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The outlook starts to brighten up a touch as we check out the 27WLT56’s specifications. The resolution is an HD Friendly 1,280 x 720, the claimed contrast ratio is respectable for a screen of this relatively diminutive size at 900:1, and the brightness is above average at 550cd/m2.
It’s also pleasing on what is, after all, a pretty competitively priced LCD TV, to find a built-in digital TV tuner. Especially when that digital tuner offers full compatibility with the 7-day Freeview electronic programme guide, including being able to set as many as eight timer events simply by selecting desired programmes from the listings.
Another surprising plus on the 27WLT56 is its picture in picture system – a handy trick usually only reserved for larger screen sizes. But if you’re expecting this part of the review to become the usual in-depth assessment of reams of other handy 27WLT56 features, you are sadly mistaken. For beyond what we’ve already covered, the 27WLT56’s features are actually few and far between. In fact, this 27in set doesn’t even manage to include Toshiba’s Active Vision LCD picture processing (even though the 32in version does), immediately raising concerns about how well its pictures will fare without it. And it turns out we were right to be concerned, for the 27WLT56’s Active Vision-less pictures are really quite disappointing.
Particularly striking compared with Toshiba’s Active Vision sets is the relative lack of sharpness in the 27WLT56’s images. This is especially apparent with standard definition sources, but it’s still there to some extent, we’re afraid to say, with high definition stuff. Edges tend to look rather soft and fuzzy, and fine detail levels are unfortunately ‘smoothed over’ – all of which, of course, robs HD of its main raison d’etre, and us of much of our potential interest in owning this TV.