Puts in a good performance, but there's no oomph to this set that makes it stand out from the competition
Solid picture performer
Solid feature count!
Just doesn't manage to excite in any way
Slight motion blur
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With the sheer number of TVs on dealers' shelves becoming bewildering, standing out from the crowd is ever-more important.
And in terms of aesthetics, at least, the Toshiba 42XV505DB does exactly that, thanks to an unusually slender bezel (under an inch across) that should help it fit into even the most crowded living room.
The 42XV505DB also manages a small connections 'coup' over its rivals by including a subwoofer line out (crossed-over from the stereo feed) alongside such de rigueur options as three v.1.3 HDMIs, a PC port, and a digital audio output. The pity is that these are pretty much the only areas where the 42XV505DB does stand out; in performance terms, in particular, it's no more than par for the course.
Extensive feature count
The 42XV505DB sports Toshiba's Active Vision LCD image processing system, with its multiple processing targets of motion control, contrast, colour and detail enhancement, and noise reduction – a pretty persuasive concoction, you'd imagine. Except for the fact, perhaps, that there's no 100Hz element.
Toshiba quotes a high 25,000:1 contrast ratio for the 42XV505DB, although our real world tests actually put it at a lowly 263:1 after calibration, plus there's an unusually comprehensive suite of colour adjustments and multi-level MPEG noise reduction.
The 42XV505DB's pictures are good without being outstanding. Take black level response, for instance.
The scenes in Mrs Lovett's basement, on the Sweeney Todd Blu-ray release, are certainly less troubled by tell-tale greyness than seen on earlier generations of comparable Toshiba LCDs. But at the same time the black level depth is certainly not up there with the best rivals.
Similarly, while the 42XV505DB uses its Full HD resolution to deliver a good sense of sharpness and detail with HD sources, images aren't as eye-poppingly crisp as those of the best rivals – especially as a little low-level motion blur occasionally pops up to soften things out.
And again, while colours are impressively intense during Todd's deliberately over-saturated 'fantasy' sequences, they're also not quite as consistently natural in tone as I've seem them elsewhere. Also, the set's 1080p24 Blu-ray handling seems reasonably astute, but it's not as slick and judder-free as that of other screens around right now.
There are some noise and colour tone issues too, with SD material, especially when watching digital broadcasts from the TV's own tuner.
The 42XV505DB's speakers are able to produce a surprisingly wide soundstage, with plenty of treble action and some well-calculated effects placement, but there's a lot of compression in the mid and bass ranges, causing muddiness and even distortion at times of audio duress.
Not for the first time in recent months we're left at the end of a Toshiba TV review feeling that the brand is capable of better.
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