A couple of weeks ago, Danny found himself rather impressed by the first of Toshiba's ‘Resolution+' TVs - TVs which use powerful processing proprietary to Toshiba to ramp up the sharpness of standard definition sources. But as ever with this sort of technology, it remains to be seen how well it translates down to smaller screen sizes. Will it still deliver enough impact on the 42ZV555D's smaller, 42in screen to justify shelling out extra for?
It certainly still looks the part. The slenderness of the glossy black bezel is impressive (despite not being as slim as Toshiba's Picture Frame designs), as is the rather Sony-like way the Toshiba logo illuminates when the TV is turned on.
Connectivity is perhaps not quite as extensive as I'd like it to be on what is, after all, a pretty high end model in Toshiba's new range. For instance, there are only three HDMIs when most premium sets provide four these days, and although there's a dedicated D-Sub PC input, there are no multimedia options such as a USB input, SD card slot or Ethernet port. The only unusual discovery, in fact, is a subwoofer line-out for folk wanting to add a bit more bass to their soundstage without going the whole ‘new speaker system' hog.
The 42ZV555 retains the Full HD resolution of its larger sibling despite having a smaller screen, which is nice. But it's not all sweetness and light on the specification front, for where the 46ZV555 claims a maximum contrast ratio of 30,000:1, the 42ZV555D tops out at 17,000:1 - barely half the 46ZV555's figure. Hmm. Let's hope this discrepancy doesn't become too obvious in the smaller model's picture quality.
The 42ZV555D's slightly drab and long-winded but clear and logical onscreen menus, meanwhile, provide access to a pretty solid level of picture flexibility. Particularly good to find are a colour management system that lets you tweak the settings of six of the base colours that make up a TV picture; x.v.Colour support; black and white level adjustment; a cinema mode and film stabilisation system; MPEG and standard definition noise reduction; and the option to turn off the Active Vision M100 100Hz processing system the TV carries to support its Resolution+ system.
You can also choose between five different levels of Resolution+ effect - a really useful tool, as we'll discover presently - and even switch the system off completely. Though why you would want to do this having coughed up cash specifically to obtain the feature is beyond me.
As I settle down to the business of assessing the 42ZV555D's pictures, I can't help but reflect just how badly Toshiba needed to come up with Resolution+. For without it, the standard definition performances of many previous Toshiba LCD TVs have been less than exemplary, to put it mildly. So here's hoping its impact is as great here as it was on the 46in XV555 model.
Thankfully, it is. For just like Danny, I found myself very impressed by Resolution+ in general - but with one quite major caveat...