Toshiba offers several picture adjustments to deal with this including brightness, contrast, color, tint and sharpness. It also has four preset picture preferences: standard, sports, movie and memory (custom settings). The contrast comes preset to +32 (a maximum). I found that turning it down to +23 produced slightly better results, and also adjusted the brightness to +8 from 0. After flipping through the channels I found that the standard picture mode also did a good job for regular cable television if you prefer not the adjust any of the other settings. The picture looked better than other small LCD televisions I’ve seen in the past. The 14″ size of the screen meant that the picture didn’t have to get artificially blown up and hence didn’t suffer from too much pixilation that LCD panels are prone to. The SDP4000 proved to be a great companion in my kitchen during breakfast.
Next I proceeded on to watching a couple of DVDs including Bruce Almighty and Solaris. Initially I found that none of the preset picture preferences worked well for DVDs at all. Adjusting the brightness, contrast and sharpness produced results I was much happier with. In particular, turning the sharpness slightly down helped to reduce the grain in the picture producing smoother results. As with cable television the colors were never true to life, but this is simply the case with all LCD televisions. The contrast and black levels were impressive on this little Toshiba. Various shades of dark colors were clearly noticeable as were various light color shades. The SDP4000 handled all slower and normal motion scenes well, but did have some trouble with faster motion producing noticeable smudging and blurring. This was attributed to its rather slow response time of 25 ms. A quicker response time would work much better here.
Overall I was quite happy with the performance of the Toshiba SDP4000 LCD TV/DVD combination. The product is one of only a handful of combination units on the market today and presents great flexibility for all small spaces. Bring your favorite DVD to the store, pop it in the Toshiba and see for yourself.
Price: MSRP: $899.00 (Canadian)
Toshiba SDP4000Dimensions (WxHxD): 437 mm x 331.5 mm x 184 mm
Weight 5.5 kg
Video14” 4 x 3 TFT Polysilicon Screen
640 x 480 Resolution
Brightness: 450 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio: 600:1
Response Time: 25 ms
10 bit/54 mhz Video DAC
Black Level Expansion
3 Line Digital Comb Filter
181 Channel TV Tuner
AudioBuilt-in Speakers (1.5 watts)
Dolby® Digital Compatible
Virtual Surround Sound
SAP (Second Audio Program)
24 bit/192 kHz Audio DAC
Connections(1) Side Audio/Video Input
(1) Rear Audio/Video Input
(1) Rear S-Video Input
(1) Colorstream Component Input
(1) RF Input
(1) Digital Coaxial Output
(1) Headphone Jack