A 42in screen for £770 would have been unheard of a couple of years ago, but today's flatscreen TVs offer better value than ever.
Toshiba's latest LCD, the 42XV505D, is a case in point: for well under a grand you get a Full HD screen with Freeview tuner, 24fps support and multiple HDMI sockets. But has performance been compromised to keep that price competitive?
We've just tested it for the Ultimate Guide to Television, on sale June 5, but you can read our review exclusively online today.
Punchy, vibrant picture, with good sharpness and stability; value; good spec
Black levels aren't quite as deep as those of some rival plasma sets; Freeview tuner can be a touch unsubtle
Not necessarily perfect, but this elegant, well-specified Full HD set is a cracking value-for-money proposition
In recent years Toshiba has done very well with smaller screen LCD TVs, but struggled to compete at with rivals at bigger screens sizes. However, the acclaimed 40ZF355D (and its predecessor, the 40XF355D) changed the status quo rather nicely, and now it's the turn of the 42XV505D to keep up the good work.
It's quite clearly a good-value offering, this set. It's well-equipped, stylish and, with its Full HD resolution, 24fps support and multiple HDMIs, well-placed to deal with everything the Blu-ray future can throw at it.
Sound quality is similar to that of other Toshiba models we've tested, such as the 32C3030DB and 37C3030DB: that's to say, it avoids harshness or brightness, but lacks a little detail compared to the best in class.
Given some fine-tuning, the picture's very impressive: the image has lots of punch, terrific stability and an appealing verve.
There's no problem with motion, either from TV or from Blu-ray, and while the colour balance is ever-so-slightly warm, with a touch of exaggeration to red hues, the picture never strays into unnatural excess.
Freeview signals pose a sterner test: the Toshiba's 1920 x 1080 resolution means it has a lot of scaling work to do, and while it manages to keep noise well in check, the picture is still less subtle and stable than with DVD or HD content.
Black level insight is the traditional LCD weak spot relative to large-screen plasma alternatives, and here the Toshiba is undoubtedly outpointed by Panasonic's same-size, same-resolution TH-42PZ80.
But in other regards, notably edge definition, the Toshiba has the edge, and it's also cheaper. That, coupled to everything else that it offers for your money, means this is one set you should definitely see for yourself.
Aspect Ratio 16:9
HD Ready Yes
Full HD Yes
Screen size (in) 42
Resolution 1920 x 1080
Accepts 1080p Yes
HDMI 1.3a Yes
Integrated analogue tuner Yes
Integrated digital tuner Yes
HDMI in 3
DVI in 0
PC in 1
Component in 1
RGB Scart in 2
Scart in 0
S-Video in 1
Composite in 1
USB in 0
Memory card in 0
Phono audio in 2
Phono audio out 1
Digital audio out 1
Dimensions (hwd, cm) 67 x 101 x 31
Weight (kg) 23