We're really hoping that Toshiba's 20WLT56 packs some serious features and/or performance heat, otherwise its relatively high price might prove a tough pill to swallow.
It looks and feels a cut above the budget level at least,combining solid build quality with a tidy design.It's also widescreen,making it ideal for digital broadcasts and DVD movies.
Connectivity initially looks exciting,with a set of component video inputs.Crikey - could this TV actually support analogue HD playback? Indeed it can.We were soon playing the excellent Condemned on our Xbox 360 in 720p HD.There is a limitation, though,as we couldn't get the TV to handle any 1,080i feeds,PAL or NTSC.The component jacks also take progressive scan feeds from suitable DVD players.
Among the other connections were a pair of Scarts,and a PC input so that the set can double as a computer monitor.
Aside from its ability to receive progressive scan signals,the most significant feature of the 20WLT56 is definitely its built-in digital tuner. TVs as small as this that come equipped with digital tuners are still few and far between - and of course the Toshiba's inclusion of one does much to explain its price hike.Especially as this tuner is impressively backed up by the Freeview seven-day electronic programme guide,complete with genre filtering and the facility to set timer events directly from it.
The set also supports digital Teletext,Top Up TV expansion,and interactive services - though after this the features dry up fast. In fact, really the only other thing of note is a picture in picture system.
So far the 20WLT56 has done about enough to justify its extra cost. And happily this continues to be the case with its picture quality.
Particularly impressive is the clarity of the image,at least with a halfdecent source.There's remarkably little noise to report, be it dot crawl, grain or even MPEG blocking from the digital tuner.Even the motion smearing,so common on (especially smaller) LCD TVs,is in short supply.
There's some good fine detailing too,enhanced by tight but not overstressed edges.Black levels are a cut above the sub-26in norm,meaning the 20WLT56 suffers less with the greying over of dark parts than normal.This makes the image more three-dimensional and dynamic.
When it comes to colours,the saturations on show are vibrant and full,yet also pretty natural for most of the time.Only darker scenes occasionally suffer a slightly greenish tone over people's skin.
The 20WLT56's sound is also well above average.The speakers can go much louder than most without distorting or becoming excessively harsh; voices nearly always sound natural and clear; treble detailing is impressive; and the soundstage is wide.There's a lack of bass,but this is true of nearly all small LCD TVs.
Toshiba really has come up trumps here.It may look expensive by 20in LCD standards these days, but if you want the best,sometimes you have to pay for it.