Toshiba seems to have been left behind somewhat by the latest crop of new flatscreens
Enjoyable black tones
good with motion (eventually)
TV tuners don’t convince
so-so 1080p pictures
Out in the mainstream is where the majority of fish are to be caught, and Toshiba tries to understand this as well as anyone – that's why its LCD TVs are priced as they're priced and look like they look.
Take this 42ZV555DB, for instance – there's absolutely nothing remarkable about its appearance, and we get the impression that's exactly how Toshiba expects its customers to like it.
Run-of-the-mill specificationA perusal of the spec sheet doesn't help the Tosh stand apart. Full HD resolution, three HDMI inputs, twin tuners... this is standard fare for a screen of this price.
Even the set-up menus, comprehensive and mercifully logical, don't want to draw attention to themselves and so hide in a tiny portion of the screen where you either have to squint to see them or move a bit closer.
Pictures from either of the TV tuners are a little bit coarse, a little bit soft and a little bit noisy – this is by no means an easy combination to achieve.
More after the break
Within that, though, the Toshiba offers reasonable motion stability and pleasant contrasts. In fact, given how bright the 42ZV555DB's screen is when idle, its black tones are deep and persuasive.
Sure-footed with colour and contrastA switch to either DVD or Blu-ray-sourced content does enough to cure the coarseness of the images, and the Tosh displays a winning facility with colour and contrasts.
There's even a degree of certainty to its motion-tracking (albeit after a long bout of menu-massage). The softness we noticed before remains even with 1080p/24fps images, though, and there's a lack of outright detail. It's all a bit so-so, all a bit, well, ordinary.
Sound isn't quite so average: it's congested and sibilant. Any kind of adventurousness with volume is discouraged in the most straightforward manner – it becomes exponentially more sibilant until you turn it down again.
This is the trouble with the mainstream – no one aspires to it. We all want something a little bit special, a little bit individual. The problem here is that Toshiba is only able to supply the commonplace, and that won't do.