Toshiba 47WLT66 review

Big pixel count doesn't mean better

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Our Verdict

Another good full HD LCD TV - but black level issues stop it being a classic


  • It does colours well, nice and bright

Finding a TV with more on-paper appeal than Toshiba's 47WLT66 is a struggle. Aside from the attraction of a 47-inch screen, it employs an HD-loving 1920x1080 pixel count, and comes from the same range as Toshiba's acclaimed 42WLT66. Strange, then, that it leaves us slightly cold.

The WLT66 range won't win any awards for style, as its deep grey colouring is rendered slightly drab by a plasticky finish. The screen frame is at least winningly slender, though.

Connections include two HDMIs, component video input, an analogue PC jack, and a common interface (CI) slot for adding Top Up TV subscription channels to the ones its digital tuner picks up. There's no 4-pin S-video jack, though, and only two Scarts (only one of which is RGB-enabled).

The 1920x1080 pixel count has the potential to make the 47WLT66 a good friend of Sky HD and ntl:Telewest's 1080i feeds, since the screen won't have to downscale them.

But the 47WLT66 isn't content to rely on that for its picture thrills, as it also sports Toshiba's impressive Active Vision LCD image processing system. This introduces a host of image improvements, including better contrast, colours, motion handling, and fine detailing.

There's a good selection of other picture tweaks available in the onscreen menus. These include both MPEG and standard noise reduction routines; a colour management facility that allegedly optimises colour settings to suit PC rather than video sources; a contrast expander; and separate hue, brightness and saturation adjustments for each of the picture's red, green, blue, yellow, magenta and cyan elements.

Falling down

In most ways, despite what we said in our opening paragraph, the 47WLT66s pictures are good. The native 1,080-line resolution produces its customary benefits, in terms of sharper detailing and less video noise, while watching a native 1080i broadcast of The Village (courtesy of Sky HD).

What's more, the immediate impact of this extra sharpness isn't undermined by much of the motion smearing that LCDs can suffer with.

The image is eye-catchingly bright, and colours blare forth with the sort of flagrant aggression that plasma TVs will likely never be able to match. The colour tone isn't perhaps as natural as with a good plasma, but it's impressive by LCD standards, and seldom leaves the world you're watching looking less than authentic.

Stopping the 47WLT66 from completely winning us to its cause is an indifferent black level performance. Dark parts of a picture fall into grey sooner than we'd like - a problem that's amplified during off-axis viewing, as the TV's maximum realistic viewing angle is limited.

Other much smaller flaws find skin tones looking a touch too smooth for our tastes, and an uncomfortably large drop-down in quality while showing standard-def sources. Unlike the black level issue, though, these two latter glitches aren't too offensive.

The 47WLT66's sound is rather like its pictures: perfectly solid and functional, but has flaws: lacks treble details and clarity.

Toshiba making a bad LCD TV these days is an unlikely occurrence, and it certainly hasn't done a bad job with the 47WLT66. Neither is this one of its best, however.