When it comes to picture quality the 42WLT66 ticks most of the right boxes. Colours are generally bright, vivid and lifelike, while blacks are reassuringly dark, but not at the expense of lost detail in low light areas. However, I did notice the slightest hint of motion smearing when watching some fast moving footage. To be fair I wouldn’t necessarily have noticed if I wasn’t looking for it, and when I was just watching TV rather than “evaluating” I didn’t notice it at all.
In general though Toshiba’s Active Vision LCD image processing gave a good account of itself, negating many of the problems that can plague LCD screens without any undue side effects. A good indication of how good the image processing is on an HDTV is how well the set handles standard definition sources, and I was surprised at how well the 42WLT66 dealt with standard definition pictures from its internal tuner. Considering that a 576 line SD source is being scaled to a 1080 line panel, there’s every chance that the result could be significantly worse picture quality than an old standard definition TV, but the 42WLT66 rose to the challenge well.
Of course you don’t buy a 42in full HD television to see how well it scales SD content, and it has to be said that feeding the 42WLT66 a diet of good high definition signals really brings out the best in it. Hooking up the Xbox 360 and switching it to output 1080i produced truly stunning results. I fired up Tomb Raider Legend and was genuinly surprised at how good it looked on the 42WLT66, especially since so much of the game takes place in dark and gloomy locales. Switching to DOA4, with it’s eye wateringly bright colours and detailed environments proved again that THIS is how Microsoft’s latest gaming platform is supposed to be viewed.