If you’re in the market for a new television right now you’re probably very confused. The roll out of high definition hardware, along with limited HD broadcasts has not been the simplest of things for consumers to grasp. At least the HD Ready logo has helped in some ways, but having a list of required boxes ticked is only part of the story. If you’ve read my roundup of budget HDTVs you’ll know that just having HD Ready certification doesn’t make a great TV.
Even for someone who’s entrenched in the technology industry as I am, the question of which TV to buy has been a tricky one. I’ve known for a long time that I need to buy myself a high definition TV, but I’ve been holding off for the right model to appear, and the right model was always going to have a 1080 line panel. You see, the majority of HDTVs on the market have a resolution of 1,366 x 768, which means that they only have enough physical lines to display a 720p signal without scaling. The problem is that TVs with true 1,920 x 1,080 resolution have been few and far between, with correspondingly stellar price points. I was therefore very pleased to see Toshiba’s new 42WLT66 TV back in April at the company’s annual product showcase event.
There are two very important aspects to the 42WLT66 – it has a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and you can find it for sale at a truly unbelievable price. I’ll come onto the pricing a bit later, but for now let’s look at the specification.
As the model name suggests, this is a 42in television, but it’s also worth mentioning that it falls under Toshiba’s new Regza branding. I’m not 100 per cent convinced about the Regza name, but then I guess it’s no different from Sony’s Bravia or Panasonic’s Viera branding. Obviously the jewel in the crown of this TV is the “full HD” 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, so when you feed the 42WLT66 a 1080i signal you’re getting a true 1080 line picture, rather then once scaled back to 768 lines, as with most of the current competition. There’s debate on whether a 720p or 1080i signal gives you better quality, due to the interlacing on the latter – however, since an LCD panel is progressive in nature, the TV will de-interlace the signal and the image viewed will be 1080p. I’m in the middle of writing a feature about this and many other aspects of HDTV, which should (hopefully) make everything clear.