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You also get a set of component video connections for analogue HD sources, and unlike some TVs, the 42Z3030D is happy to accept a 1080p signal over component as well as HDMI. There are also two SCART sockets, a D-SUB port, S-Video, composite and analogue audio inputs. You also get analogue audio output, a subwoofer output and an optical digital output for passing through the digital audio from an HDMI source. Finally there's a CI slot for adding subscription services to the integrated digital tuner.
Often when a manufacturer tries to make a design feature out of a TV's speaker enclosure, the sound quality suffers. Thankfully that doesn't appear to be the case with the 42Z3030D, which produces a pretty convincing sound stage. Obviously big explosions are a little weak compared to a dedicated surround sound setup, but on the whole there's enough bass on hand to draw you into even the most over-the-top action fest - did I mention Transformers?
If you're thinking of buying the Toshiba 42Z3030D, my advice would be to purchase from a retailer that has a solid returns policy, because if your TV turns out like the first sample I looked at, you're going to want to send it straight back. The good news though, is that if you get a good example, you'll get superb performance on HD and equally impressive results on standard definition fodder.
I'm glad that I requested a second review sample of the 42Z3030D, because the conclusion of this review would have been very different if I hadn't. I'm not sure what was wrong with the initial model that Toshiba sent me, but I can only hope that it was an early sample and that the replacement is indicative of what customers will receive.
Going by the performance of the second unit, the 42Z3030D is a superb high definition TV that's stuffed to the brim with features. If you feed it a high-quality 1080p 24Hz signal, it will reward you with superb picture quality, stuffed with impressive detail resolution. The only weak link is the slightly disappointing black levels, but if black levels are your main concern, you should be looking at Plasma and not LCD anyway.
The big question is whether the 42Z3030D is worth the £350 premium over the excellent Toshiba 42X3030D, and ultimately the answer is yes. You're getting an extra HDMI port, 100Hz processing, xvYCC wide colour gamut, Deep Colour support and a more stylish design. And you'll be safe in the knowledge that this TV sits at the top of the Toshiba tree.
Having heard from several readers who have suffered similar problems to those that I saw in my initial review sample, I have dropped the scores on this TV and consequently removed its Recommended award. It appears that the very poor standard definition performance exhibited by the first 42Z3030D I saw wasn't a "one off" problem after all. I shall be talking to Toshiba directly in an attempt to find out how these issues with it's flagship TV range occurred.
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