Great detail and colours make this a bargain, although HD can look noisy
Some picture noise
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This 37in from Toshiba has got us a bit excited. After all, the 32in LCD in its old range, the 32WL48, gave a great performance - and an HDMI input - for around just £1,500. So we're keen to see if the 37WL56 measures up to its sibling.
Toshiba evidently hasn't wasted too much time on how its new LCDs look - this screen has the same, rather drab, grey appearance of earlier models. Still, it's very thin, and ships with a handy, tailor-made home cinema floor-stand.
A digital HDMI jack and screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels means the 37WL56 is ready to take most high-def signals. Why only most, you ask? Well, while it can show 720p high-definition images, there aren't any component video inputs. It would be nit-picking to call the set unready for HD, though, as a component-to-VGA cable is included to allow analogue HD or progressive scan pictures from a DVD player to find their way into the 37WL56 via through the TV's VGA PC input.
With features, Toshiba's Active Vision processing is the most note-worthy extra. It's designed to smooth the reproduction of both motion and colour, as well as show three times more detail than most LCDs.
We put this to the test with Oliver Stone's epic Born of the Fourth of July, fed through both RGB Scart and the component-to-VGA adaptor. Active Vision was certainly doing its job with detail - we can't recall another LCD bringing out as much clarity from both crowded shots and simple close-ups of Tom Cruise's beard.
What's more, edges looked smooth during the protest scenes, there was plenty of depth and colours were vibrant. And best of all, we detected no motion blur on quick camera pans or over fast-moving objects - a common LCD flaw.
Our only niggles are that we had to sacrifice a little detail in order to get black levels to look solid and textured, and there was an occasional trace of picture noise.
All quiet on the HD front
Any noise completely disappeared when we switched to analogue high-def material through the adaptor. Things also became even more detailed, although muted blacks were still apparent. A switch to high-def through HDMI brings disappointment, however, with some picture noise and dot crawl on show.
Having seen similar problems on more than one HD-ready TV of late, we do hope manufacturers will spend more time improving HDMI inputs. Maybe there will be more urgency once Sky's HDTV broadcasts begin. For now, though, TV from the analogue tuner looked reasonable, despite an obviously softer look.
Sound is similarly respectable, with dialogue-heavy films like our test disc sounding fine, although more action-packed soundtracks did sound a little flat.
Despite some flaws, there's a lot to like about the 37WL56. It is proof that you don't have to spend too much to get a big-screen LCD that's (almost) ready for anything.
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