Over the past couple of years, Toshiba's LCD TVs have come on in leaps and bounds. There was a time when the likes of Panasonic and Sony were the first names in consumers' heads when it came to TVs, but these days you'd be a fool not to have Toshiba on your short list. This year though, Toshiba really pulled the stops out, with 1080p and HDMI 1.3 support on all but its entry level sets.
Back in may I reviewed the Toshiba Regza 42X3030D, which proved to be a superb performer, packed with features for an unbelievably low price. In fact, at first glance it seemed like Toshiba would have a tough time trying to sell its flagship model later in the year - the Z series. But Toshiba was smart enough to leave 100Hz processing off the X series feature list, so that the Z series would have a clear differentiator.
The Z series features sizes ranging from 37in, all the way up to 57in, but it's the 42in version that I'm looking at right now. This is probably still the most popular size in UK homes, offering enough real estate to be considered large, but not enough to dwarf the average living room. It also helps that 42in screens, even high-end ones like this, have become surprisingly affordable of late. So, despite the fact that this is Toshiba's top-end 42in TV, you can already pick it up on the street for under £1,200.
It's not just the price that's attractive about the 42Z3030D though, this is also a very good looking TV. The undeniably stylish glossy black bezel is carried over from the 42X3030D that I reviewed previously, but the Z series also has a very cool looking speaker enclosure. Whereas the X series just had a standard speaker grille mounted below the screen, the Z series has a recessed cut-out that's bordered with silver. Now, I usually don't like to see sleek, glossy black lines broken up with silver, but in this case it really does look great. The trademark Toshiba crescent shaped stand is also in evidence, which also adds to the pleasing aesthetics, as well as providing smooth panning.
Unsurprisingly, the 42Z3030D is a full HD TV with a 1,920 x 1080p panel, and like its X series sibling, it can accept 1080p signals in 24, 50 and 60 flavours. Now, although 1080p 24 is arguably the holy grail of home movie watching, it doesn't come without its own problems. The biggest problem is that of judder, where smooth pans tend to be anything but smooth, but Toshiba is well aware of this issue and attempted to counteract it with the Film Stabilisation setting. Unlike the 100Hz processing, which deals with images moving across the screen, Film Stabilisation specifically targets the potential judder issue associated with panning, and the good news is that it works very well.