Toshiba’s new 4K Fire TVs may outperform Amazon’s in terms of picture quality

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One of Amazon’s Fire TV partners recently introduced a new model that may outperform the internet giant’s own self-branded TVs, which were just released a few weeks ago.

Toshiba today unveiled the first Fire TV 4K TVs with local dimming, a backlighting technology that improves contrast and black levels over the direct LED method used by cheaper sets and Amazon’s new Fire TV Omni series.

The new M-Series, according to Toshiba, has “up to 48” dimming zones. The TV is available in three screen sizes: 55, 65, and 75 inches. So, if the 48 number pertains to the largest model, it won’t be able to compete with high-end Vizios or TCLs, which have more dimming zones in their backlighting systems, but it should still enhance overall picture quality significantly.

Amazon didn’t include full-array local dimming in its largest-size Omni TVs, despite integrating technologies like Dolby Vision. Local dimming, as the name implies, allows the backlight to shine and dim at different sections of the display depending on the content, allowing dark scenes to appear as they should without looking grey.

Because Toshiba’s new M-Series Fire TVs have a “120Hz native panel,” I’ve asked if this means they’ll allow more fluid gaming from the Xbox Series X, S, and PS5. The TVs will be available for $799.99 (55-inch), $999.99 (65-inch), or $1,199.99 at Best Buy locations this month (75-inch). Toshiba’s televisions contain inbuilt microphones for hands-free Alexa voice commands, which they share with the Omni series.

You’re obviously paying more for the “flagship” local dimming function when compared to Amazon’s competitively priced Omni range; a 65-inch Omni TV, for example, generally costs $829.99. Still, it’s encouraging to see these upgrades coming to Amazon’s software-enabled TVs. TCL’s higher-end Roku and Google TV sets may finally start to face some serious competition as more sets with local dimming (and possibly even Mini LED) are available.

There’s definitely more to a TV than its backlighting, so they are excited to see a Toshiba M550KU TV in person to see how it compares in terms of total watching experience for the money.