Toshiba’s Regza 42XV545U 42″ LCD television

The Regza 42XV545U 42” LCD television from Toshiba has a lot going for it, but unless a workaround can be found for the severe remote control interference I experienced I’ll likely be sticking with my much smaller CRT television for the time being.

Things started off quite well when I received by demo television. It wasn’t near as heavy as I’d feared (24.5 kg), and I had no trouble physically setting it up myself. The TV comes with a base that was relatively easy to assemble and attach to the TV inside of five minutes.

This left me ready to plug the TV in and begin attaching devices, and the Regza offered plenty of ports to connect my Rogers cable box, my DVD player, and even multiple options for connecting my computer, which doubles as my PVR and media centre. It was all fairly intuitive.

Everything went fine until I tried to start turning things on and actually watch television. Once I turned the television on, the remote control for my cable box no longer worked. Neither did the remote for my HP Pavilion media centre PC. Basically, I had to get up and physically press the buttons on the cable box if I wanted to change the channel – hardly feasible in the era of digital television. Of course, if I turned off the TV the remotes worked just fine.

After much frustration, and finding nothing in the manual that came with the TV that solved the issue, I of course turned to Google. I found a number of message boards where others expressed similar difficulties, and not just with Toshiba televisions. It seems with some models of LCD TVs, the LCD screen can cause interference with peripheral remote controls.

I then proceeded to work through a variety of recommended solutions and work-arounds, from lowering the contrast of the display to applying scotch tape over the IR receiver on my cable box. All had minimal effect. At best, the remote would be effective within two to three feet of the cable box. Still well outside couch range.

I wasn’t able to effectively change the channel from the couch until I removed the cable box from my TV stand/entertainment centre and placed it on a bookshelf about four feet from the television, the maximum distance my cables would allow. It wasn’t a pretty solution – the cable box doesn’t belong on a bookshelf – but at least it was effective.

And it wasn’t a solution I would accept had I bought the TV, and wasn’t sending it back after two weeks. Changing the channel is basic TV functionality, and the average consumer would be unwilling to go through this much hassle to solve the problem – and they shouldn’t have to. Toshiba, and the rest of the industry if this problem is industry-wide, need to address the issue of IR interference.

Remote control issues aside, the Regza is a good TV. It offers a crisp, clear picture from all the viewing angles in my living room, and a number of preset settings for different viewing situations, such as movies or sports. I only wish I had an HDTV cable box so I could get the full functionality of the 1080p display.

While most will likely plug the Regza into an external stereo system, I was pleased with its internal speakers. I also liked that I could connect my computer, using either a VGA port or an HDMI port for higher picture quality. It was quite nice surfing the web on a 42” display, as well as watching videos and recorded shows off my hard drive.

The Regza 42XV545U retails for $1,599.99, putting it well within the range for a 1080p LCD TV of this size and function from a major manufacturer. My CRT TV is also a Toshiba, and it has been a quality device that has given me no troubles for the four years I’ve owned it, so I believe Toshiba makes a good television.

My only quibble, and it’s not a small one, is the IR interference issue. If it’s a problem without an easier workaround than I’ve been able to find I can’t recommend the Regza. Solve it, and I’d have no problem doing so.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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