Overall, the Toshiba 32WL56 is a knockout LCD TV
Its pictures are great
Iits sound is good
The price is certainly right
Lacking a built-in digital tuner
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Toshiba's LCD TVs seem to be coming along very nicely now - a trend that continues with the mid-range, affordably priced, HD Ready 32WL56.
Its looks are fairly inauspicious, though. Its two-tone grey chassis and pretty straightforward sculpting are rather uninspiring. Only with the addition of its optional floorstand does the 32WL56's design start to come alive.
Things get much prettier when it comes to the connections, though, as the 32WL56 delivers the key futureproofing touch of an HDMI jack.
A component video feed in, via an adaptor, ensures the screen earns its HD Ready badge. It's a shame there are no separate dedicated component inputs, and three rather than two Scarts would have been nice.
The 32WL56's HD Ready status is confirmed by a native panel resolution of 1366 x 768 and compatibility with all the necessary HD formats.
Another key feature is Active Vision processing, which triples the picture's pixel count, quadruples the amount of visible colour tones, makes movement sharper, and ups contrast levels. And smaller noteworthy tricks include MPEG blocking noise reduction, and 'SRS Wow' audio processing.
Fed our Troy test DVD, pictures initially look mediocre. But after some very careful tweaking (contrast set around 70 per cent, the backlight around 60, brightness just below 50 and noise reduction off) we found ourselves lapping the pictures up. Outstandingly rich but natural colours, for instance, are triumphantly revealed during the vibrant, bright scenes.
The black levels are well above average too, rendering the dark scenes inside Troy's Temple of Apollo with genuine depth and a dearth of the grey mist seen with lesser black levels.
Toshiba's Active Vision processing, meanwhile, proves especially potent when it comes to fine detail. The clarity, sharpness and texturing on show during the shot of the armies on the fields of Thessaly is only matched within this group test by Samsung's 32R41. What's more, this extra detail is seemingly achieved with no nasty processing side effects.
Any of Troy's umpteen battle scenes, meanwhile, show the 32WL56 to suffer likeably little from LCD's common smearing problems.
Only two reasonably minor problems manifest themselves, in the shape of some MPEG noise when viewing via the HDMI jack (actually tackled quite well by the TV's MPEG noise reduction), and a slightly hollow look to dark areas. But, overall, the 32WL56's pictures are certainly impressive stuff.
The audio performance is more than decent too. As Troy gets sacked, the Toshiba's unusually potent mid-range really comes into its own, keeping dialogue open, well rounded and clear, while giving very credible extensions of bass and treble.
Overall, the Toshiba 32WL56 is a knockout LCD TV. Its pictures are great, its sound is sound and the price is certainly right. A built-in digital tuner would have been a nice additional touch, but we can't grumble at a futureproofed screen in this affordable bracket.
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