In contrast this TV gave a far better account of itself when faced with high definition gaming duties. OK, so Gears of War still suffered from the poor black levels and suspect contrast, but firing up EA’s latest UEFA Champions League game on the Xbox 360 produced a suitably vivid picture, with lush green pitches and bright colourful team kits. The 423030D did an equally impressive job with Sega’s superb Virtua Tennis 3, while there was also little in the way of motion smearing no matter how fast the action, although steady pans weren’t completely unaffected.
When it came to SD content from its built-in tuners, the 42C3030D did a sterling job. Not only were the results form the analogue tuner far better than expected, but the Freeview tuner also produced a surprisingly noise free picture. Of course this is testament to Toshiba’s picture processing, rather than a sudden increase in Freeview quality. The panel didn’t seem to be struggling quite so much with black levels either. The 42C3030D definitely makes a good case for itself for anyone looking to buy a new TV, but who will be using standard definition sources for the foreseeable future.
Sound is surprisingly good considering the insubstantial looking speaker bar, and the SRS WOW 3D sound works very well, despite the fact that I’ve found that it degrades sound in some other TVs I’ve looked at.
It’s good to see that Toshiba has improved its remote control since the last generation of TVs too. It’s still no work of art by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s far more comfortable in the hand than the previous generation unit, while the buttons also have a more definite feel to them when pressed. Navigating the Freeview EPG is also very quick and responsive, unlike the 42WLT66 that I reviewed last year.
But the biggest plus point for the 42C3030D is the price, and with this TV already available on the street for under £800, it really does look like a bargain.
At £799 you really are getting a lot of TV for your money with the 42C3030D. OK, so the image quality isn’t quite up to Toshiba’s usual high standard, and the panel resolution and HDMI ports aren’t cutting edge, but if you’re looking to take your first step on the HDTV ladder, this 42in Tosh is definitely worth a look.