toshiba 42db833

With a built-in 1080p source to match its 1080p resolution panel, the 42DB833B will have to justify that match-up with decent images. After all, separate Blu-ray players aren't exactly expensive.

After a simple calibration and the backlight reduced to around half-power, our District 9 test Blu-ray disc puts the 42DB833B through its paces.

A dynamic contrast ratio of three million-to-one might sound a touch over-egged, and so it proves. Usefully, Toshiba also gave us the 'real world' measurement of 1400:1, which on inspection seems a lot closer. Nevertheless, the 42DB833B does a decent enough job for the money.

As Wikus crawls back into District 9 to hide, there's a reasonable amount of shadow detail in the corrugated iron houses, though a definite bluish tinge to this night time scene. It's inconsistent in mixed brightness scenes; another sequence with Wikus' face illuminated in an otherwise completely dark room juxtaposes an impressively sharp and bright, albeit still, close-up displaying lots of detail with a large area of black that seems forced and bereft of much detail. It's bright where it counts, but we've seen LED backlights behave more dynamically than this.

We also noticed that light was leaking slightly from all four corners, while the same problem dogged two spots along the top of the screen, and one towards the right of the centre. If that's a worry, at least they're obvious only when watching a black screen.

The next morning as helicopters swoop in for Wikus, there's a greater sense of reality; the 42DB833B displays slightly muted and enjoyable, natural colours that extend both to the big sky and skin tones. That said, during contrast-heavy scenes colour does seem ripe. A mixed performance on colour and contrast, then, but not a bad overall picture.

Quick camera pans, of which there are many in District 9, can cause a slight jerkiness and loss of resolution, though on the whole the 42DB833B doesn't struggle with blur too much despite using the most basic 50Hz panel. Nor is judder a major issue, which is just as well as the 42DB833B lacks any kind of soothing circuitry-driven solutions.

Switch to Freeview and performance takes a dive. The pictures are noisy, and though plenty of bright, suffer from overcooked colours and excessive saturations. We would turn to Freeview HD channels for something more refined, but on the 42DB833B that's just not possible. Another reason to use the 42DB833B with a separate HD-capable PVR – preferably one that's adept at upscaling.