Toshiba is on the verge of a long overdue new range of all-singing, all-dancing, highend hunks of CRT TV heaven. But until they arrive - and your financial ship comes in - there's always the brand's 28Z47 CRT to be going on with!
This unassuming chap is designed to hit a price, and at £450 that price really is competitive for a 28in TV. But this inevitably means that you can't expect the world from it. And so for starters the 28Z47's body work is nothing special, with a rather plasticky silver finish and minimal fancy flourishes.
Connections are basic too, with just a couple of Scarts and a set of front input options that, sadly, doesn't even include the usual four-pin S-Video jack. There's nothing much to hold our attention on the features front either. The 28Z47's pictures are standard 50Hz affairs, with the only even slightly noteworthy user features being Dolby Virtual audio and video noise reduction.
But as ever with a budget TV, a basic feature list and connections are perfectly acceptable if the performance is respectable. And thankfully, on the 28Z47 it is. We were immediately struck during a session with our Legends of the Fall DVD by the brightness and directness of the pictures.
For instance, as the car carrying Samuel and his fiancée to the family ranch for the first time meets Tristan, the sky looked dazzling and clean, the colours of the actors' sunlit faces were natural and smooth and there was a surprising amount of fine detail in the grass surrounding the road.
Fine detail levels like this can often be accompanied by grain on budget TVs, but the 28Z47 largely avoids such picture noise. It is also largely devoid of glimmering around sharply defined edges - such as those of Tristan's face and shirt during his night-time ordeal at the paws of a huge bear.
Audio by numbers
The scene in the ranch parlour, where Samuel announces that he's going off to fight in the war, showed the 28Z47 to boast good focus and colour convergence too, as the straight lines and angles of the room's walls and furniture - even those right in the 28Z47's corners - looked perfectly true.
The Tosh thus manages to avoid most budget TV foibles - but there are still a couple that catch it out. The scene where Tristan finds Susannah tending flowers in her town-house garden didn't look as vibrant as it can on more expensive TVs, as the rich colours fall a bit flat. Moreover, the picture can 'kink' if a shot contains a really bright element - but luckily this didn't happen too regularly.
The 28Z47's audio is fair-to-middling by budget standards. The soundstage is quite wide, which gave a good sense of space to the battle scene. And the mortar rounds in here were reinforced by good amounts of distortion-free bass. But treble effects sound a bit harsh, and the actors' speech became squashed into submission by the racket of the war zone around them.
Toshiba's 28Z47 is, when all's said and done, a perfectly solid budget-priced CRT TV. It doesn't exactly revolutionise the budget TV world, but it certainly doesn't sell you short.