As far as design goes, the 42WLT66 isn’t the best looking HDTV on the market, and to be honest, the dark grey matt finish looks a little dated. That’s not to say that it’s an ugly television, far from it in fact, just that Toshiba hasn’t made as big a design statement as the likes of Samsung or Sony, who have tried to create TVs that almost look better switched off than on. On the plus side, the bezel surrounding the screen is reasonably slim, with only a single Toshiba logo breaking the sleek lines. The speakers below the screen are also very unobtrusive, again keeping the overall look of the TV clean.
Despite the amazing price, Toshiba hasn’t compromised on the connection front. Whereas the majority of HDTVs still only sport a single HDMI port, the 42WLT66 has two. This is particularly handy since you’re likely to find more and more source devices with HDMI outputs – Sky HD, PS3, HD DVD, Blu-ray etc. Rounding off the HD Ready specification is a component video input, which will make Xbox 360 users very happy indeed. But Toshiba has also thrown in two SCARTs, a D-SUB PC input, as well as standard composite video inputs. That’s a pretty impressive complement of connection options and should negate the need for any kind of external video switching device. There’s also a CAM slot for augmenting the basic Freeview channels, if you so desire.
The 42WLT66 has a digital tuner built in, giving you access to all the Freeview channels. The Freeview EPG is also present, but the implementation seemed somewhat disappointing. There’s nothing missing from the feature set or functionality of the EPG, but the navigation is mind numbingly slow. Simply moving the cursor from one channel to another is incredibly frustrating, so much so that I wondered if the EPG had crashed when I first started using it.
The problem with the EPG is compounded by the very disappointing remote control. Now, I know that Toshiba had to make some compromises to hit the desired price point, but I would still expect a better remote control than the unit that ships with the 42WLT66. The remote just feels cheap and light, almost like the type of generic remote controls you get with budget TVs. Back in 1999 I bought a 40in widescreen rear projection TV from Toshiba and the remote control that I got with that TV was better than this one. Luckily this isn’t an insurmountable problem, because good quality universal remote controls are easily come by, while also stopping your coffee table from collapsing under the weight of a dozen remotes.