Excitingly, the 52Z3030D boasts one of the most comprehensive feature lists ever seen on a Toshiba TV, or any TV for that matter.

This looker is packed with all the latest processing, fulsome connectivity, and all the necessary specs needed to display hi-def pictures in all their glory.

The 52-incher's considerable talents are reflected in the hefty price tag but, as it was launched towards the tail end of 2007, you can now find it heavily discounted online.

Active HD service

Headlining the feature list is Toshiba's Active Vision M100 HD processing, which boosts sharpness, colour vibrancy, movement and contrast. It also increases the picture refresh rate to 100Hz to reduce motion blur, a common LCD problem.

The set boasts a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and it uses the 5:5 pulldown technique to display 1080/24p signals from Blu-ray and HD DVD players with no judder. It also uses 10-bit processing, which offers better colour gradation than 8-bit sets, while the Wide Colour Gamut offers deeper and more accurate colours.

There's also a digital tuner with an eight-day EPG, and a decent set of audio features that includes SRS WOW enhancement and Onkyo speakers.

Wealth of HDMIs

In terms of connections, there are three HDMI sockets for your hi-def kit, one of which is located on the side panel.

All three of these v1.3 ports support Deep Colour and Regza Link CEC technology, letting you control several HDMI-connected components.

They're backed up by a component video input and two RGB-capable Scarts, while noteworthy audio connections include optical digital and subwoofer outputs.

Positive pictures

This TV is easy to set up thanks to the straightforward menu design, and the well laid out remote makes operation a breeze.

As for picture quality, our first impressions are positive, particularly with hi-def material. Sky HD pictures are sharp and bursting with colour, best demonstrated by Planet Earth on BBC HD.

Also, 1080/24p material from a Blu-ray player looks superb; crisply detailed and judder-free. The 10-bit processing makes colour gradations look smooth and fluid, lacking the banding effect that can blight some lesser flatpanel sets.

On the downside, black levels are good, but not ground-breaking. Some dark objects look a little pale, particularly when you move off centre, but shadow detail during dark scenes is excellent.

Sharp focus

With football broadcasts and other fast-paced programmes, the M100 HD processing does a decent job of keeping motion blur at bay.

The moving ball remains sharp and focused, and it makes the scrolling news ticker on Sky Sports News look smoother and sharper. However, it doesn't completely eliminate smearing, and some standard definition material can look quite messy, with patches of noise bringing down the overall quality.

The processing can also stutter as it adjusts itself, making the image look momentarily jagged.

No sound complaints

There are no complaints with the quality of the built-in Onkyo speakers, which produce a rich and bass-heavy sound that's clear even at low volumes. It makes a decent fist of demanding movies – great news for those without a home cinema system.

Although we're blown away by the 52Z3030D's feature list, its picture quality didn't quite have the same impact. There's still much to admire though, particularly when soaking up hi-def footage.