However, you’ll note that at no point during my run-through of the picture’s strengths did I really sound particularly excited. And therein lies the problem. For while the 42XV505DB improves on its Toshiba predecessors in numerous areas, it doesn’t really scale any particularly heights versus the best of its rivals.
As a result, while back levels are better, they’re still not truly outstanding – especially since getting the deepest blacks means losing a little more image brightness and background detail than I’d ideally like.
Also, while colours retain more natural tones when watching standard definition than on the old X Series, they still look a little less video-friendly than those of some rival screens, with one or two rough patches and plasticky skin tones. Even with HD I detected a few orangey-looking reds, ‘radioactive’-looking greens and blue-tinged blacks during pretty much any scene of ”I Am Legend”, be it a dark interior or a bright, crisp day out in the sun.
As for the generally high HD sharpness I noted earlier, it again isn’t as pronounced as on some rival screens – especially when the picture contains a lot of movement, at which point there is more blurring to be seen than you get with good 100Hz sets. Also on the motion front, I detected very slight judder in the picture while watching the ”I Am Legend” Blu-ray in its native 1080p/24 form.
As one final picture niggle, I was disappointed to discover that Toshiba doesn’t seem to have put any effort into improving the viewing angle of its screens. By shifting my viewing position to as little as 40-45 degrees from straight on, I noted a considerable reduction in black level response and colour saturation.
Turning to the 42XV505DB’s audio, treble effects sound plentiful and clear, and the soundstage is propelled over a surprisingly wide distance. But the mid-range sounds crowded and muddy under any sort of action scene duress, such as the ”I Am Legend” scene where a horde of mutants attack Will Smith’s house. Plus there’s sometimes a touch of vibrational distortion at loud volumes, especially with deep male voices.
Toshiba’s 42XV505DB is a solid TV: surprisingly affordable, with pictures that can look good and occasionally even great. But for the most part, aside from looking exceptionally cute, it just doesn’t do anything truly outstanding, and as such struggles to stand out from the crowd.
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