The bland looking Toshiba 32WL66 doesn't make a great first impression - there's no built in digital tuner. This is the only LCD TV in this group test that's unable to receive Freeview broadcasts.
That hurdle overcome, the 32WL66 is a grower. For starters, Toshiba actually does a version of the set equipped with Freeview, the 32WLT66. Seems that the 32WL66 has been shorn of a digital tuner to make it more affordable.
Its connections also delight, as we find two HDMI inputs - a great future-friendly touch that's still rarely seen, even on more expensive screens. There's a HD Ready-required set of component video inputs, too, as well as a PC interface.
It's also pleasing to discover that the digital tuner seems to be the only feature Toshiba has sacrificed, as the 32WL66 is still proudly adorned with the Active Vision LCD image processing system. Active Vision processing creates better colour tone and saturations, boosted contrast levels, clearer motion handling, and perhaps most significantly of all, more sharpness.
Features include a base colour adjustment system for individually tweaking the saturation/hue/ brightness levels of six separate colour components, and a 3D Colour Management system that apparently alters the colour tone to suit PC use.
Our Layer Cake test DVD and HD recording shows the 32WL66's pictures to be a chip off the Toshiba block. Detailed shots (like any involving panoramas) are spectacularly sharp and clean, revealing both the detail-enhancing and noise-suppressing talents of the Active Vision processing. Colours look vivid and subtler hues are rendered with a rare finesse. The 32WL66 has a likeably deep touch with black levels, too.
The film's action scenes show this Toshiba to be a fine motion handler by LCD standards.
If we really had to pick fault with the Tosh's pictures we could say that colours occasionally lose a little of their naturalism under particularly difficult lighting conditions. Also, bright whites can look marginally peaky where very harsh contrasts are involved. But both these points are really minor in the positive context.
Mired for sound
Sadly the 32WL66's sound is nowhere near as good as its pictures. It's reasonably clear, but action scenes quickly show it to be short of dynamism and frequency range.
With its flawed audio and missing digital tuner, the 32WL66 is perhaps not the best option for someone looking for a one-stop TV solution. But if you're one of our many readers who's already got another digital picture source and a separate audio system, the 32WL66 is actually a remarkably affordable way of equipping yourself with truly outstanding LCD picture quality