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Unfortunately the defining feature of last year's LCD TV range from Toshiba was its inconsistency. And we're not just saying that different series of TVs across the range were more successful than others; it even seemed to us that different sizes from the same series could deliver wildly different performance standards. Weird.
Not surprisingly both we and Toshiba are hoping that the same phenomenon does not characterise the brand's new LCD range - a range which kicks off today with the 42in 42XV505DB.
The first thing to say about this mid-level TV is that it looks really, really nice. Following the success of its ‘Picture Frame' XF series design, with its ultra-thin bezel, Toshiba has given the 42XV505DB a trimmer screen frame than the previous X range models. Yet even though the bezel is barely an inch wide, Toshiba has still managed to give it a real sense of style thanks to an extremely high-gloss finish, a gently convex curve, and the application of a sliver of contrasting silver trim running all the way around the TV's outer edge.
Turning our attentions to the TV's back end, connection highlights include three of our favourite v1.3 HDMI sockets, the inevitable component video input, a digital audio output for shipping out digital soundtracks received on the digital tuner, and a subwoofer line-out so you can add your own bass speaker in the event that the bass from the TV's own speakers isn't enough for you.
It's perhaps a little disappointing on a step-up TV these days that there's no USB or SD card slot for the direct viewing of digital photos. But then I guess we can't ignore the fact that at under £800 the 42XV505DB is very affordable indeed for a mid-range 42in LCD TV.
Especially a 42in LCD TV with a full HD resolution, and a (surely optimistic) claimed contrast ratio of 25,000:1. As we always feel we need to make clear with LCD contrast ratios, this 25,000:1 quote isn't a ‘native' figure, but one only achieved by dimming the backlight output when dark scenes are detected.
But even with this in mind 25,000:1 is higher than the contrast ratio figures claimed by the majority of its LCD rivals, so we feel justified in hoping for a little more black level profundity than usual.