At last year's IFA Toshiba unveiled a new processing system for its LCD TVs called Resolution+, which uses the Cell Broadband Engine (developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM and as sported by the PS3) to upscale standard definition sources to ‘near hi-def'. The company says 99 per cent of programmes broadcast in the UK are in standard definition, and therefore Resolution+ offers a way of boosting the quality of those programmes in order to narrow the gap between SD and HD material.
Although we questioned Toshiba's strategy when the technology was announced at IFA - talking about the prevalence of SD and the move towards 4k TVs in the same breath - we can certainly see the logic in this new technology. After all, it'll be a while before free-to-air HD content is widely available, and standard-def DVDs are still most people's movie media of choice - all of which means there's plenty for this new tech to get its teeth into.
What's less logical is why Toshiba is billing this as ‘the first ever upscaling TV' when all hi-def TVs have to upscale SD content in order for it to match the screen's resolution. But what sets Resolution+ apart from other upscaling systems is the enormous processing power offered by the Cell chip, which applies complex algorithms to the incoming signal in order to sharpen up edge detail and enhance the overall image.
The technology débuted in Toshiba's XD-E500, standalone DVD player, where it failed to win us over but now Resolution+ is being used for the first time in a TV inside the company's REGZA ZV series, and lo and behold we've got our hands on the 46in version from that very range, giving us the chance to assess the worth of the tech without the need for a DVD player.
From an aesthetic perspective, the 46ZV555D isn't a radical departure from previous Toshiba TVs, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - the gloss black bezel and boomerang-shaped swivel stand look as sumptuous as ever, while the illuminated Toshiba logo below the screen is a lovely touch (and you can turn it off if it gets too distracting).
The 46ZV555D is equipped with a satisfying array of connections. You get three HDMI inputs - two on the rear, one on the side - which is the minimum you should expect these days, while the component and twin Scart sockets provide further input options.
These are joined by a D-Sub PC input on the rear, analogue and optical digital audio outputs, audio inputs for the component and PC inputs and a subwoofer output. Transient connection needs are served by the S-video, composite and stereo audio inputs on the side panel, and the common interface slot lets you add pay TV channels to the standard Freeview line-up.